Content warning: racism, transphobia
Thanks to so many of our submitters, being a Wellesley Crushes moderator can be an incredibly uplifting experience. Seeing a recipient comment on their post, saying how much better a submission made their day, never fails to make us smile. There are certain things, however, that can make you want to quit. We feel it is important to relay some of the incidents we have encountered. The following are all questions we have found ourselves doing our best to answer:
What do we do when someone refers to a student of Asian descent as a “Chinadoll”?
What do we do when a crush focuses almost exclusively on the color of a black student’s skin? What do we do when a crush misgenders or deadnames someone?
Why the hell is our email being used for someone’s Airbnb account?
Where is the line between racial fetishization and observation or appreciation?
What do we do when a crush is X-rated?
What do we do with our large platform when tragedy strikes?
Is this harassment?
Should we file an honor code violation?
When we changed our profile photo from one of Hillary Clinton to one of Chirlane McCray, we did not expect to have racist insults hurled into our messages. We did not anticipate being called traitors, bigots, and Trump supporters (a combination that is rather redundant). When we dedicated the days following the murders of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott to #youmatter, we did not sign up for a series of crushes dedicated to non-black students tagged #AllLivesMatter. We did not have a prepared response to a message from an angry alum lamenting our lost respect for America. We have a shared Google folder with drafts of two separate statements on individual events that we eventually decided not to publish.
Though some of these instances occurred anonymously on Yik Yak or through our email, a good number of them were messaged directly from students’ Facebook accounts. Some of them were even sent by our friends. We don’t focus on our own troubles with this to court your pity, but to highlight how we are so caught off guard every single time something like this occurs. We thought Wellesley students, though not perfect, were better than this. We realize everyone else probably thinks the same, and those optimistic thoughts are halting progress from being made. We don’t have the answers, but we do know conversations need to be had regarding all of the -isms many of us assume don’t run deep here: racism, cissexism, classism, ableism, and a host of others. Wellesley is an amazing place. Let’s take the lead from Ethos: we need to talk about these problems and show up to important events so every one of us can feel loved here. We’ll be there, trying to wait to check our phones and post our awe of the event organizers.
With all our love and hope for the future,
Your Wellesley Crushes mod team <3
From September 2016 issue