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Written by on May 13, 2012

Choosing to defy “normal” versus excusing “unconscious racism”

We all have biases and unconscious programming of various sorts, however, I am uncomfortable simply explaining it away, “I was raised that way.” That is too easy. Sure, there are lots of people raised by racists who then become racists themselves. However, there are also lots of people raised by racists (and sexists and homophobes and Republicans, etc.) who are not. What is it that makes some people choose a different path? We can be bigger than our programming.

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Written by on May 4, 2012

The sun is shining, the birds are singing—it’s National Poetry Month!

I stopped reading “The Best American Poetry” and found a book of Asian Pacific American poetry instead—which I understood, which made me laugh, which made me think, which did not offend. Then I started seeking out Asian Pacific American poetry and poets. Slowly, I realized that the problem was not me, the problem was finding poems that fit me.

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Written by on April 28, 2012

Seeking Asian Pacific American Superheroes…at a Conference?

Seeking Asian Pacific American Superheroes…at a Conference? Comments Off on Seeking Asian Pacific American Superheroes…at a Conference?

As the Asian Pacific American media began talking about the issue nationally, I began to fantasize about a more effective solution. I knew that two very cool Asian American activists happened to be headed to Purdue for various Asian Pacific American Heritage Month activities. I conjured up the image of the two of them dressed up in sky blue superhero costumes with fluttering capes and bright yellow masks and gloves, parachuting into the center of Purdue to take care of business. Ka-pow! Sock! Bam! Sometimes, in the face of depressing news item after depressing news item, I long for a superhero to set things right as cleanly and simply as they do in the comic books.

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Written by on April 23, 2012

Helping Asian American girls and women navigate a crossroads of stereotypes and expectations

Helping Asian American girls and women navigate a crossroads of stereotypes and expectations Comments Off on Helping Asian American girls and women navigate a crossroads of stereotypes and expectations

Together we worried about young women finding themselves, staying safe, having fun, demanding to be treated with respect, and cultivating their characters and self-esteem. It is not easy, especially with all the different messages they get. Figuring this out may be more complicated for Asian American girls and women because they live at such a crossroads of different stereotypes and expectations—for Asians, Americans, Asian Americans, Asian American girls, Asian American women, girls and women, daughters and partners, etc.— many of which are contradictory. Talking about race is not enough, nor is talking about gender. We need to talk about both.

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Written by on April 13, 2012

Preparing our children for the bullying and hate crimes we hope never come

Preparing our children for the bullying and hate crimes we hope never come Comments Off on Preparing our children for the bullying and hate crimes we hope never come

Time to review the skills I teach my children in preparation for the bullying and hate crimes I hope never come. Because when it happens, one can never think quickly enough, these skills have to already be there…. [For example:]
The Exact Words: Whether or not a bullying incident or crime is racially motivated needs proof, usually in the form of the words spoken at the time of attack, including threats and slurs. When my children tell stories around the dinner table, I often ask, “What did she say, exactly?” especially when it seems like they might be exaggerating or generalizing. (This is a useful skill for future journalists, too.)

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Written by on April 6, 2012

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