Contributing opinion writer
David E. Lewis
Unlearning Empathy Politics
As a community, we must unlearn the prioritization of empathy and instead, learn to center a deep appreciation for marginalized people and their autonomy. All political projects should start from this point, centering the most oppressed among us as the greatest agents of change because they understand the systems of oppression that enshackle them. After all, they are the only people who truly know what it feels like to deal with them.
Unlearning Toxic Self-Reliance and Embracing Accommodation
A true vision of Harvard excellence demands that we accommodate all people by celebrating rather than stigmatizing neurodiversity and actively creating space for differences. We must learn to build a culture that starts by seeing all people as valuable and worthy of being accommodated, no matter what their needs are.
Unlearning Blame and Reimagining Responsibility
This conception of responsibility also frees perpetrators from the need for self-resentment, which isn’t actually productive or helpful. We can be kind to ourselves and others while still holding each other responsible and not decentering those harmed.
Unlearning Harvard’s Anti-Vulnerability Culture
Until students — especially non-Black students — unlearn their affinity towards anti-vulnerability and value the liberation of oppressed peoples enough to do real work, the BLM signs will remain empty platitudes.
Unlearning Learning: Freeing Students From the Grade
We must realize that we should feel no shame in struggling or asking for help because learning at your own pace does not make you any less intelligent or worthy. We should feel successful not from competing with their peers but from building community with them through collaboration, inclusion, and compassion.