Letters to the Editor
A Dying Breed: The Bitch
Good Monday morning fellow Anteaters. Allow me to introduce myself. I am the infamous, ‘impolitical’ Christina Gagnier. Perhaps no introduction is necessary if you already assume you know me after reading last week’s delightful commentary.
Well, the cat’s out of the bag. I am a bitch. This is earth shattering information to … wait … no one really. I am stubborn, noncommittal, perseverant and I will not back down. Thus, I am a bitch. I’d also like to mention I’m a liberal and a democrat, which is the motivation for this issue to begin with.
But you can get a lot done while being a bitch. Although most people will acknowledge that I am a bitch, fellow ASUCI members included, I have managed to accomplish a lot while being one. No one can deny that I do love this school, do love ASUCI, and do care about the students. I am just a bitch about getting shit done. I will not apologize. I work hard and the results are active campus organizing, lobbying, and student engagement on political issues from ASUCI that would not have existed had it not been for my work and my staff. For the bitch that I am, if you ever come to ASUCI or go to our events, you know what has been accomplished.
As well as being executive vice president, I also serve on the Board of Directors of the University of California Student Association. In that capacity, I was asked to go to my Council and ask for a vote on Proposition 56. And that was the capacity I did it in. I play the role of an external VP and an executive VP. Mr. Mykita was up in arms about some Proposition 56 folders we had out at a No More Fee Increase event the next day, forgetting the intent behind the event which was to educate students about the unfair cuts to higher education in the state budget.
It is a funny thing though, me being so ‘anti-student’ and all. I can recall giving interviews to the New University any previous time they asked as well as, surprise, the Irvine Review in the past. In fact, in the last issue of the Irvine Review, I interviewed with Courtney Rosenbladt, and it was a pleasant and professional experience. I have also interviewed in past years with Nathan C. Masters of the same paper and things went well. I have no problem interacting with other students and responding to their inquiries.
So, why did I hurt poor Ryan Mykita’s feelings, my innocent little constituent, just wanting access to his student government and some one-on-one behind the ‘gates’ of ASUCI? Please do not think this the first time I met him and that I immediately rejected him. We have interviewed before on several occasions and worked on Proposition 54 stuff together. Not only did he lurk about for an hour and half at a Homecoming event last week just to talk to me instead of leaving me a message like the receptionist told him to, he then criticized having to wait during my fellow executive officer’s event the next day, indicating the event was a waste of his time. He also told me, in a threatening manner, that ‘It was in my best interest’ to talk to him immediately since he was going to write a commentary in the New University. Needless to say, I knew that no matter what I said it was going to happen anyways, so I was not surprised last Monday morning.
The following day, Thursday, was no different. In what he obviously thinks to be his witty interview repartee, he was condescending and rude. I even called one of my staff members into the office just in case something did happen. I am happy to answer questions, but please, do not question my intelligence or know-how about ASUCI. I practically live, breathe, eat and sleep student government. Speak to me as an equal, not a moron. I do not stand alone in this view either; this is one feeling other people in ASUCI and other campus organizations share with me.
Ahh yes, and the infamous cursing. If you know me, you know I swear like a sailor. I picked it up long ago, and old habits die hard. I do not do it in professional situations, but sometimes you need a good ‘fuck.’ (No pun intended.)
The real sad thing, my fellow Anteaters, is that I can see Ryan Mykita getting a real kick out of himself while writing his commentary, getting off at getting back at the mean Christina Gagnier. You see instead of plotting ways to get back at the liberal students and organizations on campus, the rest of us go to class, get involved, we interact with one another, and we party because … We are in COLLEGE! There are some days where I do not like being in ‘ASUCI mode.’ But according to Mr. Mykita, I am always on student time. Shit folks, I am a student, with classes and another job. I could have told Mr. Mykita all this previously, but he was not interested in the truth in the first place. Well, now he knows.
But alas, I will accept being a bitch. The only thing I will refute is the drawing of Keds shoes on my feet in the comic to accompany the commentary. If you are going to call me a bitch, at least draw some realistic shoes. I am a bitch, but I am a well dressed one.
Executive Vice President
Cross-Cultural Center Responds
While we respect Ayn Rand Society Mr. Bach Ho’s right to an opinion, we wish that he would have first engaged us in conversation with regards to his proposal to ‘end the Cross-Cultural Center’ recently published in the New University (Feb. 9). Mr. Ho makes inaccurate assertions and assumptions about the programs we sponsor and the guiding mission of the Center.
Through our programs, the Center explores the values of individuals and collective identities. Campuswide events sponsered by affiliated organizations celebrate the history of traditionally marginalized communities who are rarely represented in the educational curriculum. These events acknowledge the diversity within each categorized group who continue to face racial discrimination individually and collectively. One needs to only look at empirical data to find disparities between various groups (e.g. salary, educational attainment, prison industrial complex).
It offends us that Mr. Ho states than an individual cannot think for her or himself simply because she or he takes pride in her or his cultural background and identity. Surely Irish Americans who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Catholics who celebrate the culture of Easter, and Asian Americans who celebrate Lunar New Year think of themselves as both individuals and yet a part of a greater community.
Mr. Ho also asserts that we believe ‘there are only cultures that subsume groups of individuals based on their skin color.’ This is a simple-minded hyper-generalization and a dangerous assumption made by Mr. Ho. He assumes that the mere lack of participation in ‘racial’ heritage results in an individual living in a racial vacum. Whether an individual chooses to acknowledge her or his race and/or cultural heritage, each of us lives within a larger dominant cultural value system with specific customs and beliefs. For example, we all live in a country based upon particular values such as rugged-individualism, capitalism, Christianity and meritocracy. We cannot deny that these foundational values and norms are based on historical white cultural values. By choosing to not actively engage in one cultural form does not mean that you are absent from the hegemonic cultural paradigm of whiteness.
Whether we agree that race is ‘real’ or ‘imagined,’ the truth is that we live in a racial state that creates opportunities for some and oppression for many. The Center provides a safe space for groups and individuals to critically examine how society operates through racial constructs. Through educational forums and activities, we strive to engage the campus community to address inequities and build an agenda towards social justice.
The Cross-Cultural Center has served as a home away from home for members of the UCI community for the past 30 years. We invite you to come inside and make yourself both comfortable and uncomfortable as we continue to build a diverse community.
Anna K. Gonzalez