Monday, September 3, 2007
Jennifer Avelino's Statement on Facebook Shit-Talking
You may or may not be aware of my infamous Facebook message, but I'd like to take a moment to talk about it.
To my Student Action senators and EVP Gupta, from the moment I joined the family I was taught to never talk negatively about another candidate. I was taught that negative campaigning never works, and Student Action tries to push a very positive campaign by personal connections with the students and not worrying about the other parties. Even when I talked to SA candidates this year, I stressed never to speak badly about CalSERVE, no matter what they do to you. I, however, did not practice what I preached, and I apologize for breaking Student Action tradition. It was impulsive and uncharacteristic of me and I apologize for that.
The message was intended only for my friends, its colloquial manner and my free flowing speech expressed that. Nevertheless, it was leaked out to other people, and other people were affected by it.
Senator Wasserman brought something to my attention which I would not have otherwise seen. In that message there is a part which discusses Senator Nguyen's voting practice in relation to his ethnic identity. This could imply that someone's ethnic identity is dependent upon their votes, and this should never be the case. A person's identity should be based on your own personal experiences, and should not be defined for you. This touches upon the "you're either with us or against us idea," or my favorite, "you're not BLANK enough," something I personally have faced in my own community. Just because this kind of racial slander was done to me, does not give me the right to do it to others. It was definitely not my intention, but the fact that at least one person took it that way is a problem. I am not a racist, but I am not perfect and neither are all of you. Everyday we engage in this racial card game, forcing people to identify a certain way. Look at the elections, everyday I saw people appealing to a certain ethnic group for support solely based on ethnicity. This is not how to progress past this racially based society, and I apologize to those who may have been hurt by that part of the message.
I expected a negative response from those who opposed my opinion which I am entitled to, but I did not expect the kind of recourse that was taken. No student, no human being should ever have to go through what I went through and actually am still going through. What people did to me was outright dehumanizing. Let me put this in psychological terms. There's group-think where people in a group tend to think alike, then there's ingroup/outgroup. This is when one group sees another group as not belonging to their group. Then there's dehumanization. This is when the in-group treats the out-group like they are less than human and have no emotional feelings. This is the framework that led to the Holocaust, this is the type of behavior that ends in 1st grade after your teacher puts you in time out for calling someone a name. This kind of behavior was displayed to me moments after my message was leaked. And this kind of behavior was displayed to many people during this election season.
I was called names, yelled at to my face, blocked from entering buildings, told never to show up to "our" events, I was pranced around while being chanted to like I was an inanimate object, I was told that we hate you, I was told what kind of Asian are you, I was told that I was a disgrace to my community, and the list goes on. My goodness, how old are we? Even days after the elections have ended, I got told to keep on walking, yup you're not wanted here. I didn't even attend the API Issues Conference because of fear from being attacked. I couldn't enjoy the one API event on campus that I have been publicizing to you all about since the moment I took office. This is only my story. What about others? Two people were attacked with eggs during chalking. Egging happens to houses during Halloween, not to people during chalking. These chalkers are helping their friends, and someone thinks that they are a threat and thus has the right to physically harm them. Unacceptable. There are government laws against that kind of behavior. People were yelled at to their face, as if they didn't have eardrums, while they walked someone to class. People got their lit ripped from their hands, and thrown in the trashcan; that's called stealing. Some things are all in fun and games, but other things were taken way too far. I'm not saying any group is responsible for these things, but this should never happen, and I hope no one has to go through anything like this again. This kind of behavior should have ended in 1st grade. I did not expect this from educated college students especially from the University of California Berkeley and those who are trying to represent the entire student body. I do not want this kind of people representing me.
Finally, I'd like to say that I am proud to be a Student Action Senator. We've done a lot of good things for this campus, and it's a shame there is so much negativity connected with our name. Contrary to popular belief Student Action has made change this year and will continue to do so next year for every student. With that, I'd like to say congratulations to those who won the preliminary round of tabulation, and I hope that all of you who will be here next year stay involved with the ASUC.
. . .
. . .