Where is the line between fiction and history for a people whose histories have been blown off the face of the earth by slavery, by genocide, by colonialism, by the horror regimes and the endless erasures and calumnies of modernity? What is history to those who live in the amnesiatic heart of that great trauma we now euphemistically call the New World?
-Junot Diaz [x] (via mujeristaxicana)
That said, stereotypes aren’t so much about people totally projecting things that completely aren’t there but about people having a framework with which they interpret things that actually are there. It’s not that racism causes people to see (for example) belligerent teenage boys where there are none, but that a white belligerent teenage boy is just seen as himself while a black belligerent teenage boy is part of a pattern, a script, and when people blindly follow the scripts in their head that leads to discrimination and prejudice. So yeah, it is a fact, I think, that I was a bit off-putting in my Jeopardy! appearance—hyper-focused on the game, had an intense stare, clicked madly on the buzzer, spat out answers super-fast, wasn’t too charming in the interviews, etc. But this may have taken root in people’s heads because I’m an Asian and the “Asian mastermind” is a meme in people’s heads that it wouldn’t have otherwise.Look, we all know that there’s a trope in the movies where someone of a minority race is flattened out into just being “good at X” and that the white protagonist is the one we root for because unlike the guy who’s just “good at X” the protagonist has human depth, human relationships, a human point of view—and this somehow makes him more worthy of success than the antagonist who seems to exist just to be good at X. So we root for Rocky against black guys who, by all appearances, really are better boxers than he is, because unlike them Rocky isn’t JUST a boxer, he has a girlfriend, he has hopes, he has dreams, etc. This comes up over and over again in movies where the athletic black competitor is set up as the “heel”—look at the black chick in Million Dollar Baby and how much we’re pushed to hate her. Look at all this “Great White Hope” stuff, historically, with Joe Louis. So is it any surprise that this trope comes into play with Asians? That the Asian character in the movie is the robotic, heartless, genius mastermind who is only pure intellect and whom we’re crying out to be defeated by some white guy who may not be as brainy but has more pluck, more heart, more humanity? It’s not just Flash Gordon vs. Ming the Merciless, it’s stuff like how in the pilot episode of Girls Hannah gets fired in favor of an overachieving Asian girl who’s genuinely better at her job than she is (the Asian girl knows Photoshop and she doesn’t) and we’re supposed to sympathize with Hannah. Okay, here’s one more comment from the Internet that kind of encapsulates it. The kind of un-self-awareness of what someone is saying when they say they’d prefer I not win because I try too hard at the game, work too hard at it, care too much about it, and that they’d prefer that a “likable average Joe” win. This is disturbing because it amounts to basically an attack on competence, a desire to bust people who work very hard and have very strong natural gifts down in favor of “likable average Joes”—and it’s disturbing because the subtext is frequently that to be “likable” and “average” you have to have other traits that are comforting and appealing to an “average Joe” audience, like white skin and an American accent.

- Arthur Chu to Ken Jennings (via pushinghoopswithsticks)

an episode in: arthur chu sons the yts

(via rekognitionoisuled)

Anonymous asked What's your opinion on Eleanor & Park?



Ah, I’ve been wondering when I’d get this question. I admit that I’ve not been very vocal about my feelings on this book because as a fellow author, I don’t feel comfortable speaking negatively about another author’s book. But at the same time I have developed a growing angst over this subject and I will try to put it into words for you. When I first heard of the book, it was through friends who thought I’d be interested in the portrayal of a half-Korean boy. Of course I was! I bought it right away for my daughter. It sounded like a perfect teenage love story. I even recommended it to a friend of mine (non-Korean) who loved it. But then another friend of mine asked me if I had any problems with the depiction of Park and his mother and I hurriedly picked it up before my daughter could read it. Here’s the thing, it IS a lovely little teenage love story. But all I could keep thinking was, Damn it! Why did he have to be Korean? Why did this boy, who is so filled with self-loathing and contempt for his heritage, have to be Korean? Why did his mother with her sing songy broken English have to be Korean?

And because of this, I ended up giving this book away to someone I felt would enjoy it better, a non-Korean. Because I didn’t want my daughter to read this and get that same icky feeling I did. That same humiliating sinking feeling you get when you realize you’ve stumbled across an awful stereotype of a Korean and you cringe that this is all that anyone takes away. And why oh why of all books that could possibly have a diverse main character did it have to be this one that hits the NYT list? Why did Rowell have to include the worst racist comment in the world in this book and think it is okay? Because when Eleanor thinks it, she also at least recognized it was racist. I’m sure that’s why she thought it was ok to include the most racist comment against Asians. But I flinched when I read it. I was so angry when I read it. I hated Eleanor after I read it and I never ever forgave her. No, Asians don’t see things smaller because our eyes are smaller. That is racist. It’s an interesting point to make that you can fall in love with a person of a different culture and still be racist. That’s ultimately Eleanor.

