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And again There's hope

Hgraves's picture
In my last version of this paper, I talked about how Van Jones was my light at the end of the tunnel after reading Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction; hence the title of my paper, And then there's Hope. But I've decided to go in a different direction where I would focus less on the ghettos and more on Bryn Mawr. As an incoming freshman, I was bombarded with many racial issues on campus and from the looks of some of the people within this school, these hadn't been the first couple of instances. Being that we have been dealing with these issues for many years, I feel like the mentality of Van Jones is one that we need to adopt in order to overcome these reoccurring issues.
  Recently there had been an administrative meeting where the topic of racial profiling had been brought to light. This became an issue when after East vs. West a couple of African American men from Lafayette College as well as a few of Bryn Mawr's non-white students had been approached by public safety because one of the gentlemen "matched the profile" of a guy, African American with dreads,  who had been escorted off campus during the Radnor Halloween party because he began to get to physical with one of our students. But, on the night of Radnor Halloween he hadn't been the only person escorted away from the party. A Caucasian male with brownish hair had also been asked to leave due to his unwanted actions towards one of our students. But, no Caucasian male with brown hair who "matched the profile" of the guy  asked to leave from Radnor was stopped or prohibited from enjoying the festivities happening at East vs. West. When this topic was brought to the table at the administrative meeting, from my understanding, President Kim Cassidy felt as though it wasn't appropriate to talk about because it was a personnel issue as opposed to a systemic problem and it had been handled with the public safety officer it had involved. 
When thinking about adopting the ways of Van Jones, this personnel way of thinking would not go over easy with him. Keeping the theme of "there's hope" in mind, my hope stems  from the fact that the some of the administrators are able to think systemically and view this as an institutional problem rather than an individual problem. One major idea that I took from Van Jones is the importance of not viewing two issues that affect each other as separate entities. And the same goes for this issue at Bryn Mawr. Seeing the incident with Public Safety on the night of East vs. West as separate from the negative issues affecting the campus is where the problem starts. There is saying “In every chain of reasoning, the evidence of the last conclusion can be no greater than that of the weakest link of the chain, whatever may be the strength of the rest” (Reid). When we as a whole can come to an agreement and think systemically and notice how these racial actions are something that affects the campus and not just the people involved, then maybe we can  progress. 
             The other glimpse of hope that Bryn Mawr is possessing that is reminiscent of the hope felt when reading about Van Jones is the existence of groups such as the NAACP, Sisterhood, Picasso, etc.  When this school started, the presence of non-White lower class women wasn't the type of woman Bryn Mawr wanted to admit. So me just being here is a start. But, these groups are a big deal because as Van Jones did, when he saw a problem he created groups similar to these to be the voice of the silenced.  When the issue happened at East vs. West, people from the groups such as NAACP and Mujeres decided to meet with the people in charge  in order to bring this incident to light. Van Jones was about action and talking about the issues as opposed to trying to hide or cover it up with a quick fix, which is what the students of these affinity groups have been doing.
Another glimpse of hope that Bryn Mawr possessed was that now there are protest and other political activism activities that the students at Bryn Mawr are taking part of. For example, there was a protest with the support of the administrators in protest of the hanging up of the Confederate Flag as well as a die in that was staged in the town of Bryn Mawr in support of Michael Brown. Van Jones is my glimpse of hope and Bryn Mawr is starting to emulate that hope. There is more that can be done but this is a start. In my first couple of weeks I thought that Bryn Mawr wasn't the right place for me, but there's hope.