Reappropriate Reads: Week of June 29, 2018

By Reappropriate Intern: V. Huynh

What it means to be seen as a queer Asian American

“Everywhere I turn – nightlife, zines, Instagram, my local coffee shop – I see queer Asians flaunting their attitude, their platform heels, and a smoldering, IDGAF look that inspires me to be louder, prouder, and fearless.

But when I leave my New York City bubble, it’s a different story.”

In ‘Soft Power,’ David Henry Hwang flips the ‘East meets West’ trope

Inspired by the 2015 revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I,” Tony winner David Henry Hwang has set out to flip that trope through a new work: Instead of a Western visitor teaching the King of Siam how to govern his own country, what if the main character came from Asia and saw the United States as a strange and barbaric land to be civilized?

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Ours is a History of Resistance

By: Karin Wang (@naragirl), Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Since we launched “Write Back, Fight Back” two months ago, we have witnessed the power of words to name our struggles, reclaim our identities, and voice our power. We close out our series by centering the story of Asian immigrants challenging racism through the courts and in many cases, winning and changing the course of American history.

No current narrative of Asian Americans is more closely tied to white supremacy and historic white nativist policies than the model minority myth. First coined and promulgated in the mid-1960s by white Americans, the term referred to Japanese and Chinese Americans, focusing obsessively on their seeming success in the face of discrimination. The model minority myth gets denounced on a regular basis lately, and many journalists, writers, and activists have analyzed and challenged the economic and class implications of the myth and the damage it does less privileged Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

But there’s another insidious side to the model minority myth that needs the same unpacking and deconstructing:  the narrative of the quiet and obedient Asian – the one who works twice as hard and neither complains nor challenges authority. The myth was born at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, deliberately juxtaposing Asians against other racial minorities. It’s an image used not only to keep Asian Americans in their place but one that upholds white supremacy.

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The Trauma of Childhood Separation: Reflections of a Korean American Adoptee

By Guest Contributor: Mia Ives-Rublee (@SeeMiaRoll)

The cries of children echo in my head after listening to the ProPublica recording of children crying at a detention center. It reminds me of my own experiences as a young child.

I was adopted at the age of three from South Korea. My biological family left me at an orphanage when I was a few days old and I lived at an orphanage for almost a year before going to a foster home.

I spent almost a year with my foster family and had grown attached to my foster mother. It was extremely traumatic for me to leave my foster family. At the time, I was too young to know what was going on. All I knew was that my foster mother was not near me and that I was in a strange environment.

I remember spending many nights literally crying in terror and my adoptive mother trying to sooth me. This happened for several years after my adoption.

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Reappropriate Reads: Week of June 22, 2018

By Reappropriate Summer Intern: V. Huynh

These Tiny Desk Contestants Set Stories of The Asian-American Experience To Music
“Entrants Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama, two doctoral students in American Studies at Brown University, create songs that illuminate the Asian-American experience in their multimedia project No-No Boy. The pair’s Tiny Desk Contest submission “Two Candles In The Dark” tells the story of Aoyama’s grandmother who was incarcerated in a Japanese internment camp during World War II.”

‘At Least During the Internment …’ Are Words I Thought I’d Never Utter

“And yet, in one core, horrifying way this is worse. At least during the internment of Japanese-Americans, I and other children were not stripped from our parents. We were not pulled screaming from our mothers’ arms. We were not left to change the diapers of younger children by ourselves.”

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This Mess We’re In: A Vision of the Web after White Supremacy

By: Cayden Mak

In 1998, when I was 11, we got the internet at home. My mom, a public school teacher, thought it’d be useful for me and my little sister to do our homework. She has always been very forward-thinking about technology, and computers were a part of our home life for most of my memory, thanks in no small part to the deep discounts educators used to get on Apple machines.

I remember the first time I knew that the internet was going to change everything. A couple years after we first got online, I somehow found my way to an AOL message board about philosophy — I thought of myself as a serious intellectual even as a kid — and had my mind blown by a group of users discussing feminist theory. Although the ideas they discussed were fascinating, that’s not what really blew my mind.

The real game-changer was discovering that there were people out there in the world who wanted to talk about the things I so desperately wanted to discuss. Why did I feel so different from my peers? Is there anybody else out there who is like me? How can we live together as human beings?

The internet became a critical lifeline to the world outside my isolated, extremely white suburban surroundings. I learned about ideas and people I would never have encountered — and learned about people I had encountered in a new light. It was in communities online that I learned the language to describe my experience as a queer person of color; as an Asian American; as a mixed race person.

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