Skip to content

Stay tuned…

We will be documenting the lives of a few very important API pioneers…after Bruce.

Advertisements

After Bruce…now what?

A few things remained consistent throughout my childhood: my mother’s unyielding strength, my father’s unrelenting discipline, and Bruce Lee.

Bruce…Actor. Hero. Philosopher. The big brother I always wanted. Mr. Socoolmakeyouwannaslapyomomma, ass kicking machine. Bruce mothafuckinshutyomouth Lee.

Play, rewind, play, rewind, play…repeat. I’m surprised those VHS tapes survived all that action.

Huey Newton said he learned more from the streets than from his professors; in my version of Revolutionary Suicide, Bruce is my life advisor.

Kick me.

At one point, all I knew was that this Yellow skin and these almond eyes put me at an early disadvantage. It wasn’t that I was slow off the starting line…it was just that no one told me the race had begun.

Kick me.

They say words can never hurt me, but they did. I was just as good at those childhood games as the next kid, but somehow I just didn’t fit. Slurs, mockeries, and insults about my skin, my eyes, and my family always seemed to follow closely; I couldn’t quite figure out the equivalent verbal response for these white kids. Cracker and honkey always fell short of the mark…and landed me in detention.

What was that? An exhibition? We need emotional content. Now try again!

Crown me the queen of yo mama jokes, put me on the block and I would clown with the best of them, shit talking – I got that…but once things became racialized, the dissonance just intensified. As my frustrations grew, so did my anger, and so did the propensity to use my fists.

I said “emotional content.” Not anger! Now try again!

Mother always said, history shows that Chinese people are survivors, not necessarily because of physical might or a stockpile of artillery, but because we were also clever. We were driven. We had a thirst for the arts and academia and we would not relent or bend to outside pressures. Our heroes teach us to theorize and take intelligent action, to use a just heart and a keen eye, and mobilize against an opponent’s weak point…once it is lucidly identified.

That’s it! How did it feel?

I wasn’t sure how to piece it together. Up until to this point school taught me that when it came to US history, I was missing in action. Ok, maybe we built some railroads and came on some boats but that was mentioned in passing…and according to my kindergarten teacher, one of the colors of the rainbow is yellow, just like my skin. Great. I am reduced to a refraction of light.

Don’t think. FEEL. It’s like a finger pointing at the moon.

Frustration. Marginalization. Rage. I felt it, like the coursing currents of the Mekong river my father would always so deftly describe to me…I finally felt it.

And it drove me to seek the pieces of history that were relevant to me: the Western occupation of China was not an economic venture but the brutal rape and fleecing of a nation; the model minority was a social construction set in place during the 1960s by a white male, and has been employed to galvanize the rifts and gaps between APIAs and other communities of color; the American Dream is a function of white privilege and presents as a form of indoctrination to keep the hopeful hopeless;

…and on and on I pushed, and read, and listened, and reflected, and raged.

Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all of the heavenly glory!

Humility is the cornerstone of perspective. To build and to progress for the sake of Self, and for the sake of the People, means I cannot be too quick to assassinate the Other. Principle is rarely a matter of circumstance, but always one of conviction. What destroys us is our failure to recognize our own short-sightedness and our propensity for virulent debate. The persistence of ignorance is broken by an unyielding pursuit of the beautiful struggle…definition and clarity of Self, and the acquisition of Strength and Justice for our communities.

Never take your eyes off your opponent… even when you’re bowing!

I am the tri-tongued descendant of yellow sons and daughters of dreams deferred. I am their vision for better days, of liquid skies of blue, of a future rising above racist structural inequalities that continue to plague them today. The product of pride, of a heritage struggling to parade past persistent obstacles; the beautiful product of the embrace of two cultures. Do not dictate or take away any part of my Asian-America from me.

Today, I will not be defined by impressions, stereotypes, thinly veiled prejudices; I am not the dragon lady. Asia-American should not, cannot, and will not be commodified, exotified, and co-opted. For my Peoples, I am You.

That’s better.

be back soon…

doing some Spring cleaning. Stay tuned.