Unsurprised but Devastated

No real post today because I have been reeling since the Breonna Taylor grand jury verdict was released.

Even though I started making a really concerted effort this week to schedule time to socialize with people and call them and chat, I have cancelled (/postponed) everything to mostly spend my evenings crying on the floor.

It feels hopeless but we can’t believe it is.
We knew the system would let us down but we must believe in a way to move forward, a better way.

Justice for Breonna Taylor.
Black lives matter.

Go easy on your friends and coworkers and family. The news cycle has been so much, and barely anyone has escaped untouched.
Go easy on yourself, too. Show yourself some compassion, it’ll serve you better in the long run.

If you need something pure and wholesome to put a small smile on your face through all this, please enjoy this compilation of ducklings wearing flowers as hats.


I am heartbroken. My thoughts and heavy heart are with the victims and their families. With the people around the country and around the world who feel a little less safe leaving their house. With the parents who have to explain to their children why people died. Please keep love in your hearts and hatred […]


I don’t have too much to say today. So I’ll just share a few links that might help shed some light on what’s been on my mind for the past few hours.

Recently, the University of Oklahoma cut ties with its chapter of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon in light of a video surfacing where members were chanting racial slurs.

While appropriate disciplinary action against the fraternity is being explored, many people are pushing for something more valuable: a change in the culture. This one chapter of SAE is definitely not the only group guilty of this kind of behavior, as evidenced by the trending Twitter hashtag #NotJustSAE.

Last night, I learned that my alma mater has its own problems with Greek life culture. An email from January 2014 went viral among the student community. I won’t share the email here, but the language was just awful. When I saw it, I thought it was a joke. I mean, the kind of language that was used was almost a caricature of privileged frat bro mentality, how could it be REAL? At the school I attended, no less?

In this email, the author expressed his excitement for rush week, as many people would; it’s an exciting time for anyone in a Greek organization. However, in this very short, 3-sentence email, he is able to do a few things:

  • Use 3 racial slurs in a row, seemingly in an attempt to impress with how many he can use in one breath
  • Demean women
  • Write the phrase “f*ck consent”

I think I stared at my computer screen when I saw this and then immediately hopped over to Twitter. I know that my school community is active on Twitter, especially the POC community. My alma mater was out for blood.

The president of our university released a relatively tame statement last night. This was rather late at night, so I understand why it wasn’t thorough. Today, he took to Twitter to answer the many student concerns about this email. After all, folks were calling for expulsion, banning the fraternity. They were criticizing the weak “diversity training” that was going to be mandated for that fraternity, the lack of attention to more effective sexual assault education for Greek organizations.

I don’t have much else to add that hasn’t already been said. Something needs to be done. Free speech does not infringe upon freedom to be offended. People felt unsafe after reading this email, especially WOC (women of color). That doesn’t mean that the student should be doxxed or have to feel unsafe himself, but something needs to be done. It is not a coincidence that people associate Greek life with these types of incidents. It is not a smear campaign designed to paint them in a bad light. There is a problem within these organizations, maybe stemming from the fact that many of them date back over a century and, because of the insular nature of fraternities and sororities, have not had external checks on their culture.

Not really in the mood to say much else about these incidents at this time. But please do let me know what you think.

What is the best way to respond when something like this happens in your community? I was wondering this last night and stopped wondering when I checked Twitter to see that students were alerting not only the school administration but as many news outlets as they could @reply.
What would you do if you received an email like this from your rush chair?
What if the sender of this email was someone you knew well? Maybe a friend or a roommate?
What should be the disciplinary action in response to an incident like this? 
We get into tricky free speech territory, and SAE is already planning on seeking legal action against their university. What is appropriate? What action is best?

Tired of Inaction

WARNING: I am coming down from a manic episode and have not organized my thoughts yet. This blog is all over the place, so skip to the end for the TL;DR please.

As my roommate knows (thank you, again, for taking time out of your LSAT studying and talking me down), I had a bit of a manic episode last week. (I don’t throw around terminology like this but I literally almost started building furniture at 11 PM because I had so much energy and my mind was racing a lot more than it usually was. It scared me, to be totally honest.)

Something about reblogging photos and Tweets from Ferguson on Tumblr all night and reading about the ISIL execution video triggered it. I had a few casual conversations during the day with some friends that led up to my mania last night. I just started feeling a nagging feeling of restlessness. One thought keeps racing through my mind:

There is something I can do. There is very little that I can do about Gaza or Ukraine or Ebola or Iraq or Syria but HERE, in my own country, there must be something I can do.

The problem is I don’t know what it is that I can do, and there are a lot of personal obstacles in my way. For example, a short while ago there was a rally in DC to show support for action in Ferguson. I wanted to attend but the rally was being held at Howard University, an HBCU (historically black college/university). I felt like as an Asian American, could I even attend? Would I get stares? I don’t think of Ferguson as a “black problem”, and I certainly don’t think that the responsibility of action falls squarely on the shoulders of the black community.
But my need for social approval and acceptance overrode my need to demonstrate.

That bothers me.

This is a significant turning point in my life, friends. I have been calling people out for their inaction for too long to not have a significant body of action of my own. I am a hypocrite and I no longer want to be.

Let me be completely honest: My altruism, as is true of all altruism, stems from selfish desires. I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I want to rid myself of the feelings of restlessness that are brewing inside of me. I long to be an active participant in our world.

HOWEVER, if everything we do is for selfish reasons — and I believe this to be true — then it sure is a nice bonus if our actions benefited other people in addition to ourselves.

This is why I did not participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I donated but I did not post a video. I donated to the ALS Association as well as to a few of my favorite water charities, because I think the waste of water is needless. I’m weighing out how important it is for me to post to social media about these things. How many people am I calling to action? How many people care?

Where is my energy best spent?

I’m still grappling with a lot of this. My thoughts aren’t fleshed out. I struggle with issues like this because I have a hard time seeing the forest and the trees at the same time. In one moment, I’m trying to take in the vast expanse of forest and in the very next, I’m concerned with one bug crawling along one tree. Trying to think about both isn’t something I am capable of doing right now.

I was telling my roommate about this, mania in my eyes I’m sure, and started talking about physics. Politics boils down to economics, economics boils down to psychology, psychology boils down to biology, biology boils down to chemistry, and chemistry boils down to physics. (Which I guess boils down to mathematics.) It’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around the situation in Gaza when I am sitting here thinking about the electron spin of an atom within a neuron in an Israeli teenager’s brain. (When I tell interviewers I am good at seeing the big picture, I’m not being entirely truthful. When I tell them I am detail-oriented, I am holding back.)

My mind races thinking about these things. My blood pressure spikes. I don’t know how to describe it but the only way I can articulate it now is this:

Imagine you suddenly could feel the Earth spinning below your feet and hurtling through space. Gravity is only holding you to the surface for so much longer but you are about to go flying. THIS is the potential energy that I can feel, that of myself gripping onto the memory of a society that isn’t imploding as today’s is.

I am ready to act.
I just need some guidance right now.

TL;DR Recent events have made me want to do a lot more than slacktivism, a lot more than posting angry things to Facebook. I want to be a much more active citizen of this world that I live in and I am currently seeking help in doing so.

Please let me know if you know of ways that I can start being a more active contributor to our world. I am currently most keen on what I can do about the situation unfolding in Ferguson, MO, but I am invested in a lot of issues right now, not least of which are the ones I spewed above.