Sunday, November 03, 2002
The new semester has started and I find myself bombarded by a barrage of ideological propaganda from both the right and the left. Every editor’s note out there seems to be concerned with the changes in the fabric of America after September 11th. As I walked onto Sproul, one year after the attacks on the WTC, nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary. All the student groups were tabling as usual and students were laughing and giggling as if nothing had changed in their lives. Maybe nothing has changed. The Patriot and many other students on campus criticized allies of the left for "politicizing" the memorial. The Daily Cal ran responses from the student body at large and one particularly caught my attention. The student wrote, "The other 30,000 students on campus don’t give a damn about politics," in response to statements made by student leaders over the ribbon controversy.
That statement, besides being highly condemning, revealed a lot about both the lessons learned and not learned from September 11th and the state of Asian American activism on campus. A majority of students on campus are still confused about why America was targeted and they still don’t care to learn. Instead, they choose to accept simple-minded explanations and rally behind meaningless slogans. Asian Pacific Islander Americans form the largest group on campus yet our voices are not heard. Our voices of political awareness and activism are virtually non-existent. Student groups on campus are afraid to take a stance on issues of paramount importance to the APIA community, furthering the image that Asian Americans are apathetic. We live and study in a highly politicized atmosphere and Asian Americans who choose to be ignorant about what’s happening around the world and on campus are hindering the advancement of Asian Americans in the United States. The majority of Asian Americans are in some sort of organization on campus, hoping to make positive changes to the community. Maybe if they applied the same type of energy to tackle larger issues of empowerment, equity, and identity in the API community, there will be even more positive changes at a higher level of policy making.
It’s been one year already. I reflect and remember the South Asians targeted in the aftermath of September 11th. They were unfairly and unjustly swept up in the fervor of national patriotism and ignorant racist vengeance. Why did most APIA student groups choose to ignore the hate crimes? Perhaps most are still disassociated, whether intentionally or unintentionally, from the South Asian community which they still don’t integrate fully into their "target" base. During the Abercrombie & Fitch protest last year, there was lackluster support from the APIA community at large from Cal. Some student groups with large APIA memberships chose not to take a stance. On the other hand, new groups such as AHIMSA – The Alliance for Humanitarianism In Modern South Asia sought to fill a void in the South Asian community; a political progressive voice.
The worst thing you can do is not do anything and remain ignorant about the world around you and the important issues afflicting this campus. Whether or not you agree with hardboiled and its stance is your problem. At lease we TAKE a stance.
posted by Roger |