Vol. XVIII, Issue I
I’m so excited to share our first (regular) issue of the semester with you. Whether you’re reading this letter in our redesigned, *brutalist* print issue at a crowded dining hall, or on our fresh new website as you drink a coffee in the sun, I hope it finds you ready for the weekend.
My favorite kind of writing is that which teaches me about myself. In this week’s front, Oriana Tang, SY ’19, provides a comprehensive history of affirmative action as it pertains to Asian American students — necessary to understand the stakes of President Trump’s strategy, leaked over the summer, to use Asian American applicants as a means to attack the institution of affirmative action as a whole. But as she weaves through the policy’s past and present, we see that the same questions of race relations, systemic inequality, and academic ambition that make affirmative action such a divisive political issue implicate us — Yale students who represent one group or another — personally, too.
In Voices, Ananya Kumar-Banerjee, TD ’21, confronts questions of cultural identity and history more directly. She forcefully describes the childhood experiences of an outsider in America before finding the firm, inclusive ground on which she stands today. Nic Harris, BR ’18, writing for Culture, likewise observes that the sense of self can be exceedingly fragile — subject to the manipulations of writers artists — as he reflects on David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.
But identities and selves are abstract things, protean even as we try to behold them. That’s why I also direct you to Robert Newhouse’s, GH ’19, Opinions piece, in which he offers concrete advice on how to steer through one of the more trying times in the academic year: Shopping Period. He relates our conditioned consumer anxieties to our inability to settle on classes; I think he’s got a point.
So, my sincere hope is that you learn as you read, and that it makes you want to read more. The magic of campus publications is that they offer what, as I said in my own college application, I like most about Yale: the opportunity to learn from your peers.