ucsd cross cultural center
COMMON GROUND 2016 VOLUME 21 • FALL/WINTER/SPRING
uc san diego cross cultural center uc san diego cross cultural center uc san diego crossings cultural center borderline
uc san diego
c r o s s - c u lt u r a l c e n t e r
9500 gilman dr l a joll a, ca 92093 (858) 534 2230 email@example.com facebook.com/ucsdccc twitter.com/ucsd_ccc u c s d c r o s s c u lt u r a lc e n t e r . t u m b l r . co m issuu.com/ucsd.ccc i n s tag r a m . co m / u c s d c r o s s c u lt u r a lc e n t e r
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bo rderli n e
common ground fall 2015
directorâ€™s mess a g e edwina welch
intro to crossing s hye young choi
staf f f eature staff & interns
FAR f eature robert castro
fa ll mo men ts staff & interns
c o mmun i ty s ubmi s s i o n s w i n ter c a len da r
bo rderla n d s
common ground winter 2016
directorâ€™s mess a g e edwina welch
ne w f aces
preuss intern & artist in residence
beyond la jolla
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history and the hair story: 400 years without a comb
joseph allen ruanto-ramirez
retention and wo men in comp uter sc i en c e
fa n da n g o fro n ter i zo
en a ta n luc y, s ela m be eth i o pi a
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th o ug h ts po ts
sonia garcia avelar
w i n ter mo men ts staff & interns
ccc s pr i n g c a len da r
ontents 63 67 69
bo rderl e s s
common ground spring 2016
directorâ€™s message edwina welch
pre u s s i n t e rn i n t ro & fi rs t g e n e ra t i o n co l l e g e s t u d e n t interviews gabriela ramos & ccc interns
natalie lai, miranda cai, thuy tien nguyen
self -initiated project f eatures
a c a demi c s ubmi s s i o n s
sandra amon & fatima kamil
th o ug h ts po ts & pa s s i ve bo a rds
s pr i n g mo men ts
ccc interns & volunteers
staff & interns
en d o f th e yea r & a ll peo pleâ€™s c elebr a ti o n ccc + community
intro to crossings
ucsd cross cultural center
COMMON GROUND VOLUME 21 â€¢ FALL QUARTER 2015
direc to râ€™s me ssa ge
st a ff fe a t u re
in tro to c ro ssi n gs
FA R fe a t ure
hye young choi
staff & interns
f a l l m o m ent s
c o m m un ity s ub m is s io ns
staff & interns
ucsd cross cultural center
COMMON GROUND VOLUME 21 â€¢ FALL QUARTER 2015
winter c a le n d a r
director’s message BORDER CROSSINGS: TRAVERSING AT THE INTERSECTIONS
Borders are physical, spatial, temporal, intellectual, creative, personal, and ever present. For many, borders represent separation from family, friends, history, and knowledge. Borders define who belongs and who does not. National borders, personal borders, political borders, shape all aspects of our lives regardless of our awareness. Borders support cultural appropriation- we can dress up the ‘others’ with no consequence because those groups or cultures are ‘foreign’ to us. We can laugh, make jokes, and have an opinion about others without ever understanding how the food got to our table, where the clothes we wear come from, how our world works today. We can ignore borders—unless they impact us directly. We are meant to transverse, examine, and critique the very nature of borders
and boundaries because as individuals and communities we navigate them each and every day with 'real-life' emotional and material consequences. The UC San Diego Cross-Cultural Center was created to bridge these borders, to create spaces of home for underrepresented and marginalized students, staff, faculty, and community. At the same time, the campus community centers live on the boundaries of University policy and practice, negotiating and navigating the terrain of diversity and social justice. In many ways understanding the Center’s work as border and boundary spanning allows for conversation, events, research, and practices that examine all aspects of border. Traversing, naming and critiquing borders can help us build more understanding and a better campus climate. We invite you in this issue and through the work of the Center to join us on the journey. Edwina Welch
"Gloria was not saying: well here are these two opposites and out of this contradiction comes a new, third way. No, no... she was saying that these opposites had to be kicked out from under— they were not a foundation, but only got in the way of creating what she was after. There was no linear combination of two contradictions to create a third; rather Gloria saw that between the contradictions was a place of the untethered possibility. A place that [Gloria], in her very act of writing into it, would learn how to occupy." —Editor’s Note, in Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza
"A border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in a constant state of transition. The prohibited and forbidden are its inhabitants. Los atravesados live here: the squint-eyed, the perverse, the queer, the troublesome, the mongrel, the mulato, the half-breed, the half dead; in short, those who cross over, pass over, or go through the confines of the 'normal'." —Gloria Anzaldua, p25 in Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza
intro to CROSSings While brainstorming for CROSSings, I tried to think of what brought me into “community.” Grappling with my Asian American and undocumented identities came to mind, which led me to think about borders and borderlands. Gloria Anzaldua’s book Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza was my main source of inspiration. The Fall 2015 sub-theme is “Borderline,” which examines the tangible and intangible margins we constantly construct and deconstruct, the thresholds we struggle to identify and navigate, and the barriers that protect and oppress us through time and space. Hye Young
intro to crossings
EDWINA WELCH DIRECTOR
meet the VERONICA SANCHEZ SOCIAL JUSTICE E D U C AT O R
JAMEZ AHMAD O P E R AT I O N S & MARKETING
BENJAMIN MENDOZA OFFICE MANAGER
V I O L E TA G O N Z A L E S A S S I S TA N T DIRECTOR
ALEXIS BUZ SOCIAL JUSTICE E D U C AT O R
NANCY MAGPUSAO E D U C AT I O N A L PROGRAMS
N ATA L I E L A I SOCIAL JUSTICE E D U C AT O R
FAT I M A K A M I L SOCIAL JUSTICE E D U C AT O R
E D WA R D N A D U R ATA A F F I L I AT E S & O U T R E A C H C O O R D I N AT O R
WHITNEY KIM LA P R O G R A M A S S I S TA N T
CARL DE LEON PREUSS INTERN
JOLENA VERGARA COLLÁS JOY DE L A CRUZ ART & ACTIVISM INTERN
MAURX SALCEDO PEÑA P R O G R A M A S S I S TA N T
HYE YOUNG CHOI COMMON GROUND MARKETING INTERN
KEVIN LE C A M P U S OUTREACH & ENGAGEMENT
hat is your Role?
EDWINA: As the Director of the Center, my roles and goals are to support and create an environment where interns, students, staff, faculty, alum, and community can come together, critically engage in our histories, understand the interlocking nature of oppressions, and work toward building a more socially just climate. NANCY: As an Educational Programs and Social Justice Training Coordinator, I supervise the Social Justice Educator cohort and provide trainings and workshops to the campus community relating to cultural diversity, leadership and identity development, and cultural competency using a social justice framework. In addition, I also organize programs targeting faculty and staff such as academic and community presentations, professional development, and educational enrichment. JAMEZ: As the Operations and Marketing Coordinator I am in charge of maintaining the facilities and operations of the CCC. I also oversee the media and marketing. I supervise the Special Operations interns. I also work closely with the volunteer program. BENJAMIN: As the Office Manager I assist in the day-to-day operations of the CCC (managing the front desk, ordering supplies, etc.) as well as coordinate our Affiliate Program which means I get to work with all of the wonderful student leaders and organizations that have a close relationship with the Cross. Since I am new to the UCSD community, I hope to build more connections on campus and learn more about how I can better assist in the growth and development of the students that come through the CCC. JOLENA: I am the Joy De La Cruz Art and Activism Intern. My main responsibilities include coordinating art and activism themed art receptions, programs, and
F E AT U R E D D Í A D E L O S M U E R T O S A LTA R JOLENA VERGARA COLLÁS
workshops as well as maintain the exhibits in all three art spaces. My goals in this position are all centered around challenging our ideas of art and our ways of engaging with it. I definitely want to encourage community to engage with art as a healing practice and empowering experience. NATALIE: As a Social Justice Educator I work with other SJE’s to create and facilitate workshops with a social justice framework in hopes of encouraging others to think critically and engage in discussion about themselves and their environment. ALEXIS: As a Social Justice Educator, I get to work with 3 other amazing coworkers in a team of 4 as we get requests from UCSD and the San Diego Community for all sorts of workshops. I strive to
create a brave space for critical dialogue to occur by facilitating the critical conversations and social justice knowledge shared in an interactive environment. It is my goal to continue the over 20 years of legacy here at the Cross and to help leave a lasting impact in this campus, especially for undocumented students who often times get left in the shadows here at UCSD. MAURX: I am one of two Program Assistant Interns. As a program assistant, I create different programs on a variety of topics within social justice and community building. I also work with the Assistant Director in order to support the many other Cross-Cultural Center programs that happen throughout the year. My work is driven by and compatible with a lot of my own passions and interests. I strive to create programs that are relevant and provide space for historically
PICTURED FAT I M A , K E V I N , V E R O N I C A
underrepresented groups because there are so many stories and experiences that remain silenced and unacknowledged. EDWARD: As Affiliates and Leadership, I get to work with the student organizations affiliated with the Cross-Cultural Center and make sure that they’re getting the support that they need from the Center. I get to host retreats and mixers that enable students to interact with other leaders from the organizations affiliated with the CCC. I also work closely with the Student Affirmative Action Committee and serve as the liaison to them and all the SAAC orgs. VERONICA: I am a Social Justice Educator Intern at the CCC. My role is to create a space where students, staff, faculty, and community members can come together and have critical dialogues through a social justice lens that promote learning and growth. My goal is to facilitate a conversation with folks that will help foster and explore their journey of learning and empowering through their identities. FATIMA: I’m one of four Social Justice Educators who work together to facilitate conversations surrounding diversity and inclusion. These workshops are requested by campus and student organizations in order to start conversations regarding controversial topics. I hope that those who participate in these workshops will continue to use the Cross-Cultural Center to learn more and to begin using our social justice framework in their daily lives whether it is in conversation with other acquaintances in their classes and workplaces. WHITNEY: I am one out of two Programming Assistant Interns (PIs) at the Cross-Cultural Center. My role includes creating passive programming boards, critique this boards, my own
hat is your Role?
programs, and assisting Violeta with her programs. I do a lot of publicity and advertising for different programs that the CCC puts on as a PI and a bunch of other various things. My goals this year are to be in community more with everyone and to get to know my fellow interns better. I hope to continue learning and growing from everyone in the space because this is truly where I’ve found a sense of community. KEVIN: My position at the Cross-Cultural Center is Campus Outreach and Engagement. My role is to connect with the campus and provide students alternative ways to be involved with the Center. I’ve been developing the Cross-Cultural Center’s Volunteer program with the staff to make sure that our program caters to the needs of students on campus who are looking for valuable experience in leadership, professionalism, and social justice. I want to assists students in becoming greater leaders in the community! HYE YOUNG: As the Common Ground Newsletter and Marketing intern, my job is to create a quarterly newsletter and assist Jamez with the weekly E-News. Through the Common Ground, I hope to highlight powerful stories, thoughts, and talents in our community. CARL DE LEON: As a Preuss Intern, I am given work to do for the CCC, from inputting things into the computer, to working the front desk. I hope to help around the office by getting tedious tasks out of the way. I also hope to learn and grow as a person through the CCC.
EDWINA: To me ‘borders’ are physical, spatial, temporal, intellectual, creative, personal, and ever present. Borders define who is in and who is out in all the context mentioned above. Borders represent the power to name and to ignore. We are meant to transverse, examine, and critique the very nature of borders because as individuals and communities we navigate them each and every day with ‘real-life’ emotional and material consequences- borders are strong enough to kill and strong enough to heal. BENJAMIN: What immediately comes to mind when I hear the term “borders” are barriers, crossing and intersections. Borders can be physical, mental, and/or emotional. They can be places that hold both pain and hope.
myself as a first-generation Mexican-American, mujer, mixed status family, and UCSD student. I am talking about them on a much larger, global, destructive, dehumanizing scale. Borders have been built by oppressors as a mechanism to bring fear, control, isolation, and hopelessness to the people being oppressed, whether it’s in Mexico, Palestine, Guatemala, Korea, etc. Too bad for the oppressors that these borders have also created resilience, resistance, and revolutionary movements to break them down. ALEXIS: Borders are inhumane, unnatural, and malicious obstructions. Their only purpose is to tear apart families, dehumanize entire cultures, and justify making the very essence and existence of a human being “illegal.” The US-Mexico border has and will define my entire life. It has cast me and my family in the shadows, made us targets of blind hatred and ignorant violence, it has forced me to live with anxiety and a never-ending reminder that I might not get to see my family ever again. Borders kill children, parents, and families, and borders kill the very last bits of our morality and humanity.
NANCY: Borders hold multiple meanings for me. In social justice work, I think of borders as psychological, physical, and emotional barriers used to define and confine persons or ideologies that have varying, intersecting degrees of power and privilege; borders are used to separate desired and undesired elements (read: cultural imperialism, hegemony), to protect interests against the Other (historically, the Other has encompassed non white, non cisgender, non male, non-Christian, non-American citizen, non-able-bodied, nonEnglish-speaking persons, for starters).
JAMEZ: I think of borders from a queer theory framework as ways in which borders are used to categorize people into “different”, “other”, or “nonnormative”. I think of borders in that sense as things that are not useful in building community or learning to accept individuals as they are. VERONICA: When I talk about borders, I don’t just talk about borders and their effects on
EDWARD: Borders are imaginary. Borders are man-made. Borders are both the end and the beginning. Borders are not constant. Borders, to me, are temporal manifestations of the imagination, meant to be crossed and contested so that I can be challenged by going outside the comforts of the border in order to grow. FATIMA: Borders are societal constructions that arbitrarily decide difference, exclusion, and inequality. They separate people and afford one group privileges and others none. They separate families, friends, and shared struggles. It is a symbol
F E AT U R E D : ( T O P )
F E AT U R E D : ( B O T T O M )
W H AT I S E N V I R O N M E N TA L R A C I S M ? MAURX SALCEDO PEÃ‘A
RACIAL PROFILING I N T H E U. S . CARL DE LEON staff feature
of a hierarchical society that thrives on the elevation of one group and the marginalization, exploitation, and oppression of others. They are a reminder of violence, struggle, and hatred. KEVIN: “I think that our everyday lives are reflective of different borders - some very visible to us and others invisible. Being a queer, Southeast Asian American is a political identity made up of intersecting borders that manifest in how I act and am perceived in society. I think a lot about how my U.S. nationality and queerness does not fit in hetero-patriarchal roles upheld by my refugee family, who are also struggling with assimilation and racism. JOLENA: Borders mean limitations. My immediate thought is about how borders separate people, identities, and communities. But at the same time they are thought to unify the people within them.
MAURX: Borders are, at the core, made of cemented violence and power. They are still and seemingly everlasting yet they infiltrate, shift, merge, burn, dissolve, separate, and erase all at once. They seek dominion over many but are eagerly ready to dispose of certain presences and make as if some of us never existed in the first place. In my own life, the literal and figurative lines of difference that borders embody and enforce have resulted in revelation, hopelessness, isolation, and anger. I travel across and in between those lines, worlds, and identities every day yet am deemed non-existent. NATALIE: When most people think of a border, perhaps they think about the borders of an image within a coloring book, which guides us as a child. For others, the effects may be painful and triggering. For those who knows how it feels to be bounded within walls, “borders” becomes a place of suffocation, limitations, and separation. HYE YOUNG: The word “borders” brings suffering to mind. It reminds me of separation, sacrifice, death, and longing. I see most borders as arbitrary and unequal divisions that restrict people’s agencies. WHITNEY: When I think of borders, I think of physical walls that are unnaturally planted into the ground we stand on in order to divide certain groups from each other. I think of boundaries that are set by an institution to prevent people from crossing over to the other side or to separate families from each other. They are lines and tall narrow walls of separation that allow one side to thrive while the other struggles. CARL: Borders, to me, are related to boundaries. Borders set boundaries for different types of things. For example, they show how far a person can go before they reach the “limit”.
do you what struggle to negotiate? JAMEZ: I struggle to negotiate my mixed race identity in spaces that focus solely on individual communities and this is compounded by my queerness and how it intersects in my own experiences as well as how queerness impacts the experiences of individuals that I am interacting with. NANCY: Navigating opposing truths can be a challenge and source of tension. For example, while I know that capitalism often means there are local and overseas workers that labor for so little pay and don’t have ideal working conditions with little or dismal benefits, I realize that I am a budgetconscious consumer who can make intentional decisions about what to buy and who to buy from, although such decisions may not always be in the best interests of the factory worker. ALEXIS: I struggle to negotiate how humanity has caused so much pain, misery, and atrocities throughout history to this day. How do we justify the act of making human beings “illegal” and the existence of murderous borders? How do we justify the racist and relentless murders of our black and brown communities at the hands of police? The displacement of communities of color through gentrification? The constant attempts to maintain control of women and their bodies? The current genocide of indigenous communities? The malicious treatment towards our LGBTQ communities? And sadly the list goes on. FATIMA: Negotiating my presence on this campus and my experiences as a Muslim, woman of color,
as well as the university’s complicity in so many oppressions is a daily struggle. Having to pass the Veteran’s hospital every day on my way to campus is a reminder of the violence we’re complicit in the massacres, tortures, and rapes of those who share my religion, my ethnicity, my language, my culture; the existence of a drone research division; the tuition we pay that directly funds attacks on the people of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Palestine - it’s a reminder of my own difference. WHITNEY: I struggle to negotiate my identities and personal happiness. Throughout my life, I have felt both validated and invalidated because of my ethnicity of being Teochew Chinese-Vietnamese American. Living in a world where one identity cannot exist without the other, I am proud of both of my ethnicities, but also have to carry the weight of what it means to be encompassed by them simultaneously. I also often struggle to prioritize my personal happiness and self care for work and school. I have to try to avoid disappointing other people, but also acknowledge that it is still important to take care of myself. JOLENA: I definitely struggle to negotiate my love of community with my commitment to higher education and devotion to my family. Activism isn’t easy and often requires sacrifices, even if they’re small ones, it’s hard to create boundaries and borders (see what I did there?) to maintain balance between all my commitments. MAURX: Because of the intersecting identities that I hold, I am constantly crossing different lines and worlds that often contest each other and produce destructive feelings of exclusion/not being enough. I struggle to negotiate belonging and even being because of this. I have confessed to some I hold dear that I am on a journey to build/find my
“home” because “home” is a feeling/place I have never felt. It is a word that I have always avoided. I exist in a place in between identities. It is a place that many do not recognize but these identities dictate the way I have to live my life for survival. HYE YOUNG: I sometimes feel like if I want to go to medical school as an undocumented student, I have to sell myself and act out multiple scripts that society has written for me (myth of meritocracy, the model minority myth, the
DREAMer narrative). I also struggle to navigate social justice spaces as an Asian American woman and ally to black and brown communities. I realize I have great privilege, I realize I have benefitted from the struggles of other POCs, but I often feel invalidated by non-API folks on campus. The system is way too good at erasing our histories and pitting us against each other. I would like to lend myself as an ally, but I have yet to have meaningful dialogues about how to work in solidarity.
