Saturday, December 21, 2013

#NotYourAsianSidekick and Mommying

I stumbled upon this interview with Suey Park who wanted to start a conversation about Asian Americans and their struggle with fitting into the Western culture - or to be more ... [dangit, having a mommy-brain moment... that word describing language which is less formal, more conversational... along the lines of "vernacular"... but not that word... ack!!]... well, anyway, a less PC way of describing it could be "Whitewashed: To be or not to be, that is the Asian-American question."  (Please don't take me literally, it's not literally "the" question, but a huge one nonetheless).

I haven't read much more than the interview (click here) but it made me start thinking about the struggle as a mom to balance between the Western and Eastern cultures.  Rice with everything? Speak only Cantonese at home? Bowl hair cuts? Wok rules the kitchen? Those are just a few questions off the top of my head, not necessarily deep/feminist ones or ones which I personally struggle with, but some to get thoughts spinning in your mind hopefully.

Here's a clip of the interview to wet your interest:

What are you saying to those on Twitter who are claiming #NotYourAsianSidekick is generalizing white peoples’ attitudes in particular towards Asian American women? 
I think a lot of white people have a visceral reaction to the fact that they belong to a structural whiteness. But I think it shows us something really important, which is that fraction of discomfort is nothing compared to a lifetime of being racialized and put in a subordinate class of people in the U.S., so when it comes to that and I compare the two I really don’t feel bad at all.
I also think it’s really ironic that this hashtag was going on for days and that people couldn’t even learn enough to think about what it means to them in their own lives. Immediately I’ve become the cool Asian friend and all of my Facebook friends who thought I was really annoying for talking about racism, my feelings and my eating disorder are somehow now tokenizing me as a successful Asian American woman. I mean, how token is that?

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