Monday, May 03, 2004
TO: TEAM ASIA
FROM: Executive Committee
This email is to announce the formation of a UCLA Team Asia subcommittee charged with outreach to the larger campus community. The Team Asia -- Calm Inscrutable Tendencies subcommittee (to be known as TACIT) will inaugurate a series of workshops and diversity awareness peer theater productions designed to educate students, faculty, and administrators as to our cultural tendency toward studying and learning while in college.
As you know, an administrator at the university, taking note of how much quieter campus has become with larger numbers of Asian students admitted, recently complained (Daily Bruin Online, 4/28) :
“Without generalizing, I would say that Asian Americans have not had a traditional role of activism in the United States. They believe the way to success is through education, so they might study hard at the expense of things others may deem relevant."
As we see it, the immediate task is to deal with this negativity by conveying to people the historical sources and social realities underlying the Asian tendency to identify "college" with academic effort toward some end, rather than with social protest, self-realization, and substance abuse.
But the larger task is to sensitize people to the sometimes demeaning speech to which Asian college students are subjected because of their particular cultural inheritance.
For instance, our first peer theater production, "Just Sitting There," will feature "Jody" and "Jill," Asian and non-Asian roommates, who are chatting in their room on a Friday night. Jill has just finished watching "Friends" and is now gathering her Walkman, cell phone, and makeup case in preparation for an evening out. She purses her lips as she looks at Jody, sitting quietly at her desk reading a large chemistry textbook.
Jill: Why are you just like sitting there?
Jody: I have a chem test on Monday.
Jill: There's this guy I told you about who like wants to meet you. He'll be at the party.
Jody: Sorry! I told you I probably wouldn't be able to go.
Jill: What is the matter with you? You never go out. You like never watch "Friends" with me. What are you doing here?
Jody: Well, Jill, it's a university. I'm studying.
Jill: Last week I asked you to skip like one class to check out this new Aveda Salon with me, and you acted like I was like nuts. I'm beginning to think you're nuts.
[At this point in the peer production, the actors will pause and invite audience members to comment on what they have seen. Diversity counselors will be on hand to facilitate exchange.]
Please congratulate the appointees to this important new subcommittee when you see them.