Overheard in Higher Education

Below are some of the things I have been told or have overheard throughout my academic journey. Some of the quotes below can be triggering/hurtful, but I've decided to write them here to serve primarily as a source of reflection. Please feel free to contact me if you want to discuss anything.

"You're pretty smart for being (insert underrepresented status)."

"Take a vacation. You should fly home and visit your family for Thanksgiving break."

"Oh, you're applying to a fellowship? I'll apply too. I'll have my dad write it for me - he's a professor."

"You shouldn't worry about classes - it won't help you get a job. Just have your parents email their co-workers and friends to connect you to one."

"Why do you only have one winter jacket? You should get more."

"Your English is good for being (insert ethnic group)."

"I should hire more minorities to get project funding for having diversity."

"Why didn't you just hire a tutor to help you?"

"The overthrow was so long ago, Hawaiians should have gotten over it. If they didn't then they're just lazy."

"Slavery is so long ago, just get over it."

"How did you not travel to any other countries yet? Are you scared?"

"You're the only (insert underrepresented status) here. You don't fit in here."

"Why don't you buy a/an (insert expensive product) just like everyone else?"

"You speak like you're nervous. You should just portray more confidence."

"What are you doing to celebrate (insert oppressive holiday)?"

"Why do you work 20 hrs/week while in school? You should just focus on your education."

"Oh, you like community service? You should go to Africa to volunteer and travel at the same time."

"You should have spoken up when you felt you were graded unfairly."

"When are you going back to your country?"

"Why is your internet so bad?"

"Why do you wear old clothes that are all faded?"

"You have been here for how long? - You should be more American and stop acting the way you do."

"Why are you complaining? You're lucky to be part of America."

"You are (insert minority)? No... You are too nice and polite for a (insert minority)."

"You don't look (insert minority)."

"The crazy (insert minority) person is back."

"I'm disadvantaged like you. Although both of my parents were professors, they didn't tell me what path to choose in school, so I struggled the same amount as you."

"You can't spend time helping your friends and family with emotions. You have to finish your work. You should work harder."

"(Insert URM) should just work harder in school instead of complaining all the time."

"Why don't you just speak up and ask more questions if you don't understand something?"

"Your parents should have hired a tutor for you - everyone had them."

"How are you here if your parents didn't go to graduate school?"

"Our graduate school stipends are so small. How do people live on this?"

"I went to a boarding school with $50k/year tuition, so I deserve to get paid more as a graduate student. You didn't go to boarding school your entire life, so less is invested in you, so you don't need to get paid as much."

"Why do you go to useless diversity conferences?"

"You used the same phone for 8 years? I get a new one every year. Also, you should get the matching apple watch, ipad, laptop, airtag, etc. with it!"

"We won't include you because you don't have imessage."