For the past couple of months, he was outed from social groups and openly criticized because he dressed like a “jock”.
“It’s really awful,” he told me. “Sometimes I just like to carry around a football and toss it with someone when I have some free time…but then I hear people under their breath say to one another, ‘What is he doing at this school? I can’t believe they’d let someone like that in. We don’t want that here.'”
I find it disconcerting that we parade Sarah Lawrence to be a “safe space” for expression, and in turn ostracize people who have interests such as sports, or anything else that seems widely-celebrated on other college campuses. We go to a school that discriminates against people who do not fit the “Sarah Lawrence Weird” criterion, whatever that may be.
“I just try to make conversation and then I get a no-contact request filed against me,” he said. “People assume that because of how I dress, I want something other than to just get to know people. No one knows that I love theater or recognize that maybe I came here so I could avoid some of those “jock stereotypes” that might be true on other campuses or in the media”.
In high school people made fun of me for reading so many books. I was never invited to parties or to hang out and do homework at friend’s houses. It’s never fun to be left out and made fun of, so I looked forward to college because I hoped that the mentality would change, and maybe people would grow up and accept each other.
But instead, I see that SLC students are being just as cruel and intolerant as the rest of the world is to us. Going to Sarah Lawrence is about accepting people for who they are, not to openly hurt and ostracize groups we are unfamiliar with.
We all hear the stories about kids getting being beaten up and spit on for being gay, different, etc. That does not give us permission, despite how we feel, to treat anyone like that, even if they like basketball and beer.
We all go to the same school, we all have a shit-ton of work to do, so let’s bond over the academic rigor instead of practicing prejudice. Let’s bond over the fact that we are all incredibly different.