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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Reflecting on the middle


I attended Wednesday’s Bernie Sanders’ rally today on campus and was pleasantly surprised to see that he opened up his speech with regard to the diminishing middle class. Throughout the quarter, I’ve been discussing the concept of the middle: the middle of class, the middle of race and the middle of immigration. I discuss these issues because I see them around me — either by directly affecting my life or by witnessing similar events. To have an authority figure speak out on something I’ve been mulling over is very exciting because to me, as someone of the middle, the focus is not so much on the extremes anymore. The middle is gathering national momentum.

Of course, the struggle of the middle is still ongoing, and I can honestly say that I don’t think there is or will be a definite solution. The matter is complicated, especially when more and more microscopic issues arise from previous macroscopic ones. For example, with the exposure of the middle class struggle comes with the upper-middle and lower-middle struggles. In the vast debate over immigrant rights comes the split between first and 1.5 generations. However, I think it’s important to acknowledge and be aware of the middle. If you identify with the middle, then it’s empowering, perhaps, to take action and really speak your mind. If you don’t, at least you can be aware what other people are going through. There is no clear-cut right or wrong answer to this situation, as the middle has been defined as a rather gray area.

As I prepare to graduate, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own association with the middle. I’ve been an average kid, and despite all the accomplishments I’ve made in college, I’m still graduating with concerns over how much I’ve broken out of the middle. Have I made any progress to let myself be heard? Have I really made myself into a unique individual? However, as I come to these thoughts, I realize it is important to understand that there are other people, going through their own feelings and experiencing their own struggles. It’s rather pessimistic of me to say there is no ending when there is at least a recursion, a turning point for us to take a step back and see how much we’ve accomplished. Though problems will continue to present themselves, our better understanding of the middle will only increase our awareness and open mindedness about our own beliefs.

You can reach SANDY CHEN at sichen@ucdavis.edu.


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