Our internal e-mail lists have us discussing all kinds of stuff: Asian American identity, representation in the media, the experiences of activism in an academia setting and its progression as we transition to the working, adult world. And sometimes we just talk about ourselves. Or rather, our differences, and why we write for 8Asians.com.
We recently received feedback from an anonymous reader who was upset with Ben’s post about how the Asian American community needs to be consistent with protesting against Hollywood:
Why did 8Asians agree to post this article about Asians needing to be consistent with protests against Hollywood? It’s useful to see one person’s opinion on the matter but as a regular article, this is not what I would typically expect from 8Asians. I hated it. It made me feel like even the staff among 8Asians is not being supportive of fellow Asians against these protests. You paint a broad stroke that is very offensive when you say that Asians are jumping on a bandwagon on protesting these bad movies. What bandwagon? I am ALWAYS the only one ever speaking out against this issue. Please, give me credit, don’t criminalize me. I would speak out against the racism if it were a GOOD movie too!!!!!!!!
In other words: this person believed that Ben was wrong and because his opinion did not support social activism among Asian Americans, we should not have posted this article on our blog.
Usually when we receive emails like this, we’re happy to respond and remind them what 8Asians is all about: a representation of the diverse API community. We’re a group blog and that means we strive to express the wide range of voices among Asian Americans. We’re happy to respond, at least, until readers don’t leave an email addresses or a way to get back in touch with them. So we shared the comment with our writers to find out what they thought about differing opinions appearing on our blog and why we write for 8Asians.
To me the strength of 8Asians is that we aren’t just one voice and that we have strong opinions. And I believe people sometimes think that we (as 8Asian-ers and API) are all of the same mind. So if one person protests and is angry, we all have to protest and be angry. That’s silly. We are all individuals and to think otherwise is wrong.
Does this mean I completely agree with the article? No. But I respect Ben’s opinion and where he is coming from. After I read his article I felt like I could see his point of view. That’s what I want in a site… 8Asians or any site. To push me to think. I think for this reader it pushed him/her to think about her position and where she stood. She would protest a good movie and bad movie. I’m curious as to whether she thought of that before she read the post.
I like to think of my APA community as a family of some sorts. And like any family, we only grow in our bonds with each other by being honest with no BS. Which means that our opinions and expressions need to reflect this truthful mentality and if we have something on our minds that contradicts with what others are saying, I believe it is crucial we hear them out. We do not grow when everybody agrees with each other, and thinks that what everybody is doing is always right. In fact, we only become weaker because of this brown nosing fake attitude that is often too prevalent in our community, whether it involves activism or in the entertainment industry.
I am glad to be part of the 8Asians team because I am thankful that my voice can be accepted and be heard. I know I can be very brash and provocative and it is wonderful to have my editors be respective of who I am and what I have to say. It is beautiful to see a huge array of different 8Asian writers with very different backgrounds who are also just as bold as me and it is in our difference of voices that we can truly have a conversation and make progress…make change. By reading comments on what I write or reading what my fellow 8Asian writers provide, I have grown in the past year during my time here as a writer and activist and for that I believe 8Asians is doing something truly great.
I’ve always thought that 8Asians was about posting different individual view points about topics that relate to the Asian community. I don’t always agree with everything that’s posted, but I do find it interesting to see what is written and what the response to it is. And sometimes, just sometimes, I also write my own articles with a more radical viewpoint than I might truly espouse, just to make sure it gets the attention I think the topic deserves. It still amazes me the diversity of responses we get to the articles that are written on 8Asians, showing truly that we all come from different walks of life, even if we share the common bond of being Asian.
It’s always important for people to be able to share their views (popular or not). Personally I don’t agree with needing to be consistent with Hollywood protests versus being able to pick and fight each battle differently because they’re never the same and it’s never black and white. I’ve been with 8Asians since the beginning (one of the original 8) and I always feel that this is where I belong best: amongst a great diversity of writers who don’t always get along (and there have been heated arguments), but respect one another enough to hear each other out. It’s good to fight for what you believe in, but know that not everyone may share your point of view and sometimes there is something to be learned from your opposition whether you like it or not.
It’s unfortunate that you’ve chosen to reply anonymously because I always feel that if you have something to say, you better be able to hold yourself accountable for it if you’re going to put it out there. Just like Ben did, just like all of our writers do, popular opinion or not.
If we said the same thing about every issue (similar or not similar), we probably wouldn’t be 8Asians… we’d be 1Asian. Different issues affect us differently for various reasons. We all have different passions and perspective on things. And, generally, people are always growing and changing so any view can potentially change.
I enjoy being a part of 8Asians because I learn from everyone else. Even when I may not agree with someone in our group’s views, I appreciate that we have a place to voice them, discuss them (maturely), and be challenged to think outside the box.
I’ll be honest. There are times when I read posts on 8Asians that make me mad, because the written perspective is completely different from mine. I read with horror, I show my friends, I bang away on my keyboard with angry responses…and then I realize that this is exactly what I’m supposed to do. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from blogging with other Asian Americans is that we are not all the same, as much as we love to group ourselves together into a single demographic. Just as there is so much diversity in our ethnic cultures and history, there’s just as much difference in our values and beliefs. As wide as the Internet feels, it’s so easy to focus our attention on things that we agree with and make us happy. It’s a narrow minded way to educate yourself and though I haven’t gone as far as dramatically changed my opinion on political matters, gender issues and whatnot, I like to think that I’ve learned a lot about what it means to be an Asian American. And if there happens to be a blog post that I completely disagree with, it just gives me more of a reason to back up my own ideas.
I usually post different views because people forget that there are Asians with differing opinions that do not coincide with more liberal views of the Bay/Cali area. I don’t mean to generalize here, but there are less conservative views and sometimes I personally get the feeling that 8A holds a bit more liberal views (which is perfectly fine).
I do appreciate those comments though from other writers that say that while they might not agree. They understand my POV and how it challenges their thoughts. I want people to see multiple sides of the issue instead of having 8A become the mouthpiece of one side or another.
I’ll also point out that there have been some talk of some more conservative Asians that wanted to write, but didn’t want to deal with the backlash. So to the writers and editors, thanks for allowing more than one voice to shine out regardless.
So in my ideal world, I kinda imagined 8Asians being a big reality show cast full of Asians, where everyone had at least one sworn enemy.
Well, that’s not completely true — “sworn enemy” would mean “silent treatment,” and that would be a big blog of people were no one would be posting stuff and just sending nasty messages to each other. I guess my ideal world would be where all the bloggers respected each other, but clearly had very VERY different points of view. Back in the day, I made it a point that there had to be an equal amount of girls to guys.
People forget that the term “Asian American” is a recent term used by politicians and activists; it’s obvious that there are Asian Americans that want to assimilate into mainstream culture as quickly as possible — whatever you define “mainstream” to be — others feel strongly about holding on to self-identity. The older generation are different from the younger generation. Some grew up in urban culture and embrace hip-hop, others are indie hipsters. There are feminists and born again Christians and transmen and Asian guidos; what they all have in common is that they have an Asian background, and for better or for worse, have been treated differently than if they were white, black, whatever.
But we’re all still different, and we all deserve our opinions. Hence, this blog. Do I think we’re there as far as the voices represented on 8Asians? Not even close. Hopefully, soon.
Readers, what do you think? How do you feel when we post an article that you completely disagree with? And no, don’t answer us anonymous. Join the dialogue. Let’s talk about it!