What is the CCC’s relationship to the daily crossings we undertake to exist in multiple contexts? EDWINA: The Cross-Cultural Center was born at the intersections of ‘crossing.’ Students, staff, faculty, and community came together to create spaces that support the ability to thrive. To this day first time visitors comment that the space ‘feels’ different than other places on campus and students comment they wish they found the space sooner then their 3rd or 4th year. As we traverse spaces the unnamed feeling of welcome and validation continue to be the intangible elements that support day to day crossings in the Center and at UCSD. NANCY: The Cross-Cultural Center’s relationship to the daily “crossings” we undertake to thrive is one of facilitating healthful and generative forms
of interactions. Borders are socially and physically constructed, imagined, and imposed. I’d like to think that the Cross-Cultural Center is working to reconstruct, reimagine, and propose alternative, healthy ways of being, living, and thinking. JAMEZ: The CCC is a point of convergence where existence, survival, and thriving all intersect. The CCC plays a crucial role in providing support to all individuals who are experiencing any type of “crossing” in their lives. It is a resting place as well as the fork in the road. ALEXIS: For me, the Cross-Cultural Center is the only space at UCSD, possibly in the state or staff feature
even entire nation that allows us to engage in these daily “crossings” with a stronger sense of self and “community.” The Cross-Cultural Center was started by critically minded students of color, has grown tremendously because of a diverse staff and a critical community of students of color, and will forever be the home for the SAAC community as it continues to thrive for years to come. EDWARD: With the CCC being in the center of campus and it’s mission to look at everything through intersectionality, I believe that the CCC plays an important role in the daily “crossings” in our life and at UCSD. The center through it’s over 20 years at UCSD is a place of growth, (re)learning, and questioning of the many things in and out of the university. I think the CCC is a place of innovation and a place of curiosity that fuels and provokes the minds of the many individuals who traverse the CCC and the UCSD campus.
FATIMA: To me, the Cross-Cultural Center is a place where we can negotiate these “crossings.” It is a platform for us to discuss struggles, identities, and oppressions and a sanctuary from the daily reminders of our differences. It is a place to laugh, to cry, to learn, and to gain strength. WHITNEY: I think that the Cross-Cultural Center is an amazing place to find support, friendships, knowledge, and community when we struggle to retain ourselves and prioritize the multiple crossings we have to undertake as students, siblings, children, role models, student workers, community leaders, etc. I often find myself coming back to the CrossCultural Center after a long day, when I’m lost and don’t know where to go, or to just find people for support.
What is the CCC’s relationship to the daily crossings we undertake to exist in multiple contexts?
VERONICA: In a literal sense, I believe the CCC’s relationship to our own daily crossings as POC students of many intersecting identities at UCSD has, in a way, became a loophole or transition state at this institution to help us navigate our journey through the imaginary borders that this institution has put in place. For me at least, I can’t say I would still be here as a student or an intern without places like the CCC.
KEVIN: As part of 5 campus community centers at UCSD, the CCC’s values and philosophies are shared across campus. I think that the great thing about being a part of spaces like the CCC is having the opportunity to not only break down borders personal to you, but also be involved in breaking down borders for others as well. I see these spaces promoting and helping maintain collaboration across all borders. The CCC has provided me the space to grow as a student leader and activist in addition to being a welcoming spot for eating, reflecting, and studying.
F E AT U R E D W E E K 2 T H O U G H T S P O T: W H AT ’ S Y O U R FAV O R I T E VIRAL VIDEO? FAT I M A K A M I L
crossing into the CCC makes it easier to take the breaths I never took growing up. NATALIE: I think the term “crossing”, in context relevant to the mission of the Cross, refers to intersectionality. We all hold many different identities and values that sometimes cross over with others. Where we find a common cross connection, we foster that to create a community around education, that’s both diverse and different, but also united by our common need for knowledge.
JOLENA: I think that the Cross-Cultural Center is a sanctuary for the crossing of many different identities as well as the home for those negotiating those daily crossings. I would venture to say that those daily crossings are encouraged and engaged with because of the Cross-Cultural Center and the tools for development it provides. MAURX: The CCC is one of those “in between” spaces for me. Since getting more involved at the CCC, I feel closer to that idea of “home”. The CCC is a refuge where I feel seen, valued, and where I can just be. In many ways it has become a refuge and a place where some recognize me for who I am and all the complexities buried within me. These are feelings I never thought I would experience. I grew up needing to be actively resilient in order to survive no matter the exhaustion and moments where I collapsed. But
HYE YOUNG: The CCC facilitates “crossings” by providing a space for listening, learning, and reflecting. These processes often help me find ways around borders and imagined obstacles. During my first year at UCSD, shortly after the death of Michael Brown, I attended a Black Studies Project round table discussion at the CCC. It was the first time I had listened to black people’s struggles from a place of extreme humility and conviction. At first I was ashamed because I had entered that space thinking I would get my personal questions about antiblackness in the Asian American community addressed. But it was a necessary step for me to understand the gravity and complexity of all the problems the black community faced. That was the beginning of my comprehension of the frustration and urgency of black students on campus. It really hurt that I had to fight myself and multiple institutions to understand humanity, but the CCC mediated that difficult “crossing.”
extras VIOLETA: I am the Assistant Director/Program Coordinator of the Cross-Cultural Center. I can’t believe my 10 year anniversary is coming up! My time at the CCC has been very fruitful. Coordinating our internship program has been one of the most meaningful aspects of my life. So many memories start with the intern retreat and continue after they have completed their internship. I am still very much connected to many interns. I am enthused to hear about their adventures post college. They reminisce about the special moments they shared within the walls of the Cross. Some of these moments can be found in our enews’, Common Ground Issues, and permanently on the glass walls outside of the CCC Comunidad room. The art installation on these glass walls document 20 years of existence. You can see the many faces and events that have shaped the Cross. I visited the wall this week and looked at the empty glass past 2014 after giving a tour to a new student and began to reflect on last year. Our 20th anniversary felt like a border, borderlining into a future of possibilities. Everything that has happened in the last 20 years seemed to have been building up to that celebratory moment that many of us shared with each other. Now that the climax is over, I don’t feel that we are at a peak. We are continually peaking with no end in sight. That’s the most exciting thing to me about the Cross-Cultural Center! We will continue to grow as long as the Cross continues to have a heart that strengthens the foundation for the students and community we serve. BENJAMIN: I recently received my Master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership from the University of San Diego. Before moving to San Diego two
and a half years ago, I lived in Seattle, Washington for eight years where I received my Bachelor’s in Communication Studies and worked at Seattle Central College. Since living in San Diego, I have loved getting to learn more about the city and the local community. In addition to working at UCSD, I also love to volunteer with the Trevor Project (which is a non-profit organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth) and San Diego PRIDE. In my free time I like hanging out with friends, going on art crawls, taking long walks on the beach (no seriously), checking out local events, and finding cool spots to watch the sunset. JAMEZ: I love TV and film. I am currently watching Empire, How to Get Away with Murder, Quantico, Once Upon a Time, The Walking Dead, Gotham, and Teen Wolf. Other favorite shows include Sailor Moon, Digimon, Pokemon, and Cowboy Bebop. If you nerd out over TV we can nerd out together!! ALEXIS: I am a fifth year transfer double majoring in Ethnic Studies and Public Health. BORDERS ARE NOT SUSTAINABLE AND WILL BE TAKEN DOWN ONE DAY BY THE COMMUNITIES THEY DISPLACE. EDWARD: I am a fourth year double majoring in Economics and Ethnic Studies. I have a white Pomeranian dog named Buddy. I am from Glendale, California. I was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States when I was 12. I also like school supplies and consider my purchases as a personal investment to my education and note-taking. VERONICA: I am a third year majoring in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Ethnic Studies. To dismantle borders, systems of oppressions, social constructs, brutality, and hate, is to bring liberation
to all who have been oppressed by and have not benefited from these constructs. FATIMA: I am a third year majoring in Urban Studies and Planning with a concentration in urban diversity. My minors are Ethnic Studies and Global Health. What is crucial to even beginning to negotiate or trying to overcome our struggles and our conflicting identities is to have a place like the Cross-Cultural Center that can facilitate these discussions and provide intersectional and cross-cultural understanding and solidarity. It’s a privilege to have a place that strives to retain and provide resources to marginalized students. WHITNEY: I am a second year majoring in Public Health. I am excited for what this year has to offer and am looking forward to being a part of the CrossCultural Center and the legacy that it holds and continues to create. The vibe of everyone here from the professional staff to the interns has been amazing and I am excited for new people to become a part of the space as well! KEVIN: I am a fifth year double majoring in Ethnic Studies and General Biology. Last summer I went to Vietnam to study abroad with Ethnic Studies! Through the class, I learned so much about how queer youth navigate through unsupportive institutions and family structures. Lastly, everything that I am started in the Asian and Pacific-Islander Student Alliance (APSA). When I think about where I am today, I think about all of the strong and empowering women I’ve met in APSA. It was their passion and guidance that empowered me to become better each day as a person and as a leader. Thank you for seeing the potential in me before I did! JOLENA: I am a fourth year double majoring in Ethnic Studies and Sociology. I am a loud and annoyingly proud Fifth Harmony fan and Kale
enthusiast. I enjoy cooking and smashing patriarchy. MAURX: I am a fourth year double majoring in Ethnic Studies & Earth Science and minoring in Education Studies. “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” This is a quote by Haruki Murakami that rests in my mind as I lay in the outskirts and in-betweens of borderlines. I am slowly collecting my tools and dreams so that one day I can end these borderlines and instead bring a beginning to my home. HYE YOUNG: I am a fourth year transfer student double majoring in Global Health and Biochemistry & Cell Biology. Some fun facts: 1) when I took my first Ethnic Studies class in community college I cried while reading my textbook; 2) my favorite book is And the Band Played On; 3) I spent my summer at a community health clinic called Asian Health Services developing a transgender patient care protocol; 4) I have experienced more emotional growth from one quarter of working at the CCC than I have my entire undergraduate career; 5) I love Thai food. NATALIE: I am a fourth year majoring in Communication and minoring in Socioanthropology. I like reading court cases and I am bad at remembering names. CARL: My full name is Carl Joshua Guiab De Leon and I like the color blue. I have an older sister who is 22 and lives with her husband and two children, and I have an older brother who is 26 that lives in his own house with my dad. I live with my mom and her boyfriend. staff feature
dr. Robert Castro 2015-2016 U C S D T H E AT R E & D A N C E FACULT Y IN RESIDENCE
How did you get to where you are? I like to think I have had crossroads in my life that have influenced me as both an Artist and Human Being. One of those was right here at UCSD as an UG in the Theatre & Dance Department, when I met and worked with the theatre director Anne Bogart. She made me aware that the Theatre and Art are really about big, necessary ideas - putting ideas and thinking on the stage. Another major crossroad was my time as an Associate Artist with El Teatro Campesino, the Chicano theatre company founded by Luis Valdez. Luis challenged me to embrace my sense of identity, my sense of history, my sense
of community, my definition of America. Another crossroad was my time working with Anna Deveare Smith, the great actor and writer. It was during my time with Anna that I realized as an Artist I have the opportunity and power! - to shape and influence culture.
What kind of conversations are you looking forward to having with the community during your CCC residency? What thrills me most about my residency this year is the opportunity to meet and spend time with the diverse communities and individuals that make up the CCC. Iâ€™m
looking forward to hearing what people feel are important and pressing concerns - both in day-to-day living and in the larger world. I’m looking forward to conversations about what people are curious about, what they are obsessed with, what they are passionate about...
What is theatre’s role in addressing contemporary social justice issues? What I love most about the theatre is its ability to respond to the world around us. To take problems and crisis and not only discover and offer creative solutions, but to express those possible solutions in an artistic fashion. I firmly believe theatre that is filled with a moral energy and sense of social justice has the potential to transform and heal our world.
Could you tell us a little bit about your current project? My current project is a new play by the Los Angeles playwright Gabe Rivas Gomez. Gabe has written a contemporary adaptation of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. We have been developing the piece for the past year and it will have its premiere in LA in January 2016. Gabe and I spent the summer deep in dramaturgical discussions and rewrites after a reading of the play in May. I’m just about to begin working with the designers - sets, costumes, lights, sound - in the next days.
empty keyholes by hawari aia
I. My frame stands, defiant. In memory of the hands that contributed to my legacy. I am not what housed, but, instead, what homed. My frame, now, broken, a fond yet fading memory of what was, and a capacity of disaster. In loving hands, are the keys that fit this— these empty key holes.
The ones I struggled to learn, struggled to maintain. I live in these frames, these, empty key holes. III. We are stripped of our humanity, and our culture, our land, our home, our home, but we have the keys, and the deeds to our home. They are our weapons, but what are they to compare? Our family photos are shattered paper held together by the tears of weeping mothers.
IV. Empty key holes, defiant frames, and, and, she still has a name, and still knows their names. II. Tormented under oppression. Maimed until her knuckles bled I have chosen to live in the defiant frame. the color of life. Or maybe I can’t leave. Suffocated to an ashen face. Or maybe there’s nowhere else But— to go. …still breathing. To inhabit, to live, to be. Still alive, she is. I am a memory, a source of grief, Alive indeed, and so I watch over my family but she has had better days. And, she has a name. I am here. I am home. Her name is Falasteen. But I have forgotten my name. Can’t put my finger on them— my syllables of familiarity. fall moments
week 1-5 winter programs MON
winter 2016 calendar
Thursday, 1/7, 1-2pm, CCC ArtSpace, 2016–17 Intern Hiring Information Session
Thursday, 1/14, 5-7pm, The Village, CCC Info Session for Transfer Students
Thursday, 1/21, 12-2, CCC Communidad, Hot Topics: “Documented” Film Screening & Discussion
5-7pm, CCC Comunidad, Life Skills Series
Tuesday, 1/19, 4pm, CCC, 2016–17 Intern Hiring application deadline
Thursday, 2/4, 6:30-7:30pm, CCC ArtSpace, Breather Series: Therapy Fluffies
Wednesday, 2/10, 3-5pm, CCC Comunidad, Real World Career Series: Public Speaking
Thursday, 2/11, 12-1:30pm, CCC Communidad, Hot Topics: MTV’s “White People” Documentary Film Screening and Discussion
Monday, 3/14, 9am–Tuesday, 3/15, 9pm, CCC All, StressLess: 24 Hour Study Jam
Thursday, 2/25, 5-7pm, LocationTBD, Race, Privilege, and Immigration in the U.S.- An Evening with Jose Antonio Vargas
Thursday, 3/3, 4-7pm, CCC Library, Winter Wellness Party
Thursday, 3/10, 12-3pm, CCC ArtSpace, Breather Series: Arts and Crafts
ucsd cross cultural center
COMMON GROUND VOLUME 21 â€¢ WINTER QUARTER 2016
direc to râ€™s me ssa ge
i n d i ge n ous
n e w f a c es
a c r i t i c a l look a t re t e n t i on a n d w o men i n c o m p u t e r s ci ence
preuss intern & artist in residence
joseph allen ruanto-ramirez
b eyo n d l a jo lla
history and the hair story: 400 years without a comb
fa n d a n go fro n t e r i zo
sonia garcia avelar
en a ta n l uc y, s el a m b e ethio pia
w i n t e r m o ment s
tho ug hts po ts
ccc sp r i n g c a le ndar
ucsd cross cultural center
COMMON GROUND VOLUME 21 â€¢ WINTER QUARTER 2016
staff & interns
borderless SPACES OF COMPLEXIT Y & HOPE by edwina welch
new mestiza copes by developing a tolerance “ The for contradictions, a tolerance for ambiguity. ” Borderlands/La Frontera Gloria Anzaldua
The new mestiza copes by developing a tolerance for contradictions, a tolerance for ambiguity. She learns to be Indian in Mexican cultural, to be Mexican from an Anglo point of view. She learns to juggle cultures. She has a plural personality… nothing is thrust out, the good, the bad, the ugly, nothing is rejected, nothing is abandoned. Not only does she sustain contradictions, she turns ambivalence into something else. Borderlands/La Frontera Gloria Anzaldua The above quote is one of my favorites from Anzaldua’s works particularly because the subheader of this section is titled “high tolerance for ambiguity.” The quote brings to mind W.E.B. du Bois construct of Double Consciousness where folks of color and from other marginalized communities have to know, in intimate detail, the craters, caverns and bogs of the ‘borderlands.’ Sometimes we might soften our tone in a discussion because we know historically people are “intimidated” by us or we have to decide to say something when a clerk helps the person behind us. We take it in stride or we say something. Either way we have been impacted by the scene, the complexity of our day to day experiences. There is a wonderful TED Talk called Ending the Straight World Order. The talk is about the consequences of transgressing social roles and expectations, or as I would say naming the borderlands and the contradictions we see. It’s also about how each of us contributes to the creation of these borderlands often without realizing that we do. When we don’t name micro-aggressions, go along with the jokes, misgender people, we are contributing to borderlands that impact others. I invite you all to check the video out. In Anzaldua’s quote there are also elements of hope within navigating borderlands. I appreciate how she embraces all the elements of self that are forged from life in the borderlands. How she speaks to the power of seeing the contradictions and living her full self. CrossCultural Center work lives in this ‘ambiguity.’ Learning, explaining, educating and knowing power in naming the contradictions we see and experience and at the same time empowering ourselves to embrace the fullness of who we are. I invite you on the journey with us. 34
LILYAN ROBLES winter preuss intern
My name is Lilyan Robles, I am a senior at The Preuss School UCSD. I am the eldest child of five. From the time I was five I lived with my grandmother, who immigrated to the United States at a very young age from Guanajuato, Mexico. I had many hardships throughout my childhood, as I grew up, I made a conscious decision to work hard, be a good role model, and be that person who my siblings could eventually depend on, but more importantly, change the outcome of my life. I focused more in school, and I began reading more and decided that instead of focusing on
things that could harm me I would look for positive activities. I started dancing with Ballet Yaqui, a folkloric dancing group with a director who has a passion for making a difference in the community. This has helped me become the motivated hardworking person I am today. My aspiration is to one day attend UC Riverside and obtain my bachelorâ€™s degree in Business Administration.
artist in residence
Diana Cervera, the Cross-Cultural Center Artist in Residence, is a theatre, spoken word, music, and film artist. She is currently producing her first spoken word and acoustic music album Mujer Mariposa while engaging with San Diego students through her art and writing and performance workshops.
Mujer Mariposa is a multimedia album dedicated to migrant and refugee women and the empowerment of women of color. The project is grounded in an intersectional framework as Cervera constantly strives to juxtapose and unify voices that are silenced and underrepresented. The purpose of the album is to provide a counter-narrative to existing representations of migration while bringing light to the narratives of mothers and women who cross multiple systemic boundaries in their everyday lives. The ultimate goal of the project is to collectively create representations that subvert images existing in the public imagination regarding migration and motherhood as well as to build and create a framework of intersectional resistance within many contexts and realities.
