To say I am appalled by the entire spectacle that became of the Depp v. Heard case is a gross understatement. It almost didn't matter what the verdict was, because the damage was already done. It's like #MeToo was a joke. We haven't progressed at all. People treat abuse as a twisted sporting event. But the verdict matters more than you think--if you value free speech. That's why people should care.
But the case also highlighted a multitude of concerns that we should care about and I want to address two of them.
Safe Before Anyone Else...is sexually assaulted, harassed, abused, gaslit, victimized and revictimized, traumatized and retraumatized, violated, and harmed. That's what SafeBAE stands for, and I'm very excited to share that after joining the board of directors for SafeBAE earlier this year, I have recently been asked to serve as one of the co-Chairs of the board. The work is very personal to me, and I hold it very close to my heart to protect all kids and prevent abuse and violence in their lives, because we all deserve a life free of violence, especially children.
But the thing is, SafeBAE's work with middle and high school aged students is vital for the safety of EVERYONE. People don't always make the connection of all the areas that such violence touches our lives, so I wanted to share with you some of the impacts our work has on the younger generations as well as your lives.
What Do You Do When One of Your Favorite K-Drama Actors is Exposed to Be Maybe Not Such a Nice Person?
This may seem like an odd post to put under "Social Issues," and I'm not one to usually write about celebrity gossip, but the recent circumstances surrounding Kim Seon-Ho had me thinking about a couple feminist issues.
Simone Biles Withdrawing From The Women's Gymnastics Team Final Sends a Big Message About Media Pressures
Leading up to the Olympics, I couldn't help but notice the way commentators talked about Simone Biles. Usually when we talk about the media's negative effects on high profile individuals like Simone, we're used to it being more or less overt bullying that is the cause of distress amongst these celebrities. However, the way the media has covered Simone Biles reminds me a lot of parents with high expectations for their children, who (sometimes unintentionally) put huge amounts of pressure on their kids. And I remember thinking, even just a couple days ago during the qualifiers, that they need to stop talking about her like she's superhuman. That amount of pressure is unfair, even if the comments are well-intended. I, as a spectator, was feeling the pressure--I can't imagine how Simone has been feeling!
An account I follow on IG recently shared a clip of Miss Singapore strutting down the runway in a remarkable outfit for the National Costume portion, which had a very powerful statement: Stop Asian Hate. It looked amazing, she looked amazing, I loved it. Then I decided to check out Miss Singapore 2021's IG page, whose name is Bernadette Belle Ong, and watched an interview clip of her response to dealing with hate crimes against Asians and I was gravely disappointed. This is a prime example of someone appropriating people's pain for their own gain and the Asian version of white privilege. Let me explain why.
Last week, a friend mentioned to me that she has many Asian American colleagues, but I'm the only one she sees speaking out about it. I thought about this, and wanted to share 3 reasons your Asian friends/acquaintances may not be speaking out about anti-Asian hate.
If you know me, you've probably heard my story about being verbally and racially attacked at Disneyland when I was in second grade, and that my mom simply apologized. The man accused us of killing his father in WWII, and she apologized to him so as not to cause more of a scene and to protect us in case the man became physically violent. What I don't often talk about, but have been thinking about a lot, is the other man that was in line in front of us, who turned around to confront the racist and stop him from further verbally assaulting us. The trauma of that moment often overshadows that man's allyship in my memory, but I've never forgotten it. As the rise in anti-Asian attacks continues, escalating with this week's mass murder, amongst the daily attacks that continue, especially in the Bay Area, I've been thinking a lot about that ally at Disneyland and I've been thinking about bystanders in other situations I've been in.
This week, once again, the Catholic Church was in the headlines for disappointing, painful, and harmful news. The Church claims that it does not have the power to bless same-sex unions, because it is "impossible" for God to "bless sin." To love is not a sin, and this is the kind of ass backwards shit that infuriates me and often makes me question my Catholic identity. Over the last decade, I've strengthened my faith and even consider myself a proud and devout Catholic. As the Interfaith Representative of my parish, I'm proud of the work we've done and continue to do to build bridges with our neighbors of other faiths in order to do God's work in our community. I'm also proud that we welcome same sex couples in our parish. I have felt like we as the people are the ones actually leading the way in the Church. But when the Church makes these kinds of official statements, it feels like a punch in the gut for all the work many communities are doing to progress the Church away from its antiquated ways. And frankly, I sometimes feel lost because my faith is the foundation of my life and being Catholic is as much a part of my identity as being Chinese American, only I can't walk away from or change my ethnic identity. So, where does all this leave a Catholic woman in today's world? Where does this leave me and my faith?
By now it seems people have finally caught on to the anti-Asian racism the Asian American community has experienced the entire pandemic, with the recent increase in vicious attacks, especially against our elderly and women. Anti-Asian sentiment and racism isn't new. It has existed for as long as Asians have been here, as long as the first Filipinos were brought as slaves during the colonial period. While many of our parents and grandparents have always brushed off racist attacks, we're tired of having our voices silenced or ignored. If you're wondering how you can support the Asian American community right now, here are a few ways:
Last year, I had several conversations with several different people explaining why using the term "China [or Chinese] virus" was racist or at least incited racism. People of course would always reference the Spanish flu, and to that I say read this article which explains why that was racist, too. A point I have oft made is that, had the virus first been found in the UK, I highly doubt that we'd suddenly see a rise in hate and attacks against British people. Funny enough, there now is a "British mutation" of COVID-19, or at least a mutation that was first found in the UK. Isn't it ironic, that people are careful to point out that this mutation was first found in the UK and not that the mutation itself is British and that British people are to blame for this? Now there's also a South African strain and I've wondered if we might see racist remarks about Africa in general, the same way that the "China virus" affects and affected all Asian Americans and other Asians who are minorities in their countries, such as the UK and France. I would think (or at least hope) not, since at this point it seems the virus itself is mutating faster than we are all able to get vaccinated and it's clear that that cannot be blamed on any one ethnicity or race.
With all this said, I was very happy to see that President Joe Biden released a Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. I feel seen. I'm not sure we've seen something like this before, because often times Asian Americans are overlooked in race talks. So, thank you Mr. President for seeing us.