Why I have to succeed

I’m not sure succeed is the word…as more so persevere. I have to persevere through graduate school.  I am enjoying it but it is sometimes frustrating, difficult, structured in ways I have difficulties understanding and navigating.

My friend 光  visited me the past few days and I was tempted to skip class (something I don’t do—seriously I went the first four years of undergrad never missing a class) so I could spend the day with him.  But he reminded me of this:

“Out of 100 Chicano/a elementary school students, 44 will graduate from high school, 26 will enroll in either a community college or four-year university, but only 7 will graduate with a bachelors degree; only 2 will complete a professional or graduate degree and 0.2 will earn a doctorate.
…At full professor level, Latinas made up 1,254 of those positions…and white women held almost 40,000 full professorships.”

(Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac, 2009 )

And yes, he did remind me of those exact numbers as we read from “ ‘I don’t belong here’: Chicanas/Latinas at a Hispanic serving Institution Creating Community Through Muxerista Mentoring“.  He scolded me “If ya don’t go you are going to fuck up the statistics, it is vital you go”.
If I don’t go class, my chances of becoming that 0.2 that earn a doctorate is threatened.  I have already defied some odds; I am the first woman on either side of my family to graduate high school (first person–male or female– on my mom’s side), I am the first person on either side of my family to graduate from university, I am the first in my family to attend graduate school…and damn it has been a long winding road.

I want to be part of that 0.2% of Latinas that earn a doctorate.  When 1 out 4 students in K-12 in this country is now Latino and yet they aren’t represented in academia, and I have the opportunity and privilege to be in that role, it isn’t just something I have to do for me, but for my community.  So, yeah I went to class and class was a lot of fun and super stimulating…now if I can just preserver for a few more years.

White Man’s Burden, Again

I first blogged about this in 2004.

This happens to me every year, and every year I get angry.

Every year some self-righteous white man, feeling empowered with his white man’s burden, asks me to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for a homeless person.

Today I was asked “Don’t you want to put a smile on a homeless child?” My response, “Do you really want to engage in that question with me?” He said “No”.  Smart man. But I informed him it was too late because he had already started talking.

You see there are soooo many issues with it. The homeless shelters prefer the cans of peanut butter, jelly and bread, more than they prefer receiving a soggy sandwich.  The shelters in fact, have requested that sandwiches not be donated .   Making soggy sandwiches does not recognize nor bring awareness to any real issue surrounding homelessness, or hunger.   Rather, it counter serves  in that it gets privileged students to believe that they have now done a good deed and addressed the issue when at best they’ve wasted resources and instilled a false sense of positive contribution.

It was infuriating to see the students buying coffees from inside the Wexner Center in order to stay warm while standing in the street making soggy sandwiches to put into Ziploc bags.   Take that coffee money, take your time, take those Ziploc bags and plastic gloves, and put it elsewhere where it can be less destructive.  What would be even cooler and better yet is if you did something that addressed the real issues of hunger in this country.