As a college freshman, I learned two basic rules about the college life about half a week or so into my first semester. 1) Academics measures as a minor part of the college experience and 2) Alcohol is near inescapable on any campus. Now the first one might be specific to my college experience, but I can say with a near guarantee that the latter is a prevalent fact at all universities throughout the states. You can not hope to curb it, and you can hardly hope to contain it, and soon it becomes a strange ritual overlooked as a norm.
But once in a while, it rears its ugly head to show just why the legal drinking age remains at such an abnormally high age. Last Thursday, on the campus of Tufts University, there was a “bias incident” involving a very drunk freshman, a couple of students from the Korean Student Association, and violence. Which sparked a very mature response from the Tufts Student Body (via Facebook).
I’ve been trying to contact some personal friends at Tufts, but to no avail, to see what the general mood of the campus was. From what I’ve seen, the Tuft’s community as a whole was torn apart and is taking very active and progressive steps to rebuild itself for the better. Still, more troubling then the obvious abuse of alcohol is the prevalence and persistence of such incidents occurring at various college campuses across the United States (see Dartmouth, and Harvard in the last couple of months), add that on top of the recent surge of violence involving Asian Americans you’ve got a big, big problem for the APA community. I know that Harvard is planning a panel of discussions to address this exact issue, but being on a college campus forces me to be doubtful of its success.
I recently posed a question to all writers of 8asians.com to the effect of “Do you believe Asian/Asian American students across the United States are becoming more apathetic to Asian American issues?” We connected the accepted fact of a growing apathy to a couple of issues such as socioeconomics, geography (West Coast = Less interest; save Berkeley apparently), comfort levels, and so on but the general answer remained a yes. As a student interested in the progression of the Asian American Identity, I find myself in a small minority of students that seem to actually care and it only forces me to wonder why. I guess Asia America has become more comfortable with its role in society, but if these incidents have shown us anything, that comfort is nothing but a facade. I would love to attend the conference at Harvard because to solve such an issue seems difficult, especially because it seems like the only way to draw awareness and prevent future acts of bias is if such bias incidents hit close to home.