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Being black at Clemson

Courtesy of Kaisha Young

Kaisha Young

Part one of a series commemorating the one year anniversary of the Sikes Sit-In.
“Being a black student at Clemson is challenging at times. There are moments when I feel like my blackness isolates me from my peers and disconnects me from the university overall. Despite this, there are people at Clemson who have shown empathy for my struggle even though it’s one they’ve never experienced. Those people lessen the emotional load of being black at Clemson and I’m grateful for them.”
 - Kaisha Young, junior communication studies major
“For me, being black at Clemson is almost a feat by itself. I feel like there’s a lot of challenges facing black people, or black Clemson students, here. I feel like being black at Clemson means that people are expecting you to be perfect and make sure that you’re living up to you getting into Clemson. Like, if you’re black, you’re not supposed to get into Clemson.
I feel like … there’s a sense of pride in being black at Clemson because there are not a lot of us here. But for me, being black at Clemson is just like me being a Clemson student. I came here to succeed. I came here to build relationships, to build connections, to become part of something greater than Clemson.
I think … being black at Clemson is unique but it also has a lot of challenges. In regards to the Sikes Sit-In, I feel as though there are a lot of things that go on on-campus that are not really spoken about and that comes with knowing the privilege of having the ability to avoid certain conversations … A lot of times that means that you have to have these conversations because it’s always directly and indirectly affecting everything that we do, everywhere we go, everyone that we talk to has some type of impact. And it’s unfortunate that a lot of the controversy comes with being black at Clemson. But if it doesn’t happen, then how will it be solved?”
 - Cambridge Gamble, junior elementary education major
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