Beauty is subjective / I understand / But that “ fact does not change the place in which I stand ” All photos were taken on January 23, 2016 at The History and the Hair Story: 400 Years Without a Comb, an art exhibit at the California Center for Arts in Escondido. Joy de La Cruz Art and Activism Intern Jolena Vergara Collas organized Beyond La Jolla, in which community members visited the exhibit to learn about the significance of hair with respect to self-love, beauty, power, privilege, and history of slavery and colonialism for people of African descent. C U R AT O R :
S TA R L A L E W I S Professor Emeritus of Black Studies at San Diego Mesa College
ARTISTS IN EXHIBITION:
Alex Adams, Josh Ashford, Alexsandra Babic, Ernie Barnes, Chor Biggies, Manuelita Brown, Bunny, Canaan Chick, Zach Cordner, Jean Cornwell, JoAnne Cornwell, Albert Fennell, Simone Fennell, Matthew Gidi, Dondre Green, Jacki Geary, Matthew Hebert, Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi, Keith Mallett, Willie Morrow, Edward Ndoro, Pam Perry-Smal, Mirella Riccardi, Charles Rucker, Yelena Yohntova, Michele Zousmer
beyo not my hair “ I amBut my hair is me
beyond la jolla
ond la jolla HISTORY AND THE HAIR STORY 400 YEARS WITHOUT A COMB want or need / “ Ibutnotwould appreciate some
genuine / deserved validity
history and the hair story: 400 years without a comb
BY JOSEPH ALLEN RUANTO-RAMIREZ
“Indigenous” has been a contested term in the fields of American Studies, Cultural Studies, Ethnic Studies, and even Indigenous/ Native Studies and its lexicon differs between the fields. For many academics, the term “indigenous” brings forth colonial narratives, postcolonial structures, and neocolonial nationhood. Indigenous, in these various studies, have different, and at times, conflicting, definitions and frameworks that try to bridge various resources and where the term is often used, in relation to non-White, nonEuropean bodies in addressing racial formation. Many scholars have also used the terms “Native,” “Aboriginal,” “First Nation,” and, in the American context, “Indians” to describe the people and communities that originally inhabited the continent of North America prior to White European settlement 39
(Kauanui, 2014; Warrior, 2014). Yet the understanding of the term “indigenous” and its various academic, social, and political manifestations are often at odds with one another and do not fit external racial formations of indigeneity and people of no nation-state when in diaspora to the United States. The ethno-racial, socio-cultural, and geo-political construction around “indigenousness” is a complicated and continuously changing project; whereas contemporarily labeled indigenous peoples and communities are often in cultural and theoretical debates with diasporic
peoples due to colonialism, imperialism, and slavery (Dvorak & Tanji, 2015; Martinez, 2004; RuantoRamirez, 2014). In Keywords for American Cultural Studies (2nd edition), “Indigenous” and “Indian” are separated into two different articles and at times, in conflict with each other – whereas “Indian” argues that its root analytical formation comes from Christopher Columbus’ mistake (Warrior, 2014) while “Indigenous” draws from colonial histories and its critical responses (Kauanui, 2014). While Kauanui address the (emotional, mental, and academic) anxiety of
Therefore, one can argue that “indigenous” (and its “ various lexiconical manifestations both in theory and in “flesh”), will always be a hybrid – a chimera, a cyborg of both the personal and the political, the imaginary and what is reality, the personal and communal longing to find the pre-colonial while living in the postcolonial within the frameworks of the neocolonial.
its usage, “indigenous” has been in debate even with its own “official” definition set forth by The Oxford English Dictionary. Being defined as “native; born or produced
Can the Chicana/o, “Filipina/o, and Black/ African American claim a lost (or imagined) indigenous identity because of American western expansionism, Pacific colonialism, and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade?
naturally to (the soil, region, etc.),” allows anything and anyone to be considered “indigenous” as they can be connected to a particular place and space. This is where “indigenous” (and by affect, “indigeneity”) can be a complicated term (and terrain) to address academically (and theoretically). That is why Kauanui states that the argument of being “born or produced naturally in a land or region” may be too simple both in an academic and political sense. Yet even with this explanation,
“indigenousness” and “indigeneity” must also be placed in how the subject sees themselves in relationship to racial construction, diasporic narratives, and personal longing. Therefore, one can argue that “indigenous” (and its various lexiconical manifestations both in theory and in “flesh”), will always be a hybrid – a chimera, a cyborg of both the personal and the political, the imaginary and what is reality, the personal and communal longing to find the pre-colonial while living in the postcolonial within the frameworks of the neocolonial (Haraway, 1991). Can the Chicana/o, Filipina/o, and Black/ African American claim a lost (or imagined) indigenous identity because of American western expansionism, Pacific colonialism, and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade? Does American Studies (and other fields) use these term when addressing people and communities (and cultural artifacts) outside of the United States (CasumbalSalazar, 2015; Dvorak & Tanji, 2015)? For many (aspiring) scholars in the
various fields, “indigenous” and its various lexiconical manifestations will always be in relation to the scholar’s understanding of selfidentification when it comes to theorizing indigeneity. INDIGENOUS DOESN’T (R E A L LY ) M E A N “N AT I V E ,” IT MEANS “DEATH”
Politics of indigeneity, as a hybrid of the personal, the communal, and the political, are at times, a disposable term that are used by anyone depending on the context of personal understanding of the word, stating their existence (or people’s existence) from a particular place, or used to counter anything that is a result of White-settler nation-state colonialism and imperialism. The value of “indigenous” will always be upon those who use it and study it, and at times, embody it through the need of (re) defining “the self.” Therefore, I argue that since the term and the identity can be (easily) consumed (by anybody) both in the theoretical and the contextual manner, the cannibalistic embodiments of the term
indigenous: joseph allen ruanto-ramirez
and its consumer gives way to how “indigeneity” becomes an allegory of (post) gender, (post) race (/ial), and (post) class – a “not-quietdead-yet-but-soon-to-be” metaphor that uses the term outside of the context of the body and the law. Jodi Byrd (2011) conceptualized that indigenous bodies are “zombies” as they function at the boundaries (and even imagined borders) between “human and inhuman, legal and illegal, sacred and bare life.” The indigenous (or the native) is in a state of “living dead” (or “undead”) as it constantly straddles between man and nature, the real and the imaginary, the natural and the political. Its existence will always be in relations, not just to governmental powers, but also the personal and the theoretical, binding it to an endless negotiation of its usage(s) and its (various) embodiment(s). If abstract use of “indigenous” is because of its usage and definition cutting across and beyond boundaries, then “Native” (and “First Nation”) can be argued as a politicized term 41
resulting from the hybridity of “indigenous” and nationstate (and international) laws. “Native,” therefore, is a term meaning “original” and “non-foreign” yet its physical manifestation(s) in many nation-states are always
indigenous bodies are “‘zombies’ as they function at the boundaries (and even imagined borders) between ‘human and inhuman, legal and illegal, sacred and bare life.’
in relations to two factors – the settlers who constructed the nation-state and the immigrants that followed. As in the construction of all White-settler nation-states, the eradication of indigenous bodies and communities are enacted to make way to the establishment of a political boundary that affirms Whitesettler desires. Policies towards “the Native” (whether it be political or religious) always result in violence of the body and the erasure of identities. In the case of the United States, the establishment of the thirteen colonies to the
creation of the nation-state later on with the expansion westward, Native bodies were marked as obstacles that needed to be rendered subhuman (or non-human) and therefore controlled (colonized), destroyed (genocide), and/or ostracized from the everyone else (resettlements in reservations). Even the context of postslavery reparations were directly linked to the genocide of Native bodies and control of their (ancestral domain) land – the forty acres and a mule policy was a direct way of claiming Native lands that were seen as terra nullius (“unused land” or “nobody’s land”) (Smith, 2005; Byrd 2011). The Native, therefore, is constructed as a “nobody” or “nothing,” existing in particular spatialities and temporalities only when invoked upon for immediate destruction (or consumption). Yet even when the “indigenous’ or the “native” is rendered “dead” or “nonexistent,” its (produced physical) entrails remain as products of desire. I use the term “entrails” as a metaphor of indigenous/
native iconographies, art, and products as means to state that these productions are created, attached to the subjects (and culture) that they come from, but are also disposable commodities. Entrails, like the body, also pass through time and are subject to violence and desires. They are the physical manifestations of what makes the subject “alive” yet without them, the subject “dies.” As indigenous/native entrails, the desire for them outside of the body (or subject) is what become commodified obsessions, fears, and longings of the non-indigenous/ native and those who wish embody the indigenous/ native identity. These entrails transform to a different manifestation of “indigenous/ native” – the “primitive” or the “pre-colonial.” The individual who invests in these entrails do so, as I have argued, outside (or beyond) the actual indigenous/native subject and in doing so, also invest in the continual fatality of the indigenous/ native subject (and identity). Such examples of these would be how White and nonindigenous/native purchase
and display “indigenous/ native artifacts.” From Native American (or Indian) turquois or beaded jewelry to African tribal masks, attires and bags from indigenous/ native communities in the Chiapas, and “purchasing” of Polynesian tattoos (or renditions of them) to be put on the body, “primitivism” can be (re)defined as a personal affinity of “the tribal” while living in modernity (Torgovnick, 1990 & 1996). Here, Torgovnick (1990) argues that the postmodern and/or the post-colonials’ desires for the “indigenous/ native” renders their existence as a mortified state – denying what their bodies’ desire, but instead, desires “Othered” bodies and identities. This state of mortification has manifested “itself ” through various post-colonial discourses and actions commonly found with diasporic peoples who have been colonized and who wish to decolonize themselves (and their communities). Here, “decolonization” begins an estranged relationship with “indigenous/native.” Whereas “decolonization” has a
historical and political agenda around land-rights/ancestral domain, self-determination from the nation-state, and maintains cultural affinity with the indigenous/native community, its lexicon has been changed by youth activists and the postmodern/ colonial as a means to counter White (sometimes classified as European) spheres of influence, dominion, and oppression (Tuck and Yang, 2012). This estranged relationship manifests itself in activist circles where certain institutions (namely education) has been rendered oppressive and therefore needs to be “decolonized” and “indigenized.” The conversation around how to “decolonize” these institutions and what framework of “indigenization” should be adopted has always been contested within those who seek to obstruct Whiteness or Europeanness. Process of metaphorical decolonization and indigenization were more visible in the 1950s and the 1960s when marginalized people of color in the United States began to demand Ethnic Studies (and ethnicindigenous: joseph allen ruanto-ramirez
Process of metaphorical decolonization and “ indigenization were more visible in the 1950s and the 1960s when marginalized people of color in the United States began to demand Ethnic Studies (and ethnicspecific studies), reclaiming an indigenous self
specific studies), reclaiming an indigenous self (the creation of Aztecstyle dancing for Chicana/os and the creation of Kwanzaa for African Americans), and countering American imperial rule and racial formations as means to politicize community identities (from Oriental to Asian American and the beginning of the use of NDN instead of Indian). These frameworks and estranged relations between “decolonization” and “indigenous/native” stems from the longing of an elusive self for many marginalized communities trying to navigate their diaspora while at the same time, trying to find a sense of a non-Western
self rooted in a (imagined) “homeland” and (imagined) “memory” that they seek to (re)establish and (re)live. These are the hauntings of the post-colonial and the indigenized – a longing for a memory, a history, and an identity that transcends their own positionality, spatiality, and temporality (Gordon, 2008). INDIGENOUS HAUNTINGS: VOICES OF STRUGGLE
Avery Gordon (2008) work on “hauntings” looks at how memory (both real and imaginary) play a role in understanding one’s self and one’s relationships. Using this framework and my previous argument of how the “indigenous” can be classified as “dead,” I use Gordon’s work on spectrality
as a means to give the “dead” a voice to speak back. Though Gayatri Spivak (1988) argues that giving the subaltern (here can be argued as the “indigenous dead”) voice will render into a non-subaltern state (because the language it uses are through a framework of capitalist and academic elitism), can the specter, instead, haunt? Haunting, as mode of communication, comes from Gordon’s (2008) metaphorical examination of sociological remembering where specters communicate with the “living” demanding to be heard, seen, and justified. If the “indigenous” has been rendered dead and whose existence depends on “others’” construction of its identity, then the indigenous/ native can only haunt if it hopes to be acknowledged. These indigenous/native hauntings manifests itself through the importance of (hi)story telling and retelling as means to engrain in the minds of the non-indigenous/ native of their existence. Here I draw upon the work of Anzaldua (1987) and Min-Ha
(2009) where their framework of writing comes from the need to address the “self ” and themselves and speaking (or in this case, writing) for the “Othered” and not for the institution (or academia). Their framework of writing starts with the “I” as a means to center their identity and existence in their work. Though both address that their “haunting” (through their publication) draws upon the need to address the “native self ” as a means to decolonize their Westernized identities. Here, “decolonization” again has an estranged relationship whereas Anzaldua seeks to reconnect with the indigenous (of the continent) stating that there is no difference between the Native American and the Chicana/o and Min-Ha seeks to state that her identity is native, and therefore, her work is “for the people, by the people, and from the people (12)” speaking as if her work is directly tied to the lives who she is connected with. Both Anzaldua and Min-Ha brings forth elements of their non-Western and non-English cultural traits into their work – Anzaldua speaking in both
Spanish and Nahuatl, while Min-Ha brings for influences of Buddhism and Taoism into her work. For them, their “indigenous haunting” is a method to address Western (and in some sense, academic) oppression and frameworks, but also sees these hauntings as a means to decolonize and remake themselves into an imagined indigenous identity that will always (when given the opportunity) counter Westernization and institutionalization. Though these hauntings comes from a colonized perspective longing to be decolonized (and arguably, return to a pre-colonial state), I bring back Spivak’s argument and complicate Anzaldua and MinHa’s indigenous hauntings – what happens when the indigenous demands to be heard from the indigenized? The process of returning to an indigenous state of being or mind (indigenized) complicates frameworks and paradigms around the need to decolonize and counter Western (or American) influences and oppression. Anzaldua’s Chicana/o construction of
Aztlan neglects subaltern communities (sovereign indigenous/tribal communities in both the United States and in Mexico), many who many not accept the notion of Aztlan nor see that the Chicana/o and the Native American are one and the same. Though arguably, the construction of both modern nation-states are a result of European-based colonization, the lived experiences of Native Americans and Chicana/os (regardless if both consider themselves as indigenous to the land) are racialized differently. The construction of Native Americanness (as stated by the Department of Interior) must go through a process of Congressional approval and recognition, while Chicana/o (Mexican American) are seen as homogenized national identity in diaspora. While Native Americans (and Alaskan Natives) goes through a rigorous process in gaining federal recognition to be considered “native” and therefore indigenous to their (proposed) lands (even though many of these lands are actual creation of the indigenous: joseph allen ruanto-ramirez
federal government as means to regulate native bodies into a particular space), “Native,” in this aspect, is completely political. To be classified and affirmed as a “Native,” communities have to declare their ancestral lineage, perform their indigenous culture, and relive the trauma of relocation as they try to prove where (and when) their ancestral domain was originally placed. Indigenous haunting, therefore, is a violent process of remembering and reliving traumas that colonization and contemporary political structures has placed on indigenous/native bodies and communities. Though the Chicana/o can claim these violent traumas, they do not go through the process of constantly trying to gain federal recognition to be considered “Native.” For the Chicana/o (or Mexican in diaspora), Aztlan’s imagined geographies places their bodies within the boundaries of a mythical and contextual indigenous and indigenized spatiality. To invoke Aztlan is a means to “return” to a place and time, not only prior to 45
American westward expansion, but also to a pre-Spanish national construction. Yet what happens to those who are denied the classification of “indigenous” or “native?” These frameworks on the indigenization also appear in Leny Strobel’s (2001 & 2011) work around decolonial frameworks and processes for Pilipina/o Americans. The need to indigenize, according to Strobel, is necessary as a means of survival from colonial trauma and imperial violence. The importance of, what she calls, a hybrid of story telling and story sharing allows the colonized to invoke an indigenous self that navigate institutional powers (“story telling”) and being in community with other colonized, marginalized, and oppressed peoples (“story sharing”). Arguably, all three feminist writers’ work excludes the possibility of Whites (or European ethnicities) as “indigenous” or allows them to be “native” to a particular spatiality or temporality. Since the 1850s, Kanaka Maoli (a self-determined term used by “Native” Hawaiians) have been struggling not only
to physically and political decolonize the nation from the United States, but also has fought (collectively as a majority) to not be recognized as “Native.” Here, the political arena around “Native” is different from “indigenous” where the former is bound to political discourses in the United States, while the latter address the community’s ties to the land. To be classified as “Native,” argues HaunaniKay Trask (1999), would mean acceptance of American rule over Hawai’i. She, along with many other Kanaka Maoli scholars and activists, navigate around the term “native” as they see it as, not only accepting colonial rule, but also as a term that addresses a pre-colonial identity bound to a particular cultural identity. Here, one can say that “native” is temporal (as it invokes a particular cultural time frame that is precolonial) while “indigenous” is spatial (being tied to a particular geography). Yet Mark Leo (2011) thesis on Igorot Americans within Philippine-America complicates “indigenous” being bound to land where
as Igorots (the tribal communities/nations of the mountain region of Northern Philippines) are not directly tied to a particular geography as they are in diaspora. Again, complications around “indigenous” (and in reference to Leo’s work, now also “tribal”) place the geographies and cultural timeframe into light for (recently) diasporic communities. For the American framework, United States’ ethnoracial project cannot (and will most likely will not) address global indigeneity and ethno-racial projects that happen outside of the political and geographical spheres of influence and borders (Martinez, 2004; Spark, 2005). Indigenousness, whether it be communities classified as “native/tribal” or who sees themselves as “indigenized,” will always create an imagined community that is bound to particular political, communal, and selfish longing of trying to counter Whiteness and/ or Europeanness. These communities create a particular (imagined) geography of where their
of story “tellingA hybrid and story sharing allows the colonized to invoke an indigenous self that navigate institutional powers (‘story telling’) and being in community with other colonized, marginalized, and oppressed peoples (‘story sharing’)
bodies (and communities) can be placed and also invest into a particular time frame where they can see the rapture between pre- and post-colonial identity (Anderson, 1991). THE INDIGENOUS CYBORG SUBJECT
Drawing from the work of Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto (1991), “indigenous” (and its manifestations) will always be in relations to the body and the political, and therefore a hybrid of multiple realities, imaginaries, spatiality, and temporalities. The United Nation’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) defines indigenous peoples as “those which, having historical
continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that have developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing in those territories, or parts of them” and also suggests that self-identification should be the fundamental criteria rather than share characteristics and even geo-political construction (United Nations 2009). Here, the UN’s political definition will always be contrast to individual’s identity as even though there are set (international and political) definition of what “indigenous” is, it also pits its own definition with personal aspirations and selfidentification. The political and the personal must merge in order to find the “indigenous self ” even though the governing structure of the UN will not necessarily accept these individuals or group of individuals as “actual indigenous peoples.” So what then is indigenous if the UN’s definition contradicts itself and (might) be in conflict with American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Cultural Studies, and Indigenous/Native Studies? indigenous: joseph allen ruanto-ramirez
Subsequently, what then is “indigenous” if it contradicts the ethno-racial project and geo-political structure that a nation-state has around what and who can claim an indigenous identity? Also, what and who can claim “indigenous” when various realities and imaginaries (try
mean that the settler who have been dispersed to the modern nation-state can claim “native” (or “indigenous”) as a way to connect their identity to creation, maintenance, and continuation of the nationstate. What (and when) does the settler become “native?” Since there are
‘Indigenous’ (and its various manifestations) will “ always be self-defined and self-proclaimed. It is a part of a personal longing to find the pre-modern self, trying to connect to a particular land or space, and a desire to remember something that has been forgotten.
to) define an “indigenous self?” The socio-cultural and geo-political structure around “indigenous,” “indigenousness,” and “indigeneity,” as argued before, can come from a personal or individual longing to find the pre-modern self amidst modernity. As Kauanui (2014) stated in the Keywords project, the problem can arise when anyone can claim to be indigenous to a particular space (and time). Therefore, to claim “indigenous” in the modern nation-state can also
no moral, political, and cultural frameworks to deny someone from self-defining as “indigenous/native,” the problem arises when “nativism” becomes tied to citizenship and nation-state power structure (Ahluwalia, 2001; Mamdani, 1998). Even in the United States, the colloquial usage of “native” is used to connote a person’s birthplace and upbringing (ie – Native San Diegan, Native Californian, or Native Texan). Here, the user identifies with a region as their place of home and,
if Trask’s (1999) conclusion that “indigenous” is tied to particular spatiality, then the Native Texan not only imagines themselves a being tied to the particular territory called “Texas,” but also realistically sees themselves as an agent that affirms Texan “native” identity regardless of the indigenous/native communities that are found in the region. Subsequently, since “indigenous/native” also is connected to geopolitical laws, then the Native Texan, by birth certificate and citizenship, can claim that their native identity is also politically connected to the space. The settler (whether they be White or diasporic racialized communities that are not Native American) blends the personal (selfidentification) and the political (citizenship and land use) to become “native” to a particular spatiality. So what is an indigenous cyborg? I argue that since the terms and the subject of who and what can be considered “indigenous” will always be a hybrid or a chimera of the personal and the political, the
real and the imaginary, the physical and the artificial, the tangible and the intangible, and the spatial and the temporal, “indigenous” will always be bound to these “mixings.” Whether it be the La Jolla Band of Kumayaay Indians or the Chicano who lives in Echo Park, the postantebellum African wearing kente cloth or the descendants of European whose ancestors established the United States, “indigenous” (and its various manifestations) will always be self-defined and selfproclaimed. It is a part of a personal longing to find the pre-modern self, trying to connect to a particular land or space, and a desire to remember something that has been forgotten (Torgovnick, 1996; Shohat 2006). “Indigenous” (unlike many Cultural Studies scholars’ description) cannot be bound to a particular reality, spatiality, or temporality. “Indigenous,” therefore, is a creation – created from nothing and everything, the pre- and the post-, the de- and the neo-, the theoretical and the factual.
