Why I No Longer Tolerate White Deflection

White Deflection

It was a Saturday afternoon when the confrontation began. I had just woken up, conventional waking hours aside, when I received a slew of angry text accusations from a friend and fellow graduate classmate. Although seething from being yelled at, I made amends for the wrongs that I didn’t commit and explained my side of the story.

This is where race comes in.

A few nights ago, this white friend/classmate drunkenly petted my hair during a reading and it was very uncomfortable for me. At first, I didn’t want to tell her because I thought, ‘she was drunk. It’s whatever.’ But then, she sent the angry text messages and it came to light.

I told her it gave me flashbacks of a time when a few white women bothered me in Seattle. They touched my hair and called me exotic. I told her I quickly shook it off because I knew she didn’t mean it that way and that hair petting is a common gesture when drunk.

But her response was rather unsavory.

She said, “Not all white women will call you exotic. Especially me.”

Instead of understanding and accepting my trauma for what it was, she deflected. She used a silencing technique to manipulate the situation and make me the “bad guy.” Whether intentional or not, in that moment, she made me feel like I didn’t have a voice.

I didn’t accuse her of being racist or of calling me exotic. I told her that her drunken petting, which I was going to ignore, made me uncomfortable.

And I have a right to feel uncomfortable.

 

I’ve been mulling this encounter over in my head, and it’s not helping my mental health. I keep hearing the phrase “Not all white people-” and I cringe. No person of color deserves to be silenced by that statement. Not me. Not anyone.

Today, I make the decision to no longer tolerate white deflection. I don’t know what I’ll do when I come across it, but I know I won’t let myself be silenced.

 

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Why BTS’s BBMA Win is Groundbreaking for Asians Breaking into the American Music Industry

BTS Accepts Billboard Award for Top Social Artist

 

Last night (5/21/17) at the Billboard Music Awards, Kpop group BTS (방탄소년단) accepted their first American music award for Top Social Artist. This group of seven won against well-known stars such as Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, and Shawn Mendes.

This was an iconic moment, not only for Kpop fans but for Asian Americans as well. Although musicians such as Psy and Charice Pempengco have briefly entered the American music industry, very few Asian pop artists have created enough traction to win an award as prestigious as a BBMA.

To have a group of Asian faces win an award like this is groundbreaking because it shows that Asians have a place and an audience in this industry. For a long time, Asians have been stereotyped as William Hung’s, therefore, being uncool or unworthy of gracing the musical stage.

BTS’s win is a step to destroying those stereotypes and bringing in Asian faces into the music industry. This kind of change does not take place overnight. But it will happen. BTS’s win is indicative of that.

 

“Dancing In The Rain” Book Review

Dancing In The Rain
Photo from Goodreads

General

Dancing In The Rain by Lynn Joseph

Pages: 200 (Paperback)

Published by Blouse & Skirt Books July 15th, 2016

Genre: Middle Grade

 

Links: Goodreads/Amazon

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley, but that does not have a sway in my reviews. I am a human being with thoughts of her own, and I am not obligated to automatically give this book five stars.

 

The Review

Dancing In The Rain is a story about dualities. It is about loss and life, about pain and joy, and even about war and peace. This story is one that crosses borders. It is a story that ties the pain of two different families, living in two different countries, written from two different points of view.

Sometimes, the person you love the most makes you the saddest.

-Brandt, Chapter 9

While this book may be considered middle-grade reading, the literature is written in a way for both young and old to empathize. It takes culture, it takes a moment of tragedy (9/11), and it creates a narrative that comments on mental health, grief, trauma, and acceptance.

I’ve heard that children are too young to understand pain and grief, but I don’t think that’s true. I think children experience pain and grief in the purest form, and I feel that this story has small glimpses of hope; the type of hope that children can latch onto when they’re navigating through troubled waters.

 

“Always and Forever Lara Jean” Book Review

AFLJ
Photo from Goodreads

General

Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Pages: 336 (Hardback)

Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers May 2nd 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Asian American, Contemporary, Romance

 

Links: Goodreads/Amazon

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Purchased w/ Own Money

 

The Review

Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky are finishing up their last year in high school and taking their next steps towards adulthood in this final/(maybe unnecessary) installment of the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series. After breaking up and getting back together in P.S I Still Love You, you would think that nothing could get in between their love, but with adulthood comes new obstacles. Such as getting accepted into different universities and knowing when it’s the right time to have sex. Regardless, the two face a new adventure in their relationship in this final book and it is an adventure fans will either love or hate.

