JEONG | In Memoriam: Youth and Idealism

My favorite book in elementary school was The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, a chapter book about a ragtag group of orphans merrily pickpocketing their way through Venice á la Oliver Twist. Upon finishing the book, I knew there were  two certainties in life: first, that I, too, would one day run away from home to join a scheming, yet kind band of thieves, and that Venice was undoubtedly the most beautiful city in the world. Although I had never so much as seen a picture of it, I became smitten with the city. For class art projects, I would sketch a colorful metropolis completely submerged in water and stick figures rowing their way door-to-door on long gondolas. What is important wasn’t so much that I was showing symptoms of early-onset kleptomania  (I also enjoyed Ocean’s Eleven a little too much as a kid), but that I was exhibiting  a precursor to the romanticism that came to define my adolescence — where ideas and feelings held more gravitas than reason and rationality.

JEONG | #15 in US News & World Report, #1 in our Hearts

As students at Cornell, we are bound by the mundane, yet special details of everyday life in Ithaca. The drunken freshman nights ordering Nasties chicken tenders, the Goldwin Smith lectures in 95 degree August afternoons, the hopelessness of trudging up Libe slope in L.L. Bean duck boots — these are dues every Cornellian needs to pay to receive their diplomas. However, the one fundamental, central bond that bring us together as a community is the fact that all of us were rejected from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford. And while we’re at it — probably Columbia, MIT and UChicago. This principal truth — the Cornell Inferiority Complex — is the essence of the campus’ heartbeat, and without it, our identity as an institution would forever be lost.

JEONG | Balancing the Affirmative Action Tightrope

The summer of 2017 will be one for the history books. It was a truly a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows. My hometown Golden State Warriors had undoubtedly the greatest postseason in NBA history, but at the same time, the South Korean men’s national team looked like the Denver Nuggets of international soccer. And last month, President Trump announced that the Department of Justice would investigate the discrimination of Asian students in college admissions, only to announce a few weeks later that he would unleash “fire and fury” on my peninsula. Although I could do without the nuclear warfare, the role of Asian Americans in the affirmative action discussion is an issue that hits pretty close to home.

JEONG | Don’t Tell Me What Needs to Be Offensive to Me

It has been over a year since the Student Assembly passed a resolution to introduce a new Asian American Studies major. You can see the profound progress we’ve made on the Fall 2017 Class Roster, where you will find a whopping two classes listed under the department. If progress doesn’t come in the form of AAS 2100: South Asian Diaspora and AAS 2620: Introduction to Asian American Literature, I don’t know what does. The dearth of courses on the Asian diaspora in America represents a larger issue facing Asian Americans today. We are silenced by the dominant culture, and we refuse to be silenced any longer.

JEONG | Politicizing Our Superheroes

However, it is because these superheroes represent the greater values of our society that they can become symbols of our politics. It is interesting that superhero movies have become modern political allegories. Most people don’t go to the movie theaters for profound philosophical discussion on Locke and the social contract. Rather, most summer flicks are a few hours of escapism in the form of uncomplicated Hollywood drama.

JEONG | Change in a Color-Blind America

Furthermore, we must look at racism not as a series of interpersonal violations, but a structural system of disadvantage that is founded on political and economic exploitation fully understood only through the lens of history.

JEONG | Seeking Emersonian Fulfillment at a Corporate Cornell

When I was first applying to college, I fell in love with the idea of going to a school where I could see the stars at night. Having been born in a city and raised in suburbia, I imagined something idyllic and romantic about living in a rural city completely removed from the rest of the world and from the noisy humdrum of daily life. It wasn’t just about being out in the nature; it was a symbol for the education and intellectual environment I wanted — an oasis of thought and individuality. However, the truth is that Cornell is a neoliberal, corporate institution designed to churn out human capital in the form of polished, Ivy League-educated graduates ready to tackle the toughest models Wall Street has to throw at them. The stream of freshmen walking down the bridge from North Campus before 11:40 classes resembles an industrial assembly line — we walk from class to class, and each class serves as a mechanical arm preparing student after student for assimilation into the corporate world.