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On a Life as an Asian-American & Embracing That with Open Arms

By Lindsay Nielsen, VI Form

 

On a Life as an Asian-American & Embracing That with Open Arms

The worst activity of my freshman summer was taking six-hour classes of drivers’ ed for five days straight. The only thing that made it bearable was that our teacher let us watch the world cup instead of parallel parking videos, and we were let out early on the last day because my teacher’s daughter suddenly went into labor. Before she got the call, my teacher passed out our graded permit tests. “So..” she said, “it looks like Peggy Chen got a perfect score. Please raise your hand and grab your test” Pause. Let me tell you three things. 1. I knew no one in this class. 2. I did not earn a perfect score and 3. When she told the class Peggy Chen scored a 100, every single person, including the teacher, looked at me expecting me to raise my hand. After trying to tell them my last name was actually Nielsen, a shy, Asian, Peggy Chen out-stretched her hand from the corner of the room to claim her test.

Believe it or not, this is a usual occurrence for me. And definitely not as weird at the week before when a middle-aged woman walked up to me in Best Buy asking how the definition of a 4k tv differed from a curved model. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I don’t work here.” A few awkward stares were exchanged. “Oh…” she said. She looked at me puzzled as if all Asians roaming electronic stores were automatically employees. She then walked away.

Race wasn’t always a prevalent component of my life, but once I knew others were attentive to my race, it started an onslaught of experiences relating to being Asian in what was to me: a largely Caucasian world. In my personal experience, I will explain how I went from of state of oblivion, to self-hate, to self love all in a short period of 18 years. (more…)

An Analysis of Alienation: The Natural Estrangement of the Individual

By Cooper Sarafin, VI Form

An Analysis of Alienation: The Natural Estrangement of the Individual

Total Estrangement

Alienation is a natural state of human beings. We are set in an environment that leaves us with a sense of inadequacy and ineptitude and no matter what extent to which we alter our facades and wear a mask of falsity; we will never be able to cross the glass ceiling that is our expectations. From the very moment we are conceived, we are being classified and divided among throngs of opinions, preferences, and expectations. We are expected to live up to this normality of society, the ever prevalent quest to “fit in”. To be amidst the general populace and succeed in a manner relative to the ideas of said society and government that preside over our specific demographic. We are expected to succeed in the realm of capitalism and to move further up this hierarchy and supersede the ranks of the proletariat in turn for the bourgeoisie. We are expected to develop social relationships with everyone we meet and to be liked by them. We are expected to achieve great things and to do what has never been done before. In the aftermath of all this expectation, what is left for us to expect for ourselves other than that which has been told to us? In that we are governed by these (more…)

Patriotism Is My Life and Flag: I Support the Troops

By Abby Peloquin, VI Form

Patriotism Is My Life and Flag: I Support the Troops

Patriotism, to me, is far more than saying “I am an American” or putting a flag on your front porch. To be a patriot is to understand the past and present of this country, both good and bad. It is learning the history of our nation, from the pilgrims to George Washington to WWII, and accepting that even the greatest countries have their faults. It is seeing a veteran in Walmart and, although you’ve never met them, saying thank you. Patriotism is putting your hand on your heart for the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at 8am, even when you don’t quite understand the words yet. Being a patriot is a lifelong journey, and the people who understand that more than most are the members of our armed forces. (more…)

Something Less Depressing –– A 10-Minute Play

By Cooper Sarafin, VI Form

Something Less Depressing –– A 10-Minute Play

Editor’s Note: In the VI Form elective “Writing for Actors,” the assignment called for students to write a stageable one act play, beginning with a dramatic problem. Cooper workshopped his play several times in class, culminating in a staged reading at the end of the third window. He then took it upon himself to revise it once more before sending it out to a national forum, “Trade a Play Tuesday” , where another writer read his play and provided feedback.

SOMETHING LESS DEPRESSING

By Cooper Sarafin

Cast of Characters

James: Individual who prefers the company of himself as opposed to that of others. Doesn’t care what others think of him.

Lily: A friendly girl who likes to get to know many people.

Amy: Stereotypical popular student, superficial and self-obsessed.

Opens with a Lone Figure sitting at a lunch table in thought. In the corner is a vending machine. 

Scene 1 

James begins talking into a tape recorder

James:

Such a stigma around this, sitting alone. Why must it be regarded as entirely wrong? As something to be undesired? I see them all sitting together, absorbed in mindless conversation, unstimulating, quite boring in fact. Not to say I haven’t been counted part of them, for that’d be inaccurate. Such times as I have attempted to interact with them I joined only to have been left feeling more alone than I do now. It’s my opinion that sitting here alone, my mind to roam free, is much less lonely than to be trapped in your own head with nothing to say. Isn’t it rather lonely to be the only person who doesn’t seem to care? To be an irrelevant bystander, in close proximity, yet so far removed. For me, to exculpate myself is not a decision, but the only reasonable course of action. For alone by choice is far better than alone by force. (more…)

To the 2017 Graduates of Elite High Schools

By Steven Li, VI Form

To the 2017 Graduates of Elite High Schools

For seniors, graduation is approaching us faster than we think. In addition to celebrating the payoff of our hard work, our departure from elite schools, particularly independent schools, also means we are about to enter the society that it has sheltered us from. This society is not very friendly and accepting. Truth be told, it has never been this divisive since the Vietnam War and never this irrational since the Red Terror. Disagreement escalates into hatred, frenziness replaces reason, and worst of all, we as a society struggle to find a common moral standard.

In such circumstance, people criticize the elites of our society, blasting them for not caring about voices of general public, being selfish in their decisions, and to sum up, causing all the social disorders from their high ground in Capitol Hill, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley. Secretary Clinton calls “Wall Street Elites” a threat to the “Main Street” for ordinary American people. And, President Trump criticizes the rigged political system since the first day of his campaign. These voices have definitely raised society’s hatred toward elites. And the US is definitely not alone in this case. Back in my hometown, Beijing, it’s impossible to get a taxi ride without hearing the driver complaining how his livelihood is ruined by selfish elites. In my second hometown, Hong Kong, tens of thousands of anti-establishment protesters set up camps on the main street of Hong Kong island, right outside my dad’s office building. Because of that, by the way, he was forced to walk 30 minutes everyday to work. Surrounded by nothing but bad news, he was somewhat reassured by losing some weight. All in all, there are different causes behind these people’s discontent, but the common ground is that they attribute the wrongs of our society to the failure of elite leadership. (more…)

Own Your Weirdness, Ditch the Finsta

By Teagan Ladner, VI Form

Own Your Weirdness, Ditch the Finsta

Fake Instagram accounts, more commonly referred to as “Finstas,” have gained a tremendous amount of traction in the past three years. The creation of these additional Instagram accounts has allowed an opportunity for people to post funny or embarrassing photos of themselves and established a community where people can express their more ”unfiltered” self, which is ironic considering the name of this new phenomenon has the word fake in it. Although this mentality of being openly genuine on social media sounds ideal, there are enough flaws to make me anti-Finstas.

It is unfortunate that we feel this pressure from society to put on a mask so that our peers, friends, family, and even strangers do not judge us based on our social media aesthetic. I find it discomforting that this pressure is so powerful that it’s difficult for us to rise above these opinions and post what we want on our real Instagrams (or “Rinstas”). The invention of Finstas has created an escape to ignore the actual problem, not solve it. It gives users an alternate reality to express their true selves only to a small group of people, instead of most of their acquaintances. I agree that progress is better than nothing, but I don’t actually think it is long-term progress. (more…)