“Race shouldn’t necessarily be discarded, it should just be perhaps weighted less,” said Mr. Goodman, who is biracial, the child of an Indian-born mother and a white father. “And I think what should be weighted in its place is class and wealth and the access that they allow.”
Kahlil Greene, a senior who last year was the first Black student elected as Yale’s student body president, said he had considered his race “part of my identity, not a plus or a minus.” To ignore it, he said, would be “strange.”
“It’s like taking a plot point or character out of a story, like a weird omission,” he said.
He was hurt by beliefs expressed on social media over the last day that “Black students have a much easier time getting in” to Yale because of their race. The Justice Department finding has inflamed those resentments, he said.
As a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Cinthia Zavala Ramos, a Yale senior who was born in Honduras but whose family moved to the United States when she was 6, has been dealing with the Trump administration for four years, she said, as the president has threatened to end the program that allows her to stay. The tension between the administration and the university feels familiar to her.
The experience for her white classmates seems very different, she said. Some have parents or grandparents who also attended the university.
“For them, Yale was a rite of passage,” Ms. Zavala Ramos said. “There’s always these sentiments of, like, this institution wasn’t meant for us, and there’s people who have been here for generations that feel the same way when they see us.”
Mary Chen, 20, a junior, said she had experienced discrimination against Asian-Americans. She recalled being taunted by classmates in the seventh grade in her hometown, Columbus, Ga. But she did not believe Yale was discriminating against Asian applicants, and regardless, she said, the racism she had experienced did not compare to anti-Black racism in America.