“[T]he positioning of Asian Americans as the least oppressed in dominant discourses on race…puts Asian Americans in a position where the only choices we have are to be in collusion with white supremacy against other people of color, or an ally to another community. Whether villains or allies, what both positions have in common is that they are tangential—we are marginalized, we marginalize our own experience and our own communities. It is tremendously important to work in solidarity with other communities. But we are more than allies. More than villains. We need nuanced, even empathetic, critical examination of our people … Read more “A Reflection on My Non/Asian American Life”
Author: Alison Roh Park
Alison Roh Park is a big personality from Queens, NYC. Pushcart nominated poet, communications head, and writer, Alison enjoys raging about, cracking on, and inspiring thought and action on unfortunate things like racism, capitalist greed, misogyny, cultural hegemony and stuff like that.
Over the past few months, there has been a lot of pain, loss, tension, defensiveness, apologism, defaulting to those dominant hierarchies and norms in the Asian American/Pacific Islander (APA, APIA, AAPI, used interchangeably here) world—whether consciously or not. We heard different voices, including from those naming themselves or their organizations as representative of the entire or specific APA communities, those who have tried to push out the boundaries of that invisible/hyperinvisible Oriental box we exist in and those who think they are saying something fresh, but falling into another American race trap.
I am tired of the lack of nuance … Read more “My Asian American Identity Demolition Project”
(Check out Part I: #ChinkHumor and Sweden’s Race Problem)
“[A] strong tradition of “gook humor” [is] alive and well to this day, where comedy is based around ridiculing and degrading East Asian bodies, supports the notion that somehow the Asian body is less than human.”
— Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom, Illustrater and Comic Artist
I had the pleasure of finding Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom’s beautiful and powerful illustrations online after reading an article she coauthored with a fellow Korean adoptee and scholar Tobias Hübinette. The article was a response to a yellowface sketch by an all-male comedy troupe called ”Killinggänget”. … Read more “Part II: An Interview with Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom”
(Check out Part II: An Interview with Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom)
“Racial biology taught the general population to differentiate between the superior Aryan race and undesirable others, communication to the public at large through literature, films and cartoons directly.”
-Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom, Illustrator & Cartoonist
Last month, I found this article on the Internets that talked about “Gook Humor”—or, more broadly, “Chink Humor”—in Sweden. The article was a response to a long-standing yellowface sketch (think Saturday Night Live) by a popular comedy collective called Killinggänget, co-authored by illustrator and comic book artist extraordinaire Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom and Swedish race and … Read more “Part I: #ChinkHumor and Sweden’s Race Problem”
“Look at where you be in hair weaves like Europeans/ Fake nails done by Koreans.”—Lauryn Hill, “Doo Wop (That Thing)”
“[W]e need to show how capitalism operates in the United States to occlude the racism of its practices by creating social structures that pit people against one another.”—Vijay Prashad, “The Merchant is Always a Stranger,” Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting
I had a brief stint as a waitress and line cook at a small bistro at the foot of the Philadelphia Art Museum a few years ago. The owners—a married straight couple—both had other jobs, and the guy’s mother would … Read more “The Neoliberal Mani-Pedi: Wage Theft is not an Interethnic Issue”
Purging the Electorate and the APIA Vote
“The children of…European parentage, quickly merge into the mass of our population and lose the distinctive hallmarks of their European origin. On the other hand, it cannot be doubted that the children born in this country of Hindu parents would retain indefinitely the clear evidence of their ancestry…and it is of such character and extent that the great body of our people instinctively recognize it and reject the thought of assimilation.” —United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, Certificate from The Circuit Court Of Appeals For The Ninth Circuit, Supreme Court of the United States
Voter disenfranchisement is one of the … Read more “Purging the Electorate and the APIA Vote”
No Buffer Zone, No Pill, No Power
“The right to have an abortion is a right to equity, it is the right to choice and is a right to allow a women to make the best decision she can about her situation without handing over the reigns to the judgment of others to make that decision on her behalf, often against concerns for her own safety.” Nadia Hussain, Why Abortion Matters to Me
It’s 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning in Jamaica, Queens. It’s January, so underneath the lab coat clinic escorts are wearing, I’m bundled up in a heavy coat, sweater, tights, and knee socks under … Read more “No Buffer Zone, No Pill, No Power”
HOT ASIAN WOMEN!
Alright, I know in Internets chronology I am a million light years behind, but how f*cking great is this “If Asians Said The Stuff White People Say” thing! Why am I NOT Jenny Yang’s stand up twin? Plus, all Dis/orient/ed Comedy needs now is a Korean American to complete its East Asian representation….
All jokes aside, I got put on to this video from a few different people on Facebook, my friend who grew up in Utah and now struggles with this kind of nonsense in a very white area in the midwest, and Colorlines (thank you Jamilah King!) and … Read more “HOT ASIAN WOMEN!”
The Movement Will Not Be Twitterized
I haven’t had the heart, energy, or time to read through the #CancelColbert tweets. From the resulting hullabaloo, it seems that on the whole, Suey Park’s intentions were completely missed. Also importantly missed was, you know, the whole genocide/ disenfranchisement/ misrepresentation of Native peoples thing, AND Colbert’s original gross display of anti-Asian racism, not just the “offending” Comedy Central tweet.
That said, I had the same reaction to #CancelColbert as I did last winter when I scanned the #NotYourAsianSidekick tweets. Thousands of young APIA women and allies were connecting virtually. My ambivalence about hashtag activism is that, while it has … Read more “The Movement Will Not Be Twitterized”
Over the past few days, I’ve had some really demoralizing experiences with a heterosexual couple that my partner is very close to. The Facebook exchange was prompted by the guy posting an ABC “What Would You Do?” (which needs to be taken off the air for spreading post-racist ideology) segment that staged a scenario in which a black hairstylist “discriminated” against the blonde white girlfriend of a patron of the Harlem barbershop (Read: Reverse racism is real; white people are more oppressed than black people; black women are crazy). And as a side note, in Harlem, where the segment was … Read more “On Love, Friendship, and (LOL Reverse) Racism”