#SorryAsianParents

A goofy kid just trying to make sense of the world while trying to be Asian American


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A (JADED) RAVER RETURN TO EDC

(Original post was on iHeartRaves)

After taking a year off, I attended my 8th Electric Daisy Carnival. Which also happened to be the 20th Anniversary of the iconic festival hosted by Insomniac Events. I, like many seasoned ravers, have uttered the phrase: “This is going to be my last EDC”. And like the many, we have failed multiple of times to live that statement through.

Many things have inspired my return to my favorite festival: My travel partner returning home from her duty in the Peace Corps, the 20th birthday of EDC and my crews itching to return to Vegas and rage. These are just a few reasons, but do you really need a reason to go back to E. D. Mother Effin’ C!

There is just something about EDC that overwhelms my heart over other festivals. Maybe it was the magic that I felt in 2010 when it was last held in Los Angeles. Or perhaps it was the immense amount of energy that surged through me when the Electric Sky first cast its illuminating lights over the once silent ground of the LV desert. Judging how0617161748b this event has sold out the last three years, I’m not the only one that feels this way.

Prior to the actual event, the Strip hosted numerous pool parties and club events for EDC Week. I was lucky to have attended the Jauz pool party at Marquee. Being my old age, I was destroyed and was not able to continue to TAO for Dreamstate before the stroke of midnight. The idea of YOLO anything now hurts my head. However, many seasoned EDCLV veterans would know that Day 0 (Thursday) is perhaps the only night to actually do Vegas-Vegas. It was a good time to bond and rage with friends, catch up with your festival crew that you have not seen in a while (or squad as some of the kids are saying these days).

When Friday quickly came, it was time for my return to the sovereign grounds of EDC. Of course, life and bad decisions the night before did not make it easy. By life, I mean the two-hour traffic from the Strip to the Speedway, and by bad decisions, I mean the ringing hangover that only 600 mg of ibuprofen could only mend.0618161929

Surprisingly, after the hassle of parking and pre-gaming in the parking lot after taking a bunch of selfies with a bright pink selfie stick, the line to get in was not bad. There were three different check points before you can get that good ole pat down (nothing says a festival like getting your balls grabbed). This weeded out the people trying to sneak in, and unfortunately weeded out the people who were sold fake tickets. My heart goes out to your wallets bros and broettes.

Inside the festival guide, which to me looks as if it has been designed to resemble a passport, Pasquale opens up with “Welcome Home, Everyone!” And that is how I felt as I stumble down the steps of the Las Vegas Speedway. There was a lingering sunlight when I made my way down the concrete steps that in my imagination was my Yellow Brick Road. I can see the lights leading me back home. The LED’s, strobes and screens from rides and stages were faint, but I still saw their warm rays of welcome. When I finally reached the dirt covered asphalt, I knew that I was back in Neverland as I was surrounded with a unison of smiles and bright eyes that surveyed the scenery with awe.

This feeling of course only lasted for about 10 hours until the sun came back up and everyone had to zombie themselves through a cattle of zombies back to their car or shuttle. Yet, despite riding the struggle bus at 6 AM the next day, many people still got back on the horse and did it again. Two. More. Times!

I had a great time seeing my friends there. One of my buddies decided to surprise us by getting a ticket to attend Saturday night. His words were, “The friend lineup is just too good to miss out”. And that is one thing that is true since the beginning of this whole shabang. I saw my friends from all over California, from the Windy City of Chicago, those who made it from the East Coast, from pretty much everywhere! From an underground movement to the mainstream stage of today, EDC has always brought friends together. Where reality keeps some of us apart, EDC provides us with a secret liaison from life where we’re each other’s mistress in our very own love story.received_1040445536024987

Another thing that stuck with me was when my buddy said that this was the happiest that he’s seen me in a while. Which is true. I’m not going to get into my own self pity, but I have not been happy, happy for a while. Even at TomorrowWorld as I was dancing my ass off, I was having fun but not truly happy. This can be seen in my everyday life and with all the trolling that I do.

