“Asians are aliens and aliens are Asians.”
It wasn’t a big presentation, even for a small liberal arts school like Swarthmore College. It was held in a classroom, not in one of the big lecture halls, attended mostly by professors who chuckled at the idea of studying racial tropes in pulpy space opera with barely contained derision. The presenter was a scruffy Chinese-American grad student who clearly got into this field of study by being an awkward nerd and whose awkward nerdiness torpedoed any gravitas his lecture might’ve had.
It was an unlikely setting for me to hear the words that would change my life.