Saturday, February 20, 2010

dear media, you are going overboard.

I don't know if any of you have noticed the uproar at UCSD over the student ad for a "Compton Cookout" party in parody of Black History Month last weekend, but its created an absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary amount of press. In the past week, i've read about it in the LA Times, NBC, San Diego Tribune, Digg, etc. The latest article made me laugh with disbelief. Check it out:

"At a forum attended by hundreds of students and faculty Friday morning, the Black Student Union issued a list of demands, including mandatory diversity sensitivity classes, increased African American enrollment in students and faculty and the creation of space in central campus considered "safe for African-American students."
- article from NBC San Diego, read the entire article here.

Really. Up to this point, I hadn't noticed that we were victimizing African American students to such a large degree on campus. Um, isn't your presented solution basically SEGREGATION? And endorsing the whole controversial affirmative action issue? The media is completely narrowing the focus and spotlighting the black community as victims of this event.... but the solution that the campus comes to? Let's shut down the all-campus TV station!

Like that's going to shut people up. Why don't you shut down the newspaper and radio while you're at it? UCSD, the media, and the public are completely missing the point. You don't punish 27,000 students because a select group of of them have committed an erroneous mistake. The bad publicity has basically now labeled UCSD as a racist institution, when in reality UCSD does not discriminate against anyone (nor do we take part in affirmative action). Low African-American admittance, retention, and graduation rates at UCSD? I highly doubt its intentionally done: the UC system simply takes those who reach the bar and qualify under UC standards. How P.C.

Oh, and get a load of the title of the piece: Racial Tensions Boil at UCSD.

Excuse me, people. As a student at UCSD in the last 4 years, I have never personally witnessed any kind of racial targeting or discrimination by any student group towards another. The drama over this entire thing has become completely overblown way out of proportion (And no, I haven't had my head in a hole for the time i've been at UCSD). In the 2+ years i've been involved in the MultiCultural Greek Council and The UCSD Guardian (all-campus newspaper), racism and discrimination have never been issues that we've had to deal with as a campus. In fact, I think that we've actually made steps towards improvement, admitting more diverse student groups under MGC, and having all of these organizations work together to participate in all-campus events. I highly doubt that the student organization that hosted the event had racism in mind when planning it (targeting their hatred at another group) - they are all diverse organizations in themselves. In the pool of "night-after", "highlighter", "office hoes and CEOs" and countless other themed parties that go on around campus, do "red-neck white trash" or a "chinese laundress" themed parties need to be held in order to counter this one? Students throwing the party were fully aware of what they were doing in their description of the "Compton Cookout." Hate speech? I don't think so... more like gross stereotyping.

Read an article published by the UCSD Guardian here.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


"One of the things I miss most about first grade is the exchange of valentines. First-graders know how to handle love, and that is to give your heart to everyone. It's like boxing the trifecta at Santa Anita. You allow for almost every possibility."
-Chris Erskine, read his LA Times column

Aren't these vintage valentines adorable? I wish they still made them like this, as oppposed to the Hannah Monatan/Dora the Explorere ones they have now... ick.

I remember those days. Valentine's day was one of the brightest spots in my Februaries. It meant cupcakes with heart rings on the frosting. Carefully picking out my favorite boxed valentine cards to pass out to my classmates. Making mailboxes for your valentine messages on "art day." Reading through your valentines, and picking out the thickest ones for last (candy!). Red heart minnie mouse suckers, cinnamon candy hearts, boxes of conversation hearts, and pink frosted cookies. I miss those days.

Lately, I've come to the conclusion that Valentine's Day as you get older is like asking a girl out to prom, or getting engaged... since when did it become so complicated? Many of my friends have boyfriends this year, and we've spent evenings chitchatting about what their plans are, or gifts special enough. Dinner? A picnic? The art museum? Not to mention all the magazine and newspaper articles that boast "the perfect gift" or "planning the perfect evening." I don't get it. I'm fine celebrating love the other 364 days of the year too-- when flowers and chocolate are not ridiculously overpriced, and love is just a part of everyday life... because really, that's what life is all about, right?

