As a child, I attended public school. I didn’t have a choice, it was all my parents could afford, there was zero chance with my parent’s financial status that I’d ever get to go to private school. Even attending public school, I thrived as a student. We lived in a good school district in the state of New York, and public schools were well-funded in the 1970s. My public school was almost completely homogeneous. As someone else described it to me, my elementary school was “all-white, made up of Italians, Irish and Jewish kids”. My sisters and I were the only non-white kids in our elementary school. Generally there was no racial tension other than the occasional degrading remark about our lunches or our last name.
Fast forward almost forty years and then it was my turn to enroll my own daughter for elementary school, I was a big proponent of sending her to public school and I didn’t even give a second thought to the racial make-up of the school she would be attending.
We visited our local public elementary, and we enrolled her. First grade was promising, we loved her teachers and she seemed to thrive, even with the few problems we did encounter. Second grade was equally satisfying, but we could start to see the issues that did exist continue to fester.
Additional programs seemed to disappear each year with funding to public schools being cut year after year. Field trips for students seemed to get fewer and fewer each year. By the time third grade came around, there were no field trips that year. And it was third grade, where we encountered “the straw that broke the camel’s back“. By the time third grade was half over, we realized there was something seriously wrong.
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Recently, Kristina Wong was featured in New York Times in a video series called “Off Color”, and I visited her artist website and also discovered her satire dating site about the objectification of Asian women, BigBadChineseMama.com, where she and volunteers basically make fun of the fetishization of Asian women.
Wong cracks me up, and her way of throwing apple pie in your face and then having you realize it’s actually a pie full of turd is definitely attention grabbing. It’s a good approach for the dense folk out there who hopefully are brought to question some of their own assumptions and unquestioned desires.
I also know that there are a lot of people out there, men and women, who are not really sure what “objectification” actually means, what it is like to be an objectified Asian woman specifically, and also how to avoid objectifying Asian women. So, I thought maybe I’d try my hand at presenting a simple-to-understand explanation and guideline on the objectification of Asian women and how to avoid it.
1. What does “objectification” mean?
Simply put, “objectification” means treating a human being or a group of human beings as an object instead of a human being. For example, let’s compare a table with an Asian woman.
A table is clearly an inanimate, non-living, non-sentient object. If you love a table, it will not love you back. If you paint it your favorite color, you don’t have to worry about the table’s feelings, and if you break or hurt the table, it will not feel pain.
An Asian woman, however, is a living, sentient being. If you love an Asian woman, she may love you back. If you paint her your favorite color without her permission, she may get very very angry at you. If you break or hurt her, she will feel great pain and suffering.
Basically, you don’t have to worry about the table’s thoughts, experiences, emotions, and desires because the table has none of the above.
An Asian woman, however, does have all of the above, and if you treat her like an object, objectify her, then you DO NOT CARE about her thoughts, experiences, emotions, or desires.
You are objectifying an Asian woman if you are prioritizing your own thoughts, experiences, emotions, or desires over hers.
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I am a Fidelity Investments customer (as well as other financial services) and saw this television commercial the other day. To be honest, I am not sure advertising the fact that Fidelity does 1-second trade executions is that much of a differentiator to really convince others to switch to Fidelity or to execute more trades. Most individual investors are not day traders, and tend to hold securities longer than your average high speed frequency trader… But nice to see an Asian American male portrayed as an every day American individual investor.
8$ is a series which occasionally highlights interesting crowdfunding projects. Every day, the 8Asians team is inundated by many worthy pitches. We are unable to highlight every one that comes our way, or even the ones we might individually support. The projects selected for 8$ are not endorsements by 8Asians. (To be considered for 8$, we highly suggest you not harass the writers or the editors of 8Asians.)
WHAT: Indiegogo project: We Need Diverse Books
What is We Need Diverse Books™?
Reading is the ultimate form of empathy.
Though more than half of schoolchildren are minorities–people of color, LGBTQIA, and/or people with disabilities–the fact remains that too few of these children see reflections of themselves in the books they read. Books are more than mirrors– they’re windows as well. The more kids read, the more they understand not just themselves, but the Story of Us All.
We Need Diverse Books™ (WNDB) is a grassroots organization dedicated to advocating and supporting non-majority narratives.
WHEN: Deadline to contribute is Monday, November 24, 2014 (11:59pm PT).
With your donation, WNDB will be able to:
- Diversify our classrooms: Through our Diversity in the Classroom program we will work with An Open Book Children’s Literacy Foundation, First Book, and the National Education Association to bring diverse books and authors into disadvantaged schools. Diverse authors will also visit other schools to give all children windows into different backgrounds and cultures so they can increase their empathy and understanding.
- Support diverse authors: Through our newly announced Walter Dean Myers Award & Grant program “The Walter” will recognize outstanding diverse contributions by authors in Young Adult and Middle Grade literature, and provide funds to help develop new diverse authors and artists.
- Promote diverse programming: WNDB will continue to have a presence at conferences across the country, aiming to foster positive, honest, and constructive discussions on diversity and show people that a diverse book is just a good book that any child can enjoy.
- Develop educational kits: In conjunction with School Library Journal and the American Booksellers Association, WNDB is creating educational kits to introduce teachers, librarians and booksellers to select diverse books.
- Host WNDB’s inaugural Kidlit Diversity Festival: It will be a celebration of diversity in children’s literature to be held in the Washington, DC area in the summer of 2016. The festival will showcase both diverse authors & illustrators, as well as authors who write diversely, with programming geared to promote the importance of our shared life experiences.
A veteran MMA fighter who has stepped into the cage about 30 times already, Roxanne Modafferi is not of Asian descent, but aside from studying multiple styles of Asian martial arts, she is fluent in Japanese, lived in Japan for quite a number of years, and is an anime fan. As a fellow anime geek and student of Japanese, I feel like I could actually hang out with her, although her Japanese is like a million times more legit than mine.
