Dr. Kalindi Vora is an Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and and an informal advisor and collaborator of CCAAS.
Dr. Yen Le Espiritu is the Director of Undergraduate Ethnic Studies and and an informal advisor and collaborator of CCAAS.
Angela Kong’s Dissertation looks at the idea of diversity beyond the numbers.
There is a shift from in-state students to international students.
Y: The recurring response to API students is that it isn’t evident to the admin why Asian American and Pacific Islander (API) students would need institutional space
So we always have to argue for them
That response is linked to a very specific conversation around diversity
The number of API students on campus is perceived to be the reason why they shouldn’t be represented
One key way the students have approached this is trying to show the diversity of API students
So Pacific Islander demographics best match what the university deems as deserving of diverse representation
This doesn’t change the conversation of how racism can take form(s)
V: There is a constant work of conversation of how API functions as a checkbox
Conglomeration of 44 categories (each one is also a conglomeration)
We must question “What is Asia?”
Over half the world’s population forced into institutional recognition box
Institutional ideas of diverse representation are based in 1960s/civil rights idea of how checkboxes matter
CCAAS is trying to explain that the university’s model/checkbox doesn’t correspond to reality
Y&V: It’s an urgent pedagogical issue that there are people other than them to inform this
Irving Ling’s call was about a loss of faculty from the field of Asian American Studies
The field needs to shift
Students are a step ahead of the field
Y: There is a desire to make it a research and resource space - it’s perceived to be an intellectual project that requires redefining race
It’s very exciting that the particular configuration of APIMEDA is a response to what’s going on in the moment forging coalitions. Thinking about West Asia as central to what’s happening.
V: The university uses diversity initiatives to contain the life of difference into a multicultural model - diffuses solidarity and coalition
The university doesn’t see international students as part of API
API students have needs the university doesn’t understand
A numerical majority means they don’t fit into a minority definition
What constitutes understandable evidence to admin - they only look at census
Becky Petit (VCEDI) is interested in it
How do you change the system of recognition in the institution?
CCAAS is trying to speak the language of admin
Via disaggregated data
Y: The Center for Militarizations and Migrations
Part of the intellectual project
Part of the difficulty through students having to convey what is needed with the current theory
Space to think through these issues in an intellectual way
To think about an intellectual and political project that isn’t group specific
Doesn’t begin with an identity but two processes and how they’re linked
API communities are in a political position that has always been based around coalitional politics
Juxtaposed against other groups
Place where you can read connections
Militarizations and Migrations would allow the group to host multiple lines of affiliation
Central America, Somalia, Nigeria, etc.
They wanted a name that would be delimited.
Militarizations and Migrations is an “M&M” that’s not model minority
Came up in a conversation with Dr. Wayne Yang
It is a way to directly address the problems we’ve been talking about
Groups on campus get put into ethnic identity boxes
Never on own terms
Militarizations and Migrations create new terms linked to the space that works to support students
V: Do admin see the failures of identity based processes?
Admin’s desire to take control of SPACES’ Overnight Program
Juxtaposes what this information tells us
Y: VCSA before Juan Gonzalez said about Asian American Studies minor
“Why [is it necessary]? Asian Americans don’t have any problems.”
Y: Admin won’t do anything until they think you have needs
V: e.g. students who had been yelled racial slurs at
This is an injury-based model of understanding White supremacy
It needs to prove evidence of harm
CCAAS has a more complex understanding but have to use injury-based tactics
Y: Students (Lao & Cambodian) who feel like they’re the only Lao & Cambodian students, experience loneliness. There is no discussion of loneliness on this campus. That’s not a discussion around injury.
V: There is a notion of student space that exists both to prove you’ve done something about the problem, but also as a space to build community.
Issues of homogenizing different communities into one space: language, generation, cultural fluency in the U.S.,
Y: DoC creates issues for international students
DoC addresses the missing history but not language
There is no infrastructure for the rising international student problem
This creates an institutional dishonesty
At USC - murder of international grad students (2012 & 2013),
USC is the #1 location for international students in the U.S.
Y: Positive elements of CCAAS: students’ investment/willingness to participate
Y: But it is exhausting for faculty
Y: VCEDI seems to be designed to be an office that can’t do a lot