01.07.2021 - I feel the growing divide of culture.
My brain was not equipped with the natural ability to process global consciousness.
I'm a sociology major at a major US university. At least, that's the marketing phrase they use. Top ranked school by such-and-such news article! Home to several Nobel prize winners! Yet, I think one of the little ironies of this is that it has very little bearing on my experience at said university, and this contradiction reflects itself in the texts I am required to consume. What does it mean to be critical of the university, while residing within its systems, practicing its heirarchies, and using the university to fight for professional dominance?
I'm finally taking my upper division courses! Finally getting into the nitty gritty of the topic by examining globalization and its impacts, right? I don't care for the inaccessibility of some of these texts, and the readings are cognizant of their flaw. They don't touch base at all times with the dispossessed, the marginalized. In this reading, the author notes that universities have an increasing focus in science investments, postgraduate markets, and international fame. They are operated akin to educational stores, with students being the consumers of knowledge and professors subject to audit and review. And it's a very valid criticism to be made!
So what's with this feeling that it's all bullshit? Like, here's how I think of my own education: I am in this field because when I get out, I want to help people. I want to better society, whatever that means. I want to engage with media specifically, but career wise, I think I might like to be some sort of counselor or social worker. The knowledge I am learning now will hopefully be applicable to my goal. With all the recognition of the global consciousness and the ways in which some societies are marginalized by others, and the ways people oppress other people systemically. It feels SO meaningless if I can't apply this in my own home. On one hand, I am proud to be a first-generation scholar. My mother and those before me have lived through so much for me to be where I am now. It would be wretched of me to not acknowledge this, that there is a historical lineage that I am tied to and operate towards. My individual and familial achievement is to succeed, in the US context, with a college education making enough money to buy a home. It's a common enough dream.
Let's consider how bullshit a college education is in patching generational and intracommunity problems. A college degree did not fix my family's relationship with each other. It has yet to address the real ways in which poverty in different nations has shaped my siblings' lives compared to my mother's experience. It might have exacerbated the issue, creating new conceptual divides where before there might have been cultural unity to tie us together. We reside in this half-way point between acculturation to an American middle class, the petty bourgeois. The potential to live the traveler dream, in the world without boundaries is tantalizing close to me. I have the possibility to engage in university programs that would let me study abroad, with my Americanness being the main privilege that allows me to do this. (Not that I would take it, during COVID times, and personal opinions on airfair and 'returning to the homeland.') My brother HAS travelled to other countries, not under the university label, but under a certain Chinese American structure. Meanwhile, my mother considers the 3-hour drive up to SB an exciting affair. For me, the world has become so large, without accounting for any of my ancestors and elders.
What of professors? This is more of a personal complaint turned wordy observation, but the way knowledge is presented online is nonlinear. Yet professors, the vanguards of the information world, still rely heavily on the print format they've grown with. Many professors require students to purchase their textbooks or read their journals, and I'm not necessarily saying that's a bad thing. It just feels out of touch sometimes, the way knowledge on society is locked behind this linear path of pedagogy. I don't want to become the progressive academe turned inconsiderate professor, having lived in the world of the journals for so long that anyone else seems unworthy. I dislike the idea that maybe, my professors wouldn't even be able to handle the workloads and readings they assigned because they are not actively following their own layouts. Like, I really doubt my professor is reading the texts every week with us. You can't draw on knowledge prepared in advance and then expect people to consume it within 10 weeks. This might be more of a complaint about the university semester system, but I don't know. I know I can't be the only one who finds it hard to retain anything. And there's nuggets of lasting wisdom, but it's just so out of touch with what's real...IDK IDK i DONT know.
And speaking of not retaining anything...I can't share this knowledge with my family. I don't know where to begin because the start is so far back. Maybe it'll be up to my generation to create better ways of education for community audiences. I want to share the fruits of my knowledge, and my interest in social movements with my family. Families, if you are lucky enough to operate within one, are the hearts of communities. It's where the old and the young can exchange information. I don't want to constantly have to fight the mass audience news networks in convincing my family of our place in the world, I don't want to have to deal with sensationalism and the feeling of being out of place in society. I want to be able to engage in community at home, but I don't necessarily want it to be this growing class of university educated pale Asian Americans, merging faster and faster into comfortable tiers of American society, and neglecting other people of color.
thank you for reading this. i'm not really sure what i'm trying to say. i've got the shape of something painful marked out here, but i don't quite have its dimensions and features. i'll find it. help me out and leave a comment on my index or something if you share some experiences. esp if youre a person of color too. and an immigrant.
also in other news, message me somewhere if you'd like to join my new creative minecraft server + accompanying discord server. i promise the people there already are all quite delightful, and i'll make sure u feel included...come build with me please.