Modafferi recently wrote an article about the experience of being part of the production staff and official translator at a UFC event in Japan, and in an interview for Yahoo Sports, she discusses the “culture shock” of moving back Stateside as she had spent her adult life in Japan. She gives some insight in the differences between MMA training in Japan and the Untied States.
Known as the “Happy Warrior”, she is the adorable geeky sweetheart of MMA. You’d be hard pressed to find an MMA fighter that doesn’t like her as a person and respect her as a fighter.
Modafferi’s win at Invicta FC8 in September 2014 really made a statement that she is on a new warrior’s path, definitely a happy one, and she’s stated that she’s gunning for the Invicta FC Flyweight (125 lbs) Championship Belt from Barb Honchak. She recently switched over to the Syndicate camp in Las Vegas, which has really been showing up in her new and improved fighting styles.
You can read all about her life in her autobiography, “Memoirs of a Happy Warrior” available as a ebook on Amazon.
She will be fighting in InvictaFC10 on December 5 in a re-match against Vanessa Porto.
When I hiked Mission Peak two years ago, I saw lots of Asians on the trails, but I was surprised to see recent headlines like “Crowds Overrun Mission Peak in Fremont to Shoot Selfies.” Apparently, the number of hikers there has skyrocketed, causing parking problems, crowds, and other changes. So what happened? Are selfie-obsessed Asian Americans really swarming and degrading Mission Peak Regional Preserve? Continue Reading »
A message from Dan Ha’s brother via the Find Dan Ha Facebook Page:
Hi everyone. I would like to thank all of you for your continued support and prayers in the search for my brother Daniel over the past week. I would like to especially thank you, Dan’s friends, and everyone who has been in close contact with us in coordinating the search effort including the First Mennonite Church of San Francisco, Dan’s employer Metromile, the Stanford community, and those at StartX, Facebook, Square, Postmates, Apple, Uber, and others in the tech community, and finally, to all of the news stations, reporters, and media who have covered this story.
Yesterday morning, the Coast Guard recovered a body found in San Francisco Bay. In speaking with the Medical Examiner, while the face and body were indistinguishable, the clothes, wallet contents, and phone matched Dan’s personal belongings.
At this time, we believe the body is Dan’s. We are still waiting to hear from SFPD for a full confirmation.
We will be holding a memorial service for Dan this Friday at 7:30pm at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco, located at 16th and Dolores. We are accepting donations to help offset the cost of funeral expenses, which will be held in WA. Instructions can be found at http://finddanha.com/monetary-donations/.
– Mark Ha
SF Engineer Dan Ha, Missing Since Halloween Night (11/8/2014)
8$: Contribute to the Search for Dan Ha (11/9/2014)
I was flipping through a magazine, and came across this Chase credit card ad, supposedly highlighting “Chris Park,” a “Dog Daycare Owner.”
Well, clearly, this is an image of actor, comedian, writer and director Randall Park, and I don’t think he owns a dog daycare as far as I know. It’s instances like this that I am always skeptical of ads supposedly portraying real life people, because oftentimes more than not, they are not for real. (See also, the related television ad.) I can’t wait to see Park in the upcoming comedy, Fresh Off the Boat. I really do hope it’s Park very big break, where he gets the recognition he deserves.
BTW, I have nothing against Chase – I have a United Airlines credit card that is managed by Chase.
When Babette “Bette” Bolivar’s father joined the navy, Filipinos like him and my father were limited to jobs like being a steward or a cook. In an interview with the Philippine Star, she talks about the path that has lead to become a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, explosives expert, and later, Rear Admiral. Bolivar is currently the commander of the Joint Marianas region and the Naval forces there. I found her story interesting in that it parallels some of my own life but diverges at key points.
They have been reunited with family and are the last American citizens known to have been held in North Korea.
Congrats to 8Asians Founder, Ernie Hsiung for being recognized for his work in Miami to facilitate civic engagement through technology.
From Miami Herald:
Ernie Hsiung is on a mission to build Miami’s tech community by creating networking opportunities for software developers and programmers. Hsiung admits that when he first moved to the area from San Francisco, he experienced culture shock. Miami was a less mature tech community than he had come from, but he felt the city had potential.
To help raise the tech community profile, he started Code for Miami, “a civic hacking brigade” of volunteer developers, community leaders and concerned citizens that meets Monday nights at the LAB Miami in Wynwood. Code for Miami has been working with the governments of Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami and surrounding municipalities to help improve the way local governments and community organizations use the web.
Just this month, Hsiung learned that he landed a Code for America fellowship, a 10-month opportunity to work intensely with a municipality to see how technology can address its needs. Fellows work in one of seven municipalities; Miami-Dade County is on the list. Hsiung will learn later this month where he’ll be assigned. For the following 10 months, he will commute between San Francisco and his assigned city. Post-fellowship, he plans to return to Miami to continue helping South Florida build a better community through technology.
From Hsiung: “I want to bridge the gap between technology and being a better Miamian. The idea is to teach people about technology with the hope that they will use it to be more civically engaged citizens and build great things.”
Even though Ernie has moved on from 8Asians, I am glad he is taking his talents and putting them to good use elsewhere.
Image credit: CARL JUSTE/MIAMI HERALD STAFF
All too soon, my two week trip to Taiwan came to an end, and before we knew it, we were heading to the airport to fly back to the States. Our drive over to the international airport in Taoyuan at least had a beautiful sky view from the freeway.
When we got to the terminal, our EVA Air check in was a flurry of Hello Kitty, complete with lounge, terminals, and Kitty flight attendant.