The Ivy Halls of Racism


Larissa Pham writes about racism and Yale for Guernica:

This tension is not new. It is a product of the systemic racism built into the institution, as ubiquitous as the architecture that characterizes the place in our shared consciousness. “Everyone who enters Yale is reminded that they’re in an environment that is a product of centuries of classism and racism,” Cynthia Hua, who graduated earlier this year, told me. “You can see it in the buildings. They’re symbols of the way society has been stratified—it’s even in their names.” (One of Yale’s residential colleges is named for the nineteenth-century politician John C. Calhoun, who advocated secession and spoke of slavery as a force for good.) And the problem goes beyond architecture—architecture just happens to be its most potent symbol.

Lyz's writing has been published in the New York Times Motherlode, Jezebel, Aeon, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book on midwestern churches is forthcoming from Indiana University Press. She has her MFA from Lesley and skulks about on Twitter @lyzl. Lyz is a member of The Rumpus Advisory Board and a full-time staff writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. More from this author →