My politicized identities on campus

Maria Sailale

Lately, I have been fluctuating between feeling angry and spent, energized and hopeless. I think many students are also experiencing these tidal waves of emotions that are, at times, all-consuming. 

For me, I can attribute this to the fact that anger is an emotion that is difficult to sustain for long periods of time. I have to sometimes intentionally barter my frustrated, angry reactions to current events for my own peace of mind. 

There is also the issue of what my priorities are, given my politicized identities. I am a low-income student, a Black woman and an immigrant, and I feel that my life is in danger even on UT’s hallowed grounds. 

I walk around campus at once invisible and exposed with a target on my back. I feel invisible because I am one of the Black students that make up 4% of UT’s student population, but I feel very seen when I walk past a campus police officer. 

As a sophomore, I no longer tiptoe around campus questioning whether I belong, but I do tread cautiously because I know the Forty Acres weren’t built with me in mind. For reference, look up the racist origins of UT’s “The Eyes of Texas” song, or George Washington Littlefield, who was a slaveholder and fought on the side of the Confederacy yet has his name inscribed on several campus buildings and structures. 

Sailale is an international relations and global studies sophomore from Dallas, Texas.