AS AN INTERNATIONAL student from Korea, I had an extremely uncanny experience watching Bong Joon-ho’s award winning film Parasite (2019). Set in Seoul, South Korea, the film begins by depicting the daily struggles of the Kims, a low-income family that lives in basement apartments. Ki-woo, the college-aged son of the family, lands the opportunity to tutor a student from the affluent Park family. One by one, all of the Kims find cunning ways to get employed by the Parks and test the limits of how much the rich family can be exploited. Built-up tension and pressure to keep the fraud hidden culminate in an ending that captures the quintessence of class warfare.
A group of Asian Americans are filing a lawsuit against Harvard, claiming the university discriminated against Asian American applicants. The plaintiffs allege that Harvard set racial quotas, forcing Asian Americans to score higher than other racial groups to be considered equally competitive. Many are not sympathetic to the Asian American plaintiffs. Some think that they are simply disillusioned to think that they deserved better. Others think that they are being used to make a case against affirmative action.
Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a welfare scheme in which all adult citizens receive a regular cash payment regardless of employment status. At first glance, it is easy to see why those self-professed bastions of American freedom – libertarians – oppose this measure so vociferously. Right-libertarians see UBI as overly generous to unemployed, able-bodied people (so called “lazy people”), and also as implying redistribution on a large scale, which conservatives see as a radical expansion of the welfare state. But the impression that UBI is exclusively leftist is a misguided one.
Stanford remains undecided on whether it should remove the name Serra on various Campus buildings and monuments. Junipero Serra was an eighteenth century missionary who founded the California Mission System and forced indigenous peoples to convert to Christianity. And earlier this month, President Marc Tessier Lavigne announced that two separate communities would deliberate on whether to retain Serra’s name.
Liberals have descended into a simplistic sensationalism. To many Stanford students, Trump’s rise meant no less than the apocalypse and even created a whole new vocabulary of post-truth, PC culture and fake-news. But, to make matters worse, this was far from an American apocalypse. In fact, Trump’s election caused a wave of Western democracies to fall to the disastrous forces of populism like dominos. This ‘apocalypse’ stretched across the European continent with far right-wing parties and movements espousing nationalistic, anti-immigration rhetoric making great progress in France, Britain, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Switzerland and even Austria just a couple of weeks ago. Slightly more sophisticated and level-headed accounts do not hold Trump himself responsible for the trend, but implicate greater forces of discontent associated with globalization. From this perspective, Trump was one of the first figures to vocalize the piling grievances of ‘globalization’s losers.’