Since its not first grade anymore, and I now know how to use the internet (and type- that took a few years), here's my valentine for you:

Happy Valentine's day, and thanks for making my life wonderful, all 365 days of the year.

I'm going to go eat a cupcake now.

Friday, February 5, 2010

bucket list

inspired by one of my best girlfriends, i thought i'd do one too.

I realized that I'm graduating in a short five months (along with some of you). It is a scary thought that I will be leaving this comfortable bubble and entering a new chapter of my life. But I haven't done everything that I wanted to do before I leave college. So here is a list of things that I want to do within the next five months and I would love it if you, my friends, joined me in some of these activities. Hopefully this will rekindle some and strengthen my relationships with all you fabulous creatures.

-learn to surf

-check out Cups in downtown La Jolla!

-moonlight kayaking. and kayaking the caves. and snorkeling at the cove!
-check out the cave and the cave store.

- eco-friendly whale watching tours from La Jolla Kayak OR whale watching with the Birch Aquarium Naturalists

-Museum Month is this month! Check out the museums at Balboa Park
- Museum of Natural History
-SD Museum of Art

-Celebrate earth day at Earthfair in Balboa Park (April)

-learn to hit some golf balls at the Torrey Pines Golf Course

- take a tour of the USS Midway

-go hiking on the trails around San Diego

- explore hillcrest

This list is getting kind of long... but there is a lot that I want to do before I leave! Let me know which adventures sound like your cup of tea!

Monday, February 1, 2010

caricature of society?

"Weight discrimination in the United States increased 66% over the prior decade."
- Rebecca Puhl, researcher at Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

I read an article in the LA Times health section today that contained a statement about how how obesity is a psychological manifestation of American culture. Here's an excerpt that said it pretty well:

"[The obese are] almost a caricature of greed, overconsumption, overspending, over-leveraging and overusing resources,"... "Though it's not entirely rational, it's an understandable reaction, especially in a country founded on the Puritan ethics of self-reliance, sacrifice and individual responsibility. If people feel they're sacrificing, then see someone spilling over an airplane seat, they feel angry that that person is not making the same sacrifices they are."
- Fed up with fat and saying something about it, LA Times, read the entire article here

photo credits

I thought that was a pretty interesting way of looking at it. Do you find yourself to be discriminatory towards the overweight? While living in Paris last fall, it definitely caught my eye that people were, well, smaller. They eat very well, don't hold gyms in as high esteem as Americans, and smoke like chimneys. During my sojourn, I ate tartes, crossaints, fromage, and all the other french delicacies you can imagine to my heart's content, and returned (reportedly) tinier. We're obviously doing something wrong.

The piece made me reflect on the way our society is, and all the power we have in our hands to change it. However, the problem is not as simple as its presented in the article. If you look into the issue more, the government and health policies really do have the power to turn this around. They can't rely on citizens' personal initiative to be healthy when they're offering shelves upon shelves of cheap junk food- just go look in your local Wal-Mart. Based on its target demographics, what low-cost foods of nutritional value are they offering their customers, compared to your average Whole Foods grocery store? You can't make junk plentiful and cheap, and then discriminate people for being fat. The idea behind environmentalism is similar- don't expect people to be recycling and making an effort to be green when there is little incentive (sadly, the benefits way down the line doesn't seem to factor into the majority of the population)- why not start charging for plastic bags at grocery stores and taking plastic water bottles off the shelves? The smallest steps can make such a huge difference in the long run, we just need to implement them.

Yes, we're making the effort now, taking unhealthy foods out of school cafeterias and encouraging the use of reusable shopping bags and metal water bottles. And we're still not doing enough. But why now? This isn't rocket science- we should have figured this out ages ago. Now we have these huge issues on our hands that will take generations, and many tax dollars, to solve.