The good and the bad

May 8, 2021

I think that there's been a huge change in this past year, than my first two years at Notre Dame, because I remember when I was a freshman, and I would just I was kind of, like, hear some little comments, in dorms or stuff that would make me once again  remember that I'm in a predominantly White space. But since then, I feel like coming back, there's been such a huge shift where I don't, I'm not hearing this comment as much anymore. And I'm hearing way more people speak up about it. And just kind of identifying like, no, that's wrong, we shouldn't do that. And I'm also just hearing issues of racial justice being discussed in more mainstream spaces. Like I'm in some clubs, that aren't dealing with racial justice at all, just like you know, your fun clubs, but these issues get brought up there and just like, oh, we shouldn't do that, or like, that's a problem. And even just in my architecture classes, we've been talking about those things a lot more. And those have been kind of woven into the curriculum, where that was definitely not a case in the past. And that's a change that they've made this past year due to students calling for a change that we realized was needed. So I think there's been a huge shift. And I also feel like, I don't have to be scared to say the word Black anymore in a room or like, not scared, but I don't get that initial, like, tension from saying it. And the same with issues of racism. Like, I don't feel like it's a hot take anymore to be like, Oh, man, racism is a thing. It feels much more normalized. So I'm really glad that that has changed.

On the flip side, though, there's like negative things. And I don't know, I think it's less of one event. And it's more just the building up of all of like, little events that happened. And just like I didn't catch on to them right away just because they were there. And of course, this started my freshman year, I already mentioned the part about the girl in my dorm who was talking about like hooking up with Black guys. And then later that year, I went to a party, in Sorin. And I was a very, like shy freshman, I didn't go out much. And so I was there. And I remember I was talking to this guy, and he asked me, can you touch my hair at some point? And me being like, the shy person I was I said yes. And looking back, I would never do that, because it just made me uncomfortable. And it felt weird. I was just a small thing. Like just things like that.

Looking back, you know, also one of my architecture classes, we were talking about, I don't know what we were talking about. But there was a picture of an 18th century ship up on the screen. I think it was something about people coming to the new world, I don’t remember what it was. But the professor had said, so imagine how your ancestors would have felt being on this ship, like the hope that going to the new world, but also the fear of like, exploring something new. And I just remember thinking in my head that there are two other Black students in this room, but like, he's definitely not talking about our ancestors being on that ship, because that's a very different experience. And it was like the professor obviously didn't mean anything negative by it. I'm not faulting him. But that's just something that in my head processing, like, oh, like, I'm different from the people around me.

Miranda Cuozzo

Miranda Cuozzo is a junior with an architecture major and minors in Africana Studies and studio art.