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February 03, 2014 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-03

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4A - Monday, February 3, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A -Monay, ebrary , 214 Te Mchign Dily mihigadaiyco

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Opening the door to Detroit
Snyder's plan to issue 50,000 visas will help Detroit grow
Detroit's population peaked at 1.86 million residents in 1950 and
has been decline ever since. Today, Detroit's population is
about the same as it was in 1910, before the auto boom began.
Consequently, the city lacks the necessary tax base to cover its vital
services and the highly trained workers needed to fill positions in high-
technology industries. Gov. Rick Snyder has announced a plan to bolster
the population by issuing 50,000 visas over a span of five years to highly
educated immigrants in an ambitious effort to boost the city's population
and economic growth. While the plan would likely aid economic
recovery by stabilizing the housing market, providing human resources
to companies and broadening the tax base, the effort could effectively
marginalize the current population. Aiding Detroit's recovering economy
is a must for the state, but Snyder must be sure not to alienate long-term

Our sacrifice, our shame

When I was eleven, I was called a
Chink by three boys at a water park.
I was wearing my favorite blue Nike
suit, had just gotten my first period
a month before, and adored my fish
tank of silver guppies, which swam
mercilessly back and forth through
a sleeve of cool water each night.
I didn't understand race, and I
didn't understand love.
What I understood was that on
Multi-Culti Day in the sixth grade,
my mother had made six containers
of dumplings for my class. The mois-
ture had condensed on the Tupper-
ware lids in shameful, wet circles;
Casey had wrinkled his nose and
asked, "What's that smell?"
What I understood was that I
smelled differently. I wasn't allowed
to shave my legs, I didn't know how
to translate "deodorant" into Man-
darin, and my favorite meal involved
pouring cheddar cheese Goldfish
crackers on top ofabowl of rice.
Still, I waved the American
flag. Still, I loved comic books and
strawberry popsicles. At home, my
mother spoke to me in Mandarin
and I responded back in English. As
an American-born girl of eleven, we
had a system. In public, I became
the mom - checking out our
library books, enunciating English
words for her at Kroger's, translat-
ing Mapquest directions so she'd
swerve left onto Newport Road. I
was the one who taught my mom
how to make macaroni and cheese.
I told her what to write to my teach-
ers when I was sick and couldn't
come to class. We fell into familiar
rhythm. Eventually, she stopped
using her Chinese-to-English dic-
tionary and started resorting to me:
"You're the expert," she'd say, "I
don't know anything."
At some point along the way, I
lost my Chinese.
Chinese, my first language, grad-
ually became my lost language.
Born in Seattle to parents who had
emigrated from China, I attend-
ed preschool in Ann Arbor with
almost no knowledge of English. I
was placed in a toddler's ESL class,
where we bound picture books in
sparkly pink wrapping paper, and
I learned the language through
flashcards: A IS FOR APPLE, M IS
-At home, then, the rules were
softened. As a kid, I'd persuade
my mother into buying us "nor-
mal" food: vanilla wafers drenched
in icing, chicken nuggets, wide
hunks of pepper jack cheese. I rep-
rimanded her for braiding my hair
with Hello Kitty elastics. All the
white girls at my school used simple
hair bands of neon blues, pinks. My
mother went to Meijer and bought
me a. jumbo pack of black hair

