This article originally appeared in the First-Year Issue.

Well, Cody, I heard about the incident. You got shitfaced at the Welch 10-Pack party and said the n-word during “Gold Digger” by Kanye West. Not just once, but ALL six times. I should’ve seen the warning signs, like when I found a White Student Union flyer on your desk, or when I overheard you say that the dining hall ketchup was “spicier than usual today.” Anyway, I can’t change what happened at that party. What I can do is introduce you to systemic racism using the homemade hand puppets I prepared specifically for this occasion.

Meet Juan, the Brown Paper Puppet. Juan is the first POC (Puppet of Color) I ever made. He may just be a brown paper bag with a pair of googly eyes, but those googly eyes have watched as he and his brown puppet neighbors are exploited by systems of puppet oppression.

Now here’s Officer Tony Puppet, who I’ll be using to explain Stop and Frisk. Notice the twisty pipe cleaner on the back to make a piggy tail. Do you get the metaphor, Cody?

This is White Wanda. She was the easiest to make because she’s just an old white sock. Wanda has a pretty bland personality, but she perks up if you say something like “Reaganomics!” or “Cracker is a racial slur!”

Okay, this last one’s a little more abstract. Can you guess who this puppet might be? That’s right, Cody, it’s the Prison Industrial Complex! I’ll admit this was a little challenging to make. I had to weave together thousands of toilet paper rolls into one big tangled ball. The ball represents the incarcerated population of Puppet America. Now stop gawking, shut the fuck up, and listen—the show is about to begin.

Oh, what a beautiful day it is in New York City! But oh no, look—Juan the Brown Paper Puppet can’t get a home equity loan! And it looks like all of his brown puppet children will grow up in an underfunded puppet school district, setting them up for a life of disproportionate access to indispensable puppet resources. Cody, can you please stop playing Temple Run? This is important.

Uh oh! Officer Tony Puppet is back. Tony is the eyes and ears of this city, meaning he has access to the street cams in your puppet neighborhood. Notice how Officer Tony Puppet only listens to Wanda and blatantly ignores Juan. “Hey Officer Tony, it’s me, your friend Wanda! Juan the Brown Paper Puppet is playing his brown puppet music so loud that I’m getting noise complaints from the Puppet Airbnb renters in the sort-of-gentrified part of Avenue Q!” Cody, you should really pay attention. I think this is the part you don’t get.

Alright, Cody, I can see you’re not listening, so now you have to pay the price. The ethnic puppet children have militarized under the leadership of Juan the Brown Paper Puppet and staged a coup in Davenport at 24:00. All legacy students will be taken hostage. Yale has become the headquarters for the POC (Puppet of Color) Uprising. I hope this demonstration has answered your question from last Friday of “What’s even gonna happen if I just say it?”

—L. Garcia