Life at Warp Speed

life, faith, food, parenting, homeschooling and just about anything else that is on my mind

A Call to Engage. November 12, 2016

Filed under: Asian American Issues,Christianity,Faith and God Musings — lifeatwarpspeed @ 8:28 pm
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For those that know me in real life, I am an Asian American woman. I want to add my voice to what is happening because as Asian American voices are often too silent. I want to cut through the hyperbole and the media slant on what is happening out there.

I want to say there has been a very real uptick in racially charged incidents/interactions being experienced by people I do know who have personally sharing their personal pain and hurt. Incidents where they have been told to take their chink selves back to China, to go back to where you came from, we don’t want you here, to be made fun of by racist comments, and in one case actually being egged. There’s an Asian American church with swastikas and the word “die” carved on their doors. These incidents are real. They have happened. Now, many of these incidents are committed by children and teens which is disturbing because they are only repeating what is going on behind closed doors. There are some by adults like the egging. If anyone thinks I am talking about these things happening in flyover country, I’m sorry to burst your bubble, the incidents happened here in the Bay Area, in San Diego, in LA, and in Seattle.

I won’t say that this is a new thing either. I will recount a couple of incidents that happened in last couple of years. My son’s friend (Chinese) was told by another boy that I don’t like Chinese people because they are awful. Another of my son’s friends (Chinese/black) while standing next to my son was told by another boy that black people smell bad, and black people are bad. My son didn’t quite understand and was weeping because all he understood is that his friend was made to feel bad. These two boys went through a long period of time where they hated who they were because they got the message that somehow being Chinese or being black was bad. Think that this couldn’t possibly happen in Christian circles? Sorry to say that the first incident happened at a Christian home school group here in San Diego. The second incident happened at my own church. And there were no apologies by these families either.

I believe anyone who thinks that we live in a post-racial society just because we elected Obama is sadly mistaken. I actually may be in the minority among minorities about this, but I actually vastly prefer that these overt acts of racist behavior are happening because it shows what really lies beneath. It creates a place to have a discussion. There are opportunities for white people especially white Christians to speak up, intervene, listen and choose to do something. To me, I think that living in a bubble thinking that racism must not be there because these things don’t happen anymore is just not true. Thinking that racist attitudes and behaviors aren’t there because there haven’t been overt incidents in the past is false as well because the covert attitudes have always been there.

No, I don’t believe that the vast majority of white people are racist. I do believe that a lot of white people don’t realize how common these experiences are. I also don’t think the vast majority of white people realize that for a person of color, you live this every day. I also don’t think that there are enough Christians and conservatives calling it out and naming it. I am also naming another truth to my minority friends that minorities can also be racist against other minorities and yes, against white people. This happens all the time, but somehow minorities get a free pass on this all the time. However, in our politically and racially charged environment, only people of color are permitted to call other people of color to account.

When I was growing up in California, I have been pelted with dirt and rocks because I look Japanese on Pearl Harbor Day. I have been subject to “ching-chong Chinaman” type chants. I have had many use their fingers to pull down their eyelids to make squinty eyes at me. I actually have been hit and physically attacked in junior high. I have had other students flat out angry and pissed off at me when I won scholarships and awards. I lost friends (but were they really my friend?) who felt I got too many because I was Chinese, and it just wasn’t fair…that somehow I stole what was rightly theirs to have. I’ve been told to go home to where I came from even though my family has been here for 5 generations. My great great grandfather worked on the railroads. My great grandfather fought in WWII for the United States. I have had to live through being insulted and judged over and over because of the color of my skin. It happens. It’s my story. It’s my reality. It’s my life.

