Krissy: I identify myself as being intelligent and a hard worker, I don't really think race has anything to do with it. I'm American. Most of the people in my town are Polish, or Irish or Germany or something. My school really didn't have much diversity; we were all basically the same. I honestly sometimes feel that people use race as a scapegoat for whenever they need to feel important or different. I mean, I totally respect culture and all, but some people focus too much on racial difference, and it makes it hard to deal with them. Not because they are any specific race but because they won't let it go. I mean, if you got to this school, really how bad could your experiences have been? I'm looking forward to having so much diversity on campus; I think it will be a really cool experience. I'm hoping that when I make friends we can hang out with international students and minority students too. I'd love to teach people about being American, but they have to be willing to make an effort. If they are just going to surround themselves with only people who are the same race as they are, well, then they obviously have an issue. They are in America; they should be learning how to live like Americans. Anyway, I certainly don't judge people by race, but by personality, intelligence, and things like that. Things that I know people judge me by because I don't have a fancy race to flaunt. That's the only way things seem fair to me.
Rafael: Looking back at the first few weeks in CMU makes me sick to my stomach. Everything seemed so different that what I had grown accustomed to back in Turkey for the last 18 years of my life; people's life-styles, mentality, values and much more--I constantly had to put an extra effort in understanding and communicating with people, which soon started exhausting me. Everybody seemed so self-absorbed in their fast-paced lives at CMU. I didn't feel confident meeting new people as I couldn't speak English as good as them. Because of the language barrier, I couldn't communicate with others as well as I wanted to and thus couldn't present the ýrealţ me. In short, I felt really out of place. Well, I guess this is what they call a culture shock.
Jessica: I was born and raised in the States, in a place of great diversity. Turn left, turn right there is multiracial people all around me. There were people of all different nations and races. Diversity and difference was never an issue for me. So I am half Japanese and half white. However, I never looked at myself as being biracial. I just saw myself as me. Now at CMU, people come up to me asking me or inferring whether my biracial status is a problem for me. Race doesn't make up who I am as a person. It can be used to describe me. It definitely influences who I am and the way I act; it is a part of my identity. So by telling me that I'm not Japanese or that I am not white, you are stripping me from my identity. I feel like you are trying to make me feel like less of a person. Please do not attempt to make me feel like I have to question my own identity.
Jen: I am a second generation Korean so I was born and raised in the States. But I have lived in an area of California that has exposed me to a variety of different and exotic cultures. Yet, since my family goes to a Korean church and 50% of my high school was Asian, most of my friends just happened to be Korean, Chinese and Japanese. We are just more comfortable together and we like similar things like pearl tea, import shows and late nights at karaoke bars. Its not that I select my friends by race; I just feel like we have more common grounds.
Scene 1: Jen, Krissy and Rafael enter.
Jen: I am so glad we are almost done with this project.
Krissy: Yeah, I hate that class. The professor sucks.
Jen: Yeah, I know. I don't know why he makes it so boring.
Jessica: Hey, aren't you guys in my class?
Jen: Yeah, I think so.
Jessica: How are you coming with the project?
Krissy: We are almost done.
Jessica: Didn't I see you in PHI KAP formal?
Krissy: Yeah, I think I saw you too. Who did you go with?
Jessica: Tommy Yatzumacha.
Jen: Oh, isn't he Japanese?
Jessica: Yeah, going out with a Japanese boy makes my dad happy because he is Japanese too.
Jen: I am going to the ASA party tonight. You want to come?
Jessica: Sure. (with uncertainty)
Jessica and Jen go to the side--
Rafael: Hey Krissy, what is a formal?
Krissy: You don't know what a formal is?
Rafael: No, we don't have formals in Turkey. What is it?
Krissy: I can't believe that. It is just a basic thing.
(Krissy tries to explain what a formal is but she fails desperately)
Rafael: I just don't get it.
Jessica and Jen on the side.
Jessica: I really don't feel like going tonight. I feel out of place.
Jen: Why? (with disbelief)
Jessica: Well, I don't even speak Japanese. (looking for a reason)
Jen: Well, neither do I. But don't you think you should come because you are Asian.
Jessica: Well, I don't think so. (with discomfort but finality)