Hope you enjoyed your pizza, Tuesdays! I had fun picking random toppings :D See you all at Retreat!

How do race and class intersect in people’s experiences? What are ways we can increase solidarity and collective leadership to combat racism and racial tensions at USC? In the community?

Blog question:

How do race and class intersect in people’s experiences? What are ways we can increase solidarity and collective leadership to combat racism and racial tensions at USC? In the community?


Welcome to your last week of CIRCLE! I hope this semester has been as transformative for you as it has been a learning experience for me. This week we’re talking about Race, and bringing in some insightful guest speakers from around the USC campus.

Onto the readings! 

Required reading:

"The Problem of the Color Line in America’s Schools"

"Ya Basta! Reflections on Asian and Latino Workers in the Immigrant Rights Movement"

Recommended Reading:

"Race-Ing Occupy Wall Street"

"Is Recent ‘Black on Asian’ Violence a Hate Crime?"

"New Report Documents RAcism and Islamophobia Since 9/11


Fascinasians: What does it mean to be Asian American?



It means that you’re bi-cultural: both Asian and American, yet neither at the same time depending where you are. In Asia, you’re American; in America, you’re Asian.

It means that you’re a perpetual foreigner: it doesn’t matter that you were born…

(via fascinasians)

Source: voguedissent

There are times, I think, when all of this just seems overwhelming. With a new section each week, we are asking each of you to grapple with things that you may not have encountered before and I completely understand that this may not be easy.

But, then again, who said it was going to be?

Although you have to find the balance with this, some part of me believes that, as investigators, we should be a little overwhelmed for it is in this moment that we begin to grasp just how large the problem really is. What was once so clear becomes infinitely murky and we struggle to find a foothold. The issues that Asians Americans face are complex and seemingly never-ending. How do I go about dismantling the myriad problems that we encounter every day? Will I even make a difference? Should I even try?

It’s taken me a few years to get to where I am now but I have to come to believe that the answer is a resounding “Yes.” I get called out for being impractical because I’m not as interested in deliverables, action items, and long-range plans; instead, I’m interested in the transformation that occurs on an individual level when one decides that he or she is capable of making a difference.

And the thing that they never tell you in school is that you don’t have to change the world in a grand way on your first go. Making a difference isn’t about spectacle and scale so much as it is about intent and meaning. There a million ways in which one can change the world on an everyday basis that have profound and lasting implications and it is these sorts of actions that I often think about when we come to issues of sexuality and gender in CIRCLE.

By now, all of you have gone through the exercise where we attempted to place ourselves in the mindset of someone who does not identify as straight. Although our session exhibited moments of laughter and sympathy, I hope that the exercise also went beyond this to generate a feeling of empathy. I get that it’s a bit heavy to think about some of these things on a night when you are coming off of class and looking forward to homework, but I would challenge my session to think about how they would react if they couldn’t just go home after all was said and done. How might you feel if you really had to tear off the corners of your star?

The thing that we strive to teach our students in CIRCLE is that all of these issues are linked (and, yes, messy) but that you can also apply what you’ve learned from one week to another. What if you thought about sexuality like you think about ethnicity? Students in our session can’t just stop being Asian American—just like other students can’t stop being GLBTIQ. How can you map your need to justify your worth as an Asian onto things like gender or sexuality?

But even if that’s a bit too heavy for you, I do want to mention something that I brought up at the conclusion of our session. Issues of gender and sexuality figure heavily into what I do, along with my experiences in college admission and psychology. I spend a lot of time thinking about self-harm/mutilation, eating disorders, depression, restlessness and projects like It Gets Better (which I can happily discuss the faults of). I spend a good deal of my time trying to think about ways to change educational policy to help students to recognize and feel of worth; I think about bullying in schools but also bullying on Perez Hilton, TMZ, and even by Dan Savage.

One of the things that I have learned in my years of college admission is that an increasing number of students are suffering from something that I call “floating duck syndrome”—on the surface, students are serene and perfect but, underneath the water, their legs are churning. Needless to say, students have some issues. I don’t mean to imply that students will not be able to overcome these things, but I must admit that I was shocked to learn about what they were dealing with.

However, I should also mention that I am incredibly hopeful for the generation of students that is following in my footsteps. I am hopeful that students will learn to brave the dark places of themselves, secure in the knowledge that friends and family will always be there to draw them back. I am hopeful that students will come to understand who they are and accept themselves for that. And, I am hopeful that students will learn to step outside of themselves in order to offer their help to those in need. I am lucky to be in a situation where I can empower future students to realize that, although occasionally overwhelmed by adversity, they are all survivors in some respect:  any person who has ever been teased, ridiculed, outcast, or made to simply feel less than is a survivor and can embrace that. And, because you are a survivor, you have been imbued with the power to tell your story to others in similar situations in order to pull them through. Ultimately, I am also hopeful because I have learned that young people are incredibly resilient and innovative—you can accomplish some amazing things if given half a chance.

And one of those amazing things is to realize just how much power you have. As I mentioned before, you don’t have to change the world overnight but I challenge you to realize that, just by being yourself, you possessed an incredible amount of agency:  each and every one of you has the power to keep at least one point of that star intact. If they so choose, the you have the power to potentially save a life—and how amazing is that?

This week you were all given stars, but the thing that you need to realize—as cliché as it might sound—is that you are all, in your own way, stars. Go out there and burn bright. Shine like you’ve never had any doubt.


Helloねこ: Hawaii Five-O: Helping or Hurting Asian Americans


I will be the first person to admit that I love the new Hawaii Five-O series. Every Monday I gather with my Hawaii friends to watch the show. We comment on their unimpressive attempts to speak Pidgin, question how they plan to get to Tantalus by taking the road toward Makapu`u, and try our…

(via helloneko-deactivated20130718)


Hi Thursdays!

I hope you enjoyed our guest speaker, Saima from South Asian Network, and the resulting discussion regarding gender stereotypes!

Additionally, your TAs and Lily ran some great activities: “Coming Out Stars” is an exercise that hopefully put you in the shoes of an LGBT person going through the coming out process.

Blog Thoughts:

How do you compare with the APA gender stereotype and how does that make you feel? How has the intersection of race, gender and sexuality affect your life?


API Equality LA

contact@apiequalityla.org (323) 860-7348


LGBT Resource Center at USC

lgbt@usc.edu (213) 740-7619


South Asian Network (SAN)

saninfo@southasiannetwork.org (562) 403-0488


National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)

http://www.napawf.org (510) 622-8136



Yellow Fever by WongFuProductions

Here is a short video addressing the stereotypes of Asian American men.

Got no game?

(via helloneko-deactivated20130718)


Mammoths and Mondays: On self-defense


This is something I’ve seen reblogged around tumblr and I thought I would repost this, especially after gender and sexuality week. Our often culture tells women to prevent being raped (or even blames victims) instead of addressing rape culture itself, misogyny, sexual assault, etc. It’s not fair,…

(via michellethursdayta)



“advice for those of asian descent living in this country: use your voice and to not predetermine what that means, meaning dont believe that using your voice is to become a poet, or to become a filmmaker, or to become an actor or politician but to rather begin using your voice everyday, at school, at home, at work, to learn how to navigate your relationships with people by expressing who you really are and letting those who want to accept you and letting those who dont want to accept you go their way. but continue using your voice in finding where you best fit.

you can’t control the world. all you gotta do is keep doing what you’re doing. as long as you are eating, you have people that love you, and you feel like you keep growing, then that’s all that matters. it’s too much of a headache.”

(via fascinasians)

Source: allthatremainsislauren