In Class Writing February 27th 2020

The picture that most resembles my Thanksgiving experience is the one with all of the soldiers who are abroad celebrating it. The reason behind this is that before coming to America, I had never even celebrated Thanksgiving as it was never a holiday that my family had been acquainted with before. So the first time I ever celebrated thanksgiving was at military school in Virginia with all of my fellow cadets, which is why I picked the one with the soldiers. The one that least resembles is the one with the family sitting around a dining table with everyone in the family, I have never experienced this as my family doesn’t celebrate thanksgiving so the photo was very foreign to me.


In Class Writing February 25th, 2020

A common food staple that I always have eaten growing up has been rice, whether its lunch or dinner or even breakfast sometimes, there is always rice at the table. Rice is a staple not just among my family but among a vast majority of Asian households, it is very easy to grow and easy to cook, and it goes well with many dishes. There isn’t really any representation of social class because it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, in Asia, everyone eats rice and although the dishes you pair with rice are different throughout social class, there isn’t much of a difference with rice. Eating rice is synonymous with Asians and this sometimes creates a social norm where people assume that Asians only eat rice and creates a stereotype. Many insults that are directed at Asians are, “rice eater,” or “go back and eat rice.”


February 20th, 2020

Gender plays a role in how we perceive and consume football because as male athletes, they are “required” to give off the vibe of masculinity, which is also an requirement that most football coaches and teammates want. I have been around many people who have played football and have seen instances when they have to play through injury or pain and if they don’t they are classified as “soft.” For me personally, I enjoy watching football and although I know and acknowledge the fact that the sport is a very dangerous one, I will not stop watching and enjoying it because it’s what these players chose to do; they chose to play this sport because they love the game. However, I am not advocating for a violent game, I fully support the initiatives players and the NFL is taking in order to make the game safer. I do agree with Almond’s critique in parts but one part in which I don’t agree with is when he says that many players are forced to play the game in pursuit of money since they come from poorer backgrounds. While it is true that there are some players who do, Almond is generalizing a majority of the NFL player population and assuming that most of them are only in it for the fame and money. If players are only in it for the money then why would they continue to play such a violent game? Other than that, I do agree with him in where he says that people don’t think twice when seeing a big hit or a serious injury occurs and that is something that needs to be changed.


In Class Writing February 18th, 2020

I read Kenneth’s reading response and like my own, his response basically states that Johnson is attempting to convey the fact that disabilities don’t make anyone less human. I agree with this because although Johnson is a deformed and disabled woman, she still shows remarkable strength and courage to pursue her passions and to challenge the ideals of modern society.  I also noticed that although Singer’s point is a very drastic measure, he still treats Johnson with respect and like Kenneth said, it forces Johnson to also treat Singer with respect which creates a well balanced and civilized debate.

I also read Rashik’s and he said that instead of reminding them of their disabilities we should just treat them like normal people, which makes a lot of sense. At the end of the day, they are human beings regardless of their physical deformities. If they can contribute to society, like Johnson, then they should be treated like normal people.


When I was younger, I used to be very skinny, to go along with this I also had a buzz cut which made me look even more “asian.” looking this way didn’t necessarily make me feel “tokenized” but it definitely made me conscious because I fit the typical Asian stereotype and in middle school I used to be teased and called a “monk.” When people meet me now, I never really feel that way anymore because I have worked very hard the past 4-5 years to change my appearance, whether it was in the gym or barber shop. However, back when I was still in middle school, people had a very different perception of me. As previously stated, I used to look a lot different from now and usually the conclusions people drew were that I was a little weird due to my appearance and definitely not “cool” because of my haircut and frail frame. Looking back, the people who doubted me and made fun of me back in middle school don’t even recognize me now when they see me, as I have made drastic changes to my physical appearance. I could honestly care less about what they said before as it motivated me to better myself and to change my physical appearance. Fast forward to now, I am very confident in my external appearance and rarely get self conscious or “tokenized” ever.


Class work February 6th, 2020

I was born in Beijing, China and have lived there for most of my life; however, I have lived in other countries as well. I lived for 5 years in Canada and 2 years in the U.S before coming to college. Growing up in Canada was different than coming to America because I was very young when I lived in Canada, from around the ages 7-12 and it was easier for me to acclimate and make friends, although learning English was a challenge initially. I returned to China after that until my parents decided to send me to military school in Virginia, U.S.A. I was used to my lifestyle in China, I had many friends, was popular and was doing well in school; coming to America was a complete culture shock to me because I had never had any prior experiences with going to school in America as well as anything to do with the military. Coming here especially to a very conservative area in Virginia was hard for me in the beginning, as I struggled to make friends and connect with anyone at military school. Although my English was fluent, it seemed as if I was speaking a different language when I talked to my classmates, the slang, the things we did for fun, and our interests were so different. However, one of my personal strengths has always been adapting to change well and after a couple months of being in my shell I began to be more social and made more friends as a result. One of the reasons for this change was just being around everyone and learning and absorbing the culture that I was now a part of and this helped me immensely in my efforts to make new friends and connect with everyone. By the end of my high school journey at military school, I was back where I was when I got there; I was the Captain of Alpha Company, I had a great group of diverse friends and was well respected on campus.