CONCLUSION: THE INCONSISTENCY OF “INDIGENOUS(NESS)”
“Indigenous,” and its various academic, personal, political, and theoretical manifestations, will always be measured by those who invoke it in their work and with their personal identity. While the usage of the term gives the user the self-determination to (re)define it as they see fit, the complication of the term (and its various modalities), arguably then will always be messy and unrestricted. Therefore, “indigenous” (both as a term and a word) will not only navigate the various (mis)understanding(s) of the user’s intentions, but will also become a catalyst that provides a hyper-real (mis) representation of autonomous movements (in)between real and imagined fluctuating spatialities and temporalities. Like specters that haunts from a particular spatial and temporal framework, “indigenous” (and its various manifestations) must navigate through boundaries between the visual, the corporeal, the
imaginary, the factual, the political, the natural, the cybernetic, and the personal intimacies that the user wishes to invoke for their own desires. “Indigenous,” as a romanticized term and concept, will always be written and (re)appropriated by the user’s pen or keyboard or personal longing to find the “self ” within and away from the jargon of academia, politics, and other structures who wish to bind it to a strict definition and experience. Upon reflection on Gayatri Spivak (1988) and Trinh Min-Ha’s (2009) work, the “indigenous” therefore does not speak, but it is felt; it cannot be written, but writes; it cannot manifest into the tangible, but will always be there, everywhere, all the time. “Indigenous,” therefore, will never really know “itself ” nor be constricted to a particular lexicon that does not invoke the user’s emotional connection to a (-n imagined) state of personal longing and being.
indigenous: joseph allen ruanto-ramirez
A Critical Look at
etention R and omen W in Computer Science BY EDWARD NADURATA
First and foremost, I want to thank the women who were willing to share their stories to me as I conducted my research for my Ethnic Studies 102: Science and Technology in society: Race/Gender/ Class with Professor Kalindi Vora. Without their help, insight and support, my paper would not have been possible. Women occupy the periphery of Computer Science, often marginalized and outnumbered in their classes, with little to no support for their retention. What does it mean for women to traverse these borders that surround CS? How do they negotiate their passions with this hostile environment? It is important to trace and document the experiences of women at UCSD who are CS majors to see what the institution lacks and what the institution can do in order to support the retention and endeavors of women in this field.
With Title IX being seen as the solution to gender inequality in institutions of higher education, one would assume that this is reflected in departments across a university. In this essay, I aim to show how the field of Computer Science is not a safe space for women in the 49
university by localizing the issue of gender inequality to the Computer Science (CS) community at UC San Diego. I also will argue that institutionalized programs or lack thereof in regards to women in CS are lacking in the resources that are needed to support their students.
Girls Who Code is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2012, which according to their website, aims to “close the gender gap in technology” by inspiring girls “to pursue computer science by exposing them to real life and on screen role models.” The programs
they offer teach coding to sophomore or junior girls for an entire summer with hopes that this experience will encourage them to matriculate into a university as Computer Science majors. In an interview with a current first year CS major, she alluded to the fact that women are not initially encouraged by their environment to see CS as a career path because they were “raised to be quiet, to cook, to be nurses, be docile and help. [They’ve] been trained to do domestic work and maintain rather than create.” During career exploration, women are lead to believe that they are better in the arts & humanities and social sciences while the math and sciences are more suited for men. This can be seen with the demographics of UCSD’s Computer Science department. There are 2174 students enrolled with only 380 or 17.48% of the undergraduate body being women. In terms of faculty, only 10 out of the 77 faculty or lecturer positions are women with half of the women teaching in the department only serving
lecturer positions according to the Computer Science website. The work done by nonprofits like Girls Who Code are very crucial in inspiring young women to take CS, but with very few women to look up to at the university-level and very low numbers of women enrolling in the department, it can seem challenging to navigate the university as a woman in CS. The climate for women in CS is very hostile. The Koala at UCSD during the 20142015 school year published two blurbs regarding CS with one entitled “Top 5 Reasons I Love Raping Girls in the CS Dungeon.” The CS dungeon which is a place where a lot of students go to do their work is hypersexualized by this newspaper and further marginalizes the already few women that are in CS. It is also as if they are justifying rape in the dungeon and show how clueless everyone can be with the misogyny in the space when they list “nobody will hear their cries with headphones plugged in” and “people will mistake it for a gangbang and join in” alluding to the fact that there
is a gender imbalance in the department (The Koala). This holds true to the feelings of a first year who felt that most of the microaggressions she experienced were not with her professors and in the classroom, rather the interactions she had with fellow students “who assumed [she] didn’t know anything” and thought that she would not understand the material being covered. Due to this, according to Margolis and Fisher, “many end up doubting their basic intelligence and their fitness to pursue computing” (5). This can even be seen with UCSD when one looks at the enrollment between Computer Science and Cognitive Science with a focus on Human Computer-Interaction (HCI). According to the data from UCSD’s Registrar’s office, 64 out of 109 students were women which is 58.72% of the students. There is a stark difference between the enrollment of women in Cognitive Science HCI and Computer Science even though the classes that they are taking are the same. These issues are addressed
a critical look at retention and women in computer science: edward nadurata
specifically by students who are in the community. In an interview with a student who is involved in Women in Computing (WIC) at UCSD and is the incoming president of the organization, she talks about her experience in the organization and how “it’s great to empower women in CS but it shouldn’t be this way” in which students who have to worry about school, family, and surviving also need to worry about being a woman in CS and retaining other women in the program. According to Lilly Irani, a UCSD professor in Communications, professors in the university are tasked to do three things: teaching, research, and service; but the university doesn’t consider mentoring women in CS in terms of their retention in the program and the university as service because that is mostly seen as service through being in committees. The university has relied on free labor from students and professors who dedicate countless hours to make sure that women in CS are retained even though there are many microaggressions that are directed towards 51
women. This free labor in the university can be compared to the free labor in the Internet because “the labor of building a community was not compensated by great financial rewards, but it was also willingly conceded in exchange for the pleasures of communication and exchange” (Terranova 48). Although many of the work in terms of women retention in CS is not compensated, the free labor is done so that the community is sustained and is done out of genuine interests. Due to this fact, the university end up relying on this free labor when the university is the one that should be doing the labor to retain their students so that they can graduate. Instead, the stress and workload are transferred to the backs of student leaders and faculty who see that there are gender inequities in CS. The gender dynamics in CS do have effects to the way that women in CS think and feel. Due to the aforementioned fact that growing up, most women did not think that CS was an option and the fact that there are not that many women who
teach them, it is definitely harder for women to fit in and succeed. According to the incoming president of WIC, “Not only do[es she] have to survive and pass class, [she has] to prove [her]self constantly,” to show that she belonged in that major. This idea was supported by Irani, who also has an undergraduate degree in CS, that women in CS have to always prove themselves and have to work at least twice as hard to be noticed. There is more labor needed in order to validate the stories and experiences a woman has in CS so that her peers feel like she belongs in the major. CS is depicted by the students as deeply rooted in meritocracy and that in order to be recognized one needs to work extra hard to beat everyone else and be validated. This extra labor can lead to burnout and even possibly lead to women dropping from the CS major into other majors like Cognitive Science HCI where they do the same work but the environment is more welcoming. Currently there are no programs or models at UCSD
besides Women in Computing who address issues regarding gender inequalities in the CS community. This however is just the push that many of the students need in order to continue the retention work that they are already doing according to WIC’s incoming president. There is one clear way that can make CS more accepting and inclusive for women which would lead to better retention rates and enrollment for the major. It is important to integrate Women Studies and feminism in the curriculum and the decision making of the department because there would be “an emphasis on beginning the process of knowledge formation from marginalized perspectives” which is something that is not always, if ever, looked at in discourses in science especially when a field is seen to be already established (Weasel 310). With women being a historically marginalized group, it is important for their views to be seen especially because science was established under the heteropatriarchal hegemonic structure that still prevails
society even today. This is true because when science is not examined in a critical way, as Weasel mentioned, “the power wielded by science can reinforce existing social inequities” (314). Through the application of feminism, CS can actually have an intersectional intervention that can prove to be very useful for the field because the voices of those who are not usually represented are being heard. It is very important to acknowledge that there are problems within the CS community in order for institutions to listen and fix the problem. However, many institutions also rely on the fact that they are receiving free labor from professors and students who do great work in retaining women in CS. Through the application of feminism to not only CS but also STEM classes, classes will start to feel relevant and doable especially because they will be seen through intersectionality as well.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
6. 7. 8.
Girls Who Code. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 June 2015. "Interview with First Year CS Major." Personal interview. 29 May 2015. “Interview with WIC President.” Personal interview. 1 June 2015. Irani, Lilly. "Interview with Professor Lilly Irani." Personal interview. 1 June 2015. Margolis, Jane, and Allan Fisher. Unlicking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing. Cambridge: MIT, 2002. Print. Terranova, Tiziana. “Free Labor.” Social Text. 2000. Pg. 33-58 The Koala [La Jolla] n.d.: n. pag. Print. Weasel, Lisa “Laboratories Without Walls: The Science Shop as a Model…” pp. 305-320.
a critical look at retention and women in computer science: edward nadurata
fandango fronterizo BY SONIA GARCIA AVEL AR
May 23, 2015 Friendship Park U.S.-Mexico Border
I don’t think I’ve fully processed what it meant for me to be there. But the again I don’t think I can ever process the fact that I’m so close to home, yet so far away. I don’t think I can ever fully process the fact that a humxn made border has kept so many people apart, even cutting into the ocean as if, like the land we are on, it was theirs to claim. It was hard to stand there and watch broken families, unite.
Although it was hard to witness the way in which the physical border, divided people it was also beautiful to see them find a bit of happiness and go on with their lives and their loved ones. I live for the day in which I will be able to say to my people and my children that back in my day there was a border that cut across land and water in an effort to divide us but it could not withstand the nature of migration.
fandango fronterizo: sonia garcia avelar
Enatan Lucy BY BENYAM ALEMU
The theme is: “CROSSings: Borderline, Borderlands, and Borderless; to me this symbolizes the creation of self-validated identities – particularly the struggles of doing so in living in a complex and conflicting world. I chose to represent stories from Ethiopia, a seemingly forgotten land believed to be the birth of cultures and possibly of the human race. Snippets of what led to its fall to grace post World War Two are included with implications towards human rights. This is seen from the perspective of a refugee vantage point: hopeful yet still longing for elusive piece. Many culture allusions as were terms in Amharic were drawn such as the description of the god-like king Haile Selassie, central contributions towards global religions, coffee, African independence, cultural pride and mother Lucy: what we currently trace to be the original human and ‘mother’ of all man.
We the people cried Lali Baba and sought Akum Fallen League
E N AT E N LU C Y, S E L A M B E E T H I O P I A
Infected with the disease of hope the sacred land of original birth chronically distressed Hail Haile! King of Earth and Man Eulogies of cleansing warmth Royal bearing, stiff love The eternal lion majestically roars The red terror crept Silent voices of the oppressed Rising screams separation of families Whispers of confession Political and economic collapse peaceful uprisings choked Lost boys, ignored girls Cleaned stomachs and collapsed organs Cursed the Derg Fallen necks, forgotten dreams disappearances Never ever again
Three millennia the Earliest State a rose-red city half as old as time How soon they forget! Independent exception yellow, red, green Minority diplomacy sacred rejuvenation plant unorthodox orthodox dispersed from the four corners of the earth Sacred beings The first human once roamed the earth originators of life, mother of all men beacon atop of the mountains and ensign upon a hill Faiths of Christ and Muhammad borne These are our contributions Self-manifestation of prophecy voices of the lost and unseen Independent, strong Distinctly beautiful Addis Ababa and her people
enatan lucy, selam be ethiopia: benyam alemu
week 1-5 spring programs MON
Cesar E. Chavez 4 Celebration Luncheon 11:30a-1:30p West Ballrooms A&B
spring 2016 calendar
Ethnic Studies Eric Tang Talk 4:00p–6:00p Communidad All
Graphic Design Workshop 5:00p–8:00p Communidad All
Hot Topic 12:00p–1:00p CCC Library
Breather 28 Series: Therapy Fluffies 6:30p–7:30p Art Space
In Your Shoes: Shared Insights by Shadowing Dialogue on Abilities, Access and the Environment Open Panel Discussion 12:00p–1:00p Communidad Lg Ethnic Studies: J. Kehaulani Kauanui Talk & Q/A: 3:00p–4:30p Communidad All Reception: 4:30p–5:00p CCC Library
Real World 11 Career Series: Interviewing 3:00p–5:00p Communidad All
Grad/Undergrad 17 Student Mixer TBA
All Peoples 26 Recognition Ceremony & Celebration 5:00p–8:00p Communidad All
WEEK 7 WEEK 8 WEEK 9 WEEK 10 FINALS
Ethnic Studies Symposium & Graduation 12:00p–5:45p CCC All
Ethnic Studies: Ines Hernandez–Avila Talk & Q/A: 3:00p–4:30p Communidad All Reception: 4:30p–5:00p Artspace
Life Skills Series: Mental Health & College Success 5:00p–7:00p Communidad All
SPACES Community BreakFEST 9:00a–2:00p CCC Library
Ethnic Studies 25th Anniversary Keynote - Robin Kelley: 3:00p–5:00p Great Hall Reception: 5:00p, Great Hall Pilipino Studies: Palimpsests of Nation and Diaspora Book Launch 12:00p–2:00p Communidad All
Alumni Roots 27 Program Communidad All CCC Library
Critical Gender Studies Symposium
Breather Series: Arts & Crafts 12:00p–3:00p Art Space
JUNE Stress-Less 24 Hour Study Jam Mon. 9:00a – Tues. 9:00a CCC All
Black, Raza, Pilipin@ Graduation
ucsd cross cultural center
COMMON GROUND VOLUME 21 â€¢ SPRING QUARTER 2016
direc to râ€™s me ssa ge
preuss intern intro & first generation college student inter vie ws
gabriela ramos & ccc interns
c o m m u ni t y su b m i ssi ons
academic su b m i ssi ons
natalie lai, miranda cai, thuy tien nguyen
sandra amon & fatima kamil
s el f - in itia ted pro jec t f ea tu re s
sp r i n g m o ment s
tho ug hts po t s & pa s s ive b oa rd s
e n d o f t h e year & a ll p e o p le’s
ccc interns & volunteers
ucsd cross cultural center
COMMON GROUND VOLUME 21 • SPRING QUARTER 2016
staff & interns
ccc + community
border A C A N VA S O F P O S S I B I L I T Y
by edwina welch
As I sit to write this last Common Ground article for 201516 I am holding personal and professional contradictions and angst which so fit the yearlong theme of borders. It’s another spring on campus and students, staff, faculty and community are confronted once more with acts of intolerance,
bigotry, and malice. The antiimmigrant and anti-Chicanx words and phrases may very well fall under free-speech but their impact on community and belonging are present and long-lasting. Often people say “it’s no big deal” or “get over it,” which only show the embedded privilege some of us carry day to day. How can you say “it’s no
big deal” when your fellow students may not have seen their parents in years because of our immigration policy? How can you say “get over it” when you just came from a class–where you were asked to speak to all Queer, Brown, Women’s experiences because your classmates just want to know what you eat and how you do your hair? So here we sit, in solidarity with many others, raising our voices using our power to say “I will not get over it” and “it is a big deal--I am impacted, and this is my community, my campus.” For many it will not feel like ‘enough.’ And that is the real contradiction of social justice work. Individuals pull us from our focus and work to respond to their bigotry and go about their merry way while we miss class, lose sleep, and are left to
and community building? Everyone will have a different answer and experience with this question. Some will say there is only one way to respond and if you do anything differently, you are complicit in keeping things the way they are. I fight and ask myself these questions every day. In art class I was taught you don’t need a frame if you paint to the edges and around the sides of a canvas. This “borderless” practice allows the painting to continue over the edge and allow it to be framed or not. This metaphor stays in my mind. There is power in “borderless-ness.” I can re-imagine, re-frame and refocus my ideas and efforts. This re-imagining does not make the picture, or circumstance, go away, but maybe, just maybe, I can find a
wonder if it will ever change. And so my angst: how do you hold onto a person’s right to say ‘ugly, hateful’ things; support and fight to leverage institutional change so less of these incidents happen; and stay grounded in the long-haul work of social justice
new vision on how to proceed. After note: Thank you to Hye Young, this year’s Common Ground Marketing and Newsletter Intern. Your presence, work, and care show up in all you do.
meet the new intern GABRIELA RAMOS /
spring preuss intern
Hello my name is Gabriela Ramos, but I prefer to go by Gabbie. I play volleyball, soccer, and I box. I love to do makeup and dance. My dream is to become a lawyer and own a law firm. I also love spontaneous adventures.
g first en lege col student Stories interviewees: alexis buz, whitney kim la, h y e yo u n g c h o i , e d wa r d n a d u r ata & maurx salcedo peĂąa
What is your parent(s)â€™ highest level of education? ALEXIS: Middle School WHITNEY: It's kind of complicated for my parents because neither of my parents really had a chance to finish their high school education for various reasons. My mom was raised by a single mom and her grandmother in China. She had two older brothers that didn't really live with them for long so she had to drop out of high school to work and 69
spring preuss intern profile & first gen college student survey
help support her family. My dad on the other hand left high school to work in my grandpa's market in Vietnam. When my dad came to the U.S. he managed to get a certificate in various vocational occupations and put that he had a GED in Vietnam to find work, although it is unclear to me if he ever finished school. HYE YOUNG: My mother graduated college with an associate's degree and my father dropped out of college. Answering this question confuses me because my father had to go to school in
attempts to maintain his student visa when we first immigrated to the U.S. Technically he has a bachelor's degree in theology, but he went to an unaccredited school that no longer exists. Regardless of my parents' level of education, I would say neither of my parents understand how to navigate higher education in the United States. EDWARD: Bachelor's Degree MAURX: Both of my parents completed up to Elementary School in their hometowns in Mexico.
