On October 12, the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley and the Curatorial Practice at the California College of the Arts are partnering to host a live-streaming of the Creative Time Summit, an annual conference in New York that brings together cultural producers–including artists, critics, writers, and curators–to discuss how their work engages pressing issues affecting our world. To jump-start the conversation in advance of the event, attendees have been asked to submit a paragraph on a keyword associated with one of the summit themes: Inequities, Occupations, Making, or Tactics. This posting is by Sue Lee, American Cyberculture student at UC Berkeley.
As a Korean American, I would have to say that I did not experience much racism growing up. However, there are some stereotypical judgments associated with my gender and looks that cause inequalities. For example, I am 5 foot 5 inches tall, and I only weigh 95 pounds. Because I am skinny, people assume that I do not eat, that I am not healthy, and that I am weak. Yes, I am skinny but I eat as much as any college boy would eat. I enjoy foot-long sandwiches at Subway with soup, I eat one and a half bowl of Chipotle, and I can even finish two to three rolls of sushi. Usually when other people and I go to eat, people place the dishes in front of the other people. I never get the priority to dive into the food that is in front of me, just because people think that I do not eat. In addition, I am a huge sports fan. In the past, I have played tennis, golf, basketball, and volleyball on top of running and swimming. I have been keeping myself fit and healthy, but people just automatically assume that I am not healthy. There is absolutely no reason for people to make this decision if it were not for my looks. Therefore, people do not invite me to hang out with them at RSF, or go snowboarding in the winter. When I tell them that I play those sports, people are amazed to learn that I actually work out on a two to three day basis. Only after I tell them that I am a sports-lover, they ask me to go play recreational sports with them. Also, people think that I am weak in an emotional and physical level. I have to admit that I am not the strongest person in RSF. Obviously, there are tons of football players and swimmers that can bench weights that are as heavy as myself. However, just because I cannot hold up 100 pounds does not mean that I am internally weak. During my senior year in high school, I lived alone since all my family had to move back to Korea. I was trained to be independent, trained to support myself. I learned how to manage a house, pay my bills, on top of sending college applications. It was an excruciating process, but I have gained so much out of that experience. Therefore, I cannot tolerate it when people treat me like a baby just because I look weak.