Black in Asia

Creating a Chinese program at a historically black campus…the challenges?

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
― Confucius

Hello, welcome to my blog, my name is Daniel

The beginning of the Chinese program was shaky, hard, depressing, and completely embarrassing, but eventually lead to small success…

chinese club

Shaky: the opening ceremony for Chinese was to be a grand spectacle presenting it to the students, and faculty, who actually attended? Faculty a handful, and the marching band, which I was a member and had to beg the band directors to allow.

Hard: convincing students to try something new is a sucker job, convincing them to take extra classes to try something exotic got me some ” you crazy as hell” responses. And through it all after all that, success, after a whole semester, we had our first student! Karyl!!!

Depressing: man, I thought presidents of clubs was the ish, the stuff, the fame. Well, during the beginning of my reign, I did it all. What depressed me, walking through the rain putting up flyers in every school building, for an event no one would attend, then walking through the snow with flyers and tape, when the campus was closed….or better yet, having people join the Chinese club meetings to devour my food and candy paid for out of pocket.

Embarrassments: I always knew, being embarrassed sucks, but my father and his old breed always quoted, their coin phrase, which is true, but you don’t never want to hear it is…….” It puts hair on your chest,” or better yet…..this one really gets me…..” It builds character.” So Chinese a driving force through my college career got me much needed hairy, character building embarrassment. Let’s name a few… band director coined me Daniel-san (san is Japanese), “you crazy as hell,” heard this one the most. I, tone death as all else, sang a song, in Chinese, LMAO, for the opening ceremony to bring Chinese to Lincoln, in front of the band,…..I’m blackanese apparently, or the China man. But hey, builds character right?

So was it worth it? Successes:
Mine: Despite these hardships I’ve had much success. Let’s go back to 2011 I got denied from Lincoln to go to China first attempt, and I almost gave up, mainly cause I was determined to be a Sasquatch like my father…..second time, in 2012 approved and I went to China. You can’t imagine my state of mind. I couldn’t sleep right for a week, then in 2013 I went again. Who goes abroad twice in an undergrad? After my first China trip, I came back and did a duet with Karyl for University of Delaware (our partner Confucious institute school) for Chinese Spring Festival. The second time back I was one of the MC’s (master of ceremony)for that festival. Only black guy and foreign face for that matter.


Lincoln’s: when I first left for China and Karyl assumed the president of my club, we had about 3 students studying Chinese. The. That number rose, we introduced a Chinese minor now. A year later we now have around 8-10 students enrolled, 2-3 going to China in the summer, and 2 active classes. To take it a notch further, we even have some students not enrolled in the language but who can speak it a bit. Hey, two Chinese sentences and I’m impressed. LU!!!!! Lincoln Pride. chinese club

What I’ve learned is that many people are small minded when the idea of something foreign manifests it way into their way of life. I’ve struggled, and lost many battles, but through it all, I’ll take that ridicule, and those losses, because I rather people know that I’m serious about this, with the new freshman coming in each year more openminded than the previous years, I will take as much of the ridicule, so the successors of the program can enjoy its benefit and prestige. Knowing Chinese gives you a prestige and pride, that no other language can satisfy in my opinion, debatable, but it’s one of those things that let you feel as if anythings possible. Yes, I turned what was thought to be a small time soon to disappear language on a black campus, to a thriving program which I hope can be taken seriously, and it will be.



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