What are your family membersâ€™ sentiments about higher education? Do they align with how they feel about you in college? ALEXIS: Very supportive and worked very hard to get me where I am today. WHITNEY: My parents feel that high education is the only way to get myself (and all of my siblings) out of a life of poverty and to not have to work as hard as they do for as little as they make. My dad immigrated to the US in the late 70s as a refugee from Vietnam and my mom immigrated after marrying my dad in the early 90s. Ever since I was little, my dad has always emphasized the importance of school and getting a degree. My dad has always been supportive in the ways that he knew how to be in trying to help me be able to make college possible. I remember that we would always cut down on spending money on a lot of things, but whenever it came to school expenses, my parents would try their best to make it work. I believe that higher education and getting a college degree is a way for me to have more opportunities in the future, but I also feel that it is a time for me to grow and learn about my passions. HYE YOUNG: My parents have always encouraged me to pursue higher education. They dream about me becoming a doctor or a professor.
They have high hopes and expectations for me, but sometimes they do not correspond with the amount of guidance they give me. I used to feel frustrations about the discord between what they wanted from me and the amount of help they were able to provide, but now I feel nothing but guilt and appreciation. I cannot blame them for not knowing the skills and steps required to pursue and succeed in higher education. All they can do is provide me with moral and financial support. And honestly, that is all that they have given me ever since they stepped foot in this country. They have sacrificed so much for me and I often feel that the only way I can give back is by fulfilling my role as a student. My dreams are no longer my ownâ€”they now represent my parents dreams as well as my gratitude for them. EDWARD: My family has always encouraged higher education and that is something that I am really grateful for. They're very happy that college has been a transformative and learning space for me both in my classes and in my extra-curricular activities. MAURX: I am the eldest and the first in my family to go to college. A lot of contradicting sentiments have emerged out of that. Both of my parents are immigrants and have not been able to access much opportunities. I, in a lot of ways, became the vessel for my family's seeds of hope and expectations of a better future. Many dreams that they have lost or imagined were buried in me with the expectation that I will bring their wishes to fruit. Carrying those seeds is a tremendous amount of pressure and expectation. My family sees college as a way for self-improvement and access to a better life. They definitely understand the significance of it and some of the benefits that it can bring. Yet at the same time, there has always been (and still is) a reluctance to accept some of the changes that can
first gen college student survey
come with college. There is/was an expectation that I still perform the same duties and responsibilities for my family even though i am almost 500 miles away. My parents can be simultaneously proud of me yet also question and invalidate decisions that i make because they do not align with what they want for me. I think there will always be contradiction stemming from their sentiments because my time at college has been and will continue to be a process for both me and them. College has not been what either of us expected.
What motivated you to attend college? What discouraged you from attending college? ALEXIS: Attaining financial stability for my family, having their endless support and love, and overcoming the many systemic barriers affecting undocumented students like myself both motivated me and discouraged me from attending college. WHITNEY: What motivated me to attend college was seeing how hard my parents would work through different points of struggle and still try to pick up the pieces. My dad became unemployed when I was in 7th grade and struggled to find work for 5 years. During that time, we had to go on the CalWORKS and CalFRESH program to survive. A part of being in the program was that my mom had to volunteer at our local library for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, while dad worked at a part time job that he later found. College was my way out and to do something for myself and my family. When I got accepted into UC San Diego, I saw it as an opportunity and the first step out of a cycle of stress, financial problems, and repetition. What was discouraging me from attending was the distance and trying to figure out a lot of the things on my own. My parents wanted me to be closer to home in San Jose and I didn’t have any relatives
first gen college student survey
in San Diego. I was fortunate enough to be in a program called Summer Search during my time in high school. My mentors and college advisers in Summer Search pushed me to challenge myself and helped me with a lot of the process when my parents couldn’t. I also wanted to set an example for my younger siblings that going off to college far away from home wasn’t impossible. HYE YOUNG: Watching my parents work so hard made me want to go to college. They instilled in me an appreciation for learning and hard work. I also knew that one of the main reasons why my parents came to the U.S. was so my sister and I could have better educational opportunities. We endured so much as immigrants, and later, as undocumented immigrants. There were many times when I just wanted to give up because it seemed like all the odds were against me as an undocumented student. I felt that the system was just not designed for people like me. But I had to keep knocking on doors and overcoming barriers because it would have been the biggest insult and disappointment to my parents who worked tirelessly to support our family. The factors that discouraged me from pursuing higher education still haunt me today, but I am learning to be more resilient every day. EDWARD: My biggest motivation for attending college is my parents because they moved to the US so that I can have the best education I can get. MAURX: The first time i thought about college was in fifth grade, I think. I got to see a nearby University because of a program called “ I am going to college”. The program seeks to make college a reality for many underrepresented students in higher education. I remember getting back from the field trip with a dark blue backpack and school supplies. I eagerly translated my day for my mother as we walked back from school. And I remember the child-like joy in my voice contrasted with
my motherâ€™s pensive and worried look. She was wondering if we would ever be able to afford it. And over the years I kept hearing about rising costs and so new barriers that I slowly lost that eager joy I carried back then. It became harder to cling to that dream as I grew older. I grew up in a community where most of us could not go to college and instead had to work to support family, flee violence, etc. Early high school was an incredibly discouraging and dark time in my life because I received so many mixed messages and negative expectations from many around and close to me. At some point there was a shift but it was a long and difficult one. I began to do spoken word/poetry, find outlets for my expression, wanted to prove my own worth to myself and others, made some good friends, and put so much of my energy into my hopes and aspirations for going to college. I gained a lot of motivation from my story and experiences. Knowing and validating everything it took for me, my family, friends, and ancestors to get here has definitely been a source of motivation. My motivation has also been so tied with the resilience i have had to build over the years. I owe so much to this resilience even though that very resilience came about through such high costs.
What motivates you to stay in college? What discourages you from staying in college? ALEXIS: Being able to succeed despite my background of being a low income first generation undocumented student that grew up in an isolated and impoverished farm in the outskirts of Stockton and ultimately helping change the many systematic oppressive structures destroying our communities. I want to learn and grow as much as I can and return to Stockton to help uplift a community in crisis. Whitney: It is easy to feel really lost in a large university like UCSD. There are so many people in the lecture halls and sometimes hard to reach out
F E AT U R E D : ALEXIS BUZ @ HIGH S C H O O L G R A D U AT I O N
first gen college student survey
to the professors here. Academically the courses were a lot more challenging than what I thought and I remember feeling that my experience in high school did not really prepare me for college at times. I wasn't that homesick when I first came here, but when the novelty of being in college wore off, I questioned my choices in picking such a far university. What motivates me to stay in college is just seeing how far I have come and finding a community or home away from home here. When I think about the obstacles I had to overcome, I know that I have to keep pushing forward. In my first year, I was a part of OASIS Summer Bridge and APSA. Being a part of these spaces really helped me feel grounded in what I wanted to do and what I was passionate about. Summer Bridge gave me a lot of opportunities and the ability to connect with others who had similar experiences to me. Through APSA, I meant a lot of really good friends and got involved in the CCC. I felt really retained being a part of these spaces. When I figured out that I wanted to major in Public Health to one day address issues of health disparities in different communities I felt more reassured of my purpose in being here. HYE YOUNG: Individuals who affirm my right to be in college motivate me to continue my journey in higher education. I appreciate students, staff, faculty, and other important figures in my life who have nurtured me, challenged me, and supported me in my pursuits. There are times when I feel very replaceable and undeserving due to narratives about what kind of people should have access to certain opportunities and privileges. But people who give space for me to share counter narratives and pave previously invisible paths inspire me to stay in college and achieve more. EDWARD: The thing that motivates me the most for college is my desire to give back to my family, friends, but most especially to my community.
first gen college student survey
MAURX: Sometimes, I think back to the person I was in high school. And that person still motivates me. Getting into college was no easy task for me. I helped doubt and invalidate myself along every part of the journey but I proved myself wrong too. I often think back to the moment i found out that I got into UCSD. I was sitting out on the curb waiting for the bus down to the neighborhood I lived in. I saw a missed call from the San Diego F E AT U R E D : W H I T N E Y K I M L A & FA M I LY
area and was completely expecting it to be a family relative. I called back and was told I got accepted into UCSD. I actually started crying right there by myself on this empty street with a smile of disbelief on my face. I think back to that person sometimes and wish them all the validation they were denied.
I want to finish college for that person as well as who I am now. I know that I owe it to myself. I draw a lot of motivation from the people I value in my life as well. Last year, one of my good friends from high school died. He was a student at Cal and actually helped me a lot with college stuff. I never had anyone to guide me through college things and as a first-generation college student, I had to figure it out all on my own mostly. He helped fill some of the gaps of support. We used to volunteer at an Oakland library together. I actually found out about his passing immediately after my interview for my position here at the Cross-Cultural Center. His death unraveled me in tandem with other things I was dealing with at the time. It is something I am still processing, grieving, and hurting over but it has also become another source of strength for me. I want to finish college for him, for me, my friends, family, and others who have been there along the way. There is so much that discourages me from staying. If I am honest, my time at UCSD has actually been quite painful and far from the hopes and oasis I yearned for it to be. I have come close to leaving many times because there is always something pushing me out. And yet I am still here. Still learning to live in and practice hope. I know I have so so much to fight for.
What kind of contradicting structures and expectations do you face as a firstgeneration college student? ALEXIS: I face a lot of pressure to succeed as an undocumented student, particularly because of the DREAMer narrative that has been prevalent in my life. Having the pressure to bring stability to my family both financially and if possible by fixing our immigration status is a tremendous burden (That I personally decided to take on, not because my parents force me). I constantly have to worry about money and looking for the
few opportunities that I can actually qualify for regardless of my immigration status. And most importantly the life decisions I have had to make because of my undocumented status that make me feel emotionally 40 years old through the hardships I have survived because of these choices. WHITNEY: I feel that a lot of first-generation college students struggle with learning how to navigate identity at home and away from home. My parents wanted me to go into the STEM field and study for some kind of career that they knew earned a decent salary. It was hard for me to explain and translate what my major was at first. On one hand my parents are really proud that I got into UCSD because they have heard that it's a prestigious university, but on the other hand they sometimes wonder why I couldn't have just gone to San Jose State University or community college first. One time I called my mom because I was feeling homesick and stressed out with school and she told me, "You should just come home and change schools to San Jose State University". I knew that she was saying this because the only way she knew how to help me was to have me home where she could take care of me if I wasn't feeling well, but mentally and emotionally, I felt like I was alone. Also, a lot of the times, I find it hard to explain to my parents what I am doing or learning in school when they ask me because being a second generation immigrant, I feel like I don't have the words or language to describe what institutional racism is or how public health is different from being pre-med or studying biology. It is hard going to college and being expected to acquire all of this new knowledge, but still being expected to be exactly the same person when I go home. I think another thing about being a first-gen college student is that a lot of the time, people forget that once we "make it" into a good college, we still need help and resources.
first gen college student survey
HYE YOUNG: As an Asian American undocumented immigrant without DACA, I have to deal with the detrimental effects of the model minority narrative as well as the Dreamer narrative. Both narratives place a lot of pressure on me to be a perfect, exceptional immigrant. However, my reality is far from what people assume it to be and it's difficult to feel entitled to certain opportunities and assistance that other first-generation college students receive because of people's preconceived notions of what Asian students are like. EDWARD: For me, one of the biggest contradictions about being a college student is this idea of a student taking general education classes to be more well-rounded and more cultured BUT the course catalog itself isn't as diverse as it should be. Most of the classes are focused on Europe/the US, even a lot of study abroad programs focus on Europe so I think about that all the time.
MAURX: I struggle with the guilt that comes with my experience of being a first-generation college student. My family wants me to be in school but they also want me to be over there and often need me over there. I carry some guilt for not being able to support them in the same ways. There is so much pressure for me to be focus on school but to also be their "savior" and continue fulfilling their expectations. There have been so many moments where I have to choose between UCSD and others that I care about. Many first-generation college students and people of color, like myself, are expected to let go of any ties to our families and become fully immersed into the university and its expectations. I struggle with creating belonging here at UCSD because it is always uprooting me in some way. Despite universities trying to recruit more first-generation college students, there is always something or someone reminding me that I don't belong here. I've had professors expect students to spend $100+ per class project despite barely having enough money to make it through the quarter. There is an expectation of who "students" are supposed to be even if that doesn't really align with our own respective realities and experiences.
F E AT U R E D : HYE YOUNG CHOI @ HIGH SCHOOL GRAD
first gen college student survey
How do you navigate (or fail to navigate) those contradictions? ALEXIS: I sacrifice sleep in order to handle my academic responsibilities, in order to make time to apply to countless scholarships and internships. I am constantly looking for resources and building my support networks everywhere I go as I am constantly navigating new systems and areas that life has taken me. I have tremendous passion and resilience as well as incredible resourcefulness in order to be where I am today, as well as just being lucky to have had the many people that have helped me out and supported me throughout my life so far. WHITNEY: I try to navigate these contradictions by finding a community outside of home or friends that can relate to me. The Cross-Cultural Center, Summer Bridge and APSA were definitely some of the spaces where I could go to and feel like I wasn't alone in a lot of these struggles. The people I have met there have been my support system whether it was my Academic Transition Counselor (ATC), my suite mates, the staff at the CCC, or even my
friends. It takes a lot of internal processing for me and accepting the fact that I can't meet everyone's expectation for me but my own. Sometimes, I still fail to negotiate my identity and who I decide to be when I am back at home versus when I am here. I think that being away from home has allowed my family and I to appreciate each other more. It took a lot of communication and trying to explain things to them to help them understand. HYE YOUNG: I try hard to get by and succeed without help. When I succeed without asking for help, I feel like I am perpetuating the model minority myth and the Dreamer narrative. It makes me so angry because sometimes buying into those stereotypes are the only way I can survive. There are many things I sacrifice in order to uphold toxic expectations of perfection including my relationships and mental health. Sometimes I do fail or actively challenge contradicting structures and expectations. Working at the CCC and gathering stories as the Common Ground intern is just one of the many ways I fulfill this role. EDWARD: The way I've navigated this is by creating spaces where students can explore and learn about their identities especially through Directed Group Studies which is basically a class that can be created and facilitated by students for students. MAURX: I think my ability to navigate contradicting structures and expectations comes out of the resilience that I have had to build in my own life. In a lot of ways, I have grown up in many different worlds. Some of these worlds go against each other and others try to deny the other. Some of my identities place me in difficult and contradictory positions that I have had to figure out. Navigation, for me, is very tied with support. I've learned to get better at asking for help and figuring out who is there for me and who is not.
first gen college student survey
F E AT U R E D : MAURX SALCEDO PEÃ‘A & FRIENDS
first gen college student survey
Sometimes I feel like the contradictions are incompatible puzzle pieces that I am forced to somehow put together.
Other comments or thoughts? WHITNEY: Being a first-generation college student is amazing because it shows how resilient, resourceful, and ambitious you are and how much you have overcome to get this far so keep doing what you've been doing! HYE YOUNG: My mom and dad always apologize to me for not being educated enough to help me in school. I hope they realize that they have taught me more than enough to overcome the challenges I face in college. 꽃피던 시절은 나에게 다시 돌아와서 나를 꽃피우기 위해 거름이 되어버렸던 그을린 그 시간들을 내가 깨끗히 모아서 당신의 웃음 꽃 피우길 Your blooming days have returned to me You became the ashes to my fertile soil, I hope to collect the smoke your time has become. And let a smile bloom like a flower once again
first gen college student survey
F E AT U R E D : UNTITLED PIECES B Y N ATA L I E L A I
â€œThe boundaries of our minds does not exist. Darkness has no bottom, while love has no ceiling. Its an adventure navigating souls in a space that has no end, and sometimes I get lost. Sometimes I get tired. Always I prevail.â€? Natalie Lai
untitled pieces: natalie lai
I. Dear Baba, I remember your back, Silhouetted in the lamplight. It casted you in a florescent glow, Made the strands of your hair light up, Curly like mine, gave you a halo in the dark room, Still working when everyone else had gone to bed. I remember the furrows on your forehead, You were always so worried About making the ends meet, Providing the best you could for your family. I remember your hands, Palms calloused and heavy With the weight of carrying your family across the Pacific Ocean. You braved a new land, Built yourself from the bottom up, A real adventurer, With your compass always pointed towards home. Mama says youâ€™re a good person But I cannot bring myself to love you. I can only love the pieces you left behind.
II. Dear Dad, I remember tiptoeing, I could never be too careful, Lest I caused you to erupt. You were like a volcano: All the possibilities simmering beneath the surface, All paths of destruction leading toward me. I remember how you berated me, I was never good enough for you, The laundry list of problems For the daughter you never wanted. I remember the stinging of my cheek, The hot flash of tears, You tried to choke the life out of me, Pushed me against the wall, Watched the light drain from my eyes, Because I could not respect you. I cannot respect you. Mom says youâ€™re a good person But I cannot bring myself to love you. I can only love the pieces you left behind.
ritance Abuse slinks in the shadows and hides behind closed doors. We can condemn abusers and tell ourselves that they are monsters. What happens when the monsters are the people close to us? Our favorite teacher. Our parents. Our best friend. Abusers can be â€œgood peopleâ€?. Humans are complex beings, we are capable of wonderful and terrible
things. There is no divide between being a good person and being capable of violence (emotional, physical, or otherwise). They are both, one and the same. We can only grapple at what they left behind. If these poems resonate with you, please remember: it is not your fault, it was never your fault. BY MIRANDA CAI
III. My father has passed but his ghost still lingers Underneath my skin cells his fingers still trace the scars he left behind, The roadmap of blood blooming into bruises on my throat. My father was an angry man And I see him in every sudden movement As I brace myself for the blow that will never again come. Abused children are statistically more likely to become perpetrators themselves. And I am my fatherâ€™s daughter. I wonder if my hands are predestined to hurt. My brother is only nine. I feel my father stirring in me when I raise my voice. I pray I one day do not raise a hand When my anger spills crimson onto the kitchen floor Is this my legacy? To have generations of hurt Burn through my veins. This is my inheritance, Heavy I keep. I pray to change the hands of fate. I pray to change my hands of fate. Before it becomes too late.
inheritance: miranda cai
crossings: borderless BY THUY TIEN NGUYEN
Looking When I was Cold, Lost, Powerless, Hopeless, Struggling in vain, Not knowing to stay or follow, Keep going or give up. My high school teacher would tell me a quote: â€œMan surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; The result being that he does not live in the present or the future; He lives as if he is never going to die, And then dies having never really lived.â€? Dalai Lama Maybe Mankind created their own Struggle, Suffering, And borders.