I am a Christian, Chinese-American and a conservative. I don’t care who you voted for because my belief is that people have reasons for their vote that have nothing to do with identity politics. It’s your freedom to choose. I don’t judge you for that nor do I want to be judged for who I choose to vote for. It’s not about Trump or Clinton. Conservatives too often allow discussion around racism to be dominated and driven by liberals. Liberals don’t own this. Remember, Republicans are the party of Lincoln. Nixon was the one to push the Civil Right Acts through Congress. This is part of our history and tradition. It doesn’t have to be the way it is now. We have a voice in this. I really don’t have a political agenda here. I just want to people to see that conservative does not equal racist or whatever other label. If you dismiss all conservatives as “other” and unworthy, then how is that any better? We are all individuals and should see each other that way. Isn’t that what we should do? Try to aspire to be like MLK Jr who said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

I am just speaking the truth to whoever has ears to listen. I recognize that I am raising my son in a world that is imperfect and flawed, but I do always have hope because the power of God can change the hearts of man. Sin and brokenness is part of humanity. Forgiveness is part of being a Christian. Justice for the powerless is also part of being a Christian. God can redeem anything. God can transform what is broken into wholeness. I believe that to my core. I also believe that if you are not part of the solution that you are part of the problem. So, choose today what you will do. Choose to engage. Choose to talk to your children. Choose to help your children to choose to speak out against injustice. They see more than you think that they do. Above all, pray.

L@WS

ETA: I am greatly encouraged by this call to prayer by my former home church.

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Pastor Ryan’s words reminded me of these wise words: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”      – Abraham Lincoln

 

Learn ABC; It’s Munch Time app – free today! June 15, 2013

Filed under: Asian American Issues,Kids,Preschool — lifeatwarpspeed @ 4:53 pm
Tags: , , ,

Learn ABC; It’s Munch Time for iPad on the iTunes App Store.

If you are in the market for an ABC app that is both cute, fun to play and teaches young children how to trace their letters, then grab this app that has gone free today. Normally, this app is $1.99. They have made some nice improvements to the app by adding more animation to the food characters and additional touch capabilities.

The app includes upper and lowercase letters for practice. M and I first came across this app over two years ago and had a lot of fun playing and learning with it. As an Asian American mom, I personally appreciate that the developer is Asian, so there are many food characters that are common in the Asian diet which is really nice if you are looking to something that affirms that for your children. All in all, this is solid app. If you miss this deal, there is a free version that you can try out.

Recommended for toddler to pre-K. This is a very user-friendly app for young accelerated learners.

L@WS

 

 

How Lin-sanity and Social Media Unlocked Asian American Social Power February 20, 2012

Filed under: Asian American Issues — lifeatwarpspeed @ 1:29 pm
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As a Asian American(AA) , I have long observed a startling contrast between AAs and pretty much every other ethnic group in the U.S. We simply are not going to be found on the editorial pages of newspapers and magazines or standing in together in protest in a show of ethnic solidarity. It simply isn’t in our social and cultural DNA. We just don’t do that. We are generally are an accepting culture. We look at the status quo and figure out how to work within the system to improve our lot in life. We don’t agitate about the system; we accommodate and adapt to the system.

This is probably why AAs have our enduring reputation as the “model minority” in America. We don’t cause social unrest. We work hard, study hard, strive for higher education, and aim for one of the golden professions (doctor, lawyer, engineer, or CPA). Even though we are only 4.7% of the population, about half of us are college educated. AA high school graduates have a 92.2% college enrollment rate. We have good careers as opposed to jobs. Over 49% of AAs are employed in management or other professional work. We have the highest median household income of any ethnic group exceeding Caucasians by more than $10,000. We scrimp and sacrifice to buy homes in high-performing school districts. We help boost the average test scores in local schools and by happenstance preserving and improving the local real estate values. We don’t complain or cause trouble in the communities we live in. We live quiet, uneventful lives. We are the minority that the mainstream never has to think about other than to complain about our kids ruining the academic curve and making college admissions too competitive.

