I spent my time at the Willard Straight sit-in eavesdropping on a discussion about students of color that didn’t care about it. I didn’t pull a muscle to realize they were referencing Asian-American students. Honestly, I was there for only half of the sit-in, so I am part of the problem. Part of this column is to offer an excuse (there are none) but also challenge the Asian-American identity in terms of racial justice. My dad emailed me a Washington Post article and said we needed to talk.
Open queer people declare their pride amid rainbow flames while homophobic and transphobic masses still exist. But I’m not proud. I’m jealous. Pride parades remind me of a Russell Peters bit. His dad momentarily tunes to one on television and sees some brown boys.
A Cornell acceptance letter lulled me into The Best Little Brown Boy in The World dream. Now drunk on my parents’ pride (which I had sacrificed my adolescence to obtain), I could finally say “Cornell” to that Naila Aunty. I lapped up the devotion, especially since it came after my much gossiped-about high school rejection from Brown Hogwarts (my mother boasted of my application despite its patent lack of magic). Dreams fade. My parents believed The Best Little Brown Boy in The World should slice brains and, to preserve my momentum, I agreed.
I was obsessed with gods when I was a kid. I was raised detachedly as a Hindu, in which we had our own in-house puja every few months, went to the temple even less often and still ate beef when we had a hankering. I viewed my participation in Hinduism as an infrequent chore, but entertained a curious fascination with Hindu mythology. I devoured every edition of a comic book series that transformed the timeless and boundless sagas into picturized, bite-sized narratives. I took to the task of printing out pictures of gods, framing them and placing them somewhere in the house to bolster the divinity of our family.
For a long time since then I projected my insecurities on others. I felt like the only true way for me to be gay was to be unapologetically “fierce.” I acted and appeared as a stereotypical gay man and cut out anyone who I felt wasn’t with that. I began to see homophobia where it wasn’t. It took some hard looks in the mirror to see that me at my “fiercest” was me at my most repressed, most pretending to be something I’m not in blind pursuit of something that I thought I should be.
Jiddu Krishnamurthy was a prominent figure in eastern Indian wisdom throughout the 20th century. He believes everything, including all life, is interconnected. He would likely recoil at “eastern Indian wisdom” because it demarcates specific arbitrary groups. “Eastern,” “Indian” and the like. Social psychology tells us that as an in-group becomes more mobilized and tight-knit, the atmosphere is increasingly ripe for conflict with out-groups — individuals seek out similarities and in turn segregate differences.
The scariest film I have ever seen. I had only lived for seven years when I watched it but thirteen years and dozens of horror movies later, most of which rattled me to my core, The Boy Who Was Swallowed by the Drug Monster still checks out. Vince Jackson’s parents are getting a divorce. He befriends a miscreant who lets him borrow his “magic pipe” (pot) so he can feel better. Eventually, the miscreant says Vince must start coughing up, so he starts stealing money from his parents to keep getting high.
“Everything happens for a reason.” This is a mantra I repeat to myself whenever my world is shaken. It’s a recitation I do with foresight, knowing it will help to eventually make clear the vast improvements the simple passage of time can create. I’m not there yet, but I hope to be soon. But, everything happens for a reason. Whatever happened was in the past, and in some way, it could have been for the best.
Everyone has dreams, and a college degree has always been seen as a crucial means to reaching them. As a result, more people than ever are trying to obtain higher education, and they have good reason to believe that the quality and prestige of the college they attend can have a significant impact on the quality and prestige of the work they do after graduation. Controversy arises when it’s deemed that certain groups of people have an unfair advantage in the admissions process. I have listened to engineers — male engineers — lament the school’s allegedly lower standards for female applicants. They had to work extremely hard to gain acceptance to Cornell’s engineering program, while others, they claim, just “walked in” because they “have vaginas.” Despite the misogyny conveyed by this language, however, unqualified girls in engineering are the least of our concerns, when one considers the apparent injustice done when black and Latinx applicants with credentials inferior to those of white applicants are given what those white applicants deem preferential treatment in college admissions.
The United States of America is currently “The Divided States of America” according to TIME. How did we get here? Part of it has to do with emotion. Much has been made about the role of emotions in the most recent presidential election. They played an important role in shaping a massive populist movement headlined by Donald Trump, one that underscored the need to retain some semblance of a ‘greater’ American past in which its foundational promise as a nation to be open-minded and big-hearted is not made.