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On What's Invisible At Harvard: A Conversation

@deepomega Absolutely, a family can "buy" a better environment for a child to learn and to succeed through expenditures of money, time, and effort, and also simply through being skilled parents or through endowing their children with cultural advantage. I think what Ellie is pointing out is simply that the child also has to be an active participant.

Posted on July 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm 0

On What's Invisible At Harvard: A Conversation

@dntsqzthchrmn Thanks for your thoughtful reply. To be clear, I think it's CRUCIALLY important for people to express their perspectives and for others to be eager listeners. Once again, the purpose of having a diverse campus is to force people to see the world through new sets of eyes. Having to observe differences and listen to how others see the world is not distasteful; it's the whole point!

What I simply don't want is for people to become discouraged by the adversity they experience in these environments -- to give up on engaging with the rest of the community because it's difficult. I recognize that this seems to place an additional burden on people who lack privilege, and maybe that seems unfair. But if you look at it as everyone on campus having to push themselves out of their own comfort zone, I think it's a lot easier to convince yourself that you can do it. Nobody ever promised that college would be comfortable.

Posted on July 22, 2011 at 11:13 am 0

On What's Invisible At Harvard: A Conversation

@deepomega Nope, just that it is MORE a message about their personal merits as a student.

Posted on July 22, 2011 at 10:47 am 0

On What's Invisible At Harvard: A Conversation

@Ellie It is a real thing, typically motivated by not wanting to be the douchebag who can't wait to tell everyone they went to Harvard, sometimes mixed with look-how-humble-I-am.

Posted on July 22, 2011 at 10:41 am 0

On What's Invisible At Harvard: A Conversation

@Ellie I totally agree with you that everyone being on the same housing and meal plan hides differences which would otherwise be more obvious. I haven't spent enough time around comparable institutions to be able to make a meaningful comparison about the level of materialism at Harvard vs. elsewhere.

@dntsqzthchrmn I'd love for you to explain what you think is wrong with that comment in the broader context of what I was arguing.

Again, my broader point here, which nobody seems interested in engaging in, is that there is really nothing special about feeling marginalized or looked down on because of your family income and social status as opposed to, say, feeling marginalized because of your religious beliefs, because of your political beliefs, because of your sexuality, because of your country or region of origin, etc. But if you focus on a single axis of marginalization, you lead yourself to believe that you're the only odd duck on campus. People have every right to feel however they want to feel, but I think everyone would be happier and the community would be healthier and more educational if people recognized the universality of awkwardness in any diverse community and decided to embrace it rather than withdrawing from the community over it.

Posted on July 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm 0

On What's Invisible At Harvard: A Conversation

@Kevin Knox If you'd like to give an alternate explanation of why Abercrombie was brought up in this thread and of why people on the house list were bothered by the email, I'm all ears.

Posted on July 21, 2011 at 6:54 pm 0

On What's Invisible At Harvard: A Conversation

@Kevin Knox Yes, there is something I'd like to share with you all, and you can find it by scrolling up about four comments. If you'd like a shorter summary, it's that feeling unlike your peers in college in some significant way is practically universal, and not entirely unhealthy.

Posted on July 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm 1

On What's Invisible At Harvard: A Conversation

@melis I know, I'm living a lie! Also, I'm not actually a Jeffrey, which pretty much rules out being the best one.

@Kevin Knox But I think the criticism of the brand was taken (and perhaps intended) as a criticism of the customers too in this case. As in, "look at these fucking rich kids who have all this money to waste on Abercrombie". I mean, if that wasn't sort of the implication, why was it even mentioned in this thread?

Posted on July 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm 0

On What's Invisible At Harvard: A Conversation

@Kevin Knox And how would the authors (or you) know? A cursory glance at both the article and the comments shows that many people from lower class backgrounds have a contempt for their classmates from upper class backgrounds as lazy/privileged/snotty/didn't earn it, and that students from upper class backgrounds therefore often take steps to conceal their backgrounds because they are uncomfortable being judged for it.

Posted on July 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm 2

On What's Invisible At Harvard: A Conversation

@Kate Ward@facebook Were you surprised that someone ripped you a new one for dissing a line of clothing which is worn by a large number of people over an email list with several hundred people on it?

Posted on July 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm 0