scrunchies the next day. I called
my mother a bitch when we fought,
mostly out of cruel spite. I knew
she wouldn't understand the curse
word. After all, I was the wise, cul-
tured American. She was just the
Chinese mom who listened out of
love, out of a desire to see her kid
not get bullied in a school system
that was predominantly white. In
retrospect, the games I played as a
kid must have been humiliating for
my mother: a brilliant woman who'd
studied agriculture in college, mas-
tered Japanese, loved butterflies
and the smell of lavender perfume.
With my mom, I cultivated a sense
of authority that I couldn't fully
grasp in the classroom. Placed next
to my all-American friends with
mothers who understood that mus-
tard was not a salad dressing, but a
condiment; that hot dogs were not
literally heated animals with tails;
that tampons were more popular
than pads ... I'd never be the expert.
In school, I was shy. Ate white
breads, tossed dumplings inthe trash
can, raised my hand only when I was
sure I could pronounce unknown
words exactly right. Played it safe,
partly because I was afraid to lose
the wicked sense of authority I'd cul-
tivated at home.
Growing up as a minority, I
found independence in these mot-
tled, urgent ways. At a water park,
at age eleven, being called a Chink
was just another new occasion for
me to disassemble and learn the
English language. To claim it in all
its pricking points of ugliness. To
be bullied and loved, relentlessly,
by the alphabet. Chink, Chigga.
Banana. Twinkie. F.O.B. What my
Chinese mother could never teach
me, I had to learn and seize on my
own. What's more, I felt fiercely
protective and embarrassed by her.
In the U.S., she was vulnerable,
sometimes timid, girlish. Couldn't
hold the language. My job as her
American-born daughter was not
only to teach, but to also defend.
In middle school, "Yo Mama"
jokes infuriated me. My mother was
so Chinese she couldn't eat a ham-
burger without pinching her nose.
She was so Chinese she wore bam-
boo slippers, pickled sea cucum-
bers, fried rice. But she was also
a badass. Mowed our lawn every
week, fixed the broken roof herself.
Knit scarves, baked bread. Climbed
ladders. Sacrificed her Chinese citi-
zenship for an American passport
- not out of duty to the country, but
out of duty to my sister and me. "I
want to live in the same country as
you when I'm older," she said. At my
high school graduation, she recited
the Pledge of Allegiance with her
left hand over her chest, beaming.

I've often been told I'm a part of
the "nice" race, the "model minor-
ity." At times, it's assumed that
what I do well, I do because I'm
Asian - not because I was raised
by one of the strongest, most intel-
ligent women I know. It's frustrat-
ing when I find myself settling into
these expectations. Annoyingwhen
I find myself hyper-aware when
breaking out of them. Iam a daugh-
ter of immigrant parents, and I am
infinitely dimensional, in-love, in-
pain, exhausted, roaming. Growing
up. Chinese is my blood, and in a
way, it defines many ofmy decisions
and my movements through this
world. But it does not lay the entire
groundwork for what I choose to
chase, demolish - what I choose to
give, or give up.
At Pizza House last year, I was
told half-jokingly, "You're like our
token Asian friend!" Pepperoni
circles swam in rainbow grease,
and I sizzled. I'm not - and will
never be - anybody's token any-
thing. I'm my mother's daughter,
and I'm my own brain, my own
bossy heart. In high school, I was
encouraged to pursue a career as an
English professor because "You've
got that whole Asian thing going
for you. You stand out!" As a Chi-
nese-American woman, I have been
exoticized, categorized and stereo-
typed by friends, peers, strangers,
teachers, co-workers, crushes. My
Chinese mother has been called
"cute" when she stutters in English.
We've both been sliced up.
Being angry about racial inequali-
tyis easy. Navigating, processing, and
articulating race - that's hard. It's a
project I don't know how to under-
take without stammering, fearful to
offend ... even as a woman of color,
talking about my race feels bulky and
terrifying. As a Chinese-American,
I feel frequently caught in liminal
space, floating in-between myth and
a self-inflicted series of rules.
I am frequently asked, "Where
are you really from?" and I'm
always quick to respond, almost
heatedly, "Here." I was born on
American soil. I love this country,
with its chocolate creams and dirty
politicians and bodies of saltwa-
ter. But I am also indebted to my
mother, and to her country, which
both is and isn't my own. As my
mother's daughter, I am built with
her history of red stamps, her girl-
hood during the Cultural Revolu-
tion, her brick walls. Our sacrifice,
our shame. I am American, plus
Chinese. That identity is plural,
stretched. Beautiful weight. And
that love. It's plural, too.
Carlina Duan is an LSA senior
and the Statement editor.

residents in the process.
The proposed visas would be issued to
approved workers in increasing numbers over
a five-year period, beginning with 5,000 the
first year and ending with 15,000 in the final
year. Snyder's plan would use five-year EB-2
visas which are intended for immigrants with
a master's degree or superior, and "excep-
tional ability" in the arts or in a professional
field. Snyder's plan mandates that they live
and work in the city of Detroit. However, the
five-year validity of the EB-2 visa highlights
the temporary nature of this solution, and the
question remains about what may happen to
the immigrants after their visas have expired.
Snyder should not bring in foreign talent with-
out adequately preparing for their arrival in
the city. Adequate housing must be built, a
support system must be implemented and the
city mustprepare for this sizable influx of new,
culturally diverse residents. Additionally, a
program should be created within the frame-
work of current immigration law to help inter-
ested and qualified workers obtain citizenship
after their visas expire. Doing so will help per-
manently establish communities in the city,
providing a long-term objective for this tem-
porary fix and preventing these new employ-
ees from being treated like transient workers.
Furthermore, the plan will necessarily cre-

