You are two weeks into college. This should be far from your mind but unfortunately that is not the case.
I do not know you but I need to tell you some things. I understand that you must be afraid right now. What happened to you is a scary thing. In a place that is supposed to be welcoming and enlightening, you have been targeted in the basest way.
This is not the way it was supposed to be, but it is the way it is. You should not have to have this fear, but you do. It is not fair one bit. I cannot make that fear go away. There are pieces of this world that are terrible and you encountered them.
I also want you to know all the love that is coming your way right now. We want to be there for you, but we do not know how.
What happened is wrong and the rest of the Fordham community knows that. We are all ashamed. We hope that you are surrounded by love and support. We do not want this to represent the Fordham community to you. We are imperfect; everyone is. We are aghast, we are sorry and we know that does not make up for this. But we are here for you.
What I really want to do is take away the fear that you are experiencing. You fear that you are nontrivially devalued by others for the trivial reality of your skin color. I want that more than I can explain, but I cannot do that. To do that would be to invalidate what has happened. I am going to promise you something, though. We want to be better.
That is my promise. We are imperfect like so many people and we have no excuses. But this does not represent us as a community and we are trying to be better every day.
That is what I want to promise you and I know it is not enough. But I want you to know at least that. I hope that this fear will not dominate your life. I want your life here to be filled with love. It should be love, because you deserve that.
Also please know this: you owe us nothing and we owe you everything. Take that as you will.
I have been in a similar position where I felt betrayed by the community I thought loved me. For me it was small but hateful aggressions. It shook me to my core all the same. I was terrified on a level I could not at the time begin to verbalize. I could not process that hate for what I am could exist so strongly in a community I loved, even if it only took root in a few people. I stuffed it down and blew up later.
Let it out. I was paranoid and I withdrew. I was worried that the same feelings of hate I had encountered in a few existed in everyone.
What got me through it were the people who without reason cared for me. Especially those at Fordham who cared for me long after an “incident,” those that tended the accumulated wounds. That kind of love is something I will always live in awe of. I hope you have that here, too.
You are beautiful, you are wonderful, and you deserve so much more.
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