When I’m watching the white boy — who is now a white man by this point — on CNN, I’ll remember a racist remark that he said, an unintentional utterance that he made when he had one drink too many at a frat party during sophomore year. I’ll recall a message that he accidentally left open on a computer when he forgot to log out of iMessage, where he likened a woman’s body to a particularly large animal. I’ll kick myself for forgetting to screenshot the evidence.
And, when I’m watching him smile that smile, I’ll think that I could have stopped it.
No, not everyone at Yale is evil. Not everyone is out to get you, and not every request to get a meal has an ulterior motive. But I’ve felt particularly introspective as graduation approaches. The Kavanaugh trial was months ago, but still has an indelible effect on me. Upon seeing the recent movie, Vice, the thought of my classmates’ future actions came to my mind again. I won’t get into the specifics of the movie here, but it discusses how certain foreign policy decisions made by the Bush administration endangered the lives of Iraqi citizens and made insurgency movements worse. Dick Cheney attended Yale for a time too, even if he didn’t actually graduate. It put the power of this institution into perspective, and led me to reckon with the fact that many of us will become extremely influential. Some of our peers will sit in war rooms with red buttons, capable of making life-or-death decisions in a split second. All of these things made me ask myself: What will the classmates who made those unintentional utterances, those subtle racist remarks, those assaults toward women, be doing on the eve of our 15th reunion?