But Park and his mother are more problematic. His mother is described as a chinadoll - a slur in itself. And Park just hates the fact that he doesn’t look more white like his brother. He is filled with self loathing to the point where he even says Asian men are not sexy. SAYS WHO?!! There was a period in my life when I was younger where I pushed away my culture and wished I wasn’t Korean. This was in direct correlation with the amount of racism I endured at the time. So I could understand Park, I could relate to him. But then I FOUND myself! I found my respect and love and pride for my culture. And I recognized just how important my Korean heritage was to me. Park never has that moment of self-discovery. And that is the greatest failure of this book. Because Rowell did not take the opportunity to really understand what it means to be multi-cultural. She wrote a character purely from a white person’s view, never thinking about how a minority person growing up in this country truly feels. The anguish of racism and the complexity of living between two different cultures was never explored. Instead, we are left to believe that Park goes through the rest of his life filled with contempt for his mother’s heritage. A person who wished he was white instead of Asian. And I find myself desperately wishing he’d been white too.

A really interesting post. Yes to so many things—to the China Doll description, to the pain of seeing Park hate part of himself, but especially to the part where Oh never forgives Eleanor for using/thinking in slurs. I think that’s a really authentic—and necessary—response. It’s real—just like Eleanor is for having those thoughts. Because, let’s face it, lots of people who we may or may not ever think of as racist have these moments where horrible, terrible, hateful ideas creep in. Because what we grow up with is often hard to shake off, even when we want to.

But I also think it’s ok to like Eleanor without ever forgiving her, because how many of us have people in our lives that we love, even though they say or believe hateful things? How many of the people we are or know have these deeply conflicting ideas about race and culture and what that all means? Life isn’t neat. Love isn’t neat. And sometime the people we love the most are also the people that we are most ashamed of.

But I do take exception, a bit, when she says Rowell wrote without thinking about how a minority person growing up truly feels… It is absolutely true that it wasn’t explored in any depth. E&P certainly isn’t a YA version of WOMAN WARRIOR or THE BONESETTER’S DAUGHTER or BONE. But I don’t necessarily think that YA writers need to show what teen characters will become, because I don’t believe that people stay they people they are at 15. I didn’t read Park and believe he continued on wishing he’d been white. I read him as a snapshot of a moment, and imagined that he could grow and change the same as any of us. I don’t think 35 year old Park would be just a larger version of 15 year old Park.

But seriously—a great and interesting post. These sorts of discussions are so vital, so important.

Read More


Melchior-Paul von Deschwanden (Swiss, 1811 – 1881)
The Study of a Young Man (Studie eines jungen Mannes), 1829/1881


Melchior-Paul von Deschwanden (Swiss, 1811 – 1881)

The Study of a Young Man (Studie eines jungen Mannes), 1829/1881


There was
no night.

The night was in my head.

-Louise Glück, from Landscape (via mirroir)

Questions I ask myself and have not answered yet:

Am I perpetuating the colonial script? Am I reinforcing essentialist ideas? Am I fulfilling colonial destiny by elevating everyday interactions and embedding them with historical significance? Am I re-enacting historical pains? Is it worth it? Isn’t this all cyclical, reductive even?

at university:

I see POC students thirst to tell our stories, to fight when there is no argument. There is this desperation, anger. I don’t understand what to make of it. How to escape the colonial script but protect ourselves?

Despite what you’ve read, your sadness is not beautiful. No one will see you in the bookstore, curled up with your Bukowski, and want to save you.
Stop waiting
for a salvation that will not come from the grey-eyed boy looking for an annotated copy of Shakespeare,
for an end to your sadness in Keats.
He coughed up his lungs at 25, and flowery words cannot conceal a life barely lived.
Your life is fragile, just beginning, teetering on the violent edge of the world.
Your sadness will bury you alive, and you are the only one who can shovel your way out with hardened hands and ragged fingernails, bleeding your despair into the unforgiving earth.
Darling, you see, no heroes are coming for you. Grab your sword, and don your own armor.
-Emily Palermo, Your Sadness is a Poison (via starredsoul)

.gif remix “edward hopper” painting


.gif remix “edward hopper” painting


Pokemon? What an imperialist/colonialist game: gotta catch em all? Haha