I’m a senior at Hampshire, i have a love/hate relationship with Hampshire, as a lot of us do.
I love the community of friends I have found and created here
I love working on behalf of students of color via the cultural center and other avenues, even if that gets to be grating at times
I love the academic freedom I have, especially given that the Jewish studies department here is soo small- so being able to take off campus classes and connect with five college faculty has been great
Honestly, my biggest complaint is how in the grand scheme of a ‘social justice oriented school’ anti racism is treated like a game of parcheesi in the sense that you win, you loose, but at the end of the day it’s no big deal if white students are racist cause its college/a game right?
I hate how white students pretty much beg ‘to be educated on how to be actively anti-racist’ and think its the job of students of color to drop everything and teach them. People fail to realize that we are students as well, and we came to be educated same as white students and not to be perpetual educators. For a school that has really strong ethnic studies departments dominated by white students, there’s no reason why white students should be asking PoC to educate them at all.
Basically, being at Hampshire has been an emotional rollercoaster. It gave me the environment to thrive and become successful, to be a notable Jewish Studies scholar. It just came with a severe amount of ethnostress in the process.
I will say, after spending a lot of time amongst the five colleges, being at Hampshire has made me feel blessed that I go to a place where my circle of friends and other circles are working to dismantle systemic and internalized racism, as opposed to some people I’ve met in the five colleges who are a little too step and fetch it for my tastes. Sweet people, but it makes me vomit to watch folks kiss white supremacy’s ass cause they are more concerned with sparing white people’s feelings when it comes to hard hitting conversations about race. Granted, there are people like that here, but its not a pervasive part of the PoC culture at Hampshire like it is at other schools.
I hope I answered your question. I’m not trying to scare you, but I also don’t get my kicks from sugar coating the Hampshire experience either.