[ View the story "'I, Too, Am Harvard'" on Storify] 'I, Too, Am Harvard' Viral campaign highlights the experiences of black students at the Ivy League school.
The Stream· Tue, Mar 18 2014 09:40:24
I, Too, Am Harvard
' photo campaign originally intended to describe the diverse experiences of black students at Harvard. As the campaign gained
, the issue was raised with other students of color across the pond at
. It's success has reignited a conversation about diversity and race relations on campuses, especially at elite universities.
'I, Too, Am Harvard' was based on a
presented as a series of dramatic monologues made up of interviews with members of Harvard's black community.
I, Too, Am Harvard (Preview)ahsantetheartist
The photo series later included more than 60 students with descriptions of their experiences as minorities and black students on campus. Their
describes the mission of the campaign.
Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned-- this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard.itooamharvard.tumblr.com
Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence, the play's writer and director was inspired by discussions about race on campus and events from 2012, when an article in The Crimson
affirmative action ignited controversy at Harvard.
Many reacted positively to the campaign on social media.
Brilliant use of #socialmedia. Powerful storytelling in photos + words from black Harvard students
Can't believe I got this from The Australian, but #ITooAmHarvard is a damn good Tumblr & points to a greater problem
And others discussed the rapid spread of the campaign.
A wondrous feature of our sped-up society is rapid growth from #BBUM to #ITooAmHarvard across ocean to #ITooAmOxford. #solidarityMme. Librarian
Presented on March 7th, the play "I, Too, Am Harvard" was
by the Harvard community. At the end of the play, deans of the college "pledged to work closely with students to make Harvard a more inclusive environment".
Harvard University has been
efforts to encourage more minorities to apply to the college. Over the past four years, minorities
approximately 45 percent of undergraduate admissions to the university, with nearly 10 percent
themselves as African-American.
However, some groups still argue that they experience less support from the administration. A recent town hall meeting organised by Latino students at the college
the lack of a Latino cultural centre on campus. A student who worked for Harvard Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program
“I don’t just say this because I’m tired. I say this because at the end of this month, so many Latinos will receive acceptance letters. I feel like a liar sometimes if I tell these kids that this situation is a great experience for everyone.”thecrimson.com
At other institutions, some students are pushing back against the "I, Too, Am..." campaign, like
Tumblr started in response to "
I, too, am Oxford
We are concerned that the negative portrayal of an ethnic minority student’s experience at the university will discourage prospective ethnic minority students from applying. We would like to emphasise that we do not aim to undermine the original campaign and we are not working against them. We acknowledge that racism exists at the University of Oxford and it needs to be challenged, but we believe that the university is working hard to tackle these prejudices and misguided perceptions. Our aim is to present the full picture.wearealloxford.tumblr.com
Despite its aim to highlight other perspectives on campus diversity, the initiative faced some
The #wearealloxford makes me think that for all their academic savvy, students there lack some basic skills in stepping back and listening.Huw Lemmey
the best thing we can do to prove we're #notracist is very swiftly & loudly to silence PoC who talk abt lived exp of racism #wearealloxfordJames Alexander
The fact that access projects for POC are needed should tell you all about institutional racism in universities #WeAreAllOxfordWi'am
Unbelievable. Instead of tackling the racism, they're only worried about the reputation of the uni #wearealloxford
Many in The Stream community praised the "I, too, am Harvard" campaign..
@AJStream black is proud. #TheyTooAreHarvard. Equal rights. Dont pull the race. Irrespective of skin colour, they have an admission number.Sophia Anyigor
@sara_salman @AJStream I have read the #ITooAmHarvard love it, it illustrates the stigmas, prejudices, and challenges minority students faceJoshua Quinton
Others highlighted the prevalence of race based stigma on college campuses.
@AJStream because micro-aggressions happen everywhere, even in the top British universities.رايسو
@sara_salman @AJStream You can replace the Harvard part of the #ITooAmHarvard and replace it with just about any college or university...sadJoshua Quinton
Some debated affirmative action policies and whether or not they positively impact diversity on campus.
@AJStream the gist of affirmative action is to provide unfair advantage to make up for unfair treatment meted out for centuries.Rawal Wahlah
@RawalWahlah @AJStream It's institutional discrimination against some people, to benefit others. It's gaming the system for advantage!dalriada842
Many agreed on what universities and communities should do to support diverse student populations.
@AJStream Rather than playing admission numbers game, provide academic support to improve retention of students of color.Margari Aziza
@AJStream Harvard alumna here: The problem is with communities that produce kids who believe stereotypes and then reveal them to other kids.Rosiland Jordan
@AJStream Doesn't mean we can't confront/challenge these kids to open their minds. But the problem isn't the universities' alone.Rosiland Jordan