Need to encourage cultural awareness


I am a mixed-race Asian American in my first year of law school at the UA. On my way home from a party Friday night, I stopped at Two Pesos for a snack. While I was there, two (white) guys invited me to join them at their table. After a while, I decided to join them. They told me they were chemistry students at the UA. The conversation began pleasantly enough, but when they found out I was Japanese, they launched a verbal attack on the Japanese culture. I immediately informed them this was not a good topic for conversation, but they continued the barrage. I asked them again to stop, reminding them that I am Japanese and it was my culture and my people they were insulting. Then they made some sweeping stereotypical statements about Japanese people. Feeling completely offended, I got up and as I was leaving I told them they should never say those things to anybody, especially not to a Japanese person. The worst part about it was I don't believe they understood why I felt offended.

Some of us here at the UA work very hard through education and awareness to build bridges between the different cultures on campus. People of color have already begun to form coalitions to strengthen our voices in the belief that the work we do today will help open doors for our people in the future. Like it or not, people of color and all our beautiful cultures are in this country to stay and our numbers are growing at a much faster pace then those of the White population. the bottom line is we eat, sleep and laugh like everybody else.

Just before I went to Two Pesos on Friday, somebody at the party asked me why Japanese people and other people of color like to stick together rather than assimilating with the White culture. I say to them this: walk a few minutes in our skin, and you might understand why some of us don't hang around with White people very much.

Sarah Youngblood

First-year law student

Member of the Asian American Cultural Association, Asian American Law Students Association, Minority Law Students Association, "US" Committee

Read Next Article