songofablackbird asked you: Our— the students and alum and families of Smith College. Belittled— made to seem unimportant because of the make up of the student body and apparent ‘safety school’ status. What have I seen? People coming together all over campus talking about class and race. Discussing ways to support students of different backgrounds and engaging with administration members, faculty members, and one another. Sad that it took this letter to bring people together, but a hidden blessing nonetheless.—
made rebloggable by request.
i take issue with this idea that “our” is a cohesive thing, because there are people on this campus who do not feel included, even in this discussion
i don’t think this school was belittled - if anything, this school was made to sound like it’s “too good” for POC, low income folks, lesbians (the word spurzem used), and anybody on financial aid. the institution has suffered no belittlement. a lot of the people who go here, however, were personally victimized and hurt by that letter. that IS about the school, because the school ITSELF has yet to deal with that hurt. why has the response largely been one of pride when people are still hurt?
there is more to be said about our “safety school” status, but @whatlikeitshard just really eloquently pointed out to me that there ARE people who go here who treat/ed it like a safety school. they exist. is that a problem? why/why not?
people are coming together to talk about class and race, yes. but who is actually, actively part of those discussions? whose faces are being shown on the “pearls and cashmere” website? whose voices aren’t being heard? this comes back to the cohesive “our” because a lot of people - even in the few conversations i’ve had about this TODAY - feel alienated and hurt.
a “hidden blessing” - i don’t even want to unpack that because i feel too icky about it
Rally day morning we drank mimosa’s and read Anne Spurzem’s letter. So many of us sitting on the floor of my room were personally offended/targeted by that letter, and we sat there, cursing it and drinking and delaying putting on our robes, joking about making last minute hats out of that page of the sophian, writing “Screw you Anne” on them… (I wish we had done this)
When people talk about viewing Smith as a safety, I am offended, for so many reasons. I am from a place where many people do not graduate from HS, where those that do are largely “unprepared” for college, where Smith is not a reach let alone a safety. Being able to treat a 50K/year “top tier” LAC as a safety is privileged. Fullstop.
Spurzem is right when she says that efforts to increase diversity generally result in lower SAT scores. That’s because the SAT is an incredibly biased exam and the biggest correlation with high SAT scores? is income. I am not attacking those who are proud of their SAT scores (fuck, I am! and they are not even that great.) I am attacking the idea that our worth is dependant on those scores. I am attacking the idea that the fact that we are SAT optional is bad. I am attacking the idea that our ranking matters do you have any idea how few people in this country go to schools like smith? If that surprises you, you need to stop, shut up, step back, and think. If most people in your life went to schools like Smith, you need to stop, step back, shut up, and think. If most people in your life went to college? Yeah.
If it was expected that you’d go to a top tier school, if you were “programmed since birth…” The people Spurzem describes are real and they go to Smith and that is okay that is a part of what we are as an institution, But let’s not downplay the kind of place we are. Let’s not say we are diverse and leave it at that, let’s not be complacent.
Let’s not pretend that saying “I am happy Smith is diverse” is engaging with the issue.