"The proper term is Asian."
This incident happened very recently. It is indicative of the ignorances people still have about race. It is indicative of the lack of consideration people put into words they say before they say them. The Asian Students Association's mission is to eliminate these kinds of misunderstandings. Our job is to make people not want to say these words of pain, offensiveness and disappointment. Our goal is to start providing more leadership in this quest for understanding.
This may come as a surprise to some, since the reputation of the ASA has not always been favorable; we have often been described as a group of "cliquey" Asians who contribute little to the Duke community besides a few semi-formals and dances. One criticism went so far as to say that "the biggest concern of Asian student organizations across the country is who the DJ for their next dance will be."
This has already changed. ASA Duke has laid down the foundations for a new and active organization. Events such as the Lunar New Year Festival are just a hint of what is to come. The spirit involved with the festival is the same kind of energy that is embodied in the new leadership of ASA; an executive board that has undergone a re-organization into three primary standing committees--political, cultural, social--each led by a vice-president. These committees have many specific goals for next year: working together with other cultural organizations on our Charity Ball, establishing a community service day, and creating an Asian theater group. This is just the beginning.
ASA's inward orientation is over. We are no longer an exclusive, ad-hoc Asian fraternity/sorority. To all the Asians who have been disillusioned by our self-separating tendencies, I ask you to give us another shot. We will no longer simply be known for our dances. Our focus for next year will be what it should be: to actively contribute to this campus and community. We are under new management and we urge you to come to the general body meeting of the New ASA Tuesday at 7 p.m. in 136 SocSci.
Come to the meeting and help us organize for next year's activities. Or come next year and participate in them. In any case, we need support from all aspects of this University because we are all related; if ASA has a discussion on the stereotypes surrounding Asian women, Asians should not be the only group that this topic concerns. This is an issue that involves the Womens' Coalition, sororities, Men Acting For Change, and the men and women of other cultural organizations. We are all interconnected, we are all one family.
The obscenity mentioned above could easily have been "spic" or "nigger" or "honky." Whatever the insult, it is offensive to everyone regardless of background. I am asking all elements of the Duke community to help rouse the sleepy state of racism on this campus. We need to increase communication and activism and reduce overlap between groups. After all, we must remember that we are all working towards common goals for the common good.
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