Campus Life wenbo’s walks


On being the letter ‘Q,’ part two

9447 stitches
Stitches warms my heart, and dear reader, hopefully yours too.
Wenbo Wu–The Tech

something like that, leave my readers waiting for a month before finding any form of closure. Was it worth it? I’m not quite sure. Gosh, these month-long intervals between articles are really something. I better have really important things to say in this one.

Coming to think of it, by the time I write the next one of these, I’ll already be 19. Obviously, still quarantined. Back in March, I thought that just maybe I would be able to spend my birthday in-person with friends, relatives, or even take an opportunity to have a celebration given that I’ve never really had a birthday party before. My naivete amuses me often.

But alas, it’s not going to happen, and I’m perfectly willing to do it over video call or something, maybe have an adorable puffle virtual background on Zoom. Well, one thing’s for sure, I’ve never spent a birthday with a puffle before, and perhaps now’s the time to do it.

I’m just going to mention that this walk won’t really be a single walk, per se. It’ll be an in a relationship kind of walk, like, you know, the Facebook status or something.

(At this point, I’ve embraced the awkwardness of poorly timing my typed anti-jokes. Why’d the chicken cross the road? To sell her eggs at a higher price at H Mart. Ha. Ha. Nevermind.)

Anyhow, this article is more of a conglomeration of thoughts I’ve had while walking or driving to various places over the past month. Once the school year starts again, I promise to have articles more about specific walks I’ve taken. And, in case you were wondering, I do keep my promises.

Hopefully I can continue to improve, perhaps even turn a new page with a new me. Well, figuratively. Technically, this is a newspaper, so I guess there are supposed to be pages to turn. But since we aren’t printing, I’ll go ahead and revise that statement. Hopefully, I can also turn a new leaf with a new me.

No, that was not an Animal Crossing: New Leaf reference. And, since you never asked for my opinion on the subject, my favorite villager is and always will be Stitches. Fight me. Or actually, don’t. Socially-distanced virtual cuddles will do — that’s what Stitches would want me to say, anyway.

I never can predict what my readers are asking themselves while reading this column, so I have to cover all the ground I can think of. Like I said before, this column is a Serious Academic Endeavor™, so I expect well-developed essay responses in the comments.

Wait. If I say thing A wasn’t a reference to thing B, doesn’t that now technically make thing A a reference to thing B, since I acknowledged that thing A could be interpreted as thing B? To avoid breaking the universe in contradictions, the solution would be to just forget I wrote the past three paragraphs. Easy. Feel free to forget everything, but don’t you forget that Stitches is still my favorite villager.

Ugh. Whatever. Back to the important topic at hand.

“Turn a new leaf” still doesn’t sit right. Why do people turn new leaves? Leaves, as in the pages of a book? How does a book relate to a tree? Isn’t saying a book is a tree like saying a steak is a cow?

Oops. That last one actually made sense.

I hate it when I’m trying to disprove something but accidentally make a valid argument for the other side. It’s like failing in the process of making a straw man fallacy. Sarcasm? Who’s she? I would never.

Given all this though, I’ve seen a lot of Facebook posts lately that made me wish I was Jared, 19, who never learned how to read (yes, that is a Vine reference, and yes, I am that old, or young, depending how you look at it). 

I’m specifically referring to the incredibly factually-inaccurate “informational” posts about how “face masks don’t work.” Let me be clear: they do. Please do yourself and others a service: wear a face covering whenever you go out. Of course, as your friendly neighborhood walker, I always do whenever I leave the house.

This especially applies if you’re participating in a Black Lives Matter demonstration. I just hope everyone stays safe out there. I walked into Washington D.C. the other day for the first time in almost half a year, and there were police cars and tanks blocking the roads to the White House and Capitol Hill. 

In all my years living in the area, I’ve never seen anything like this. I don’t know about metaphors, but I’ll be darned if that wasn’t one.

It takes a collective effort to tackle deeply-rooted racism, and it’s disheartening to see such attitudes surviving in the 21st century. However, I believe that injustice never wins, though the road to true equality is often long and difficult.

I’m often reminded of this when I look at June as a whole, especially in the context of Pride Month. And herein lies the reason this article continues directly off the previous one, “On being the letter ‘Q’.”

I had left it as an exercise for the reader to speculate on the ways I relate to the letter “Q,” but unlike math textbook authors, I won’t make you pay extra to find the answer in a solutions manual.

I remember waiting beside the computer on June 26, 2015, frantically refreshing my Google search to see the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Though I’m sure that many went about their day between 9:59 and 10:01 a.m. with minimal disruption, for me, the world froze in the best way possible.

I will never forget the moment it was announced: 5-4 in favor of Obergefell. 

I didn’t know how to react, because though I was young and the issue of marriage seemed far away, I could sense the monumental nature of the decision. Though I lived about ten miles from the steps of the Supreme Court, I could immediately feel a ripple of change pulse through the country.

Then, almost as quickly as it had begun, my euphoria ended. The world resumed its course, and my neighbor’s Mustang continued to rumble without its muffler. 

No. It would be foolish to view Obergefell or even the 2020 Bostock v. Clayton County decision as starting ripples of change in themselves. Don’t get me wrong — these are very much landmark cases — but none of it would have happened if it weren’t for the actions of the entire LGBTQ+ movement in the U.S. first kickstarted by the 1969 Stonewall riots.

Pride isn’t about saying how LGBTQ+ folk matter more than other people, because on a fundamental level this isn’t true. However, the fact that a “Straight Pride” parade even happened in Boston late last year seems to suggest that some people continue to miss the point.

Pride is a reminder that things are not yet truly equal, in the same way that trying to brush racism under the carpet won’t hide the fact that it is very real and continues to make lives difficult for minorities, particularly Black Americans, based only on the color of their skin. Although the Civil Rights movement started almost 70 years ago, we cannot forget that there is still a ways to go.

And here I will end this month’s column. I won’t conclude this article in my typical fashion of posing a question, because inequality is a serious topic in itself worth pondering. I’ll see you again July 30.