Year after year, we must identify and confront the inherent prejudice and inflexibility of our political process. As each groundbreaking candidate pushes the possibilities further and further, it’s in our hands to ensure their equal access to success.
The few voices which were upset at the decision to bring Marshawn Lynch to speak for Class Day are not representative of all of Princeton campus, but they do succeed in reinforcing elitist stereotypes and cynical exclusivism.
To argue that Mr. Lynch does not represent the student body is to argue that the backgrounds of people like myself are not valuable. The background of Mr. Lynch not being that of a “typical” Princeton student is in fact one of the strongest reasons for my excitement at his acceptance of this role.
I can’t cure whatever it is that’s making me feel sick today. Awareness of that forces me to step back for a moment and wonder: if I can’t fix this, should I spend my time and energy getting upset about it?
The idea that athletes have nothing productive to add to our national conversation and that their intelligence begins and ends with their ability to run routes and read defenses shapes the way many people think about even our most dominant sports figures.
Unfortunately, the open letter shifted the conversation away from the celebration of the perspective that Mr. Lynch will bring to Class Day, and toward a troubling implication as to the concept of “worthiness” in addressing our class.