LTE: A Letter On Being AHANA At Boston College

To the Editor:

Being AHANA on Boston College’s campus naturally has an isolating effect. As a Hispanic woman at BC I feel the struggle of minority twice. In response to the article about hiring more AHANA faculty, I believe this would truly empower the voice of minorities on campus. I am only a freshman—I have been here for two short months and the levels of ignorance and racism that I have experienced have left me in complete shock. I believed coming in that I would be studying among intellectual students with diverse opinions and unique outlooks on life. However, I have encountered insularity and even white supremacy. These issues are treated as outdated but they are relevant and they exist on BC’s campus. In all racial discussions, the entire class will turn to you and expect that you are the expert on your race and hold you responsible for being the voice of your people. Given the opportunity, I thought it would be an honor to represent my race and advocate for my rights, but my experience has been appalling.

To the girl who told me I don’t deserve to be here because you feel AHANA students are taking a place at a school you feel you had more of a right to attend:

It isn’t a right to attend such a prestigious institution as this, but a privilege. It is a gift that I have worked extremely hard to acquire, as I’m sure you have too. However, I never viewed my education as a right. No race is any more entitled to the spot you occupy than another. I’m glad to know that you believe the standard for test scores should be significantly lowered for those of us that identify as AHANA. I really appreciate the assistance that you believe I need to attend this University. Let’s talk quotas. You believe only 5-7 percent of the students on a college campus should identify as AHANA. Individuals who hold these views are the reason for the acts of violence that have occurred around this nation. Rather than accepting what we have to offer and working alongside us, you create the stigma that we are lesser and silence our voices.

We are not asking for handout. Affirmative Action should not be seen as reparation for the lives lost. Allowing me to attend college will not bring back any of the lives that have been lost as a result of your ignorance and the fear of racial differences. I’m truly sorry that you view the growing AHANA population at higher institutions of education as a handout. We do not receive compensation for the oppression and the struggle that we have had to endure in our respective countries and, quite frankly, we aren’t asking for any. We are asking for opportunity to contribute to the nation that has awarded us freedom and protected our rights as human beings.

Which leads me to my final point. We are all human beings, regardless of race. Our families have fled other places and come to the United States for freedom, equality, and protection of rights. However, we come face to face with limitations, prejudice, and disregard for our lives. Rather than alienating individuals for having a different complexion, perhaps you should hold our hands and advocate for something that benefits the common good. The only difference between your ancestors and ours is that yours crossed the border first—they had the benefit and fortune of an earlier start. When you try to demean us because we have crossed a border, come on a boat, or invaded your space, don’t forget that your ancestors, too, crossed a vast ocean on ships and occupied a space that wasn’t yours. At least we didn’t kill people for it.

 

Sincerely,

Nicole Diaz

MCAS ’19