As a college student, I minored in AA studies at Cal Berkeley while doing my BS in Business Administration. For the majority of AA students at Cal, they were there to study hard and get into a top graduate school or get a good paying job to start their professional career. However, in the AA department, I found a small subset of the AA community, people who were passionate about social activism, reform, and justice within the AA community. They really wanted to see the AA community become a social and political force in America, and yet, I knew that it just simply wasn’t going to happen.

Our endemic cultural values as an AA community simply doesn’t create an environment that would incubate groups like the NAACP or La Raza. Our communities simply don’t lend themselves to birthing people like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Cesar Chavez.  Values rooted in Confucianism run counter to what is necessary to give rise to social and political activism. Values like the importance of the group (or family) over the individual, filial piety, humility, loyalty, self-effacement, harmony, and meritocracy. None of these values lends itself to changing the system; rather they work to preserve the system and social order. Frankly, most AAs are too busy hard at work on their careers and whatever time is left is divided between caring for aging parents and helping their children stay competitive in their pursuit of an Ivy League or equivalent admission with academic, athletic and enrichment activities.

Until Lin-sanity media storm broke, I never realized that I had so little confidence in AAs as a social force despite the substantial economic spending power we represent. I admit that I even got drawn into the edges of Lin-sanity. I still don’t watch basketball, but I am following the news cycle surrounding Jeremy Lin. I admire him, and his tenacity to continue to pursue his dream and passion despite numerous setbacks. As a AA (and a Tiger Mom), I admire that he got his Harvard degree (the pinnacle in AA Ivy aspirations) in economics (a practical degree). As an AA Christian, I admire his strong faith and how it influences how he is on and off the court. I love how he is breaking popular stereotypes and doing it with humility, style, and grace.

With the aftermath of Jason Whitlock’s ill-considered tweet and ESPN’s offensive headline which led to disciplinary actions like suspension and firing, I marveled at how social media has unlocked the AA consciousness as a community. For the first time in my life, I saw my community mobilized and the issue of race relations with respect to AAs was on page 1, the editorial and sports pages, and even on Saturday Night Live. Like Lin-sanity, which I believe was fueled mostly due to social media sharing via Facebook and Twitter, the issue of race and the emasculation of AA males by media was being debated across the country. Social media has united AAs from our isolated pockets of community. Students, computer engineers, doctors, suburbanites, city dwellers, Midwesterners, first generation immigrants, 5th generation American born, etc. were swept up and talking about this issue, and more importantly, this discussion wasn’t happening just inside our community, our conversation was happening virtually and organically.

All of a sudden, America was getting a front row seat to how our community thinks and what we really think about ethnic identity and race relations. America is waking up to the fact that just because we are the “model” minority and don’t generally protest and agitate, we are not, in fact, happy with the discrimination and racist attitudes that still continue to persist and hinder us. Yes, we are successful, in spite, of race quotas in education, media stereotypes, and the bamboo ceiling in corporate America.

Social media is unique in our generation. It breaks through normal social grouping behaviors that we adopt as humans. It provides a platform to communicate across gender, age, class, socioeconomic status, race, geography, culture, political affiliations and personal interests. It is a forum that finally lends itself to the AA style of communication. It is conversational without being confrontational. It is indirect rather than direct. It allows a person to choose whether or not to directly engage in a conversation or just participate passively.  It allows us to preserve of cultural value of saving face in our conversations by not publicly humiliating anyone or being disrespectful. There are no mobs, no sign holding, or protest marches. No angry raised voices in heated real world in person debate, just a virtual movement that strong enough and virtually loud to make a media giant like ESPN respond and for the debate to be brought to the mainstream media’s attention.

A Chinese proverb says “Beware of the sleeping tiger.” Has social media wakened the sleeping tiger and unlocked the power of the AA community? Can social media give AAs a voice in society? Can the AA community leverage their newfound power? Time will tell. One thing is certain, professors of AA studies across America are furiously collecting media articles and amending their curriculum and readers to address what is happening. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the ride.

L@WS

 

 
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