On Monday, April 24, the men’s intramural volleyball championship took place at the Woodruff P.E. Center between Beta Theta Pi and a team made up of predominantly Asian-American students. Each team had a number of fans cheering them on. In the middle of the second game, we heard the Beta fans cheering something. The meaning was not imminently clear for the first few seconds, but the racially-charged cheer soon struck us like a bolt of unwelcome, unrelenting lightning that rooted us to where we stood in shock.
“USA! USA! USA!” cheered the Beta fans with their fists pumping in the air as they chanted again and again. Suddenly, our yellow skin, black hair and Asian heritage became the target of this subtle, yet jarring taunt. With each declaration, we felt more alienated. Suddenly, we weren’t Americans, born and raised, but “Others” who didn’t belong.
It is difficult to explain the emotions that wash over you when you are subjected to such cruel and inconsiderate actions. What should you do? Do you yell back? Do you tell the intramural coordinator who is watching the game, listening to the same chant you are? Do you just take it and brush it off as a joke?
In the few seconds we had to react, we joined them in their chant. “USA! USA!” we yelled back. We yelled not because we needed to retaliate, but because we wanted to let the Beta fans know how truly ignorant…