ate communities of highly paid professionals
within a city that is already dealing with class
disparities, crippling poverty and unemploy-
ment. The city needs these kinds of workers,
but programs should also be created to train
and equip the existing population with skills
that employers are seeking. Detroit's unem-
ployment rate sits at nearly 18 percent, and
the city's population is being excluded from
the increasing number of high-technology
fields. If the city's unemployment is not first
addressed, this plan will simply exacerbate
the income inequality that already exists.
There must be advanced job training available
to these residents in order to make it possible
for them to join the tech-age workforce that
Snyder's plan is attemptingto bring to Detroit.
The economyis changing, and Detroit must
change to keep up with today's fast-paced
information economy. Snyder's plan to bring
immigrants into the city will aid in growing
the population and tax base of Detroit, but
any plan to bolster the economy must take
into account the current residents. Increased
vocational training and job assistance must
be provided for unemployed or underem-
ployed Detroiters, preparing them for fulfill-
ing careers in the new-age economy Snyder is
attempting to grow within the city.

Barry Belmont, Rima Fadlallah, Nivedita Karki, Jordyn Kay, Kellie Halushka,
Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Michael Schramm,
Matthew SeligmanPaul Sherman, Allison Raeck, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
Supportforthe 'Victors' campaign

Treating mental illness like a wound

When I reflect back on my time as an under-
graduate student at the University, my experi-
ence has been characterized by the work I have
completed with several student organizations
on campus, particularly the time spent with
Medical Educational Service Opportunities.
MESO is a nonprofit student organization
on the University's campus that helps under-
graduate students participate in health-
related and educational service events. We
provide workshops, health-related volun-
teering and foreign service clinics to aid stu-
dents in understanding their niches as future
medical professionals. In the past five years,
we have grown to support a large number of
students on campus and continue to share
our goal of providing health-related service
and educational opportunities. Hundreds of
our members have worked with underserved
communities in the greater Ann Arbor area,
as well as populations in Costa Rica, the
Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Panama.
As one of the presidents of this organiza-
tion for the past two years, I would be lying if
I said there were not times that I questioned if
the countless hours spent working to further
MESO's mission were worthwhile. Student
organization work can sometimes feel like a
burden on top of an already hectic academic
load at this University. From planning and bud-
geting events to overseeing the activities of an
executive board, the mission of our work can
sometimes get lost. But then I ask myself: why
am I doing this? Why do I give up countless
hours per week for such ataxingresponsibility?
Why am Itin the office sending e-mails when I
could be at Charley's enjoying a fishbowl with
my friends? The answer is simple: I believe
deeply in the cause that my student organiza-
tion represents. During the times of frustra-
tion, I recall my own trip to Costa Rica and how

much I grew as person from being able to serve
others. Those memories push me to continue to
run MESO because I want all of the members
of this organization - both present and future
- to experience the joy that comes from the
philanthropy that I experienced two years ago.
I am not the only student on this campus
that gives up hours of sleep, studying and
social events to ensure my organization's suc-
cess. There are thousands of us on this cam-
pus who choose to donate time to the student
organizations about which we are passionate
because we remember the indescribable feel-
ing of making a contribution to our cause.
Student groups provide a different perspec-
tive on the criteria of donors to the Univer-
sity. Although most current students are
unable to provide monetary donations to bet-
ter the institution, many of us give our time to
serve the University. Students are able to take
the knowledge and skills that we gain to fur-
ther the University's impact worldwide. The
University's outreach is bettered by the time
that our volunteers donate in the greater Ann
Arbor area and abroad. In short, we represent
the University through service work abroad
and outside the University's network. As a
leader of an undergraduate service organiza-
tion, I wholeheartedly believe that current
students have the ability to catalyze change
both on campus and around the world.
This instance is a drop in the bucket of
impressive philanthropic contributions that
Wolverines are making everyday. Student
involvement is at the heart of this Universi-
ty's success. A University that champions and
values its students provides a lasting impact
on the global community. We are all called to
be Victors for Michigan.
Alexander Yaldo is an LSA senior.