â€œSleep is the best meditationâ€? Dalai Lama At one point in my college life, I was sleep deprived. I had a full time job, Forty hours a week, Dental coding, Drafting treatment plans, Explaining to patients, Negotiating with insurance companies. At the same time, I was a full time student, Taking Physics with Calculus, Together with Linear Algebra. My classes met three times a week. I had three exams each week If I was lucky, Maybe more if I was not. I read my book after work, I did my homework until The sky turned from dark to light. I slept two to four hours Each night. I was perfectly functional. I was sad. I was depressed. I was stressed. I was hopeless. I would cry to myself For no particular reason. I was a thin thread Stretching in cold air With the weight of responsibilities. I should drop Maybe my job,
Maybe my classes, One or the other. It was a difficult decision. I kept hanging on. I lost my attention; On my way to school, I passed One red light, Two red lights, Three red lights. I was half as sleep While driving my bike. I decided To drop one class and keep the rest. That night, I went to sleep When the sky was dark, When the stars were up high, When peace came back to me Once again. The border of life and death Is so thin That sometimes I cannot recognize it. Do not test that border! Or Maybe I should In that quarter, I was so efficient. I was an expert in time management. I was the best self-learner in my life so far. I learned so many skills That I did not imagine were possible to learn before that. It was the border of heaven and hell. Staying on Earth with some good sleep Maybe a better option after all?
collection of poems: thuy tien nguyen
y g theofener my BY THUY TIEN NGUYEN
In the southern part of Viet Nam, My family is ordinary. Just a minor detail, I have been underweight Throughout my childhood. I survived on fruits, vegetables, and milk. I started trying other foods occasionally. My nutritionist, doctor, and parents were So happy if I gained weight, grew taller, or ate a lot. I improved from a picky eater to a semi-easy eater. My mom would take me To the small market A five minute-walk away from our house To check out the swimming fish, To watch people skinning the jumpy frogs, To trap the flying shrimps inside a plastic bag, To bring home for lunch and dinner. My mom would finish cooking our meal in ten minutes. My dad would make the fish sauce. My brother and I would clean up and arrange the table. We ate in the same table, same side dishes, Same time, same place. It was warm and cozy. It was my family. Then I moved away,
Away to the Bay Area, The Northern part of California. My new family, My aunt, uncle, and me Maybe ordinary according to American standards. We do not eat together. My uncle or aunt cooks once or twice a week. This week is spaghetti. Next week is pizza. The week after that is burger. And so onâ€Ś When we feel hungry, We take the food out of the refrigerator, Warm it up in the microwave or oven,
Then we sit in front of the T.V., laptop, or desk And eat. It is my family. I try eating For a few weeks. It does not work out. I stop eating. I starve myself. I go to sleep… Days… Weeks… I live on fruit once again. My mom calls. My mom asks. My mom yells. I go to the kitchen. I relive the moment of cooking three times a day, Ten minutes each time. I am happy once again. I cook American vegetables with Recipes that I come up with. I merge ingredients with What I think may turn out good. It is not Vietnamese food.
It is not American food. It is a combination, without a border. Maybe it is the new condition. Maybe it is the tradition. Maybe it is the habit. Maybe it is just me. It is still an underweight me. But it is a happy me.
collection of poems: thuy tien nguyen
This is Home
ETHN183 / CGS114 PAPER: BY SANDRA AMON
The ways in which people are depicted in media, especially those who face multiple and intersecting oppressions based on their social positions, powerfully influence mainstream ideas of who people are. Most importantly, these attitudes translate into policies, resulting in material consequences. What happens when the fourth wall is broken? When members of oppressed communities talk and fight back against media distortions? The following paper explores how one effort at addressing housing injustice in Richmond, California, addresses media depictions of housing project residents, as well as its larger social significance
a) Which database did you chose? Google b) Why did you choose the database? I wanted to search for a piece that could have been made by an ordinary person. I do not believe that all have access to sharing their work on academic databases. c) What search terms did you use to identify the resource? “spoken word” “housing projects” d) Citation of the "non-academic" text you are focusing on: Vadi, Jose. "Off/Page Project Poets Draw from CIR's Public Housing Investigation." Off/Page Project Poets Draw from CIR's Public Housing Investigation. The Center for Investigative Reporting, 27 Feb. 2014. Web. 28 Jan. 2016. How do representations function in pieces with a specific political goal, arguing for a certain progressive stance while negotiating already entrenched narratives in relation to race, class, and gender? How do they destabilize these dominant narratives and at the same time re-inscribe such narratives? In this paper, I ask these questions by examining This is Home, a short spoken word-documentary-music video piece set to music and visual shots of the infamously dilapidated and crime-ridden Hacienda and Nevin Plaza housing projects in Richmond, CA (Vadi 2014). This is Home features spoken word artists Deandre Evans, William Hartfield-Peoples, and Donte Clark. These individuals are young black men, all Richmond locals (though note: they do not live in the housing projects in question, themselves) who serve as narrators due to their prowess in stage performance, collaboration with investigative reporters, indepth
interviews with residents, and first-hand experience of the site, speaking out against various injustices they witnessed. In this paper, I argue that This is Home works to play on the stereotypes of housing projects, such as the idea that a mostly black population of poor young single mothers and their children inhabit these projects (a play on the “welfare queen” controlling image); crimes of drug dealing, theft, prostitution, and vandalism run rampant; and finally lazy, morally deviant individuals who live in public housing are the source of its failure because of their reckless behavior (smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, teen pregnancies, crime, etc.). Subverting these stereotypes or controlling images through the story structure, establishing place, use of vivid visual and oral imagery, and juxtaposition of visual elements and word choices, This is Home argues to their intended audience of youths and concerned locals, that the Hacienda and Nevin Plaza projects need not apathy, disdain, and contempt, but empathy and righteous indignation – all of which are crucial in educating the larger public of the actual lived conditions, as well as galvanizing public advocacy for the rights of Richmond housing projects’ residents. Perhaps indicative of the need to speak out against oppressive narratives that naturalize deviance (Clawson 2000), as the first part of a three act story, the spoken word piece begins with a description of the buildings in disrepair. This disrupts the tendency of US media to focus on individual behaviors (e.g. crime), instead highlighting
the context of what residents face. For instance, Deandre Evans declares: No heat for when Richmond wind blows / No AC to cool down the weather that makes us sweat / Neglect is the only thing we get / Fungus disintegrating the walls / Bathroom sink replaces bathtub Thus, the first stanza establishes that the Richmond Hacienda and Nevin Plaza housing are in sore need of repairs and maintenance. No heat and no air conditioning for residents signify that even the most basic needs for residents are not met, a description which hopes to elicit some compassion for the subjects of this poem, the residents. Importantly, this is important in combatting negative unconscious associations with housing projects’ residents. Also, notably, providing context like this, instead of centering individual behaviors, gives an audience a sense of the frustration residents must feel when later on Evans exclaims, “No one is responsive – feel like I’m talking to myself / When help is asked to restore something as simple as a lock on a gate.” Neglect is clearly communicated to be one of the most frustrating parts of living here. These conditions are not due to the fact that the residents themselves are at fault, as American ideology would presume, but instead attributed to external forces such as the housing authority (Vadi 2014). In doing so, however, these lines paradoxically also affirm a myth that stigmatizes public
CGS114 paper: sandra amon
housing, focusing on the admittedly grossly negligent aspects of corrupt officials (Carrano 2015). Unfortunately, this flattens the situation – its social, historical, and political realities, as well as the structural origins for the failure of public housing. Where, for instance, is the discussion of US gradual disinvestment from the communal good (hooks 2000), diverting funding from social programs into other sectors, such as the military? Though, one should take into account that this spoken word piece is only four minutes long. It may be possible that the creators were more interested in providing an impactful and emotionallyprovoking video in a short period of time. Little time translates to limited education on structural origins of injustice, other than the two lines that do hint at it: “This is home - / it’s not built for us to survive.” In short, while the first stanza works to shift the discussion from individual behaviors to the situational context which does complicate simplistic stereotypes, it may not be enough to entirely communicate the complexity of why Richmond housing projects are in such a dire state. Following a logical and emotional progression intended to build upon the first stanza’s exposition, the second stanza as narrated by William Hartfield-Peoples, centers the experiences of poor black seniors, in particular, women with disabilities as the primary sufferers of the ill-maintained, poorly secured housing. Spoken word performer Hartfield-Peoples’ interjects that he sees Juanita, an older black woman who is wheelchair bound, and Mama Hall, an “81 years young” volunteer guarding against the 89
external threats of dope dealers and prostitutes. The video correspondingly presents both women, at times weary and guarded, but also warmly interacting with other poor seniors in their complex. Both of these, the spoken lines and visual images, serve in subverting the myth that young black working-class single mothers, that is, the controlling image of the welfare queen (Collins 1999), and deviant individuals live here. Instead, members of the deserving poor do (Clawson 2000), namely black elders who are disabled. Such a tactic ideally would further encourage audience empathy, and hopefully, indignation at their unfair living conditions. Since the spoken word piece frames these black elders as protagonists, it is implied that the dope dealers and prostitutes who come into the housing projects as criminal antagonists of this story. This is problematic, when considering the larger context that these individuals too bear and share in the burden of living in a classist, racist, and sexist society. Indeed, would survival crimes like sex work and drug dealing be seen in a world that equitably distributes wealth? Does this implicit condemnation leave the oppressive structures of capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy uncritiqued because it falls into the trap of upholding white middle-class sense of Puritan morality? Also worthy of examination is that a young black man speaks on behalf of the experiences of older black women. What does it mean for these women’s voices to be mediated through individuals who have not exactly had their lived experiences? Though all do experience some overlap in experiences of oppression (e.g. violence and antiblackness),
it is possible that accounts of the intersections of sexism, ageism, and racism are absent by the very nature of this filtering. Thus, while Hartfield-Peoples attends to destigmatizing the residents of Hacienda and Nevin Plaza, his efforts also raises audience questions of the authenticity of speaking on behalf of others’ lived experiences and the implications of respectability politics. In vividly presenting a severe problem and portraying its marginalized targets as sympathetic beforehand, This is Home concludes its final stanza with words intended to push audiences to look for solutions and push for change. Donte Clark asserts that in order for residents to be more than just tools to be exploited by corrupt officials things must change: Gotta protest, raid the government, shake their pockets and make them fix these pro-jects, huh!?! ‘cause if not here then where? Where do we go next? ‘cause left is cemetery In this call to action, the explicit demands for protests and outcries to the government signify that institutional change will not come from within the government, rather, ordinary folks involved in mass organizing and disruption of business-as-usual. This engages the American narrative that glorifies individual efforts with its claim that change results from collective efforts. It also suggests that the consequence of not fixing these homes are dire, deadly even. With a virtually ineffective safety net, with government support for social programs low, where indeed would
residents go? Thus, Clark strongly indicts the government with a familiar charge of negligence to the highest degree, with the hopes of also inviting viewers to agitate for change as well. This is Home strives to change traditional discourse surrounding housing projects, and in particular Richmond housing projects, so that practices can change to increase material and financial support for residents, rather than pulling this much needed support away. Examining the various strategies used, from sympathetic portrayals of residents to revelations of unbearable living conditions, This is Home both challenges dominant narratives and re-affirms certain aspects of them. Constrained by time, understandably the spoken word piece does not address the problems of housing projects in all its complexity. Yet, it does work to more positive representations of public housing residents – an important project towards rebuilding efforts to re-invest in public housing.
Works Cited Hooks, Bell. Where We Stand: Class Matters. Psychology Press, 2000. Carrano, George, Chelsea Davis, and Jonathan Fisher. Project Lives: New York Public Housing Residents Photograph Their World. First ed. Brooklyn: PowerHouse, 2015. Print. Clawson, Rosalee A., and Rakuya Trice. "Poverty as We Know It: Media Portrayals of the Poor." Public Opinion Quarterly (2000): 53-64. Print. Collins, Patricia Hill. Mammies, Matriarchs, and Other Controlling Images. na, 1999. Print. Vadi, Jose. "Off/Page Project Poets Draw from CIR's Public Housing Investigation." Off/Page Project Poets Draw from CIR's Public Housing Investigation. The Center for Investigative Reporting, 27 Feb. 2014. Web. 28 Jan. 2016. <http://cironline.org/blog/post/offpage-project-poetsdraw-cirs-public-housing-investigation-5894>.
CGS114 paper: sandra amon
ANBI130 PAPER: BY SANDRA AMON
and implications for interventions How does social inequality and injustice get written in the bodies of marginalized peoples? This essay delves into some of the scholarship that explores the biology of stress responses and its connection with social and political environments. Borders between the body and outside world are nonexistent as seen in this exploration of the biology of inequality
Some researchers argue that early life plasticity of stress responses can be adaptive, rather than harmful, in certain situations. Explain the idea of plasticity, provide examples of situations in which plasticity may be adaptive, and name a few implications of this research for the design of interventions. Plasticity can be defined as the ability of a genotype to result in various biological mechanisms and features that change in response to an event or series of environmental events (Barker, 2003; Kuzawa & Taylor, 2011). It is a process, much like reversibility and resilience (Southwick et al., 2014). While plasticity is shaped an individual’s early life, it is a mistake to assume only the events that happen during pregnancy affect the fetus. In fact, experiences of the mother even before her pregnancy, and as a corollary, the experiences of generations prior, shape the maternal phenotype that “programs” the biology of future offspring. In other words, plasticity is one adaptation that corresponds to a decadeslong process (Kuzawa and Taylor, 2011).
Plasticity follows numerous pathways such as psychosocial stress, cardio-metabolic inflammation, cultural dissonance, immune system dysfunction, weathering/allostatic load, epigenetic and their role in regulating the stress response, telomeres, and lastly, memory and cognitive ability. For example, when a mother experiences a rise in glucocorticoid levels due to psychosocial stress, or in response to maternal phenotype, a fetus receives information about the “average” environment their mother experiences and accordingly, is able to adjust their development in response (Kuzawa & Sweet, 2009; Kuzawa & Thayer, 2011). Offspring adapt to maternal stress in the uterus in ways predicting an environment similar to the one experienced by the mother (Sheriff and Love, 2012). In connection to this, the Dutch Hunger Winter may be considered as a situation in which plasticity is adaptive (Schulz, 2010). While often considered an instance of maladaption, if the affected children had instead been placed in an impoverished environment with little food available, their metabolisms would have been matched to that environment. This is due to
their bodiesâ€™ adaptation to hoard energy and nutrients, resulting in metabolic changes that are beneficial in low-nutrient, resource-poor environments. In addition, individuals particularly sensitive to their environments due to their stress reactivity, exhibit adaptive mechanisms to cope in extreme environments of high stress or high support (Ellis & Boyce, 2008). These individuals have increased capacity to respond to threats or optimize usage of resources, respectively. This proposed theory recalls the theory of early fetal programming, which postulates that the intrauterine environment fundamentally shapes fetal development, and thus, adult functioning later in life (Barker, 2003). Furthermore, at infancy Rewak et al. (2014) found that the telomeres of Black women were longer than White women. However, this was no longer true in adulthood, when telomeres were found to be similar among White and Black individuals. This may indicate developmental plasticity, such that it is an adaptation that protects African American women from a future of material and social disadvantage. It might be possible that these children, while in the womb of their mothers, receive biological signals such as high cortisol levels, due to increased allostatic load experienced by African American women (Geronimus et al., 2006). This in turn influences the course of fetal development, because the fetuses develop a counter-response to their mothersâ€™ signs of increased stress in the midst of an unjust social environment (Kuzawa and Sweet, 2009). Outside of the US, plasticity is found in the inflammation responses of people in non-Western, educated, industrialized, rich,
and democratic (WEIRD) societies. It is hypothesized that higher microbial exposure in critical periods (that is, early life) lead to more efficient regulation of inflammation in response to chronic stressors (McDade et al., 2012). The findings from Ebrecht et al. (2004), however, also offer hope. In their study, they observed that perceived stress and cortisol levels were strongly correlated. In other words, stress appraisal affected wound healing - lower perceived stress implied lower cortisol levels, which was strongly correlated with faster wound healing (Ebrecht et al., 2004). Thus, it is not too late to ever intervene in populations experiencing high stress, and thus, dismal health outcomes. In addition, offspring of parents who experienced PTSD as a result of the Holocaust, exhibited methylation of certain sites on the genome, which contributed to increased sensitivity to stress (Yehuda et al., 2014). In a sense, this is adaptive, as these epigenetic changes biologically prepare individuals for a similarly challenging and stressful environment. The implications for plasticity on research are many. Because plasticity implies that the human body can adapt, it encourages the investment of money into interventions. In other words, plasticity indicates human illness is not inevitable, and can be prevented. Human ailments are problems with solutions. However, as shown by Kuzawa and Thayer (2011), researchers must pay attention to the human tendency to be more responsive to long-term interventions, rather than short-term interventions. For example, an intervention targeting expectant mothers with vitamin supplements is not enough. Social programs that care for mothers even before they carry children, even starting at their own
ANBI130 paper: sandra amon
birth, are important, as well as social programs that care for the child throughout its lifetime. These types of interventions, which ideally last for decades, signal to future generations of a more constant, benevolent environment through their effects on maternal phenotype, resulting in healthier babies. This also argues for sensitivity of the impacts of health in all policies, because individual biological sensitivity depends on how social and economic policies shape the environment (Ellis & Boyce, 2011). A major question in the research on stress and health is whether the effects of stress are reversible. Briefly discuss whether you think effects of stress on health are in fact reversible, and justify your position drawing on any empirical studies we have read. Effects of stress on health are reversible in the sense that trauma inflicted early in life during a critical period can be compensated through other mechanisms. It might not be likely that the epigenetic changes themselves can be reversed unless more sustained interventions are leveraged, as posited by the early programming model (Berkman, 2009; Barker, 2003). But taking cues from the cumulative exposure/weathering life course model (Geronimus, 2006), I believe that ultimately public health has a duty not to give up on a population facing multiple stressors. While it is important to set up a good foundation for future generations, as argued by the social trajectory model, it is nevertheless important to fight for building the resiliency of current populations, as well as seeking to remove the increasing stressors placed on populations in general, especially that of
historically marginalized and underrepresented communities (Link and Phelan, 1995; Gravlee, 2009). For example, as Kubzansky and Thurston (2007) discovered, emotional vitality is associated with reduced coronary heart disease, independent of negative affect and mood disorders. This implies that individuals, despite presence of early-life strife, might reduce their risk of chronic diseases with the help of a strong sense of self-efficacy, optimism, and emotional regulation. However, this does not mean that the individual people themselves are solely responsible for cultivating emotional vitality. As suggested by Wilkinson and Marmot (2003), it is key to build an environment in which people feel supported and secure to do so. Similarly in a study by Ebrecht et al. (2004), healthy adult males experienced increased wound healing, which was significantly associated with lower perceived stress, and thus, lower cortisol levels. As such, their results also speak to the validity of stress appraisal and its psychosocial effects on health. In addition, Monaghan et al. (2011) found that in Zebra finches whose stress levels were artificially raised at one time point during early life, their mating partners also experienced the consequences secondhand, living significantly less than controls. These results provide hope that if stress can be transmitted through close relationships, it might be possible that reduced stress levels might also be possible. In an experiment conducted by Francis et al. (2002), rats separated from their mothers were able to compensate for the deleterious effects of higher CRF expression and lower glucocorticoid receptors through other
means. In other words, while the epigenetic changes due to maternal separation werenâ€™t themselves reversed, the rats adapted in a way that functionally did reverse the effects. Furthermore, this reversibility was the result of changes in the environment, garnering further support for creating nurturing, supportive environments for individuals throughout their lifespan. Based on our discussion of psychosocial interventions, how might you design an intervention that would reduce a racial or social disparity in health, of your choosing? Describe the specific health disparity you wish to address, and then describe the design of your intervention, and how your intervention would improve on gaps or failings of prior interventions. In designing a hypothetical intervention, I would choose to address the social disparities of health as seen in the SES gradient, which demonstrates that the more someone is made to â€œfeel poor,â€? the more their health suffers (Sapolsky, 2005). This difference in health status all along the spectrum of wealth is demonstrated in most areas of health, such as weakened immune function (e.g. high CMV antibody levels and susceptibility to colds), memory and cognitive function, CHD, and diabetes (Dowd and Aiello, 2009; Cohen et al., 2008; Evans and Schamberg, 2009; Noble et al., 2007). Such a powerful effect on health, especially when populations not only bear the burden of classism, but also racism and sexism as well (Earnshaw et al., 2012), then addressing the SES gradient is paramount because of its demonstrated nature as one of the fundamental causes of disease (Link and
Phelan, 1995). More specifically, however, I would choose to intervene on the social disparities as seen in immune response. As Dowd and Aiello (2009) has shown, people of color who were low-income and had low levels of education, had higher CMV antibodies than their high-income, highly educated, and white counterparts. The design of the proposed intervention is multi-faceted. It is a decades-long experiment with the intention to provide support throughout the lifespan, targeting people with low levels of education and income, especially those who are racial minorities. The intervention itself would be a policy that guarantees free higher education, universal access to health care, affordable and safe housing, and living wages to the residents in San Diego County. The control group would be residents in another West coast county such as King County, Washington, who would not benefit from the effects of this policy. I propose that the implementation last the span of two human lifespans. Effects of the intervention would be measured with a survey measuring perceived stress levels, quality of life, and health status, as well as objective measures of mortality and morbidity rates pre-intervention, during the intervention (every 5 years), and post-intervention. I hypothesize that the policy, by creating an environment structured to meet basic human needs, will reduce socioeconomic disparities in health among San Diego residents. I plan to sample 2000 people using random sampling, conducting the health interviews and collecting objective measures with the same cohort and their descendants. My intervention strives to close the gaps left by previous research. In particular, it
ANBI130 paper: sandra amon
seeks to fill the need for long-term sustained intervention as argued by Kuzawa and Thayer (2011), in order to most appropriately care for people, especially their unborn children. The intervention takes extreme care to note that fetuses during critical periods, take into account the “average” experiences of their mother as posed by the field of developmental origins of health and disease (Schulz, 2010). Furthermore, it places special focus on the most marginalized of the poor, unlike Young and Hade (2004), who failed to recognize the rich potential in disaggregated data and focus on the implications of their study concerning the health of women and African Americans. In addition, while this intervention is a policy seeking to change population health and shift distribution of disease, it does not neglect the need to prioritize high-risk individuals on the basis of social justice and health equity (Rose, 2001).
