The most alarming thing I’ve heard since coming to America is, “Since when were you so anti-China?” This came from my brother, who can tell me the angles six different international news agencies take on various issues, while I — reliant on my free student subscription of The New York Times — could reference only one. I decided that my brother’s balance on issues is something I need to learn from, as shown when he responded on what he thought a friend’s stance on Hong Kong was with: “Pro-stability.”
The tendency of American college activism to personify governments and populations into single entities with moral character is something I’ve since tried to distance myself from. In particular, the way this habit voids “the enemy’s” perspective. When I juxtapose this tendency with our campus climate’s simultaneous desire to give her diverse student body equal cultural voice, I am puzzled by the contradiction and cognizant of the way it politicizes aspects of culture that I grew up believing are better unpoliticized. Yet, reflecting on recent Rosh Hashanah and Mid-Autumn Festival festivities, I realize I too am homogenizing cultural expression when I carry this belief.