On graduate labor and the Yale commencement protest
On Monday, Peter Salovey, president of Yale University, strode down the tree-lined streets of downtown New Haven, garbed in voluminous robes, a massive pendant, and a velvet cap with a gold, dangling tassel. Before him walked a scowling bulldog puppy that strained against its leash. Handsome Dan XVIII, the university’s mascot, was processing in his first commencement, and both figureheads were being very, very good boys.
This flood of black faces on screens both big and small is enough to summon the ghost of Hansberry, peddling her sanguine ’50s vision—but A Raisin in the Sun is a play about the dignified underclass, the downtrodden-but-upright proletariat, whereas Dear White People and Black-ish don’t dare to gesture—however idly—at the poor. These days, even the upright cannot be downtrodden, so the face of blackness thrust forth by both the TV series and the film is well-spoken, well-heeled, white collar.