Josh Grice – 2014

ECAASU, this year located at Duke University, focused on the theme of “Rediscovery, Renaissance, Revolution.” The lectures I attended thoroughly epitomized this theme. Those lectures included “Authentically Asian American”, “Nuances of Micro-aggression” and “Rediscovering Tradition: Barong Tagalog”. One particular revelation I received was during the first session. Jennifer Ho, session speaker, opened the dialogue with the statement: “Race is a social construction. Actually, there is more diversity in the genetic code between members of the same race than between different races, isn’t that crazy?”

This confounded me. Never in my life have I thought about race in that way before. Since I was a kid, I’ve mentally-categorized people into different sets of generalized traits, depending on the individual’s nationality. In retrospect, though, this mental process wasn’t my fault. In today’s society, the media generalizes how different groups of people “should” behave, and as a result of a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts, future generations of youth tailor their goals, passions and hobbies to match those that the mainstream media portray. Progressing through the session, Professor Ho gave a fine, concluding example of race through an analogy of the value of the U.S. dollar. “The Dollar”…she firmly stated…”is a piece of paper. It only has value because there is a unified agreement as to its value. It is a social construct. If we, as a people, devalue the dollar, the U.S. economy would collapse.”

In relation to race archetypes, if we, as a people, deconstructed institutionalized forms of micro-aggressions of racism against all races, racism would cease to exist.

Martin Luther King Jr. said it right during his speech before the nation that one historic day in April, 1963. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Nearly 48 years later, the fight still continues on. The good news is, though, that every day that we have intentional, intellectual conversations about race relations and reconciliation, we draw closer and closer towards fulfilling Dr. King’s dream. On campus, I have a vision to see reconciliation take place on a micro-level. Facilitating public discussions during Asian American month, using a basis of insight gained at ECAASU 2012, will open doors for unified open-mindedness within the student body that will ultimately shift campus cultural norms for good.

Joshua Grice

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.