References Barker, D. J. (2003). Editorial: the developmental origins of adult disease. European journal of epidemiology, 18(8), 733-736. Berkman, L. F. (2009). Social epidemiology: social determinants of health in the United States: are we losing ground?. Annual review of public health, 30, 27-41. Cohen, S., Alper, C. M., Doyle, W. J., Adler, N., Treanor, J. J., & Turner, R. B. (2008). Objective and subjective socioeconomic status and susceptibility to the common cold. Health Psychology, 27(2), 268. Dowd, J. B., Aiello, A. E., & Alley, D. E. (2009). Socioeconomic disparities in the seroprevalence of cytomegalovirus infection in the US population: NHANES III. Epidemiology and infection, 137(01), 58-65. Earnshaw, V. A., Rosenthal, L., Lewis, J. B., Stasko, E. C., Tobin, J. N., Lewis, T. T., ... & Ickovics, J. R. (2013). Maternal experiences with everyday discrimination and infant birth weight: A test of mediators and moderators among young, urban women of color. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 45(1), 13-23. Ebrecht, M., Hextall, J., Kirtley, L. G., Taylor, A., Dyson, M., & Weinman, J. (2004). Perceived stress and cortisol levels predict speed of wound healing in healthy male adults. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 29(6), 798-809. Evans, G. W., & Schamberg, M. A. (2009). Childhood poverty, chronic stress, and adult working memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(16), 6545-6549. Ellis, B. J., & Boyce, W. T. (2008). Biological sensitivity to context. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(3), 183-187. Francis, D. D., Diorio, J., Plotsky, P. M., & Meaney, M. J. (2002). Environmental enrichment reverses the effects of maternal separation on stress reactivity. The Journal of Neuroscience, 22(18), 78407843. Geronimus, A. T., Hicken, M., Keene, D., & Bound, J. (2006). “Weathering” and age patterns of allostatic load scores among blacks and whites in the United States. American journal of public health, 96(5), 826-833. Gravlee, C. C. (2009). How race becomes biology: embodiment of social inequality. American journal of physical anthropology, 139(1), 47-57. Kubzansky, L. D., & Thurston, R. C. (2007). Emotional vitality and incident coronary heart disease: benefits of healthy psychological functioning. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64(12), 1393-1401.
Kuzawa, C. W., & Sweet, E. (2009). Epigenetics and the embodiment of race: developmental origins of US racial disparities in cardiovascular health. Am J Hum Biol, 21(1), 2-15.
Yehuda, R., Bierer, L. M., Schmeidler, J., Aferiat, D. H., Breslau, I., & Dolan, S. (2014). Low cortisol and risk for PTSD in adult offspring of holocaust survivors. American Journal of Psychiatry.
Kuzawa, C. W., & Thayer, Z. M. (2011). Timescales of human adaptation: the role of epigenetic processes. Epigenomics, 3(2), 221-234. Link, B. G., & Phelan, J. (1995). Social conditions as fundamental causes of disease. Journal of health and social behavior, 80-94.
Young, D. C., & Hade, E. M. (2004). Holidays, birthdays, and postponement of cancer death. Jama, 292(24), 3012-3016.
McDade, T. W. (2012). Early environments and the ecology of inflammation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(Supplement 2), 1728117288. Monaghan, P., Heidinger, B. J., D'Alba, L., Evans, N. P., & Spencer, K. A. (2012). For better or worse: reduced adult lifespan following early-life stress is transmitted to breeding partners. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 279(1729), 709714. Noble, K. G., McCandliss, B. D., & Farah, M. J. (2007). Socioeconomic gradients predict individual differences in neurocognitive abilities. Developmental science, 10(4), 464-480. Rewak, M., Buka, S., Prescott, J., De Vivo, I., Loucks, E. B., Kawachi, I., ... & Kubzansky, L. D. (2014). Race-related health disparities and biological aging: Does rate of telomere shortening differ across blacks and whites?. Biological psychology, 99, 92-99. Rose, G. (2001). Sick individuals and sick populations. International journal of epidemiology, 30(3), 427-432. Sapolsky, R. (2005). Sick of poverty. Scientific American, 293(6), 92-99. Schulz, L. C. (2010). The Dutch Hunger Winter and the developmental origins of health and disease. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(39), 16757-16758. Sheriff, M. J., & Love, O. P. (2013). Determining the adaptive potential of maternal stress. Ecology letters, 16(2), 271-280. Southwick, S. M., Bonanno, G. A., Masten, A. S., Panter-Brick, C., & Yehuda, R. (2014). Resilience definitions, theory, and challenges: interdisciplinary perspectives. European journal of psychotraumatology, 5. Wilkinson, R. G., & Marmot, M. G. (2003). Social determinants of health: the solid facts. World Health Organization. ANBI130 paper: sandra amon
ETHN142 PAPER: BY FATIMA KAMAL
In my opinion, they are beasts, not humans. –Eli Ben-Dahan They have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists. –Ayelet Shaked The Sudanese are a cancer in our body…I apologize; I did not intend to hurt cancer patients. –Miri Regev These three heavily racialized statements come from members of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Much like other prominent Israeli figures, these politicians epitomize the political ideologies in Israel that promote racist policies and serve to position white, Jewish Israelis as genetically superior people. The Zionist project is a settler colonial enterprise that aims to remove the indigenous population of Palestine and replace it with an exclusively Euro-American Jewish population. Similar to American settler colonialism, the settler colonial project in Israel manifests in three discernible ways: the genocide of the indigenous population, the exploitation of foreign labor, and the subjugation of Black populations. These groups are constructed as intrinsically inferior and thus deserving of 97
persecution. The supposed inferiority of these racialized groups is dependent on the use of pseudo-scientific concepts that explain racial difference by genetic variation, attributing the existence of socioeconomic and political inequalities in racialized communities to biology. The underlying ideologies that justify these phenomena are comparable, taken in a transnational context. Although this is essentially a comparative study, it would be amiss to claim that these two settler colonial projects are identical - each are unique in the ways in which respective populations experience displacement, genocide, and erasure. I will first examine the lived experience of indigenous Palestinians in terms of gender, reproduction, criminality, and health in the context of Orientalism. I will then consider the health problems migrants face as a result of the nature of their labor, reproductive health policies, and the psychological effects of exclusion. I will also focus on the racialization of Black bodies in conversation with criminality, disease, and eugenics. Finally, I will situate all three populations within the Zionist project of Euro-American Israeli superiority. Israel’s ideological basis in justifying the genocide of Palestinians is rooted in the
concept of Orientalism. Orientalism is an ideology reified by Palestinian scholar and academic Edward Said. It is a complex idea that refers to the construction of the Orient and the Occident as contrasting forces. 1 The Orient refers to a falsely homogenous geographical location that includes parts of northern Africa, western Asia, and southern Asia, while the Occident refers to Western Europe. 1 These two regions and the cultures that exist within them represent opposing sides of the spectrum. The Occident is constructed as a civilized and advanced area, in opposition to the construction of the Orient as an uncivilized and backwards society.1 Western images construct inhabitants of the Orient (Arabs) as inherently barbaric, savage, sexually deviant, misogynistic, and violent – as genetically predisposed to such characteristics. 1 By establishing itself as everything the Orient is not, the Occident positions itself as culturally and biologically superior, thus justifying its efforts to dominate and colonize the Orient. 1 In a Zionist context, Orientalism plays a dominant role in shaping the settler colonial project. By using Orientalist ideas in constructing the image of the Palestinian, Israel adopts the role of the Occident and establishes itself as the dominant, more advanced population and thus more deserving of Palestinian land and resources than the indigenous population. The notion that Palestinians are intrinsically primitive and violent has permeated Israeli thought and manifested in military, economic, and political efforts to sanction the mass genocide of Palestinian life and society. Israel uses sexual violence against women as a tool of genocide in order to exert colonial strength and racialized dominance. 2 Palestinian female sexuality is specifically targeted by Israeli forces as a method to curb the
reproductive ability of indigenous Palestinians. Sexual torture and rape are methods employed in Israeli prisons. 2 A specific case is that of Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian woman who was arrested in suspicion of organizing a terrorist attack in an Israeli center and was subsequently raped by interrogators until she confessed. 3 Women like Rasmea are stripped of their sexual agency and reproductive sovereignty as prisoners and victims of sexual assault. Furthermore, Israeli society encourages soldiers to rape Palestinian women as a war tactic. In one Israeli town, a banner was hung reading “Israeli soldiers, the residents of Or Yehuda are with you! Pound ‘their mother and come back home safely to your mother.” 4 Colloquially, the Hebrew word for “pound” carries a sexual connotation that implies rape. 4 In another image circulated via social media, a Palestinian woman is depicted wearing a burqa, a form of modest Islamic dress. The caption reads: “Bibi, finish inside this time! Signed, citizens in favor of a ground assault.” 4 The colloquial meaning of “finished” is to ejaculate – implying a type of intimate attack that would also cripple the sustention of Palestinian life. 4 Furthermore, respected religious figures endorsed by the Israeli Defense Forces have issued rulings that consider rape permissible during wartime. 4 As part of a military campaign intent on eradicating a significant percentage of the Gazan population, encouraging Israeli soldiers to rape Palestinian women serves to promote a type of gendered genocidal violence that would strip Palestinians of the ability to reproduce and thus complete the Zionist project of elimination. The targeting of Palestinian reproductive ability extends further than rape. In the West Bank, military checkpoints separate Palestinian towns from each other, cutting off vital resources and facilities from other ETHN142 paper: fatima kamal
villages, including hospitals. 3 Often, pregnant Palestinian women will have to wait extended periods of time at checkpoints while soldiers prevent their access to crucial reproductive health services. 3 As a result, miscarriages and newborn deaths are common. 3 By administering an informal and nonconsensual form of abortion, Israel prevents the continuation of the Palestinian population and thus reinforces indigenous genocide. Israel furthers its genocide by intentionally targeting Palestinian children. Soldiers indiscriminately shoot Palestinian youth, labeling them as terrorists or potential terrorists. 5 A total of 1,523 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli attacks since 2000.0 During the latest assault on Gaza, Israeli naval officers fired at four Palestinian children from the Bakr family who were playing soccer on the beach after a temporary ceasefire was declared. 7 The same assault included attacks on UN schools and on playgrounds during a religious holiday. 8,9 These instances are clear examples of Israeli forces intentionally targeting Palestinian children. Under Orientalist Zionist ideology, Palestinian children are seen as a demographic threat to the Jewish settler body politic and thus must be eliminated. The psychological ramifications of living under military sieges and occupation are abundant amongst Palestinians, particularly among children and adolescents. In a 2011 study, British researchers found that almost all Palestinian children had experienced their homes being shelled by Israeli troops and almost all had seen mutilated corpses on television. 10 A majority of Palestinian children and adolescents have lived through the death of a close relative and even more have lived through the death of a similarly aged friend. 10 99
Children currently aged six and above have lived through three major Israeli military operations. Exposure to death and violence at such a young age has severe tangible effects on the Palestinian psyche. 70% of Palestinian youth experience posttraumatic stress disorder and exhibit a variety of symptoms including anxiety, night terrors, late-age bedwetting, attention deficiency, and emotional withdrawal. 10 Criticism of the Palestinian genocide tends to focus on the massacre of women and children â€“ labeling Palestinian men as inherently criminal and deserving of Israeli fire. 11 Through Orientalist ideology, masculine Arab bodies are automatically marked as savage and dangerous and are associated with the image of the terrorist. 1 Israel employs a form of preemptive and preventative punishment in which Palestinian men are regarded guilty of whatever violent actions they may potentially carry out if allowed to live. 11 Recalling Orientalist perceptions of gender relations in the Orient, these men are portrayed as dangerous to their female counterparts, further justifying Israeli efforts to target Palestinian men while simultaneously positioning Israel as a civilized, superior liberator. The success of Israelâ€™s economy relies on the exploitation of foreign labor, notably in the agricultural sector. Thai migrant workers make up the majority of agricultural labor in Israel. These workers are subjected to 17-hour days with no time off. 12 Housing conditions are typically inadequate, with some workers living in warehouses and others in makeshift cardboard shelters. 12 In the workplace, Thai workers are exposed to organophosphate pesticides, which result in health problems including headaches, respiratory problems, and irritable eyes. 12 However, medical care is difficult, if not impossible, for Thai migrants
to access due to the lack of health coverage for migrant workers and the high costs of medication. 12 Mental health is also a concern for Thai workers. The psychological distress that results from alienation and discrimination within Israeli society coupled with cultural difference leads to increased rates of anxiety and depression. 13 Another racial community whose labor is exploited by the Israeli economy is Filipina migrant workers, who are employed in Israel as care workers and generally as live-in help for the elderly. 14 Care workers operate in a contradicting nature in Israel â€“ they are barred from any attempts to become naturalized citizens and are regarded as alien and foreign, yet the nature of their employment requires a type of intimacy that one expects from communal integration. 14 The problem of healthcare is also central for these workers. One woman, Beth, recounts the deterioration of her health due to her lack of access to medical care. 14 Because the national healthcare system in Israel does not cover migrant workers, Beth was unable to access vital resources for her health. She campaigned to be recognized as a permanent Israeli resident, given that she was so closely integrated into Israeli society. However, since her physical appearance was marked as inherently foreign and other, she was unable to achieve residency and was unsuccessful in accessing basic medical care. 14 The exportation of surrogate labor to South Asian countries constitutes another form of exploitive, racialized, and gendered labor. In Israel, only married, heterosexual couples are eligible for surrogacy. 15 Consequently, Israelis whose relationships are not strictly heterosexual marriages as well as Israelis who are not in relationships must outsource their surrogacy. India was the main attraction for Israeli surrogacy given the low cost
and premium health care. However, when the nation altered its laws so that gay men were prohibited from employing women to be surrogate mothers, the industry shifted to Nepal. Indian women who had already undergone in vitro fertilization moved to Nepal temporarily to complete their pregnancies. After a recent earthquake that killed over eight thousand Nepalese, Israel evacuated twenty-six Israeli babies while none of the surrogate mothers were aided in escaping the destruction in Nepal. 15 These women are considered fit to bear Israeli children but not fit to step foot onto Israeli soil. The commodification of life and the exploitation of socioeconomically disadvantaged South Asian women by western nations like Israel displays a form of labor that exploits the reproductive capabilities and disregards the health of poor women of color in a transnational context, essentially reducing the worth and value of these women to nothing more than their reproductive abilities. Compared to other ethnic groups, African migrants from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Nigeria, and Ghana experience a unique form of marginalization within Israeli society. These groups are constructed as inherently criminal and suspect, evoking the history of racialization of Black Americans. Following waves of migration from these regions, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon initiated a program of mass deportation in the summer of 2002.1 6 Deportation forces employed techniques that resulted in the criminalization of Black bodies. Within Israeli media, blackness is associated with innate criminality and danger. The aesthetics of blackness, in conversation with the politicization of Black bodies as undesirable in a primarily EuroAmerican Jewish state, marks blackness as a threat to the Zionist project. The ETHN142 paper: fatima kamal
advertisement of hotlines to encourage Israelis to report suspicious individuals contributes to a culture of racial profiling and anti-blackness. 16 The construction of blackness as naturally criminal has unique psychological effects on Black populations in Israel. Specific to the case of Ethiopian Jews, intra-Jewish racism produces an alienating diasporic identity for adolescents. 16 In schools, formal Jewish education differs distinctly from Ethiopian cultural norms, positioning Euro-American Israeli Judaism as authentic and Ethiopian Judaism as invalid. 16 Ethiopian Jews are thus seen as inferior and not truly Jewish. The criminalization of African migrants has also produced deep psychological ramifications amongst black communities in Israel. The association of blackness with criminality and illegality and the threat of indefinite detention or deportation has produced growing anxiety and paranoia amongst these groups. 16 References to African migrants as diseased compared to the alleged healthy nature of Israeli society constructs blackness as incorrigibly sick. Miri Regev, a member of the Israeli parliament, recently echoed popular public sentiment regarding Sudanese refugees, calling them a “cancer” to Israeli society. 17 These types of comparisons construct African migrants and refugees as the carriers of disease that will infiltrate and infect Israeli health. The construction of disease in relation to Black communities also furthers this notion. Studies on tuberculosis in detention facilities have associated the disease with the genetics of blackness. 18 Similar to tuberculosis in the United States, the Israeli strain arose out of poor housing conditions and residential segregation. 18 However, geneticists and researchers associated the disease with Black populations and in both cases, tuberculosis 101
became known as a “Black disease.” The convergence of blackness and sickness produces a discourse that regards blackness as a threat to the demographic makeup of Israel’s favored white population. African migrants, foreign laborers, and Palestinians are all collectively constructed as demographic threats to the Israeli body politic. These constructions result primarily from the notion that the biological and genetic dispositions of racial groups manifest in inferiority, sickness, and violence. As Ethiopian migration into Israel increased, the government instituted new policies that made entry into Israel contingent on the reception of birth control shots. 19 This policy, enforced exclusively against Ethiopian women, directly contributed to a reduction in the birthrates of Ethiopians in Israel. 19 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Ethiopians were a threat to the Jewishness of Israel. 19 This raises the question of who is considered Jewish and who receives the full benefits of citizenship. The construction of blackness as biologically diseased furthers the threat of miscegenation to the Zionist project of achieving racial and religious superiority. The reproductive rights of migrant workers also play a role in the demographic goals of Zionism. For non-citizen migrant workers, the act of reproducing in Israel results in the revocation of both work and residence permits, and the worker must depart Israel. 20 In 2010, the Israeli government instituted a program of mass deportation of the offspring of migrant workers – predominantly Filipino children. 21 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited the need to preserve the Jewish nature of the state of Israel as the reason for these deportations. 21 Targeting the children of migrants aligns with the Zionist settler colonial project – preventing the reproduction of undesirable
groups while exploiting the labor of these groups. The construction of Palestinians living in Israel as hereditarily threatening furthers the exclusion of racial groups from the body politic. Netanyahu also referred to this group, classified as Israeli Arabs in an effort to erase indigeneity, as a “demographic threat” to Israeli society and promoted the need to “balance” the Israeli-to-Arab ratio of the nation. 22 The fear that Palestinians or other racialized groups will taint or overwhelm Israeli identity is central in the execution of race-based politics. The construction of race in Israel relies on these pseudo-scientific ideologies that position minorities as tangible threats to Israeli society. Israel is thus erected as a healthy, genetically superior identity whose demographic makeup must be protected. As a settler colonial project
Works Cited Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Vintage, 1979. 2-30. Print. 2 Abusneineh, Bayan. "Gendering Al-Nakba." Sixteen Minutes to Palestine, 14 May 2014. Web. 09 June 2015. 3 Jamail, Dahr. "Tortured and Raped by Israel, Persecuted by the United States." Truthout, 2 Sept. 2014. Web. 09 June 2015. 4 Sheen, David. "Israel's War Against Gaza's Women & Their Bodies." Muftah, 23 July 2014. Web. 09 June 2015. 5 "PressTV-'We Must Kill All Palestinian Mothers'" PressTV'We Must Kill All Palestinian Mothers', 16 July 2014. Web. 09 June 2015. 6 "Israelis and Palestinians Killedin the Current Violence." Israelis and Palestinians Killed since 9/29/2000. If Americans Knew, n.d. Web. 09 June 2015. 7 Abunimah, Ali. "Children Die Playing Football, in Taxi with Grandma, as Israel Bombs Gaza for Tenth Day." The Electronic Intifada. 16 July 2014. Web. 09 June 2015. 8 Catron, Joe. "Israel's Gaza Onslaught Targeted Children And UN Shelters." MintPress News. N.p., 1 May 2015. Web. 09 June 2015. 9 "Children Killed in Gaza Playground Shelling." - Al Jazeera English. N.p., 29 July 2014. Web. 09 June 2015. 10 Khan, Hammad Moses. "Palestinian Youth and the Psychological Impact of Violence." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 7 Aug. 2014. Web. 09 June 2015. 11 Mikdashi, Maya. "Can Palestinian Men Be Victims? Gendering Israel's War on Gaza." Can Palestinian Men Be Victims? Gendering Israel's War on Gaza. Jadaliyya, 23 July 2014. Web. 09 June 2015. 12 "Israel: Serious Abuse of Thai Migrant Workers." Israel: Serious Abuse of Thai Migrant Workers. N.p., 21 Jan. 2015. Web. 09 June 2015. 13 Griffin, Jennifer, and Varda Soskolne. "Psychological Distress among 1
rooted in the concept of Orientalism, the eradication of the indigenous Palestinian population is central to the completion of this project. The introduction of migrant groups is permissible in this project under the conditions that these migrants are not granted the privileges and status afforded to white, Jewish Israelis and that these migrants refrain from reproducing and infiltrating Israeli society. This project is also reliant on the construction of Black individuals as biologically inferior and diseased. These collective ideologies stem from an effort to retain and preserve Israeli identity as exclusively white and Jewish. The phenotypes associated with racial difference ultimately diagnose these populations as genetic threats to Israeli society.
