responding to ucsd's "compton cookout"

This isn't directly Asian American-related, and yet in a lot of ways, it is... The controversy: a recent off-campus party at UC San Diego boasted the unfortunate theme of "Compton Cookout," which urged partygoers to dress and act "ghetto": UCSD race tensions rise after 'Compton Cookout,' use of n-word.

Racist, ignorant theme parties are nothing new -- this nonsense happens all the time, at frat parties on college campuses all over the country, with varying degrees of protest or uproar depending on if/who hears about them. Why does this keep happening? People keep letting it happen.

Like I said, the incident in question didn't have much to do with Asian stereotypes, but it affects us in a very real way. I know I write about a lot of things, asking people to care about this or that. I'm asking my friends, at UCSD and beyond, to really stand up and pay attention to what is happening here.

According to this article, UC San Diego administrators met with more than 100 students who gathered last week to protest the "Compton Cookout." Is it too much for me to hope that there was a significant number of Asian Americans among that group of concerned, outraged students?

Honestly, I understand why Asian students could easily slide in complacence when the moment arises to get angry about... well, anything. I don't know the exact numbers, but Asians comprise a majority of UCSD's student population. But this is significant, considering that the school's Black population is under 2%.

Hell, we know what it's like to be on the receiving end of stereotypes and racial mocking, then feel a complete lack of support -- both from within and outside the APA community -- when we try to speak out about such incidents. This is one of those times to stand in solidarity, not only because you've been there, and you get it, but also simply because it's the right thing to do.

I just want to leave you with a link to this letter from Dr. Jody Blanco of UCSD's Department of Literature -- written to Filipino American students, but completely applicable to all APA groups -- on why it's important to stand as allies with UCSD's African American students: Blanco: In Solidarity with 1.3% of UCSD.

UPDATE: Here's an online petition that's been circulating on behalf of Asians and Asian Americans who stand in solidarity with all who are protesting the racist incidents at UCSD and, more importantly, the systemic forces that support such incidents. Read it and sign it here: Asian-American and Asians of the UC community in solidarity with black students at UCSD.

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