Sorry Harvard University, You Suck
Yeah. So. I’m just gonna say it.
I don’t like Harvard.
Growing up in this area, I had no special feeling either way for Harvard. As far as I was concerned it only existed on TV, or as a school that my parents hoped I would attend and would never in a million years have accepted me. I didn’t know anybody who went to Harvard, so I had no interactions with anybody from that school. As far as I was concerned, Harvard Square might as well have been the Kremlin. I knew it existed, but I had no reason or desire to go there. In fact, my college hatred was reserved for BC and BU students, who would crowd onto the green line drunk every Friday night and sing “Bye Bye Miss American Pie” or some other such nonsense like the climactic scene in a really boring movie.
In my adult life, I have met many people who went to school there, and you know, there’s definitely a lot of good folks. The good folks far outnumber the bad folks, so you know, don’t take this the wrong way. The bad catches are few and far between, but those bad folks are the worst folks I’ve ever met. They’re snobby and self-centered; they think their choice college education gives them the authority to pass judgment on others; they feel entitled to be a part of any and all conversations; they believe that what they learned in classes is more valuable than what anyone could have learned in life (or classes elsewhere); they see the world as having two possible views in everything: their point of view and the wrong point of view. In fact, you remember that ponytail in Good Will Hunting? Pretty much exactly like that dude, but in real life so way more worse.
Again. Not all. Just a few, but those few are so aggravating that they feel like a lot more than a few.
So I caught the link to this article off the Hyphen blog, and yeah, it ain’t really surprising. Basically, a Harvard student concluded that Asian folks at Harvard act “white” because it makes them more popular and intentionally have fewer Asian friends. (You know, this is not just Harvard, but everywhere – Asians buy into the idea that Asian people are simply less complex than white people, thus having all Asian friends would mean you are a less complex person. Other POC buy into this too, but it seems more prevalent among Asian communities.)
But we’ve all met Asian folks who say stuff like, “I don’t really hang out with Asians” like it’s something to be proud of. These folks have the opinion that – to borrow from Orwell – all races are equal, but some races are less equal.
Anyway, that’s all societal and it would take years to get to the heart of those issues, so I’ll let it lie. E-mail me if you wanna get into that.
What’s really more infuriating about Harvard recently is the way it has treated the Boston neighborhood of Allston, which is directly across the river from Harvard. When they released their plans to expand the Harvard campus more seriously into Allston last January, it was clear they’d never approached community leaders in the neighborhood for real input, and a year later still have not. They act as though Allston is a big parking lot, and not a vital part of the urban landscape. Harvard says it will create 14,000 jobs by building in Allston…in 50 years. So that’ll be great for the Brazilian, Korean, and Russian immigrant communities there…or not, since they will all have been priced out of the neighborhood 45 years prior.
It’s as though Harvard administration believes that having any association with their esteemed institution is an honor. Like residents of Allston – one of the few mixed commercial/residential neighborhoods that is home to recent immigrants and multi-generational Boston families both – should be honored to share a street with Harvard.
Anyway, on an up note, Larry Summers was run out of Cambridge and replaced by Drew Gilpin Faust as president of the university like about a year ago. And I guess – from what I be reading in the paper – she isn’t all about trying to get blood on her fangs, and may be taking it slower as far as Allston is concerned. Of course, I’ll take that with a grain of salt though because the school has continually proven to be a bad neighbor for a long time.