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Group 4

Cece Lee's picture

English Names

I am a customs person and we have just welcomed several new members onto our hall this past week. One of these students is an international student from another dorm and my first years have been very sweet and accommodating to her and I was very touched by their actions. Most international students go by an English name for comfort’s sake and it cuts down on confusion when names are called out during class or when interacting with people. I too go by an English name because my name is constantly mispronounced/misspelled and the mispronunciation of my name is actually another Korean name and so I would never know if someone was calling me or another person and would cause A LOT of confusion. My Korean name is a very big part of my identity and I value what my name stands for because it shows my heritage and the history of my family (most Korean names have unique Chinese roots and belong to certain regions of the country and so lineages can be easily traced). I feel as if we lose a bit of our identity when we decide to go by an English name because most students pick a name that they have read in a book, heard on tv or in a movie or was given to them by friends or strangers. What really touched me was that my first years really made an effort to learn our newcomer’s real name and other international students’ names on our hall. Being called by our real names brings, at least to me, comfort and I feel little bit more ‘whole’. 

eheller's picture

alumni interactions

I am a student representive for a committee of Haverford alumni. Yesterday, I sat in on their meeting and talked to them a little bit about current issues on campus. I brought up how many students were upset about the modification of the no-loan policy and how a lot of students would not have come here without it. The alumni were shocked and somewhat offended. "But everywhere has loans!" "They are not that big!" "Why would you not choose Haverford because of money, Haverford is so special!" Most of the alumni were white and almost all of them currently have high-paying jobs. When they were at Haverford, it was a much less diverse place. Also, college in general cost less then. Currently, Haverford costs $10,000 more per year than the U.S. average yearly income. 

These alumni do not fully understand that for some people, $12,000 in loans after college is a deal breaker. For some people, recieving a few thousand dollars more from one school than another is a deciding factor. Haverford is indeed "special", but not everyone gets to pick the most "special" college, they have to pick the most affordable. 

They also began to complain about how students who recieve grants from Haverford don't give enough to the school after they graduate. Since when did financial aid come with strings attached? Yes, it would be nice if everyone gave back to Haverford, but why should students who needed to be on financial aid be expected to give more than other students?

Cece Lee's picture

Lee's and Park's

After an excruciating 13 hour flight from Seoul to New York, I waited in line to get through immigration. I was pulled away from the line by an officer after peering into my passport and led into a plain room. On our way there, the officer jokingly commented on how there were “so many of you Lee’s and Park’s” (which is partially true - Korea's most common last names are Lee, Jeong, Kim and Park but each of these last names have a very unique Chinese root and can be distinguished by region, class, and clan) and I nervously laughed and agreed, unknowingly giving into a micro-aggressive comment and leading him to think that statments like that would not offend anyone. The room was filled other international students like me and there were families with young children who were anxious to start their vacation. I was not in any trouble and the immigration office just merely wanted to make sure and interview us that we were indeed college students. The process took a long time and I sat in the room staring at the blank walls and listening to the conversation amongst the officers. However, an instance that stuck out to me was when an officer read someone’s documents and started laughing and passed it around with his coworkers. The officers were laughing at a name because it sounded funny but what struck me the most was that they did not care that we were in front of them and could hear and understand every word.

cnewville's picture

Diversity at Bryn Mawr

Something that I would like to focus on is Customs week at Bryn Mawr. Last year  I was a customs person at Bryn Mawr and several very distinct conversations about Divertisy arose. The fisrt thing and something that has stuck with me since was a seemingly random questions about what populations were at group. The talk started off with asking about how many students of color attended Bryn Mawr. 60%, 50%, 40% or 20%. As it turned out most people who were people of color guessed lower than the actual percentage and the students who were not people of color guessed a higher percentage of attendence. This contuined until we had a real chance of looking at our preceptions and how they corresponded to our own backgrounds and identites. After about a half hour, they asked how many students who identified as 'full' native american had attended Bryn Mawr in the past five years. There was the option of 100, 20, 10 and 2. Most people guessed around 20... the actual numer was 2. two students in the past 5 years had identified as native american. Now I understand why this is such a low number as there are not large native american populations near or around Bryn Mawr, but this stood out to me. This fact shocked me as I grew up in New Mexico and have grown up with such integrated native american culture into my own, also for the fact that this is a population that contuinelsy is forgotten and overlooked and marginalized by society. I do admire that the customs week brought this up in conversation and was willing to really think about how weak our own diversity really is.

eheller's picture

white educators in urban education

It's that time of year when everyone is scrambling to find internships. I was planning to apply to an internship in the field of education sponsored by Haverford. A few weeks before winter break this year, I had scheduled a meeting with the head of the Haverford program to talk about the internship. I told her my reasons for wanting to apply to the internship. She seeemed to be interested in my reasons and the experience I had with that field, but then informed me that the organization was looking for a person of color, so if I applied for the internship I probably wouldn't get it because I am white.

