Chinese Students’ Statement on the Sophomore Cultural Event

The following is a transcript of the Monday’s Gathering announcement:

Mao with American Flags

Florence:Please feel free to stand up to show your support during the announcement.

In recent years in the OES community, there are students who speak up for their identities and nationalities.

In that spirit, we are here to make a statement about an incident that happened at the Sophomore Culture Event last Thursday.

Jane: Before the play began, there were several portraits of Chairman Mao on a gallery. For those who do not know Chairman Mao, he is the founding father of modern People’s Republic of China, I admit that I don’t think Chairman Mao  is a perfect man, but he is still a well respected and important person for Chinese people.

Here is a picture that I took. On the portrait, there were some holes on Mao’s faces, and some American flags were placed beside. I know that no one did it on purpose, but I want to let my peers know that I felt quite hurt when I saw some audiences, including several of our classmates were pinning American flags onto Mao’s face.

Daisy: As I watched this happen, I was hurt.

Though the play had explained that those actions were only background settings but not the play’s main point, and I understood that the art of the play was intended to show sarcasm for someone who exaggerates the fact, but not necessarily an anti-Chinese attack, I was still frustrated by how the play used this piece as a part of the theatrical trick.

I got even more frustrated when several classmates of ours went up and pinned more flags onto the portraits.

We understand that in the US things might view differently, but to Jane and me, it felt hurt when we saw our classmates pin American flags on Mao’s face. We are not here to argue whether Mao was a good person or not, but because of the fact that he is often used as a symbol of China.

Next we want to let the seniors to express their feelings after knowing this after we told them the story

Ada: However, what I want to deliver to the community is that I am feeling upset not because of the show, but how I felt my own identity has been attacked in a school event that was supposed to be inclusive for every individual.

This opposes our OES core values.

Kelly: The OES Statement of inclusion says that:

“We seek to promote inclusion and engage within our community and in the community beyond our school. Through community engagement we raise awareness of human differences, participate in dialogue, and strive to create inclusive and intentional multicultural communities.”

Eric: Over the past few days, we have been communicating with the adult chaperons, the dorm and the upper school administrations about this incident. There will be more opportunities to talk about this incident, and please feel free to talk to any of us about this.

Annie: We would appreciate:

To have conversations with other students who participated in this event and would want to talk about how they feel or what they think. We are planning to host a lunch meeting about this incident.

Students who put flags on the portraits would acknowledge that your action was unintentionally hurtful to some people in the community. We know that you might be unaware of the meaning of Mao, but your actions were still hurtful.

Follow up with the adults and administrations in this community, and those involved in selecting this play to understand the criteria for selection, offer feedback on this event, and prevent anything like this from happening again

Florence:

I am Chinese, and I am proud to be Chinese. I hope that this incident would raise the awareness in the OES community that we are made up of people from very different cultural backgrounds, and that all opinions should be respected, everyone’s feeling should be considered.

I encourage all members of our community to be more considerate about the actions that you take and the language that you use. Something that does not mean anything to you might be really hurtful and impactful to the others.

Thank you for listening.

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