1. I’m 15 and for the first time in my life, a teacher calls me out on sleeping in class when I’ve been awake the whole time. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened earlier, because kids have made fun of my eyes since preschool. Times are a-changing I guess. I’m the only Asian in my class, one of three in my entire high school, and people bring it up all the time for the rest of the year. I get it. It’s funny, that time our old, kinda-racist teacher thought I was sleeping because my eyes are small. My eyes aren’t even that small!
2. I’m 12 and my mom is teaching me how to smile so that my eyes don’t disappear. No one likes a squint. I’m 0 percent invested, so I don’t learn. I do know that the word for squint in Mandarin is mī, and it forms your mouth in a squint when you pronounce it, like a lyrical “me,” lips tight for the ‘m’ and barely parted for the ‘ī’. I don’t read much into that. It’s just a happy coincidence, like how “groovy” ends on a smile.
3. I’m 20 and sometimes my friend points out that my eyes disappear when I smile really hard. I think — I know — I think she doesn’t mean it in a shitty way (“I always forget that you’re Asian,” she’s also said), but every time I hear it, it burns red hot in my brain for the rest of the day. I’ve learned enough to know that when I was 15 and people said, “It’s funny because your eyes aren’t even that small,” they were also saying, “You don’t look that Asian.” I suspect this is the same kind of thing. Then I suspect that I’m doing a lot of introspection for a hang sesh with my friends. Keep reading »
May I present to you the most WTF music video ever made for the month of July. Day Above Ground’s “Asian Girlz.” Girlz with a “z” because “s” isn’t gangsta enough. Imagine if 311 and Nickelback had sex. This band would be its gay love child.
In the first three seconds, you come to the realization that this may be tongue-in-cheek. But then after a full 30 seconds pass, you realize that the lyrics are so asinine that it may have crossed the line from tongue-in-cheek to borderline offensive. With lines like, “I love your sticky rice, buttfucking all night” and “It’s the Year of the Dragon, ninja pussy I’m stabbin’,” it’s hard to argue otherwise. I mean, sick rhymes, bro. Said no one ever. Read more on The Blemish…
As a kid, I was used to standing out for lots of reasons, like my “Star Wars” obsession or the black eyeliner and vampire chic that made up my high school wardrobe.
I never expected my race to be one of those reasons.
I grew up as an Asian-American among Asian-Americans, so I certainly wasn’t used to being viewed as what we English Lit majors call “the exotic other.” Even when I went to college in St. Louis, it wasn’t that much of a problem. I did go on a date with a guy who went on about his trip to Japan and the extreme “femininity” of its women, but that was about it.
It wasn’t until I moved to the UK that it kicked in: men – and it was always men – shouting “NEE HOW MA” or “KOH-NEE-CHEE-WAAAH” or even “Me love you long time!” as I walked down the street; starting conversations with “Soooo … are you from … China?” before they’d even asked my name; playing up their supposed interest in Asian culture while going on about how “feminine” and beautiful Asian women are. Keep reading »
At the age of three, I already didn’t want to be a girl. I saw from watching my mom what it was like to be a grown-up girl and it didn’t look good. Here are the few memories from childhood that I hadn’t managed to suppress:
We came home once to find our apartment ransacked by burglars. I was forced to drink powdered milk everyday, which I hated. My dad chasing my mom with a big knife into the kitchen. My brother and I, who were kneeling facing the wall as punishment for who-knows-what, turned and watched them run by. Screaming. My dad coming in the bathroom interrupting me and my brother taking a shower together. He came in to punish my brother, hitting him on the butt. My brother remembers us hiding under the dining table while chairs were being thrown around. Apparently my dad used to bring women home, even when my mom was home.
Needless to say I was a sad little kid. By the time I escaped to the U.S. at age six I told myself my life starts now and never to look back. Keep reading »
“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they’re untrue but they are incomplete.” — Chimamanda Adichie
Let’s play a game. It’s called Guess The Race.
Gentleman A was a hard partier. He did a lot of drugs and drinking in his youth. He almost failed out of college. He had a tumultuous relationship with his parents. He was in tremendous debt. He had a huge sense of entitlement. As he got older, he rarely exercised and gained weight. He cheated on his wife.
Gentleman B never drinks or does drugs. He prefers an evening at home programming or watching TV. If he stays out late, it’s to see a movie, listen to music, or talk about computers with his friends. He graduated from college in three years. He’s extremely fit. He always carries heavy loads. He cooks.
Which one is Asian? Which one is white? Keep reading »