Let’s Try Believing in People: Reading Privilege at Yale

Courtesy of Jame Cunningham and the Yale Bubble
Problematic.
Problematic. // Creative Commons

Look around you at Yale any day of the week. Who do you see? People? Humans? Souls? The oppressive environment of Yale makes our personalities see each other like assignments, pages to be read and talked about in a classroom “seminar” setting. But what does this mean? How can we truly feel this way about peers whom we are supposed to love and touch their souls?

Yale is a microcosm of the human world of societies. According to the National Studies, some of us can’t even look people in the eyes without seeing them as an objectification. What place is this? What does this say about us as people? We need to work on our skills of really connecting without thinking about social constructs like stereotypes and society. If you really think about your role in the community, you might grow to learn how common values like truth and sharing contribute to a meaningful discourse about campus life — just like when we were children.

If you think about it, children are the only ones who can really appreciate one-to-one behavior between humans, as one. When a child looks at a book, he can’t read it, but he knows what it means. We as Yale students in the community of Yale really need to remember to know what things mean. We as Yale students, all in all, reach a point in each of our lives where we bear responsibility for ourselves and others in the noble endeavor of our lives. Can we trust ourselves as creators of the new generation of society to pave the way of true knowledge?

Take the instance of iPhones, for example. When we look at a screen, it automatically means we cannot look at a face. When we read a “text” we automatically cannot “read” our friends. As we have become more and more a society that values material culture and the values that it discharges over a culture that values people and animals as they are and should be, are we not becoming what the famous Hemingway once called the Lost Generation? And after all, are we not just, like Hemingway, animals too?

What the administration doesn’t understand is that students need room not only to learn and create but also to grow as people and believe. Yale is not a factory; it is a farm. Our professors should be concerned not with molding our plastic minds but nurturing the eggs of our souls. The administration should not be concerned with what method is most “efficient” or “productive” but rather with feeding us the freshest grains and oats.

Another aspect that plays into the role of campus in society and vice versa is this overwhelming obsession with the culture of the hookup culture on campus. If we cannot make meaningful connections with each other, but like the proverbial preying mantis only eat our mates after making love, so to speak, we will fall into a deep pit of moral decay and failing as a society. Hook-up culture is only beneficial to those for whom hooking up benefits, and the rest of students who may not be comfortable with those social norms are put on the sidelines like the proverbial basketball players.

This is not to say that we cannot know one another merely by the processes of looking and seeing; but, rather, to delve into one another in a new way that eliminates stereotypes completely. Preconceived notions can only be understood as a reflection of our deep-seated discomfort with hierarchies and the pressures they emit on each of us as Yale students. And that is why no one person can be held accountable for the actions and beliefs of our collective inner demons, but rather all of us, as a society, must take action to counteract the tide of isolation and make everyone feel at home. Think about that Peter Salovey!

So the next time you’re walking on Cross Campus, or sitting in your class in a “seminar,” look around you. The world might be more complex than you ever give it credit for. All these people are more than interesting books; if you only took the time to read them, they might be interesting people. Maybe the really important reading isn’t on the syllabus at all. Maybe, for once, the Yale community can come together to realize that truth is more than just how much you “know,” it’s how much you are.

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