Thai Migrant Workers in Israel." Psychological Distress among Thai Migrant Workers in Israel. N.p., Sept. 2003. Web. 09 June 2015. 14 Lutz, Helma. Migration and Domestic Work: A European Perspective on a Global Theme. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2008. Print. 15 Kamin, Debra. "Israel Evacuates Surrogate Babies From Nepal but Leaves the Mothers Behind." Time. Time, 28 Apr. 2015. Web. 09 June 2015. 16 Willen, Sarah. "Toward a Critical Phenomenology of “Illegality”: State Power, Criminalization, and Abjectivity among Undocumented Migrant Workers in Tel Aviv, Israel." Wiley Online Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 June 2015. 17 Rosenthal, Max J. "Miri Regev, Israel Legislator, Calls Sudanese Refugees 'A Cancer' Amid Violent Anti-Immigrant Protests." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 24 May 2012. Web. 09 June 2015. 18 Yacobi, Haim. "‘Let Me Go to the City’: African Asylum Seekers, Racialization and the Politics of Space in Israel." (n.d.): n. pag. Oxford Journals. Oxford University Press, 2010. Web. 9 June 2015. 19 Abunimah, Ali. "Did Israel Violate the Genocide Convention by Forcing Contraceptives on Ethiopian Women?" The Electronic Intifada. N.p., 28 Jan. 2013. Web. 09 June 2015. 20 Elias, Nelly, and Adriana Kemp. "Project MUSE - The New Second Generation: Non-Jewish Olim, Black Jews and Children of Migrant Workers in Israel." Project MUSE - The New Second Generation: Non-Jewish Olim, Black Jews and Children of Migrant Workers in Israel. N.p., 2010. Web. 09 June 2015. 21 Sanders, Edmund. "Israel to Deport Hundreds of Migrant Workers' Children." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 02 Aug. 2010. Web. 09 June 2015. 22 Alon, Gideon, and Alof Benn. "Netanyahu: Israel's Arabs Are the Real Demographic Threat." Haaretz.com. N.p., 18 Dec. 2003. Web. 09 June 2015.
ETHN142 paper: fatima kamal
CCC intern self-initiated project h i g h l i g h t i n g w o r k s o f : n ata l i e l a i , jolena vergara coll as, hye young choi, maurx salcedo peĂąa, kevin le
INTERN: Natalie Lai POSITION: Social Justice Educator SIP TITLE: Nail Files What was/is your SIP about? My SIP was about Vietnamese-Americans/ Vietnamese people in the nail industry. I wanted to bring my experience as a nail technician and look at the industry in a critical lens; the roles people of color play, the perpetuation of white supremacy, and the power paradigm of customer in relation to technician.
Why did you decide to do what you did? I got my licence when I was 18 and have been working in the industry every summer since in order to pay for college. I have a lot of lived experience. As a young college student working in an industry that is influx with older first generation Vietnamese folks who migrated to the US, I am in a very special situation where I read things a lot differently.
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What was the process of planning your SIP like? I knew exactly what I was going to do my SIP on because my experience was so unique and informed so much of my interest in social justice. I had material from an essay I wrote a long time ago for a class, so I didnt have to start from scratch. The process of building the website and finding relevant material was done over time. My role as an SJE really helped, since I had to learn new materials in order to reteach it.
If you could have done an additional SIP, what would have been the topic? I would have done a workshop about the flaws and contradictions in our judicial system. I would talk about human rights and how human rights
are concepts that is fairly new, and how it is nonexistent with without a governing entity. People in power are the ones who decide what constitutes as “human rights” and a lot of time, folks fall through the cracks. Laws and declarations can be negated in states of panic, so I question how reliable is our governing systems if exceptions are made when its convenient for those in positions of power?
Any other comments/thoughts about your SIP that you want to share? It was fun. If i could do it again, I would. I’d do it better.
F E AT U R E D : N ATA L I E L A I & PA R T I C I PA N T S AT N A I L F I L E S
nail files: natalie lai
INTERN: Jolena Vergara Collas POSITION: Joy de La Cruz Art & Activism SIP TITLE: Filipiniana: A Collection of Memories What was/is your SIP about? Filipiniana is an exploration of the role of women, femininity, and Pinays as a whole in the cultural imagination of Filipino history, tradition, narrative and identity. The term Filipiniana traditionally was derivation from two root words: namely Filipinas, the Spanish-language version of the country name of the Philippines and -ana or -aniana, which means “collected items of information”. While this definition can be anecdotal or biographical in nature, this particular collection uses Filipino anecdotes, myths, historical events, and narratives to inform and inspire reimagined ideas of what Pinay femininity in the designs of Terno style dresses. While the collection is not limited to Terno or traditional style dresses, each dress is a demonstration and navigation of my own personal struggle with what it has meant for me to identify as a Pinay in today’s society.
and Activism Intern has challenged me to pursue activism in other ways that require more passive reflection and processing. I wanted this project to be able to facilitate for this type of engagement. Furthermore, I don’t really consider myself very artistically gifted but this position has also called into question the way I see art and what constitutes art so this project reflects that navigation as well.
Why did you decide to do what you did? In terms of the topic, while the struggles of Pinays cannot be made into a monolithic image, these dresses are my own personal attempt to creatively negotiate being a second generation, FilipinaAmerican woman in a supposedly “post-race” society that seeks to systematically erase the narratives of women of color. In terms of the medium and process, I wanted to do a project that would challenge me to lean into my own discomfort and reflect the type of growth this internship has instilled in me. Due to my background in student organizing, I am quite comfortable with holding workshops and public speaking, but my position as Joy De La Cruz Art
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F E AT U R E D : PIECE FROM FILIPINIANA: A COLLECTION OF MEMORIES | BY JOLLENA VERGARA COLLAS
What was the process of planning your SIP like? My SIP took much longer than I thought it would because each design required so much thought and reflection. All of the designs are grounded in historical events, periods, myths, and anecdotes so the research aspect was very time consuming as well, although the final project doesn’t reflect that aspect as much.
If you could have done an additional SIP, what would have been the topic? If I could’ve done an additional SIP, it would’ve been a spoken word workshop or performance art workshop for women of color.
Any other comments/thoughts about your SIP that you want to share? I dedicate my SIP to my grandmother, Adoracion. This work is an ode to her and my adoration of strong Pinays.
INTERN: Hye Young Choi POSITION: Common Ground Newsletter & Marketing SIP TITLE: Baggage Check & Claims: Sharing Our Immigration Stories What was/is your SIP about? Baggage Check & Claims: Sharing Our Immigration Stories” was an opportunity for the community to hear each other’s immigration journeys, struggles, and dreams. Through this event, my intentions were to complicate and debunk stereotypes and myths about immigration and immigrants, destigmatize the undocumented community, and celebrate the lives and contributions of immigrants.
Why did you decide to do what you did? I thought about my passions and what elicited the most emotions from me. I cared about immigrant lives. I was curious to know what kind of stories other undocumented students had to share. I thought of doing a SIP on less personal topics, but I kept returning to the idea of a storytelling night. There were not enough counter narratives about
undocumented immigrants, particularly API undocumented people. And many folks still did not know what kind of struggles we had to endure. I wanted people to know about the unjust and arbitrary chaos that we had and continue to have for our immigration system. I wanted people to realize the how powerful borders and exclusive citizenship “rights” were in creating injustices and disparities in our communities.
What was the process of planning your SIP like? Planning my SIP was an emotional journey. I was often driven to tears while excavating stories from myself and my family, especially when incorporating the story of my grandfather who passed away two weeks prior to the event. I learned again the violence of the broken immigration filipiniana: a collection of memories: jolena vergara collas baggage check & claims: sharing our immigration stories: hye young choi
system and revisited old traumas. Although the process was grueling, the actual event was affirming and healing, to my personal fortune. However, I feared that the process and outcome for other students at the event did not outweigh the amount of strength and vulnerability required to speak before all the attendees. My only hope is that it was a beneficial space for not just the audience, but the speakers as well, and that no one left feeling empty, invalidated, or unheard.
If you could have done an additional SIP, what would have been the topic? If I could have done an additional SIP, it would have been quite similar to Kevin’s topic, “BJ (Biology, Justice) and Beyond.” I love finding connections between biology, health, medicine, and social justice. I don’t think a lot of STEM majors realize how relevant social justice is to their fields. I wanted to teach people to care about structural and historical inequalities, question the assumed objectivity of their respective fields, and introduce them to my personal interest in medical anthropology.
F E AT U R E D : F LY E R F O R B A G G A G E C H E C K & C L A I M S BY HYE YOUNG CHOI
INTERN: Kevin Le POSITION: Campus Outreach & Engagement SIP TITLE: Biology, Justice, and Beyond! What was/is your SIP about? My project aims to bring science discussions back to examining race, gender, sexuality, migration, and class, and how the intersections impact communities differently in their biology and access to health resources. My project will also highlight current and past leaders and programs that address 107
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needs of underserved communities as well as provide the scientific basis tosupport the biological and health impacts from experiencing environmental racism, microaggressions, discrimination, harsh labor conditions, and more!
F E AT U R E D : PA N E L I S T S & PA R T I C I PA N T S AT BAGGAGE CHECK & CL AIMS
Why did you decide to do what you did? Last quarter, I took a biology class that fulfills the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion requirement for UCSD students. The class talked about how science is related to ethics, but failed to think critically about how past and current scientific methods have always marginalized communities of color. I absolutely hated the discussions in the class. Our
discussions have moved from thinking critically about underserved populations and access to resources to talking about the pros of colorblind societies, animal rights and health â€œissuesâ€? facing the middle class La Jolla population. The class empowered me to create my own project as an intervention to the kinds of discussions I heard in the class.
baggage check & claims: sharing our immigration stories: hye young choi biology, justice, & beyond!: kevin le
What was the process of planning your SIP like? I created a Tumblr, which would be continually be updated from here, onwards. My goal has been to organize a curriculum and resource guide for those seeking to learn more about the scientific basis for understanding impacts of racism, sexism, etc., and current STEM related projects that serve the underserved communities they work with. My blog will be have a combination of current events related to social justice in the STEM field as well as links to scientific articles supporting the blogâ€™s content. I will occasionally upload my own reflections. In addition to my own interests, I want my SIP to be reflective of what you all are interested in talking about. People will also be able to contribute to the curriculum and blog through directly commenting and asking questions on the post. Depending on my capacity, I would also like to meet up to have lunch or coffee with activists and leaders in STEM in San Diego to feature their work on my blog.
If you could have done an additional SIP, what would have been the topic? One of my other passions has always been about professionalism and helping others through career counseling, cover letter and resume building, and interview practicing. However, one of my biggest critiques about professionalism is its inaccessibility, particularly when race, class, gender, and sexuality are examined. A heterosexual white man coming from the middle class has different advantages and privileges over resources that I would not. One of the ways in which I have negotiated my passions is to find ways to incorporate into my SIP, alternative careers in science that uses social justice frameworks. I aim to keep my SIP focused around highlighting leaders of color and queer leaders in the science field and the work that they contribute to health equity and social justice.
Any other comments/thoughts about your SIP that you want to share? I intend my SIP to continue on living even after I graduate! I want my project to be active and updated for my peers and future students who are interested in the ways that science is related to the fight for justice. P.S. Look out for my sticker! I branded my project with a sticker that my femtor, Maggie Quan, designed for me. Meet me on b j a n d b e y o n d @ t u m b l r . c o m
F E AT U R E D : STICKER FOR BJ & BEYOND BY MAGGIE QUAN, FOR KEVIN LE
self-initiated project feature
INTERN: Maurx Salcedo Peña POSITION: Program Assistant SIP TITLE: Homebound(ed) What was/is your SIP about? My student initiated project (SIP) is about my struggle and journey to find “home” and what that means for me. The project will culminate into a sculpture, corresponding booklet with pictures+poems+descriptions, and a blog. “Home” is a concept, place, feeling, etc. that i have never been able to pinpoint and experience within my own life for many many reasons. The title of my SIP alludes to that difficulty. Homebound(ed) acknowledges two contradicting aspects of this project. I am “homebound” because I believe that I am on my way toward “home” although I have not found and cultivated that yet. It is a space, feeling, idea, etc. that I trust i will one day finish building and will be able to enjoy. Over the course of my life, I have encountered different people, spaces, animals, and experiences that have provided me with pieces of what home may mean to me and what i envision for my home. I am also “homebounded” or bounded to “home” because I have already had a “home” assigned to me by others. But what happens for those of us whose “homes” have also been sights of violence, invalidation, fear, loss, hurt, etc.? I am still tied and connected to the places that i have grown up in and want to acknowledge both the good and bad embedded in my experiences of “home”. I also want to validate my agency to make my own “home” and remove myself from toxic spaces (while still recognizing how spaces I am “bounded” to have impacted who I am and my experiences). The sculpture will be in the shape of a cactus or “Nopal” in spanish. Cacti have always been very significant within my Mexican family and culture.
For many Mexican people, the Nopal has become a symbol of resilience. I specifically picked a cactus to be my main sculpture vessel because it captures so many of the meanings, life parallels, and contradictions embodied within my struggle and project. For example, cacti survive harsh conditions and are able to bear delicious fruit amidst difficult times. I resonate so much with this ability to bring something sweet and beautiful into the world and even into spaces that are seen as “void of life”. Cacti can also hurt you via their needles. So even though I resonate so much with cacti because of my Mexican identity, that very same identity has also clashed and affected my other identities that are made to seem incompatible with being Mexican.
Why did you decide to do what you did? One of my goals for my internship at the CrossCultural Center has been to fully and sustainably immerse myself into my position and responsibilities. The SIP is a major component of that for me and I wanted to do something really personal. I originally was going to do a program on the same topic (because I also truly love putting on programs so much :3 ) but decided to change the medium into sculpture+other components because art has been such a critical aspect of who I am. Art saved my life countless times. Art has always been a very healing and generative outlet for me. And as a result, I realized that art was the best medium for this topic because it is something so personal and something I am still processing through. I chose my topic because I also want to challenge myself to continue unpacking and reflecting on these experiences in order to heal
biology, justice, & beyond!: kevin le homebound(ed): maurx salcedo peña
and get to a better place. I want to create that challenging yet healing space where I will really explore ideas of “home” in connection with my own experiences. Ultimately, I trust that my SIP will be meaningful and help me heal, laugh, smile, learn, grow, share and be challenged. And that’s really one of the biggest reasons why I decided to take the risk and do this topic.
What was the process of planning your SIP like? It has been a really fluid and gradual process for me. I really took my time and didn’t pinpoint a
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topic until about halfway through my internship. Finding relevant content and inspiration was a little difficult initially. I am really introspective and the process really picked up when I started asking myself the really difficult questions and trying to make sense of my feelings and experiences. I’ve gotten great support from some folks here at the Cross (indirectly & directly). Some of the most awesome moments so far have been those sudden realization moments of “OH MY GOSH. AHHHHAAAAA!!!” where things just click and make sense. I had a couple of those random moments where a friend, favorite show, etc. will say something that helps me build and further my
project in really meaningful ways. It’s been a lot of introspective and emotional work but so so so worth it. The idea for the sculpture actually came from earlier this quarter when I went to a panel of queer & trans artists of color. The artists and organizers of the event created a really beautiful and meaningful space that night. One of them talked about her experiences as a queer chicana and talked about her own connections to the significance of nopales, which sparked a lot of my creative flow. And I was fortunate enough to talk to her and the other artists who gave me a lot of motivation and inspiration to get back to my love of art!
If you could have done an additional SIP, what would have been the topic? To be completely honest, I thought through a lot of ideas and sorted through my own passions several times but this is the topic that most resonates with me and where I am at in my life right now. This SIP connects to so many of my other passions, identities, and experiences that I don’t think I would have it any other way. I am sure that if i were at a different point in my life then i would have picked whatever resonated with me most and that could have been something else. I am just happy with where I am at now and what I decided to do.
F E AT U R E D : H E A R T-S H A P E D N O PA L (C A C T U S ), A SYMBOL OF RESILIENCE BY MAURX SALCEDO PEÑA
homebound(ed): maurx salcedo peña
thoughtspots & passive programming boards
thoughtspots & passive programming boards
end of the year & all peopleâ€™s celebration
end of the year & all peopleâ€™s celebration
end of the year & all peopleâ€™s celebration
end of the year & all peopleâ€™s celebration
end of the year & all peopleâ€™s celebration
end of the year & all peopleâ€™s celebration