On university essays and my obsession with cultural identities and young minds

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Ask any of my classmates and they will tell you that for the bulk of my university education I ranted about identity politics, race, and TCKs in our new global age. We’re talking about cultural policy? I’d write an essay on language policy. An assessment on cosmopolitanism? I’d write an essay on TCKs. (Similarly, in high school, I’d tie all my essays to one single topic- existentialism. I’ve since graduated to different facets of existence!) My essays for uni have always been essays for my professors to read, give me a mark, and get my diploma so to post it here makes me a bit self conscious as I want to draft it… but if I draft all my essays they will never see the light of day so here they are in their unedited glory. Ironically, the essays that caused me the most stress were the 2500 word essays. To be concise is harder than bs-ing for 5000 words worth. I’ll let you guys guess which ones I wrote the night before as per #unilyfe. So the essays I enjoyed writing the most are here:

Animated Documentaries: Waltz With Bashir (Art)
by M Hernandez, The University of Melbourne 2015

Cosmopolitan Relationships: The Question of Third Culture Kids (Society)
by M Hernandez, The University of Melbourne 2016

Digital Convergence on Cinema: Netflix (Film)
by M Hernandez, The University of Melbourne 2015

Remix Culture: Blurred Lines (Music)
by M Hernandez, The University of Melbourne 2015

Working with Chinese kids in Shanghai does keep my wheels spinning about the identity issue though I haven’t really found an angle yet. What I can observe so far is this: big cities in China are a hot bed, no pun intended, for foreigners and Chinese nationals to procreate and become families. Not even from solely teaching, but from walking around the foreigner hubs in Shanghai I see the mixed babies speaking anything from French, English and Chinese at the same time by the age of 5. Given that they grow up here in Shanghai as cosmopolitan individuals, most likely with crazy privilege to visit their parents country every holiday… what does this mean for emerging ‘global societies’? What do those words even mean in a Trump and Brexit world where the far right wants to regroup back to national ideals? And ‘global citizenship’ and ‘global identity’ always sounds so kumbaya but in practice the nuances of race, gender, and neocolonialism do come into play.

Last but not least, to add a little color to this post, here’s a video I made last year answering questions to a YouTube tag about my racial identity:


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