What’s Really Going On at Yale
Aaron Z. Lewis
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Aaron, if you think that Yale — to which I have returned many times in the 41 years since I graduated — is either unsafe or insensitive to race, culture, ethnicity, religious persuasion or virtually ANYTHING “under the sun”, you (and anyone of such a similar mindset) are in for a helluva rude awakening upon your entry into (return to?) the “real world.” I speak as a lifelong democrat, whose passion for civil rights and “leveling the playing field” extends back to at least my sophomore year in high school, a period that “awakened me” via my older brother’s enlistment in the USMC in the fall of ’67 and a spring semester when both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated within two months of one another. By that time my brother was serving in Vietnam. Whatever relative comfort I might have had in life seemed considerably less comfortable when I spent much of each day wondering if my brother was still alive. I “came of age” at a time when the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement (I hitchhiked from New Haven to Washington, DC in April ’71 at my brother’s behest to attend the Vietnam Veterans March Against the War), the women’s liberation movement and the Nixon Administration “redefining” democracy were ALL prominent in so many of our hearts and minds. I provide you with this information not to trivialize whatever your own life experience and/or dreams/fears may be, but to assert my sympathy, THEORETICALLY, with anyone vested in seeking change that creates a more equitable world. If Erika Christakis’ email can evoke such an embarrassing and irrational reaction as the one so “disgusting”-ly (to co-opt the student’s own word) evident on that video of Professor Christakis being “set upon” in the Silliman courtyard, then, Yale may be one of the “safest” places on Earth. I would submit that were that young woman to have conducted herself in such fashion almost ANYWHERE else, she’d have been greeted far less patiently. Pity is that she will someday realize (if she hasn’t already) that she made a complete ass of herself, and the image now “lives on” for posterity’s sake. Going ballistic over someone suggesting that majority-age students at one of the truly most remarkable academic institutions on Earth OUGHT NOT need “costume advice” for Halloween is lunacy.

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