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Quotes from Part 2 of Bridging the Gap's exploration of diversity, discomfort and discrimination

Bridging the Gap is a partnership between The Bridge and The Chronicle that explores race, gender and marginalization at Duke and beyond.

Part 2 of our Discrimination episode presents discrimination as a nuanced problem, delving a bit further into the issue on campus and discussing potential solutions as outlined by the Duke community. Today we dive a bit deeper into “mutual conversations” as an answer to the discriminatory tensions plaguing individuals across identities: race, sexual orientation, gender and nationality. Below are some quotes from the episode, reflecting the issues voiced by students and by a professor who studies social identities and interracial interactions. 

This episode is a continuation of our first episode on diversity, discomfort, and discrimination. If you’d like to listen to Part 1, you can do so here

“It's hard to explain to a white person like how being a person of color is, you know, emotionally traumatizing sometimes, because as you're explaining it, as you're educating them, to them, it's almost a thought experiment to them. It's like a game almost because they don't experience—it's just like a philosophical debate for them. But it's exhausting for me to have to justify, like, why I deserve to be treated just as well as they do, why I deserve to be treated like a person.”

-Cynthia Dong, Class of 2023

“I think a lot of the questions about discrimination experiences on campus are often focused only on one identity at a time, when a lot of our students are actually facing discrimination from multiple angles. And so being able to process those forms of discrimination when they're not targeting just one aspect of yourself but multiple parts of yourselves, I think it's something that we don't think about enough.”

-Sarah Gaither, professor of psychology and neuroscience

“How is the way that we can get every single undergraduate who steps foot on Duke's campus to really understand the history of the place that they're in? And it's more than, you know, just like Cameron and camping out right? There's so much other history that really is underneath what's happening at Duke and that everyone, I think, should understand, to really be a better citizen to Durham while you're in the area.”

-Alyah Baker, master’s student in dance Class of 2021, Trinity ‘03

“My identity is never celebrated. It's just validated, you know what I mean? It's, “We are, we are marginalized, and we need to stick together.” And while that's true, and that's really brave, I'd like to dream of, you know, spaces that aren't protective of us but that are just celebratory . . . It's typecasting me as an oppressed person. Yes, I have experienced oppression. And I cannot deny that. But when I'm invited to an activist space, and it’s, ‘Ayesham, we wanted you here because you're marginalized,’ I'm like,  ‘Alright. I didn't expect to be tokenized by other people of color, but here we are.’”

-Ayesham Khan, Class of 2023

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