May 3, 2010

Anonymous Posts

Every week, we collect anonymous entries sent in using the link on our sidebar and post them all on Monday. We post anything as long as it doesn't contain personal attacks or hate speech. Feel free to submit your thoughts and questions :)

Finals week! It is officially finals week. For some, this means watching over three hours of Modern Family in my room last night instead of studying. You know who you are, All Those People That Were There.

But for serious. I'm more than a little nervous for my Concrete exam tomorrow. We're allowed to bring in 6 cheat sheets, which, uh, doesn't exactly comfort me. It's almost exactly like this scene from Kill Bill Vol. 2, where Pai Mei is like, "Pick a sword, but I do not need one" and Uma is like "Tihs is gunna B EZ!" and then it is not easy.

Captain Appropriate Cinematic Allusions, over here. This is exactly what being an engineer is like, with zero exaggeration.

Anyhow! Anonymous posts!

So I’m a gay UNC student and I must say I’ve noticed lately that a lot of my conversations with friends have been driven by my sexuality. I like rating men as next as the other person and I welcome these discussions dealing with who I want to date and such, but I keep fighting to try to let my sexuality define my life. Also I have received some heat from my friends when it comes to dating because they were discussing what my preference is. I told them my tendency was not toward my own ethnicity but towards others. I don’t know why, I just have not found that many black men attractive. It is not that I’m racist or anything it is just that my tendencies aren’t toward them. Get me started on Italians...:) but see this is where the problem comes I’m generalizing ethnicities to certain traits which in itself is a form of racism. But I would never consider myself racist against my own ethnicity. Talk about intersection of identities...I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person navigating this difficulty in their life right now. But it may just be that I hate falling into stereotypes. I understand that majority of stereotypes are based on generalizations. I believe it bothers me when I see ethnicities dating the same ethnicity. Something in me just goes, yay, we’re all falling into the stereotypes. Blacks don’t date anyone else besides blacks. Indians date Indians. Whites date whites. Ugh cultural stereotypes.

As I was talking to my mom the other day on the phone, I decided to mention to her some of the things I was involved with recently at Duke that didn't really involve schoolwork or organized groups. I mentioned to her the Day of Silence pictures that went up over campus and on Facebook in which I was participating, as well as the "Do I Look Illegal" campaign that a lot of friends were doing. Instead of the expected response of pride in her child for taking a stand on something so important, I got asked, why do I always go looking for trouble? What if someone sees those pictures and tries to hurt me? I was taken aback. I responded instinctively that no one would try to hurt me, especially at Duke, the whole point was to take a stand for something that was right to me. She asked, yes, but aren't there crazy people at Duke? After this, I just shut down and pretty much ended the conversation by switching topics.

After thinking it through a few days later, though, I guess I can understand her point and fear. That's the kind of environment my parents grew up in. And that's the environment that they see on TV and on the radio. There are crazy people everywhere who harm others for being different or expressing their views. But not at Duke. Right? Nothing would happen to *me*.

I think that at Duke the situation, place, and experience for the LGBTQA community is getting exponentially better, but that doesn't mean that the world is moving right along with us. When we leave campus, we are not surrounded by a private institution that will support us no matter what. Or by bright, generally left-leaning twenty-something-year-olds. Or by an environment that caters to a population that actually cares about these issues and wants to "save the world" in whatever capacity that means. We are very lucky here at Duke to have this environment, but there's a lot more to be done in the greater Community. I just hope that fear will not be the cause or effect for not pushing for change in what is right.


  1. To #1:

    Again, someone is able to finally articulate what I've been struggling with for so long. Thank you! I haven't quite figured it out either. I, like you, am often more attracted to people outside of my race. It's a very confusing position to be in. It's difficult to not fall into stereotypes when that's all you see around you. My advice: don't worry about it. Let romance happen where it may. Keep your eyes and your heart open to whoever, no matter the race. You never know who might steal your heart. :D

    To #2:

    I feel you #2. I've been cautioned the same way by my mom (I haven't even told her about the different campaigns I've been involved in). She cautioned me about being open about my sexuality. Like you said, it's just parents being afraid of what could possibly happen. I know that my mother often calls me up anytime she hears about a hate crime on the news to see if I'm okay. It's out of love, that's all. Yeah, I do think that Duke does create this bubble of safety and security that we often forget does not exist outside of this awesome community. Don't stop being active though. Continue participating in all of these amazing events. I'll be right there with you and if anyone tries to give us any trouble, we can handle them together. :)

  2. 2,
    I'm not ashamed that I'm a passionate feminist. Part of being a feminist for me is advocating for women's choice and access to abortion. Earlier in the year I called my parents to tell them about something I wanted to do related to this. They were adamant about me doing it, for fear of my safety. Another similar situation came about when I told them I wanted to volunteer with Derechos Humanos, a human rights organization in Arizona that addresses immigration. It's a hard line to walk. That's all I can really say.

    But, basically, I really like you. I really like this sentence of yours: "I just hope that fear will not be the cause or effect for not pushing for change in what is right." vThat attitude--YOUR attitude--is what will make change happen. But you don't have to "hope" that fear won't deter have to DECIDE that you won't be denied. You may have seen this on a post of mine about day of silence, but my favorite quote is by MLK: Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. For me, as long as my fear of "dying" (according to MLK's definition) is greater than my fear of retribution, I will speak up. And I'm glad to know that I'm not alone.

    You rock.

  3. To #1:
    I have such similar feelings! I'm not particularly interested in dating white women. I wonder if this is because of preferences or because I want every relationship I'm in to have that kind of visibility. When expressed, a white person's preference for other white people sounds SUPER RACIST. At the same time my preference for black women is either a the sign of open mindedness or a signifier of nothing. I do find women of every race attractive and I have dated white people...but a relationship with a white woman just seems so odd. For me an explanation is that I don't consider myself very white. I come from a racially mixed family and identify strongly with the culture of my hometown. In most places I'm not going to meet anyone who has the same cultural and racial identification as me. I've given up on dating anyone who is "similar" in that respect and as a result only seek out those are are "different."

  4. #2 - I think what you say totally makes sense. And it's really insightful of you to realize where your parents are coming from...I think my first reaction would have just been outrage that they weren't equally as passionate as I was about certain causes.

    As for leaving Duke...and the awesome atmosphere that it gives us to explore a lot of different issues, I think that's true with a lot of things about Duke-we're going to lose our free ePrint outside of college, the concept of food points, and dialogues between opposing groups in a public setting...we are definitely lucky to be at Duke. But I think that's also the concept behind Duke-that it is a different place in terms of thinking outside of norms, and the hope is that you take a bit of that Duke with you no matter where you go.

    Risa-absolutely loved your comment about *deciding to act differently. Oli had a really good column about something similar, which might be useful to mention again:

  5. In regards to #1 and Veronica's comment:
    I'll be honest and say that such political dating of "making a stance" or "going against a stereotype" makes me quite uneasy. I fully support the destigmatization of interracial dating, however, the forced nature of the interracial dating as described is somewhat troubling.

    I think by actively going against racial dating patterns and "preferences," you're reinforcing similar ideas. To date someone because they are not your race or to engage in interracial dating because you don't identify with your own race is still boiling people down to their race. I think Veronica touched on this idea a bit by noting whites dating one another is a form of latent racism while interracial preferences is not.

    It may not be racist, but it is disconcerting. The focus is still on race (although "positive" in a liberal sense) and instead of on humans or people.