  • Introduction: 
  • Upbringing in China and Canada and how different is was from the U.S when I got there
  • Diverse background, I had a diverse background as I have lived in  a plethora of different countries before I came to America.
  • Leaving China and coming to America:
  • Culture Shock
  • Different Environment in which I had to adapt to
  • Acclimating to my new Environment:
  • Learning and observing the new culture that I was new too
  • Getting out of my comfort zone, trying things that I was not used to and that helped me immensely to make friends and to feel comfortable.
  • Conclusion:
  • Round up ideas, use examples of how successful I was when I graduated military school and how much I learned during those two years.

February 11th In Class Writing

My story is about the following event, me attending a military high school in a foreign environment that led to personal growth as well as cultural growth. My story is about me coming to America as an international student and attending military school in Virginia and how this experience and my struggles in the beginning to make friends and to become acclimated were the most valuable 2 years of my life. I’m going to start my audio essay with a story on how I slowly grew out of my shell, which started in the weight room, and then grew into something bigger as I connected and bonded with many people that I had considered alien to me just a couple weeks ago. What I learned through my two years there is to always be open-minded and to get out of your comfort zone; military school by itself isn’t very comfortable already but that’s only one aspect of it, you also have to get out of your personal comfort zone and try things that you may have never even considered your whole life. Coming from an pretty strict Asian household and living in China most of my life (albeit at an International School) and then being submerged into a completely different culture is rough and drastically different but through keeping an open mind and striving everyday to challenge myself anyone can acclimate to environments they previously thought they couldn’t.


In class Writing February 4th, 2020

  • Use Abobe Spark to create an audio essay that tells a story of a point in your life that has relevance to the themes that we are discussing in class.
  • Explore the important roles that culture and the environment you were in has played in your life.
  • Use past experiences to articulate an audio essay that demonstrates how my various identities have played big roles throughout my life.
  • Use Spark to create a multi-media essay including music, pictures, and slides.

I may face some challenges in the initial planning of my essay, such as finding a topic/story from my life that pertains to the goal of the essay. To help this, I am going to go to the writing center and meet with a tutor to better streamline my thoughts and ideas so I have an outline that will guide me throughout this process.


I find several experiences intriguing on Cadogan’s essay “Black and Blue,” the foremost being that he gets racially discriminated for performing everyday tasks such as walking or running. Personally, I have never experienced any form of discrimination as serious as he did but I have seen Asian people be ridiculed for the typical stereotypes that are associated with us. I admit that although I am not the “average” Asian, I still feel sympathy for people who do get discriminated as use myself as an outlier to prove to people that there is no stereotype. In my opinion, Cadogan is trying to rewrite the script by using himself, a successful black man, to prove to people that not all black people are criminals and uses his personal experiences with police brutality and discrimination as evidence for the prejudice that people have against black people.


Class Work January 30th 2020

I read Sebastien’s reading response and found that we both shared the same idea of people saying they were diverse but not actually. Another idea that I personally agree with was the idea of celebrities being promoting inclusiveness and diversity but not actually practicing what they preach. For example, Sebastien cited that although USF promotes diversity, there are many friend groups where people gravitate to people similar to themselves. I also find that at USF, I only hang out with my friends from my fraternity and although I do sometimes gravitate to friends outside of it, I always find myself with them most of the time. I believe that since I am also of Asian descent, like Sebastien, there is a stereotype against Asian Americans in general. He introduces the point of “systemic racism” which I have experienced and seen first hand, so I understand where he is coming from. He has a unique perspective because he has seen this kind of racism from personal experience, due to being Asian, and therefore gives him of a right to speak on the subject.


Cultural Blooper: Old people get preferential treatment, which is something that me and Parker both had in common. Another thing is that in my culture, you always take off your shoe when you enter the house.



My name is Tommy Zhang and I am a sophomore business major from Beijing, China. Although I spend my breaks at home in Beijing, I have lived in 4 different countries throughout my life and have experienced many different cultures around the world. Some of my hobbies are lifting weights, hanging out with friends, playing beer dye and video games. I also enjoy watching sports a lot such as soccer, football, MMA, and basketball etc. Some interesting facts about me are I have been bungee jumping in New Zealand at the world’s very first bungee jump, I am the president of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity on campus here at USF, and I have been to over 25 countries and plan to travel to more.


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