Many major universities have some sort of Asian student community that organize cultural events every so often. The community that I am most aware of, existence-wise, is the Chinese student community. Unfortunately, I mix with the other Chinese students like oil and water. The best description I’ve heard so far about such a community is “cliquey.” And I’m about as anti-clique as you can get.
Maybe I don’t look Chinese enough. Or at least my style isn’t Chinese. I hate to admit it, but I can tell between an Asian student born and raised in a Western country and one that was born and raised in the East. And if I can see the difference, it’s not such a big leap to imagine that others can too. I guess it’s the little things that add up–everything from physical appearance to clothing styles to what kind of writing utensil that’s being used to take notes in class. Someone from mainland China might be right at home using a Hello Kitty pink eraser, but I’d feel like a freak.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate my ethnic and cultural roots. It’s that I feel that I’ve been rejected from what my predecessors have taken for granted by those who don’t tolerate anyone who shows evidence of assimilation. The more I try to reconcile Western sensibilities with Eastern thinking the more they drive each other apart–at least on the social level.
The way I see it, that’s the entire problem with forming ethnic, cultural, and racial clubs on campus (or anywhere else). What sort of understanding is going to be fostered if you’re only preaching to the choir? What’s the use of these clubs when the only people in them are just like each other? Isn’t this just perpetuating segregation and isolation?
There must be a better way to be “multicultural.”