Unfriending of Dissonance

An interesting phenomenon has taken root on my social media platforms.

Unfriending of dissonance. 

For the past year or so, the frequency of friends laying claim to unfriending or unfollowing individuals due to their different opinions has increased ten fold.

And I’ll be honest, it’s unsettling to me.

I have many friends on my platforms that are staunch conservatives who believe that Christian values must guide policy. I have friends who are Log Cabin Republicans who say the LGBT identity is fine but same-sex marriage is wrong. I have friends who are broad Libertarians who are fighting for their candidate to even get recognized. I have people who are very much liberal and are fighting for gun control in fear for their loved one’s lives.

At some points I’ve felt that at times my liberal friends, who I align with most, are so liberal they become exclusive, elitist and conservatively liberal (meaning if someone doesn’t agree with their liberal views then they are not valid citizens or even human beings and treat them as such). And other times, I’ve witnessed conservative friends who are more liberal in certain situations or issues be tossed out and told to go Democrat or Third-Party because they don’t fit the “mold” of the Conservative Party.

Through all this, I don’t see how we learn, grow or develop if we cannot be challenged or be able to sit in uncomfortable space. At what point do we become so entrenched in our views and opinions that we can’t respect a differing opinion or view? That we can’t stand someone sharing their views just as much as we are on social media platforms? We don’t have to like the view or opinion. We can support our issues and positions without degrading others who are different than us in thought.

I just find it absolutely baffling that we get so entrenched in “being right” and making “everyone agree and believe the same thing as me” that we can no longer sit in community with those who are different than us.

The answer is not to rid your platforms of dissonance. The answer is not dismissing and ignoring the uncomfortable conversations or view or opinions.

The answer is to work to understand them. To get to their “why”. It is to talk about them. It is to respect one another as human beings who have different views. It is to learn, grow and develop. And ultimately to allow one another to be who we are and to learn to live together despite our differences.

As Student Affairs Professionals, I believe that we are in a unique position to example this type of work. From our education, our work and our frames of mind, we have everything we need to example this.

As Student Affairs Professionals we are failing at this challenge set before us.

So as the political season begins to ramp up and even after with all the other issues we handle on an everyday basis, how are you going to example having your own thoughts and perspectives that are different from those around you without dismissing or deleting them from your life?  How are you going to work to understand their views; to not dismiss their perspectives, because their passion is just as high as your own with your shares, likes and posts on social media? How are you going to example community building in times of dissonance and not just unfriend or unfollow them because they have different opinions, views and beliefs?

If we keep isolating ourselves in communities that only think the same way as we do, then we won’t grow, we won’t learn, we won’t develop and we won’t be able to make progress or make the world a better place.

I’ve learned and grown a lot from those on my platforms who push back on my views, opinions and perspectives. It forces me to not only look at my own views and why, but theirs as well. We normally end up agreeing to disagree and respect our perspectives but I think each time we leave the conversation with a more well rounded Large Picture View.

I’m proud that I’ve never unfriended or unfollowed someone for their stances, socially, politically etc. Only once have I unfriended someone from my platform, and that was when they came after me personally and began to threaten my life.

But I accredit my ability of understanding and tolerance to the amount of learning and developing I’ve done because I have such a vast array or views and perspectives in my life and on my platforms.

So I challenge you to not “purify” your platforms but rather take advantage of the differences to learn, grow and develop.

Just what’s on my mind this morning after the last week’s Presidential Debate, last night’s VP Debate and the aftermath of my social media after each.

And if I may have a moment of fun and to end my post on a lighter note…I think my favorite GIF from my tweets last night was this:


Until next time

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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My Boost

Well, for those of us who had classes start at the end of August or beginning of September, we’ve made it through the first month!


But I’ll be honest, sometimes these long days and months can be exhausting. However, last night I was reminded of why I stay in this field, and why I do the work I do.

We held a great event last night. It had challenges and “opportunities” from the minute I and my student director walked into the venue. Being an event with celebrities and all that comes with that we were on the go from the very beginning. Much of it was out of our control and we could only do so much, however that does not mean the requests stopped.

In the midst of all the activity “opportunities” and challenges, I was reminded the power of Student Affairs work. The students stepped up and took what we’ve worked with them on and made the event an experieince. They were professional, on top of troubleshooting, and served up tons of DOSE (Delivering Outstanding Spartan Experiences).

To see how many of them have grown, even over the short 2 years I’ve been at MSU, warmed my heart and it refueled my spirit and energy for the rest of the event.

Now as you know I do coffee. Coffee and me, if legal, would be married. But despite the caffeine, the real boost of energy I need comes from my students. You know you’re in Student Affairs for the right reasons when student success gives you energy, goosebumps, and happy tears even during the biggest challenges and heartaches you encounter as #SAPros.

