Monday, November 16, 2015

My Thoughts on the Demonstrations at Occidental College

I want to preface this by saying that what I am about to say is my opinion and I understand that it may be different from the narrative but I hope that people who do read what I have to say don't take it negatively. I write this in a posture of love and care and not in a place of ignorance or indifference. I recognize that my experience is in no way shape or form like anyone else's and that I do have privilege as an Asian and as a person. I welcome dialogue and I welcome critics but I ask for the sake of discussion and discourse that for those who do comment to refrain from harsh language and cursing.

I am afraid. I am afraid of speaking out, of posting, of letting my voice be heard. As someone who does have privilege. Who does witness discrimination and has been discriminated on, I know that there is injustice here and everywhere. However, I am afraid to speak because I know what I say doesn't follow the narrative. I'm afraid to speak because I know my thoughts and experiences differ and as a result, it is possible that people will misconstrue or misinterpret what I believe. I am afraid to speak because people potentially will ignore what I say and focus on the fact that I have privilege and that I have no right to speak. I'm afraid of being labeled as a member of dissent when I believe in many things that are being discussed. For example, I have lost faith at Oxy's administration, but I don't believe that as a result we must verbally harass and publicly shame individuals. I don't believe that if we are calling attention to a point of view that we must completely disregard another. I am afraid to argue, because while I do support the need for racial equity and almost every point on the list of "demands", I don't believe that the methods and means of what went on is going to achieve that. I want it to be clear: I support the need for racial equity. I support the following "demands" from CODE: 2 - 8, 11, 13 and 14. I believe there is so much injustice on this campus and in this world, and that there needs to be change. I hope to be a part of it, but I don't know how, especially with the methods in which students on this campus are currently applying.

To me, freedom of speech is an amazing thing. Yet I believe there are times when we champion ones speech, we push down another just because of disagreement. On Thursday my heart broke one way when I saw the demonstration because I saw so much unity, and yet my heart broke another way when the language being used was so hurtful and violent that I didn't know if I could stay. I was uncomfortable and scared and when I prayed, I cried. I wept because I didn't know what to do. I find vitriolic language to be counterproductive and often times unnecessary.

As a Christian I am taught to love each other including my enemies. I am taught to see the oppression being carried out upon me, and love my oppressor. I am taught to seek justice and reconciliation because that is what Jesus did. I am taught to pray and care and also fight injustice. Yet I fall silent because I don't believe in an impeachment or forced resignation is an appropriate solution. I fall silent because I don’t agree an occupation of administration buildings will help with the demands. If the administration can’t work or meet, how can we expect the demands to be carried out? I get people are angry and fed up and scared, I get it that people are tired of waiting and hoping and to be honest I don't know if there is a right solution. All I know and pray is that Jesus has done so much already to rid the sin of this world, and I feel resorting to scare tactics and violence, just puts us in a never ending cycle. Matthew 5:38-48 tells us to turn the other cheek and to love our enemies. However unrealistic this may be, it's still something I hope that I can continue to strive for and to encourage those around me to do as well.

I hope that for those who read this and disagree with me, first have patience. If I am wrong, talk to me about it. Don't rant on this and post abusive epithets. Come to me and talk with me. We will probably disagree but that doesn't mean I don't believe in your points or seek to invalidate or obstruct it (except in the case of violence which I am seriously against). Second, please be graceful. I hope this to be a meaningful dialogue and discourse and if someone else posts and comments something that disagrees with you, don't immediately jump the gun and accuse them of something that in most cases they're not. Finally, I ask that we all be open minded. One of things that really encourages me is the call to listen. To become cognizant and aware of what is going on. Listening is something all sides must do. Listening to the narrative, listening to the opposing answer, listening to the dissent. I believe everything has something to contribute in some form.

Finally, to my family, friends, peers, acquaintances and just people that I am around. I am sorry for any injustice that I have brought upon you intentionally and unintentionally. I am sorry for the times I am "trying to be funny" or "just joking" because I know I can be hurtful. I ask that you have patience and grace and love me. I ask that you call me out and remind me that what I am doing is hurtful. I am a broken person, and all I ask is that you see that before everything else.