On Proms and Protocols–Figuring out the rules and creating new paths

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Written by on June 10, 2012

Follow up on the Diane Tran case and mobilizing forward to other cases

Follow up on the Diane Tran case and mobilizing forward to other cases Comments Off on Follow up on the Diane Tran case and mobilizing forward to other cases

Amazing girl. Happy ending. Props. Still, this story bothers me. It bothers me because I know that this is only one case, that this sort of thing happens to people of color all the time. She was lucky that her story happened to go viral and she happened to get help, but there are so many other cases that do not happen to capture the attention of the public and the media. Part of the appeal of the Diane Tran story is how neatly the story fit into the Asian American model minority stereotype. If she had been a different ethnic minority or a teen mother or an average student, would she have gotten a second glance?

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Written by on June 4, 2012

When Mother’s Day Goes Awry

Whenever one of our “traditions,” however defined, goes awry because of scheduling or illness or some crazy thing, I always try to redefine that tradition for the children and to give them the skills to create something else to hold onto. Now the children are learning to do it for themselves. Little Brother decided that he “had to” get me a doughnut for Mother’s Day. However, since he won’t be with me that day, he started walking the dog to the grocery store once or twice a week, every week for the past month, to get me (and him) an early doughnut for Mother’s Day. “I’m a big boy now.”

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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

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