Tony Cheng

Ethnicity, Race, & Migration has fundamentally shaped the lens and language through which I view and discuss history, current events, and all the newsworthy and daily activities around me.  Not only were my assumptions about race and ethnicity challenged, but in return, I also learned to confront and problematize the assumptions that many in our society hold in regards to who holds power and why.  I reviewed the ways racial, sexual, cultural, and other minorities have protested inequalities and hypothesized about the strategies they can use in the future in order to affirm their statuses and legitimacy in society.  I realized that there are often deeper meanings and multiple ways of interpreting different events, and ERM taught me the importance of always trying to develop a better or clearer understanding of society’s issues.  As a field of study that I have found to be particularly relevant to my personal experiences, ERM has allowed me to explore issues I find important—blurring the previously firm distinction between my academic and personal interests.  The major affirmed many topics that I was interested in, yet never considered a legitimate academic subject of study—ranging from local Hip Hop movements to the increased Fujianese populations in Chinatowns across the United States.  The passion professors took in my work hardened my level of commitment to it.  ERM faculty welcomed and even encouraged students to challenge predominant interpretations and beliefs, including the professor’s own assumptions.  This program of study also instilled an activist spirit of community organizing and volunteering in me that has fueled my goal of becoming a public interest lawyer.  As someone who never expected to major in ERM coming into Yale, I now cannot imagine my college experience without it.


Tony is a Hounie who graduated from Yale in 2012 with distinction in Ethnicity, Race, & Migration and Political Science.  He currently works in the Manhattan District Attorney Office’s Rackets Bureau as a paralegal and plans on enrolling in law school in the near future.  Born and raised in New York, he hopes to practice public interest criminal justice legal work in his hometown.