Throughout American history, the nation’s culture and mainstream ideologies have undergone significant changes, but one sentiment that has stood the test of time is the concept of the American Dream. This dream states that we can achieve anything we want if we work hard enough. Through this concept, society has been convinced that, as individuals, our fate is completely dictated by our own choices.
Wildcat strike. When I first heard this term, it seemed something feral, yet unavoidable, similar to when you mistreat an animal for long enough and it finally decides to bite back. As a ResStaff member in West Quad, I would say that this is an accurate portrayal of my own feelings about choosing to strike. It feels as if I have been knocked down, ignored and belittled enough times that finally I have reached my breaking point. And so, at 9 a.m. this past Wednesday, along with the majority of ResStaff members, I decided to start striking.
Growing up as “that one Asian kid” in a community where the average civilian resembled Gary Busey more than myself, I devised several methods to fit in with the other children at school. I wore chic American clothes, like stripped, glittery V-necks from Justice, and I pretended to have an intense passion for all things equestrian so a pig-tailed horse girl would befriend me. One of the early routines I adopted to be cool was eating the food my mom packed for me as quickly and discreetly as possible, because it was absolutely nothing like what the other girls at my table had.
Transferring to Michigan was a daunting new beginning for me last year despite having been in college for two years. I’ve worked in numerous publications in high school and college, but none as accepting and conducive to providing a safe space in which writers’ identities could be formed as Michigan in Color. I wrote my introductory piece to MiC with a goal of elevating the voices of those whose lives exist outside the margins of the world we live in.
I joined Michigan in Color as an eager freshman trying to find my community and place at the University of Michigan. For much of high school I was always known as the outspoken, political feminist girl, and that is still an identity I hold closely today. Michigan in Color quickly became an amazing outlet for me to voice my opinions, philosophies and concerns with the world as an Asian -American bisexual woman. Reading entries that other students wrote for the section inspired me to write many of my own articles when I started out as a columnist.
Through MiC, I am constantly in community and in conversation with thinkers and storytellers of my generation. I have learned from and been inspired by the voices around me as we connect our ancestral traumas and joys. We work through stories of our generations past and compare our own concepts of what it means to be revolutionary today.
In many ways, my relationship with MiC has been emblematic of my changing relationship with myself and society that I have undergone throughout my three years of undergrad. I joined as a timid freshman, eager to find a community of supportive, revolutionary, social-justice oriented thinkers. Eager to share my thoughts and words, but afraid of being heard. I never saw myself becoming more than an assistant editor, let alone a managing editor.
It is difficult to chalk up truth, emotion and productive analysis into a piece of literature — worthy of publishing or being seen by others — when talking about a body of people you consider your world, your light, your kin and your spirit; it is difficult to know what to say to a group of people, looking at you to produce “content”, when you want to say nothing and you feel you know nothing.
My mother is a 5 foot 2 inch Indian woman and I’m her only child. This statement alone should speak volumes about our relationship. To compensate for my lack of siblings, at times she acts like my older sister. At times when I’m overwhelmed with life and a bit lost (as one is inevitably bound to be in their early 20’s), she acts as my guide and greatest comfort. Somehow, she’s also managed to find the right balance of being my best friend and my greatest annoyance and even a few times what seems to be my arch nemesis.