Before my trip to the Mojave desert for Thanksgiving break, a friend of mine wished me a safe trip and to lookout for Indian spirits, then proceeded to do a faux chant.
Claremont Mckenna College hosts a yearly diversity and inclusion discussion as a part of orientation for the first year students. Faculty and staff join in on a two hour discussion that is geared to understanding the vast array of identities that people have on campus. The discussion hopes to breed a more inclusive learning environment students and staff.
During a discussion in one of my CMC philosophy classes, the professor was referring to one student as an example in an analogy. During the example, he said “Now if [name redacted] was disabled for example..” and then chuckled for a moment. Maybe I misinterpreted exactly what he was chuckling about, but it sure felt to me like he was laughing at the prospect of a student with a disability. I felt really unsettled by this moment.
This semester, a 5C student started a secret meme group on Facebook. The group was discovered to be sharing memes with explicitly racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic content. When the page was reported to the administration, college officials denounced the content shared, but ultimately classified the group and its content as protected under free speech. The student code states that speech that is “abusive and insulting rather than a communication of ideas” is considered harassment and will not be permitted on campus. It baffles me that the college doesn’t consider racism abusive.
I was eating lunch with a project team member. She was eating some Vietnamese food with chopsticks and having a hard time because she wasn't used to using them. Then she said, "oh my god, this is why Asians are so skinny… it's because it's impossible to put food in your mouth with chopsticks."
I was eating with an acquaintance of mine in the dining hall. This person had filled a whole bowl of fruit, eaten one piece, and left the rest of it. I come from an immigrant family and I've been raised to never waste food, so it hurt me to see someone make that choice. I suggested to this person that they either try to eat more of it or take less food next time. Their response was, "oh my god, you're just like my grandpa… I'm gonna call you that now."
A couple LGBTQIA+ acquaintances asked me about my sexuality. I didn't give myself a label, but I mentioned that I had scored a 2 on a Kinsey scale test in the past. One of them who identified as pansexual said, "oh, so you're bi-curious." This statement made my identity feel erased, since bi-curious is a label used for heterosexual individuals. This was essentially telling me that I was straight, even though I am clearly not exclusively heterosexual. I was too shy to respond with anything besides, "uh… I don't know?" Thankfully, the other person corrected the first and said, "no, I'm pretty sure that means she's bisexual."
A white acquaintance noticed me eating food with chopsticks. I rarely use chopsticks at home, but I thought it would make sense to use them to eat an Asian tofu dish. Their reaction was, "oh my god, you're SO Asian." I was surprised based on a couple factors. First, this person openly considered themselves an intersectional feminist, so I would expect this type of comment to be past them. Second, I have received comments my whole life from other Asians for not being Asian enough or being "white-washed," so if it wasn't enough that I felt like I didn't belong with other Asians, I now knew that I couldn't fit in with white people either.
I had missed class because I was sick, so I went to my professor's office hours to catch up on the material. I was having trouble understanding the concepts and the professor started to get frustrated. He made a point to mention how the questions I was asking was on concepts we had "already learned a while ago," which wasn't polite to say, but I tried to ignore it. I was also trying to keep in my cough, but I eventually let a cough out. The professor said, "that is the most pathetic cough I've ever heard." I couldn't respond because I was so confused. Was he suggesting that I was faking a cough to get his sympathy? Why would he feel the need to point it out? He didn't show any sign that he was just joking around. I eventually left his office, feeling very invalidated and emotional. I never went to his office hours ever again, because I was afraid that he would assume that I was a delinquent who was skipping class for no reason and trying to make it up in office hours.
At the end of the term, me and my partner was just about to finish our group project. I had taken on most of the responsibility for the project while he seemed to focus on other things.. When our work was done, I told him that I was going to upload the final version to our class site. Before I got the chance to do so, he told me to wait because he needed to "fix my foreign grammar". I did not appreciate that comment