Tears and Headaches
Author's note: This is perhaps too personal of a story to share as my first post on GOOD, but I really feel compelled to tell all you do-GOODers about what happened.. Ignore the grammar mistakes...
Background: This occurred at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Racial tensions have been escalating on campus due to a string of recent events.
11AM - Philosophy Discussion. Usually an interesting discussion, as it was today. except I was so upset. Instead of talking about business ethics, we discussed the recent events on campus. Our TA just wanted to hear our opinions on everything. The one guy who tends to lead our class discussions said he thought that all the activism was "awesome" so now think yes someone who finally understands. He then went on about how apathy is the campus' biggest problem and not racism. I think hmmmm yeah...but racism is still a big problem. Surprisingly, my TA, the supposed neutral moderator, agreed that racism didn't seem to be that big of an issue... Then another guy went on about how everything was being blown out of proportion. Other people started pitching in, saying that the Black Student Union is only making student not want to attend our university with all the uproar.
I was just shaking so much by now and I had to say something. I said that I was a member of the Asian Pacific-Islander Student Alliance, an ally of BSU. My voice was shaking SO MUCH, I felt kind of stupid talking. I told all the guys that I couldn't respond to every single one of them and I'm not a very eloquent speaker but BSU simply wants everyone to be held accountable for the racism that exists within society. One guy scoffed which prompted me to tell him not to laugh, then the other guys started to almost...attack me with comments, not letting me respond. I was so scared and I was really hoping someone would speak up with me but NO ONE was vocally supporting my ideas. My TA told everyone to stop and let me talk, then I just said that we can't be passive to racism and I started crying like crazy (and continued to do so for the whole day).
As an Asian American, I am part of a minority group in the US, but I've always lived in predominantly Asian communities. Today, I truly feel like a minority. For the first time, I understand how it feels to be scared on this campus. Not just scared, but vulnerable to people's judgements. What will my classmates think of that little Asian girl who wept in Philosophy?
After class, I was even more shocked. I wanted the guy who laughed to at least empathize but he simply walked passed me. I felt angrier than ever but when I was about to walk out of class, my TA and another classmate (also argued against me) asked if I was okay and I brought up some good points and they really respected the fact that I stood my ground. But I feel like after that discussion, nothing changed.
What I wish the class learned:
All the teach-ins, walk-outs, and rallies are not just a reaction to the recent racially-charged events but to racism in general. Remember to empathize. We're not crying for no reason. If you don't understand why we're upset, participate with us. Go to one of our events, take an ethnic studies course, see what it's all about then formulate your opinion from there.