A Space of Belonging – AAPI month

My very first post on this blog was: “What does it mean to be Asian-American?” Now, almost 18 months later, while some of the ideas in this blog post has stuck with me, others I have discarded. In honor of May, AAPI month, I would like to reflect on my experiences as a second-gen immigrant and how I have begun to form an answer to this question.

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Failure of Our Civic Classes

With the urgent desire to increase American competitiveness globally, especially considering the tech race with China, our school system is putting heavy emphasis on STEM education, particularly the develop of artificial intelligence. The establishment of the Committee on STEM Education and the Every Student Succeeds Act portray the federal government’s desire to increase accountability in k-12 schools, with the ultimate desire to maintain American world leadership.

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What’s happening at the border?

U.S. Border Patrol | ABC News

The youth internet seems indifferent about what is happening at the border…until memes started circulating about ICE’s arrest of 21 Savage. Most people laughed at the possibility for 21 Savage to be British (although, this claim is allegedly confirmed). Yet, 21 Savage’s arrest only further proves that the cruelty of ICE deportation’s is not just a myth, but a reality that affects people who have already made the United States their home.
Additionally, Trump in his State of the Union Address spent a good fraction of his time rallying for a border wall and using fear as a tactic to oppose loosening immigration restrictions. But, what is actually happening at the border and to immigrants?

Chaos at the Border:

Threat for DACA Dreamers:

  • Regents of the University of California v. DHS required the administration to keep DACA for now but
  • High likelihood of a Supreme Court ruling → could decide DACA’s fate next summer
  • Recent increase in DACA renewals thanks to activists!

Public Charge Restrictions:

  • Public Charge restrictions can bar those who are likely to rely on government benefits for their primary support
  • New changes alter what it means to be a “public charge.”
  • Lowered standards to block people who might become a public charge at any time
  • List of public benefits expanded (Medicaid, care at home, Medicare savings, SNAP, housing assistance). Immigrants who rely on these benefits may not be allowed to enter
  • New factors included (too old 62+, too young <17, limited English speaking, health conditions, etc)
  • These restrictions promote racism and ableism

Construction of the border wall:

  • Trump wants $5 billion, which caused the longest shutdown in U.S. history due to congressional gridlock
  • The border wall breaks laws including: Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Solid Waste Disposal Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
  • Could cause the next government shutdown if Congress doesn’t reach a budget deal by February 15
  • Tell your representative to not fund the border wall

Now, the arrest of thousands of immigrants can be ignored just as easily as one can’t help but notice the magnitude of the administration’s immigration policies. Ultimately, the decision is up to you, but being able to turn a blind eye to the humanitarian crisis comes from a position of privilege.

Say NO to the New Youth Jail #People’sMoratorium

If you have not already heard, the city of Seattle plans to construct a New Youth Jail. Here is why you should OPPOSE construction and the steps you can take:

Background

    • Original plan: $200-210 million will be allocated to funding a new juvenile detention center in Seattle.
    • 55% of voters approved it in 2012, as it was described as a “Children and Family Justice Center,” which is misleading and prompted voters to cast an approving ballot.
    • Current estimates show that funding the jail will actually cost $225-230+ million, which is significantly more than what was approved.

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The “Right Type” of Student

As an extension to the debate around affirmative action and one of my latest posts, a key issue to address is how college admissions choose their minority students. Studies show that some admissions officers cherry pick how diversity is represented in their post-secondary institution. The main conclusion drawn is that admissions officers are more responsive and favor persons of color who are “deracialized and racially apolitical than they are to those who evince a commitment to antiracism and racial justice,” especially in favor of individuals interested in STEM.

While some would argue that favoring STEM is not a practice that is specific to students of color, that does not excuse admissions officers from dictating who is the right type of minority student.

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“China” as the Demonized Other

China is everywhere in today’s headlines, whether it is the trade war, the Chinese government’s assimilation camps for Uyghurs, Xi Jinping’s “dictatorship,” or the conspiracy theories following the mysterious disappearance of Fan Bingbing. No matter the topic, all these articles associate China with the same thing: Communism.

The trope of China as a superpower is far from a new one. After all, China was arguably the most advanced civilization for a thousand years. China as a threat, however, can be traced back to the Chinese Communist Revolution in the 1940’s. Despite economic transformation and the emergence of China as a regional superpower, China is arguably portrayed as even more threatening in contemporary society. Perhaps this proves that America will never be fully willing to allow another country to become the global hegemon; China will always be something Other.

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Why Affirmative Action Matters

In light of recent lawsuits against Harvard, and the increasing dissent against affirmative action in my own community, I decided to write this very extensive post.

Let’s get a few things straight: I believe affirmative action is a net good system with some current flaws that exist in its current operations. Yes, I am an Asian-American, but my personal identity should not excuse racist or discriminatory beliefs.

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Subtle Forms of Resistance

Berkeley, California: a historically-known site of leftist thought and youth political engagement.

Yet now, during the information era, as a prestigious university just one hour north of Silicon Valley, revolutionary socialists are replaced by computer science geeks and prospective molecular biology majors. Artificial intelligence prototypes “run” on the streets, as if a glimpse into the dystopia of the future.

Nevertheless, as I roam around the UC Berkeley campus, I still catch traces of radical thought –

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