Deesha Philyaw (’15) on Being a Yale English Major

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On The Unbearable Whiteness Of The Yale English Major

On a sweltering morning in August 1989, I took an Amtrak train from my hometown in Jacksonville, Florida, to New Haven, Connecticut, to begin my freshman year at Yale. A first-generation black college student from a neighborhood where no one else I knew was heading to college, I recalled the words of childhood friends on my last night at home: Don’t turn white.

When I stepped off the train, I was about 10 times more woke (as the kids say) than I was when I got on, having spent the entire train ride up the East Coast reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X. At Yale, I majored in economics, but signed up for only the required courses in the major. I filled my courseload with African American studies, women’s studies, and history classes that did not center around white men.

Read the rest of the article here: Being an English Major at Yale