He took his own life.
After all of the existential ques-
tions he asked in class, and after
all of the hypersensitive dialogue
we shared, he left me nothing but
a note. "Linh, you've challenged
me like nobody else ever has. I've
learned so much from you." These
were his last words to me. It's funny
because I wrote something similar
to him. "You've inspired me to take
on new perspectives. Let's keep
in touch, okay?" I thought he dis-
liked me for the longest time. I pray
he read my note so that he knew I
admired him too.
He had taken his life with
no vestige of his last moments,
thoughts or feelings. From all of my
encounters with him, he seemed
like he wanted so much out of life.
He had always appeared to be a
happy-go-lucky kid with a thirst
for knowledge. Little did many of
us close to him know that he was
experiencing severe depression.
Not too long after, on Jan. 17, 2014,
Madison Holleran, University of
Pennsylvania freshman athlete, also
took her life. She exhibited signs
of depression and was prescribed
antidepressant medication prior to
the tragic incident. She had been
dealing with the disorder since
high school, but many of her friends
were unaware of her condition and
shocked that she even possessed
one. Her mother, recounting Madi-
son's tumultuous journey, expressed
that she once felt an odd notion that
her daughter didn't fit the mold of a
psychiatric patient. She then noted
that regardless of what she believed,
the truth was that her daughter was
in danger and that she did indeed
need help.
I couldn't wrap my head around
the fact that seemingly jubilant

people like him and Madison had
the capacity to conceal such dark
and deeply embedded emotions.
There had to be a reasonable
explanation for their ability to live
"alternate" lives. I just couldn't put
my finger on it until now.
In 2011, the National Institute of
Mental Health reported American
College Health Association statis-
tics that asserted that 30 percent of
college students felt "so depressed
that it was difficult to function" in
the previous year. Another study
conducted by the Anxiety Disorders
Association of America stated 80
percent of college students said they
sometimes or frequently experi-
enced daily stress. With these shock-
ing statistics in mind, why does it
seem as though mental illness is not
as prevalent as studies have shown?
The reason is because mental illness
is stigmatized. On a larger scope,
millions of people in this nation are
suffering from an "invisible" disor-
der. Lack of recognition for mental
illness is even apparent in the mili-
tary, in which we award a Purple
Heart to those injured in battle but
none to those affected by post-trau-
matic stress disorder.
In Madison's case, her fam-
ily kept her instability under wraps
because depression was too much of
a taboo topic to broach. "It's not the
kind of thing that you want shared
in the halls of your high school, in
fact, the fear was that it would be
whispered behind her back if every-
one knew," Madison's mother said.
The concerns of the Holleran family
are not uncommon to those affected
by similar disorders. Mental illness
is rising and simultaneously being
buried. Schools, like the Univer-
sity of Michigan, need to prioritize
mental health resources to ensure

that students are given an outlet
to a seemingly inescapable situa-
tion. The University's Counseling
and Psychological Services should
work to improve appointment wait
times, provide more free individual
consultation and most importantly,
advertise mental illness as a com-
monality. Like we would assist
students with physical injuries, we
must similarly support students
dealing with mental illness.
Life for us college folks is deceiv-
ingly simple in the eyes of our
elders. Some even claim that they
would rather trade in their hum-
drum routine work for our youthful
carefree fun. From the outside look-
ing in, it seems as though we have
it fairly easy. A flexible class sched-
ule followed by weekend drink-
ing escapades is the quintessential
depiction of a college lifestyle. On
the contrary, what people may not
realize is that there are numerous
external and internal pressures
present on a university campus. On
the summit of higher education,
many students who are afforded a
position here feel obligated to prove
that they deserve this privilege.
Juggling academics, work, sports,
extracurricular activities and social
events is a modern-day expectation.
In a sea of students, it's still too easy
to drown in a whirlpool of respon-
sibilities - overwhelmingly alone.
The stress we face on a daily basis
can unnoticeably transform into
depression, and suicidal thoughts
are no stranger to this disorder. In
honor of my friend and other stu-
dents facing the latent adversity of
mental illness, I plead that the Uni-
versity takes immediate action in
enhancing our counseling services.
Linh Vu is an LSA sophomore.

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