Asian Pacific American Labor Studies
Asian American Studies 197B; class ticket number: 121-856-200
Mondays, 4:00 – 6:50 p.m.
Bunche 2168

  • Teresa Nguyen, "Forming a Philosophy Toward My Community"
  • Ye Jin, "My Responsibilities as a UCLA Student"
  • Diem Pham, "Opening My Arms and My Eyes"
  • Sean Na, "A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words"
  • Julie Yoshioka, "Reconstructing My Beliefs and Responsibilities"


Asian American Studies 197B
Spring Quarter 2002

Reflection Journal 2

This assignment is due by e-mail or as a typed essay to both Glenn Omatsu and Erin O’Brien by Monday, April 15. For this assignment, students will write a reflection essay of at least 500 words (about two typed pages) responding to the following questions.

I coolly defy a thousand pointing fingers
Head-bowed, like a willing ox
I serve the children
Lu Xun

At one time, the four-line poem by the Chinese writer Lu Xun served as the beginning point for discussing the mission of students, teachers, and researchers in Asian American Studies, especially their relationship to communities, particularly to low-income immigrant workers. Lu Xun incisively identified the twin aspects of this mission: to militantly defy the authority of oppressors, while humbly serving the people. Yet, Lu Xun’s poem also suggested that fulfilling this mission was not easy and required ongoing ideological discussion among those with privileged status in universities such as UCLA. Otherwise, teachers and students one day could find themselves humbly bowing to those in authority while militantly defying "the children."

Today, in Asian American Studies there is little ideological discussion on the mission facing Asian American students — especially in elite institutions such as UCLA — toward low-income immigrant workers in our communities. In most Asian American Studies classes, students focus on racial oppression and sexism, issues of "glass ceiling," immigrant rights and civil rights, and policy questions. However, there is a lack of discussion about internal class divisions in the Asian American community and the role and responsibility of students in relation to class divisions.

For this assignment, write a well-organized essay reflecting on the significance of the short poem by Lu Xun for your mission as a student taking a class on Asian Pacific American Labor Studies today. Do you feel Lu Xun’s poem has any significance for your life as a UCLA student today? Why or why not? As a student at UCLA, how have you used your privileged status to confront oppressors while at the same time humbly serving the community? As a student with privileges, have you sometimes had difficulty distinguishing whom "to bow to" and whom "to serve"? Why or why not? Finally, through this class — especially through your internship with a community-based project — how can you strengthen your ideological understanding of the roles and responsibilities of students in elite universities today?








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