So shoutout to the Michigan State University University Activities Board Members who are rockstars and are the boost behind my drive to stay in the field and continue the work I do!

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!


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Kung Fu Panda Monday!


Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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Kung Fu Panda Monday!


Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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College Colors Day

I graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint. I’m a #TrueBlue Wolverine. While no higher education institution or system is perfect I love my Maize and Blue.

I work at Michigan State University. I whole-heartedly believe #SpartansWill and that the students and alumni are phenomenal human beings. Brian

So what did I wear for today, which has been dubbed College Colors Day?

My Maize and Blue!

I may or may not have stopped several cyclists and gotten multiple angry stares as I walked into work this morning.

Its apparent the hold that school pride and the football rivalrys (let’s be honest it’s all based on football) have created.

For the past week I have been thinking: being a Michigan Wolverine is part of my identity. So why not identify with it in a visible way on a day such as this, where you show pride in your school and alma mater?


As I thought, I began to see two ways to consider why or why not for me to visibly identify as a Wolverine today.

  1. Subdue the identity in order to fall in line with the institution I work at and to make Spartans on campus comfortable in their space.
  2. Show my identity and example how to balance and hold an identity when you are the only one.

Both have merit and I honestly don’t think there is a right or wrong answer.

Obviously, you know which way I decided to take. Perhaps I chose this way because it’s a subconscious way of trying to bring identity inclusion/exclusion to light in a very simple yet applicable metaphor. Maybe I needed an opportunity to take a visible position of my multiple minority identities. Maybe because I’m more of a practical practitioner exampling is the best way for me to teach. Or maybe I’m just being stubborn.🙂

Regardless, as we enter football season and the biggest season for school pride, we should consider our colleagues, supervisors, employees, and even transfer students, and how their identify with their alma maters. It’s still an identity and while we love creating school pride on our campuses for each other and our students, we also shouldn’t hide or be afraid to show our pride in our alma maters. Absolutely as employees we should have pride in the institutions we work at, and I do. But I also have pride and identify with my alma mater and celebrating it a couple days out of the school year shouldn’t be discouraged. On the flip side, we should also not shame or ridicule others for the way their choose to identify and show their school pride.

Its the very BASIC practice of social justice and diversity work. 

Respect and understanding; foundations of social justice, inclusion and diversity work but ones we tend to forget when it comes to school pride.

Just food for thought as we enjoy College Colors Day and enter football season 2016.

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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Kung Fu Panda Monday


Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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I Prefer ‘Fraternity’

I identify as a gay, Asian, Asian-American Fraternity Member who use the pronouns he, him, his.

I am part of a predominately straight, white Southern Fraternity.

I prefer the term “fraternity” versus “frat” because of the negative contexts that has been built and associated with the term “frat”. For me, “frat” is a slur. I use slur as defined by Merriam Webster: “an insulting or disparaging remark or innuendo; a shaming or degrading effect” . “Frat” has that effect for me.

I acknowledge there are systems of oppression within the Greek Community on multiple levels and in many contexts.

I acknowledge there is work to be done and that we all, as fraternity and sorority advisors and all Student Affairs Professionals must engage in.

I actively work with my undergraduate Brothers in this work and address it within our fraternity.

I am a complex individual.

I am hurt and saddened by the lack of sensitivity when individuals inform colleagues that they do not wish to have a term used due to its negative context and it is ignored.

I am hurt and saddened that identifying as a Fraternity Member seems to lessen my opinions and perspectives as a gay, Asian, Asian-American Fraternity Member in how to address these issues in the community.

I am hurt and saddened that if an individual identifies with a specific term when relating to Fraternities and Sororities it is dismissed.

Just because Fraternity of Sorority Member identity is not a racial, sexual orientation, gender, etc identity, it is none the less an identity.

The Facebook post that initiated this unpacking post for me had merit and great potential for context, discussion and development. Unfortunately it was lost when individuals chose to dismiss the way I and many others prefer to be referred to as a community. I acknowledge even in that it is oppressive and not gender neutral. However, when my preferred term and identity is dismissed my walls go up and I don’t want to have further conversations. We respect and are open to the way individuals chose to racially identify, sexually identify, etc. Why is it any different than when we speak of any other identity? Fraternity and Sorority Members (I feel safe to say) all know the cultures of our identities have problems and that there is work to be done. But the key is to focus on the work and where we need to go and respect the way we each choose to identify in regards to, in this case, Fraternity and Sorority Life.

I’m still processing and unpacking some of the great context and discussion that was sprinkled about the post. And as you know I process best when I write it out so thank you for reading through my processing.

Until next time

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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