I was shocked. For one of the first times, my race was a disadvantage, not an advantage. I understood the reason why the organization would look for a person of color- because the intern would be working primarily with students of color, they wanted the role model of a successful college student who was also a minority. In my head, I understood this and it made sense, but in my heart, I was hurt and offended. As someone who wants to work in urban education, it is hard to hear that my race is a disadvantage. I have read articles in my eduation class about how minority students should have a minority teacher and how white, middle-class teachers cannot understand the needs and background of low-income minority students. Where does that put me? Should I limit myself to teaching in a predominately white, middle-class school? Is wanting to teach low-income students part of my white savior complex?

Cece Lee's picture

Cecilia, Seoyeon, Khwa Pu Thin

I have always struggled answering questions like "where are you from?" "where's home?" "are you Korean?" "what's your name?" because I don't really have one direct answer for any of these questions. I was born in Seoul, South Korea but my family relocated to Yangon, Myanmar when I was a mere 2 months old. I have lived there for 10 years and spoke Burmese, English, and Korean at home and went to an American international school where I briefly learned Spanish and French (and forgot) and went by 3 different names. I then moved to Hanoi, Vietnam and lived there for about 6 years where I was surrounded by remnants of French and Russian colonialism which lingered in the architechture, language, and food. I also went to an international school where I was friends with sons and daughters of UN diplomats who shared similar nomadic backgrounds as I did and never really knew which country to cheer for during the Olympics or the World Cup. I finally moved back 'home' to Seoul, South Korea to finish my last few years of high school before coming to the U.S for the first time. It was until I came to Bryn Mawr where I had to sit down and think about where I was from and how I identified myself. I was always surrounded by friends who, like me, understood that we have a blend of cultures and we called ourselves 'Third Culture Kids'. We knew to expect to hear a string of different countries someone has lived in when you asked them where they were from.

igavigan's picture

Post for Group #4: Change?

Hi Friends,

In the spirit of our conversation on Eve Tuck's "Letter to Communities", I wanted to think about her ideas of "change," "theories of change," and whether or what Tuck might give her readers to help them/us feel empowered in diverging from entrenched models of "change." Tuck critiques traditional policy-oriented research methods for what she identifies as their failure to focus on, value, or hold up the desires and unique personhoods of its subjects. Rather, she argues, they focus on the deficiencies of their subjects vis-à-vis "normal" examples (that condition, perhaps, to which victims should be brought). She is certainly critical of research geared toward litigation and electoral success--not in their entirety but in the ways they fail to recognize their subjects as "complex" emotional beings. One of her examples of such research producing widespread societal change is Brown v. Board of Education.* I don't think many of us, Tuck included, would feel that the case shouldn't have happened and shouldn't have resulted in the outlawing (at least, theoretical outlawing) of discrimination. And yet, there's still some discomfort about how "change" should be brought about and what change means.

cnewville's picture

Fresh off the Boat

It was the first or second day of my placement at a new school. The school was very diverse, with more than 3/4 of the students being Black, Hispanic, or Asian, while the remaining 1/4 identified as white. I was really excited to be in the classroom and was meeting my teacher for the first time. As she was talking to me about her students she described them with respect and enthusiasm. She was talking to me about her expectations and about the student in their class- they loved being challenged and they loved doing hands on activities like drawing or making something.  She was overwhelmed by the energy in the class and said it was hard to maintain a healthy order for the whole hour. She noted that her class had many ‘high need’ students in the class and that she preferred that they be integrated in all the activities and not put in a group by themselves as to isolate them and hider their leaning. She noted that the class learned better as a whole with the students leaning together.

All in all, she was speaking highly of her students and understood how to teach them. Then she said “and oh gosh, we have a new student named Louis (not his real name, but it was Hispanic in origin)… he is Puerto Rican and doesn’t speak a lick of English... fresh of the boat”  She then continued to briefly and casually describe the newest addition to her class. His friends translated for him in class and not to mind if he doesn’t participate much, “he doesn’t know what’s going on”.

phu's picture

Between diversity, lost identity?

It is already my third year in America as an international student, but I still wonder what diversity means? Does it mean gathering people from all around the world to a same place? Does it mean sharing knowledge, opinion, and culture from defferent backgrouds? The gap between international and domestic is so huge that I have to bridge language gap, culture gap, even personality gap to get to the other side compeletely. If I go ahead to bridge all the gaps, I certainly will lost part of my identity. But if I don't go ahead and stop at where I am, I can't get to the other side. Walking in the middle of the bridge is what I feel right now.

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