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A Vocabulary of Inclusion

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LOSING A LOVED ONE

Jackson Vaught, ’16, College of Arts and Science The first year of college can be difficult for anyone—moving away from home, finding new friends, adjusting to class…the list can get quite lengthy in terms of what can complicate the transition. During the spring semester of my first year at Vanderbilt, I experienced something unexpected that…

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“Dynamic and intersectional are words that come to mind, but neither could ever fully describe who I am”

EMBRACING INTERSECTIONALITY

Kenya Wright, ’18, College of Arts and Science, VUcept Executive Board I am a Black Hispanic. That is who I am, who I’ve always been, and who I’ll always be. My culture is a mixture infused with Latino and Caribbean elements. Growing up, my home was filled with a tangle of accents and languages, an…

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International Student reception and dinner at Commons Center.(John Russell/Vanderbilt University)

ACCEPTANCE

Farishtay Yamin, ’17, School of Engineering I tolerate a fly buzzing around a room. I tolerate an electricity outage. Maybe I complain, but I’ve learned to become patient. The fly irritates me, but I have to deal with it. It’s a fact of life. My freshman year I prayed somewhere in the stacks of Peabody…

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“I rejected the notion that my identity is divisive”

TOKENISM

Lauren Pak, ’17, Peabody College As the daughter of first generation immigrants, coming from a high school where over half the students spoke a language other than English at home, my transition to a rather homogenous college campus where my ethnic immigrant experience was in the minority, was difficult. During a discussion section in my…

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“It’s never just one comment; it’s the latest comment in a series of microaggressions and institutional discrimination.”

MICROAGGRESSIONS

Aaditi Naik, ’18 College of Arts and Science With debates on freedom of speech throughout the last year, I’ve watched this campus struggle with microagressions again and again. These conversations can’t capture the reality of microaggressions– the subtle, nuanced sexism from a professor or peer. It’s so easy for people to tell me to let these things…

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Various views of Engineering building with detail shots. (John Russell/Vanderbilt University)

PRIVILEGE

Nick Sparkman, ’17, School of Engineering “So… what are you?” This question, asked by a white student, was posed to a person in my house who identifies as biracial. I watched my friend hesitantly fielding the question. I cannot truly understand what he felt as he was (under social pressure) forced to explain his racial…

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Fall for the Arts Parents weekend celebration on The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons.  Students enjoy food, music and the arts with their parents and friends.(John Russell/Vanderbilt University)

THE LOTUS FLOWER

Kelly Perry, ’18, College of Arts and Science, Student VUceptor “Small. Unworthy. Insignificant.” Words I used to describe myself on the 8th of October during my first year at Vanderbilt. I was happy to be here…yet something was missing. I am half-Thai, half-American and had spent my entire life in Chiang Mai, Thailand before moving to…

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“As I walk into my fourth class of the day, I take a look around the room and notice that I am the Black woman in the room.”

THE “I” IN MINORITY

Bridgette Brown, ’18, Peabody College As I walk into my fourth class of the day, I take a look around the room and notice that I am the Black woman in the room. I take my seat, and I note that this class marks the fourth one to lack students that resembled me. For the past two…

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