As a reader and a fan of this series, I have to say Lara Jean’s last hurrah did not impress me. The book itself was formulaic in the sense that it started with the happy-go-luckiness of Lara Jean’s everyday life, then a plot twist occurs (not getting accepted to UVA), she has a fight with Peter, they make up, and finally, they reamend the contracts they created in the first and second book. Am I giving away a spoiler? Hardly. The third book was predictable. It was too much of the first and second book. It didn’t have a voice for itself.

Besides the overall plot, the writing itself lacked the finesse and charm from the first and second book. This is a trilogy, yet Han still babies her readers (who are supposedly young adults) and holds their hands throughout the book. On the bottom of page 21, she wrote, “Peter’s mom owns an antique store called Linden & White, and Peter helps her out as much as he can.”

This may be a bit presumptuous, but shouldn’t Han assume her readers know this information? Again, this is a trilogy and that information has been written down in both the first and second book. Even the great children’s novelists such as J.K Rowling and Lemony Snicket trust their readers enough to remember that kind of information. Why is so much of the story recapped? Is it to meet page requirements? I don’t know.

I do know that I was unsatisfied as a reader. Han may have tied the ending nicely with a pretty bow, but the series seemed to be much more powerful when it was a duology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Young Adult Novels by Asian American Writers to Read During Asian American Pacific Islander Month

YA Asian Writers

Asian American Pacific Islander Month is here and to prepare for the festivities I thought it would be great to share a few YA novels/series by AAPI writers.

When I was growing up, I didn’t know of many Asian American writers. Most of the characters I read were white and that always made me feel like an outsider. Fortunately, more and more writers of color have been able to publish their work and children and adults are able to see themselves on the page.

For those who have been searching, this post is for you.

Here are  YA books by AAPI writers to read:


1. To All The Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han

7 AAPI Writers
Photo from Goodreads

General

Pages: 369 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers  (April 15th, 2014)

Links: Amazon/Goodreads

For the hopeless romantic, the story of half-Korean, Lara Jean, will have your heart reminiscing in the days of first love. This series not only delves into the concept of what it means to be in love but it also stresses the importance of culture and what it means to be Asian American.


2. Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

7 AAPI Writers
Photo from Goodreads

General

Pages: 272 (Hardcover)

Published: HarperCollins (February 22nd, 2011)

Links: Amazon/Goodreads

This is the immigrant’s tale. It’s about a young girl named Hà and her experience moving to Alabama after she and her family fled the Vietnam War.


3. Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

7 AAPI Writers
Photo from Goodreads

General

Pages: 296 (Hardcover)

Published: David Fickling Books (2010)

Links: Amazon/Goodreads

Tall Story is a Filipino folktale that pays homage to Bernardo Carpio, a giant with strengths similar to both Samson and Hercules. This story takes a modern twist on the beloved Filipino myth and situates the hero in the world of basketball.


4. Dove Arising by Karen Bao

7 AAPI Writers
Photo from Goodreads

General

Pages: 396 (Hardcover)

Published: Viking Books for Young Readers (February 24th, 2015)

Links: Amazon/Goodreads

This sci-fi series about a young woman Phaet Theta who was born on a colony on the Moon and her quest to save her family.


5. The Kidney Hypothetical: Or How to Ruin Your Life In Seven Days by Lisa Yee

7 AAPI Writers
Photo from Goodreads

General

Pages: 272 (Hardcover)

Published: Arthur A. Levine Books (March 31st, 2015)

Links: Amazon/Goodreads

This is the high school story about an overachieving student whose life seems to fall apart after being asked the hypothetical question, “Higgs, if Roo needed a kidney, would you give her one of yours?”


6. Skunk Girl by Sheba Karim

7 AAPI Writers
Photo from Goodreads

General

Pages: 240 (Hardcover)

Published: Farrar Straus Giroux (March 31st, 2009)

Links: Amazon/Goodreads

Skunk Girl  is an emotional story about a young girl named Nina and her search for identity as a Pakistani American woman.


7. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

7 AAPI Writers
Photo from Goodreads

General

Pages: 240 (Paperback)

Published: First Second (first published September 1st, 2006)

Links: Amazon/Goodreads

This last book is a graphic novel that many Asian Americans can identify with. It breaks down systematic racism, it describes the pressures of fitting in a white America, and it intertwines Chinese myth, white privilege, and how to accept one’s self.

If anything, this novel is worth the read because it proves that Asian Americans don’t need to try to fit into white America. Asian Americans, be yourselves. If other people can’t accept that you’re not “American enough,” then they’re the problem. Not you.