Thursday, April 27, 2006


i've been stuck on my "Researcher Background" section for a long time... so stuck in fact that i sent over a draft to samhita for feedback ( i NEVER let ppl read my unpolished writing, it's too embarrassing, unless its in blog form) anyway, samhita told me what i have is too skeletal and that i'm holding back. so i think i need to do some more free writing...

asian american studies was the only place in berkeley that i didn't feel silenced. despite being on a campus full of APAs, i always felt marginal. up until my college, i lived most of my life feeling alienated from my surroundings, especailly in high school. i was used to the loneliness and able to disguise it pretty well.

when i came to cal, i felt out of place. def i felt out of place b/c so many people on my floor had college-educated parents or came from middle class families. yes, there were a lot of APAs, but few who were interested in social justice. everyone wanted to get into the damn b-school... SO IRRITATING. when i took my first asian am class it was exhilarating. thrilling. i've been going through my college writings. many of my asian am classes required a Why are you here? response the first week. all of my responses sound so excited. i felt grounded in that space. i could speak. i learned about things i didn't know existed.

what was unsettling was when i left that safe space. my ed classes were predominantly white (even though all the classes required an interview and i'm sure they used some informal Affirmative Action)-- that space was not safe. too many racist white liberals who want to be educational missionaries. my random GE classes- everyone was Asian but was STILL trying to get into B-school. even my ethnic studies classes were not safe. you cannot be an Asian Am major and think in the black/ white paradigm (you prolly can't be a chican@ studies major either). you def cannot be an Asian Am major w/out considering how immigration hinders/ supports your access to resources in the U.S. you cannot be an asian am major w/out talking about that damn model minority myth. M3 keeps coming back and biting me in the ass. the internalization of the myth is why AAS is dying at UC Berkeley. it's why there were only 13 ppl who graduated from AAS in 2004. the pervasive nature of the myth is also what keeps the discipline so insulated from the rest of the ES department. that's why in comparative ethnic studies courses that are not taught by an APA professor, APA issues are glossed over and superficial. that's why APA students who have an interest in cultural studies don't want to be in AAS-- i've heard so many ES folks say, Asian Am is too limiting. some dumbass actually told me it was not revolutionary enough.

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