Week two of the challenge has come and gone, and I remain steadfast in my opposition to consumerism. I have not bought anything besides food, although I have “acquired” some new boots (I found them abandoned in a classroom and took them under my wing). I have noticed that my vice is actually makeup and beauty products, but I have also not bought anything new in that department. I have been preoccupied with the Tuition Hike movement and disheartened at the prospect of increasing student debt. With the incredibly consumerist holidays (Black Friday) looming near, I become more and more weary of the seductive pull of money and the increased privatization of the University of California. In this day and age, an education is necessary to get any job that isn’t considered manual labor, correct? Yet every year, this necessity becomes more and more expensive. As a student, don’t I have a right to speak about this? As the consumer of this product, should I not be the first person consulted about it?
No, the students’ voices will never be heard; this system does not serve us, it only profits off of us and points to us to take the blame for the previous generation. Mainstream media will point to student organizers and slander us as barbarians, “overreacting,” selfish, entitled, and lazy. I am reminded of Chau Huynh, although this relates only tangentially, as she was also slandered for having the gall to put the South Vietnam flag and the North Vietnam flag together as a symbol for uniting Vietnam. Of course, she had large scale protests against her by anti-communist Vietnamese Americans, which are the vast majority of Vietnamese Americans and arguably her own kind, but that is beside the point. The point is that she had good intentions as a Vietnamese woman who did not know that much about South Vietnam and only wanted to unite the two once again, to start a dialogue about healing for the Vietnamese diaspora. We, too, want to start a dialogue about the university and to be seen as rational and critical human beings, NOT as self-serving buffoons. However, the time for dialogue is over and the time for action has only just begun. There will be another action tomorrow, Monday, November 24th, on the quad. My only wish is that our voices are heard clearly this time. This Jillian Mariano is only a barbarian in that she has been backed into a corner, embittered by the system, and desperately pounds on the doors of the administration, calling only for change.
Graeber, David. "Students Are Right to March against the Markets. Why Can’t Education Be Free?" The Guardian. N.p., 20 Nov. 2014. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.
Valverde, Kieu-Linh Caroline. "Creating Identity, Defining Culture, and Making History from an Art Exhibit: 'Unfinished Story: A Tribute to My Mothers'. Reader.