“My calc teacher is so foreign that she spoke in Chinese for a full minute before realizing it wasn’t English”
-Anonymous (Yik Yak, September 21, 2015, 100 upvotes)
“Really wishing my foreign GSI came with subtitles right now.”
-Anonymous (Yik Yak, October 2, 2015, 156 upvotes)
Discriminating remarks like these have become commonplace amongst undergraduate students on our campus. Maybe you’ve overheard side comments in the back of lecture filled with more than 100 students about your professor’s accent or listened to friends complain about having a “foreign GSI” in the dorms. Maybe you’ve even responded to these comments made on popular college campus social media platforms such as Yik Yak. This video series was made in an attempt to respond to these comments by providing a direct perspective and voice from our professors and GSI’s who face discrimination because of their language and culture.
Each interview was done in the instructor’s first language.
“Having this conversation in English and reproducing the same feelings of feeling different is meaningless,” said Psychology and Women’s Studies GSI Özge Savaş.
Speaking in one’s first language on a daily basis is a privilege that many students at the University, including myself, have; we are able to fully express ourselves and easily communicate our ideas without second thought or fear of being misunderstood or judged based on our ability to speak a language. To reverse this privilege, even if only within the scope of this video series, will hopefully put those of us at the University who do speak English as our first language, or speak English as our only language, in a role that we are not too familiar with - the patient role of translating and understanding in language that isn’t your own.