It wasn’t until I found myself in Le Marais over spring break, engrossed in a three-hour heart-to-heart over strong Parisian coffee, that I realized how fulfilled I was. There were no meetings to run to, no career plans to lose sleep over, and no seemingly endless to-do list to check off. Being a spontaneous tourist was a refreshing change from stretching myself thin with overcommitments and my own unrealistic expectations.
My roommate and I have a running joke, the perfect encapsulation of our on-going dialogue about our place in society as the children of immigrants. What do white people eat for dinner? She is Korean and I am Sudanese and we are visibly otherenough so that when someone looks at us, they automatically bring with them a set of assumptions and act out a set of prejudices.
In high school I worked at the local Santa Cruz County Immigration Center in Watsonville, California, an agricultural town inhabited largely by Mexican immigrants and their descendants. One service we offered was assisting clients in filling out immigration paperwork, as the majority of them did not speak English and a number of them could not read or write, even in their native language. A peculiarity that stood out to me was how, when filling out the race and ethnicity section, we instructed all our clients to check Hispanic for ethnicity and white for race. Clients were periodically confused at the race box: why did they check white when in the United States they were constantly made aware of their non-whiteness?
In our education system, students are not given an appropriate education in history. When they learn American history, much of the semester or year is spent learning about wars, presidents, and economic failure. They get a few days at the beginning of the course learning about the different Native American cultures and history, and about a week (or less) focusing on the Civil Rights Movement. Then the curriculum goes right back to “American” History. Continue reading
In recognition of Black History month, The Stripes has decided to now publish another Round Table discussion we recently hosted, one which sought to address the differences and divides between the community of recently immigrated African-Americans and the community of blacks who are historically (for multiple generations) American. For the discussion, we invited a range of participants, including those from each of the aforementioned communities, and also those who were removed from both of those communities (for example, the president of Princeton’s African Student group, who happens to be a white female).
During a long drive with my friend Jamal to New York, our conversation led to a discussion he had recently had with our friend Maria. He was recounting a debate he had with her over immigration, explaining that he was frustrated by her manner of expression. He felt that she had shut him out when she raised her voice, displayed no intention of really listening to him, and expressed too much emotion during their discussion. Surprised, I told him I had no idea what he was referring to but instead was reminded of the agreeable discussions I’ve had with her in the past. In time, we moved on to another topic, but the brief conversation lingered in the back of my mind. Continue reading
In an article in The Daily Princetonian back in November, Ben Dinovelli wrote about “forgetting” his Asian identity. As a person of Asian descent adopted by White parents in the US, Dinovelli talks about how integration into campus culture is difficult because he feels the need to either embrace his Asian heritage or be part of a larger White society at Princeton. He seems to feel as if he is an outsider to both cultures and is actively trying to decide in which culture he’d be more comfortable. Dinovelli is dealing with a question that Asian Americans on campus often have: how does being an active member of the Asian community at Princeton affect you? Continue reading
In honor of Valentine’s Day and Black History Month, The Stripes was excited to capture some of the action at the Black Love discussion this past Wednesday in our very first multimedia special! To respect the event as a safe/open space, we did not include audio from the actual discussion and instead interviewed students afterwards.
When I was a child, I wanted to be a writer.
My reasons were not heroic. I did not initially see writing as a way for me to think about my role as an African immigrant in America. As a child, I did not fully understand how the lack of black heroes and heroines in the books I read affected my writing and my self-worth. For me, writing served was just a fun outlet.
I recently came across numbers from the Pew Research Center indicating that nearly 40% of Asian American women marry out of their race, in comparison to the national average of about 14.5% for both sexes. Continue reading