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.
Continue reading “Ours is a History of Resistance”
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.
Continue reading “The Trauma of Childhood Separation: Reflections of a Korean American Adoptee”
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.
Continue reading “This Mess We’re In: A Vision of the Web after White Supremacy”
By Guest Contributor: Sudip Bhattacharya (@ResistRun)
Chris Phan used to believe that they were an anomaly. After all, Phan and those around them in their community were working class Asian Americans; this didn’t match the mainstream perception of Asian Americans as economically and educationally privileged.
Eventually, Phan realized that what they and others experience on the economic margins is actually the norm for many.
“The reality is I know folks who are super poor and Asian American who have to rely on the informal economy to survive. And now, with my education, I know that’s not isolated to my family or experiences,” Phan explained.
Continue reading “Class, Capitalism and the Creation of a Progressive Asian America”
By Guest Contributor: Ju-Hyun Park (@Hermit_Hwarang)
A month ago, I woke up to news I thought I might never hear in my lifetime: the leaders of North and South Korea had, after meeting at an historic summit in Panmunjom at the DMZ, announced their intention to formally end the Korean War and lay plans for reunification.
I accomplished nothing I’d intended to that morning. I called my mother and sister to talk about the news. I read and reread the declaration and watched whatever clips I could find. I celebrated and speculated over group chat with Korean friends. And, I cried. A lot.
Continue reading “American Militarism and White Empire: Thoughts on Peace on the Korean Peninsula”