Click here to listen to Sweet Honey in the Rock’s song!
Hello and welcome! We are Dolma Ombadykow and Olivia Veira. We’re both first years and will be blogging the Third World Center perspective for the Bruin Club blog this year! It’s going to be excellent.
Unfortunately for us, neither Olivia nor I participated in TWTP this fall. If you don’t know what TWTP is, it’s the Third World Transition Program, and it serves as a pre-orientation program for incoming first years. If you want, you can read more about it in our interview with Chris Tran from last semester!
Fortunately for us, the Third World Center hosted the TWTP Remix this January for students who missed out on TWTP in the fall. Dean Mary Grace Almandrez, Director of the TWC and Assistant Dean of the College, began the day with a lecture titled “Introduction and Dynamics of Power, Privilege and Oppression.” Dean Almandrez shared a powerful song by Sweet Honey in the Rock that was a “counternarrative” to the stories often shared about Civil Rights activists. Be sure to check it out above.
Afterwards, everyone got to select two of six workshops to participate in. Some of the workshops were from TWTP and others were Minority Peer Counselor Workshops that had been facilitated throughout the first semester. Some of the workshops were about Sexism, Classism, Imperialism, Heterosexism & Homophobia, Racism, and Religious Identity. Our favorite was the Imperialism workshop.
In the Imperialism workshop led by Krishan Aghi ‘15 and Stephanie Harris ‘14, we discussed our personal experiences with imperialism and further examined the extent to which we carry the United States’ imperialistic past through our clothing labels, for example. To start the workshop, Krishan and Stephanie had us do an exercise called “follow the leader.” In groups of two, one person was the leader and the other was the follower (revolutionary, right?). The follower had to keep their eye on the leader’s hand and follow them around. We all looked like crazy people. But, it was an interesting experience. We were literally in control of one another’s bodies. The follower was totally dependent on the leader’s ability to safely navigate. It was a great representation of imperialism. Afterwards, we created a timeline for imperialism around the world and discussed issues such as sweat shops and shadeism. We closed the workshop by doing an activity called “Step in Step Out,” where we raised our hands if we agreed with a statement that was read and were asked to “raise [o]ur hand[s],” and “notice” the others in the room who shared similar experiences as ours.
Here are some sample statements:
“I send money to family in another county.”
“I can not speak the language of my parents and/or ancestors”
“My culture prefers lighter skin colors”
“I have wanted to change aspects of my body and/or appearance.”
“If I were to visit a foreign country, I would likely stay in tourist areas.”
“My family came to the U.S. for educational and financial opportunities.”
“My ancestors were oppressed.”
“My ancestors were oppressors.”
All in all, TWTP Remix was a fantastic experience. It was a safe space to have a deep discussion about a host of -isms that we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to talk about otherwise. If you’re interested in having conversations about these issues, think about going to TWTP in the fall. We’ll have a post on it later in the semester when preorientation applications start going live!
We will be co-blogging the first year, Third World Center perspective for the Bruin Club this year. If you have any questions or suggestions for what you’d like to see happen with our blog, please send us an email! We don’t bite (promise!).
We hope to hear from all of you!
Olivia & Dolma