Chai in India — good chai — is darker than my skin. It steeps in tea leaves and spices for ten minutes, boiling and cooling over and over again until the smell of star anise and clove singes your nose hairs and burns the bottom of your pot. Good chai calls you back twice, three times a day, making an addict out of anyone. A thick skin forms on top if you leave it out for even a second, so good chai is guzzled the moment it comes off the stove, burning your lips and staining your teeth. Leftover tea…


How many times today have you used hand sanitizer?

In the midst of a pandemic — where reminders to wear a mask are more common than welcome mats, and Purell dispensers are located at every door — using antimicrobials has become second nature. The average WashU student comes into contact with hand sanitizer dozens of times a day, be it before entering a classroom, grabbing a meal at BD, walking by a Student Health Ambassador or using their own pocket sanitizer. No one thinks to count how many times they’ve washed their hands — at least, not while the health…


This research paper was written as the final assignment in my College Writing Program class “Writing Identity.”

Marked by a blatant disregard for the lives of people of color and hundreds of subsequent protests, the summer of 2020 brought brown and Black lives to the forefront of the media’s attention. This attention did not just include news headlines, however; Hollywood quickly capitalized on the white-majority public’s newfound racial consciousness. Actors and filmmakers of color alike suddenly found an abundance of opportunities in a field that previously relegated them to stereotyped, sidekick roles — and no company seemed to offer more…


This position paper was written as a final assignment for my first semester of Medicine and Society, a four-year anthropological program at Washington University in St. Louis.

Introduction

In the thick of the 2016 presidential primaries, Republican candidate and New Jersey governor Chris Christie goes viral for an emotional humanization of individuals addicted to opioids. “I think if you’re pro-life, that means you got to be pro-life for the whole life. Not just for the nine months they’re in the womb…The 16 year old teenage girl on the floor of the county lock up — I’m pro-life for her” (HuffPost Politics…


It’s 2008, and a resident of Old Tappan, New Jersey—an adult white male, soon to be a key member of our district’s Board of Education — paints his skin black, dons an Afro, and calls it a funny Halloween costume in the very same year America elects its first black president. There’s some debate as to who he meant to dress up as — some say Bill Cosby, others say Richard Pryor — but, in truth, it makes no difference to him. Because in a majority-white suburb purposefully built to exclude people of color, ‘Black Man’ will get him just


In 2011, I spent six months in Hyderabad, India, steeping in the culture of my parents. To say I enjoyed every second would be a lie — but to say I regretted any second would be just as untruthful. My love for India lay dormant beneath my skin for years, masking itself as ambivalence and only revealing its true, obsessive self months after the fact, in painful retrospect. When a plume of car exhaust fills my nose in New York City; when the rev of a motorcycle’s engine rips through my small, suburban town; or when turmeric from my mother’s…

Yusra Qureshi

Anthropology student at Washington University in St. Louis. Aspiring medical epidemiologist at the CDC.

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