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A Black Woman’s Response to Marginalization at Princeton


A Black Woman’s Response to Marginalization at Princeton

Ebony Slaughter

Professing themselves to be “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” student activists at my alma mater, Princeton University, passionately and powerfully challenged the university in recent days to make certain changes to improve the experience of Black students.


Interesting to read the social media comments of students of an ostensibly liberal elite university that is, above all, an institution. Also an institution with $20B+ endowment, with each of the components of that endowment bearing an historical legacy as well as profile of current investment activities. It is no secret that wealth of this scope institutionalizes blind spots written into the corporate practices of those investments - popularly known as 'externalized costs' - or marginalization of value extracted, consequences of initial exclusion that as a result are 'orphaned', which can also include impoverishment, environmental degradation, - think traditional tribes of Nigeria under Shell. Does Princeton hold, for example, Shell stock as part of the endowment?

Privilege - Latin privilegium "law applying to one person, bill of law in favor of or against an individual"

These days 'elite' major financial markets, investment houses et al are now fully dependent on the legacy of res nullius to sustain the ongoing orgy of global expansions frequently termed 'neo-colonial'. The magnet of unquestioning adherence and compliance in order to elbow a place/career spot in its hierarchy frequently results in stunningly transparent exhibitions in work, play and/or entertainment choices.

The blunt exhibit of conflating what might very generously be regarded as a takedown of a Stomp performance simply reveals the utter lack of insight, consideration of intelligible coherence appropriate to anything associated with respect, education or consciously configured entertainment.

The choice of 'Urban Congo' exemplifies a sort of internalized null set, literally on stage, which comes with the legacy of benefiting from extractive marginalization. The belief, far beyond that of one having a 'right' to take a cultural image, particularly given the colonized travesty being experienced by today's Congo, bastardize it and say anything you want about it, free from consequence of provocation, is uniquely western 'modern' 'elite' in its presumptions. Among those presumption for example that tribal life has not benefited 'modern' society. Perhaps one day the swim team and their supporters, who at this point appear little more than wannabe 'water bearers', will study anthropology, linguistics, mathematics and, who knows, maybe even the history of these beyond the institutionally sanctioned history books. That is - actually do some research rather than toting water for blind privilege.

If people listen differently then there might be some progress

Thank you Ebony Slaughter


For at least 100 years Princeton has been known as the only southern university in the north.

Nothing has particularly changed in the last 20 years.


Ms Slaughter,

It reads like you had some really dumb friends at Princeton.

If you indeed counted these people as friends, then that reflects poorly on you, not simply them.


"For at least 100 years, Princeton has been known as the only Southern university in the north."

That may be true, Jay, but Princeton's not the only one. Dartmouth College, up in New Hampshire, has also had its share of racial problems.