American Studies 197A
Winter Quarter 2002
Pham, "If You Think the System Is Working . .
Chung, "Recognizing the Value of Asian American
Cho, "On the Road to Activism"
Na, "Confronting the Model Minority Myth"
Claycomb, "How Class Dynamics Shaped My Consciousness"
Benjamin-Gomez, "Creating a World of International
Ja Pak, "My Education Is an Opportunity to Empower
Bryer, "Locating Myself Within the Landscape
Called Asia America"
Hilario, "How Discomfort Can Promote Action Today"
Kim, "Learning from the Workers of Assi Supermarket
Ramirez, "My Responsibilities as a UCLA Student
in a Time of Changing Class Dynamics"
Lee, "The Struggle for Dignity and Value"
Hom, "How Class and Racial Identities Interact
with Each Other"
assignment is due by e-mail to both Glenn Omatsu and Erin
O'Brien by Monday, January 21. For this assignment,
students will write a reflection essay of at least 500 words
(about two typed pages) responding to the following questions.
This writing assignment provides students an opportunity to
think about the relationship in this period between their
lives as UCLA students and the lives of Asian Pacific immigrant
workers and to think about ways that students can use their
skills, talents, and resources to support labor movements
years ago when the field of Asian American Studies began,
class dynamics in our communities were very different from
now. Thirty years ago, almost all students taking Asian American
Studies classes at elite institutions like UCLA came from
backgrounds closely connected to the lives of low-income workers
in their communities. Many had parents who worked in low-income
jobs. Others had parents who operated small businesses in
ethnic enclaves of low-income workers. A small number of students
came from families in professions, but most of these professionals
(i.e., doctors, lawyers, etc.) worked in ethnic enclaves and
interacted with low-income workers daily. Today, class dynamics
in Asian Pacific American communities are different, and the
differences affect the consciousness of students at universities
like UCLA. For example, today, while there are still large
numbers of Asian Pacific American workers and small business
people in ethnic enclaves, there are now unprecedented numbers
of professionals living in suburbs. Professionals today
unlike those of a generation ago are no longer restricted
to careers in ethnic enclaves. Today, Asian Pacific American
professionals are more likely to be found "outside"
the enclave economy in the corporate and public sectors and
may have very little contact with immigrants in ethnic enclaves.
far, few in Asian American Studies have examined how todays
changing class dynamics in our communities affect the consciousness
of students, especially at elite institutions like UCLA. Today,
at top-ranked universities across the nation there are growing
numbers of Asian American students, most coming from suburban
families with professional backgrounds. This growth has created
an unprecedented situation for the first time in history,
Asian Pacific American communities potentially have access
to power and resources previously denied to them. However,
its also important to remember that this new development
is occurring at the same time that many other people are losing
access to higher education in elite institutions due to the
end of affirmative action and the rising cost of college education.
Moreover, worldwide we see a growing gap between rich and
poor, the haves and have nots.
Today, some have characterized the overall situation described
above positively as a period of great opportunities for Asian
American students at elite institutions like UCLA. Others
have identified this period as one of danger. Still others
have identified this period as containing both great opportunities
and great dangers. What is your viewpoint? Would your viewpoint
be similar to or different from that of low-income immigrant
As a student taking an Asian American Studies class, how
do you think that todays community class dynamics have
shaped your own consciousness? In this period, does your status
as a student taking a class in Asian American Studies at UCLA
present new responsibilities and new possibilities?
In this period, what are specific ways that you as a UCLA
student can use your skills and talents and access to power
and resources to support the struggles of low-income immigrant