Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
In the Danawell 1st Lounge…
Leon: Hey Sonya, guess how many Swarthmore freshmen checked “Asian” as their racial identifier on the common app?
Sonya: Maybe 15% of the class? So… 60 people?
Leon: Nope, 131.
Sonya: Wow, that’s a lot of Asian-identifying students on campus.
Leon: I agree! What’s really great is that there are 131 new, disparate experiences of being Asian added to Swat’s community.
Sonya: Yeah, I’d love to be able to hear about these experiences from both new and old Swatties. And I think the rest of community could learn a lot from this storytelling. It’s a shame that there’s not always the space at Swarthmore to do so.
Leon: Wait–we can create some sort of medium for people to share these stories!
Sonya: Hmm… I mean we have SAO (Swarthmore Asian Organization) already. What’s the point of making yet another space on campus to talk about this kind of stuff?
Leon: Well, I’d imagine that this new space would be somewhat different. SAO’s focus is more parochial–building a community for Asian Americans at Swarthmore. This column will share the intricacies of the Asian experience with a larger audience using both the power of storytelling and historical and quantitative research. And this sounds like it could be a DG column…
Sonya: Yes! So here it is. (Asian)^2 is where Leon and I will be discussing Asian issues, but it is also a space for you all to share your thoughts, ideas, and stories, no matter if you identify as Asian/Pacific-Islander or if you are an ally! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you are interested in using this space.
Leon: In the meantime, we will publish on a biweekly basis articles detailing issues near and dear to our hearts. Just imagine all the avenues for discussion. For example, one common question: where do Asians stand in the whole black/white racial dichotomy in America?
Sonya: And we’ll also be bringing it closer to home, to here at Swarthmore. How can the Asian community at Swarthmore better situate ourselves in the ongoing dialogue on campus about racial justice?
Leon: We’d also love to engage with you in the comments! Please tell us what you would like to hear.