But at EDC, there is just something about being encased in its magic as I was surrounded by friends, dancing my little Asian butt away to trance, grooving my hips to the industrial sounds of techno, jumping away my thigh gap at hardstyle and even slow-motioning what can only be described as a stroke to some dubstep.

What more can I say about EDC that many people haven’t said already? Music was great. The art cars were great. The production and designs of the whole thing was AMAZING! The performers did a spectacular job keeping up the illusion that we were all our very own Alice in a Wonderland that was shared with everyone. However, there were some pretty awful stuff at EDC. Like people getting into fights, leaving the parking lot and trash that is left by attendees. Insomniac can’t be blamed for some of those. They did a great job providing space, water and medical tents for the insurance of everyone’s well being. Just sucks that some people had to be the few sour apples of the ball.

*cough* all of those long trains running through the crowd and not just Asian trains, all sorts of em *cough*

Despite all of that, PLUR was alive and well. From all the post and comments on the EDC Unofficial Facebook page, everyone seemed to have a good time. I even heard about this guy who spent a good amount of time trying to return a wallet and phone. Hell, even being stuck in traffic and singing “Tiny Dancer” and “Valerie” after being stuck in traffic for five hours on the third day was fun. It’s all about the company you keep sometimes.

Did I have a great time? Hell yeah! Would I do it again? Hell yeah! I’m not going to say that I am a better person for going to EDC and my life has now forever changed because I found PLUR. The one thing that I will take away from the experiences from this year is how to be happy.

Even if I don’t go to another EDC for the rest of my life, I will remember the love-felt hugs I shared between friends as we embraced one another, the smile on my face from hearing a song that I’ve over-killed on Spotify, looking into my friends eyes and seeing all of their sadness and sorrows from reality fade away for 3 days, the inside jokes, the thought of introducing your friend to deodorant all the times the DJ told us to put our hands up, all of it.

When I look back at EDC, I won’t hear drops or see people jumping. When I look back at EDC, I will hear a retro 80s synth and see all my friends shimmying down in slow motion with smiles on their faces under the disco lights. If I can remember all of that in my dark times I will have hope and smile, maybe let a little chuckle like a crazy person on the bus, and try to become a better person. Take it from an old jaded raver, EDC may have passed and gone but the magic still lingers, the wonderland we all embarked may have been a construct of our own imagination but the feelings we felt were real and not one can take that away from us.

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Dear Andrew, My Friend Who Was Taken From Us Too Soon

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(Note: This is not a comedy piece. My friend Andrew, who was a genuine great person, was taken away from us too soon. He did not drink, do drugs, or have a hateful cell in his body. It’s a shame what happened. An accident. So be safe out there folks, and cherish the people around you. You never know what will happen. This is an open letter to the man who made me want to not only become a better Asian, but a better person of the world. I’m a man who does not know how to really handle feelings and writing is the only way I know how. Every time I try to talk to someone about Andrew, I can’t help but to fight off tears and sorrow. So I don’t speak at all. Instead, I write.)

Dear Andrew,

I really don’t know how to start this, but I’m sure not many people do. I’m going to miss you, man. You were an inspiration to my life. I remember the first time I saw you at the gym, at the Village Fitness Center. I thought to myself, “Man, who is this buff ass Asian guy killin’ it here. He must be on riods.” I was so awed by your strength that I never approached you. You also had his glare on your face, fueled by determination, which I mistook as being unkind, that scared me. Until that one day I mustered up the courage to ask you how to workout the back of my shoulders. Which you then told me to lay sideways on the bench so I can do a lateral in an upward motion. This was one of the moments that made me realize that you were not an angry d-bad gym Asian, but a kind man who was willing to offer advice. Luck had it that you were also roommates with my friend from my high school.

I remember the day Garret invited me to his room to eat the Subway sandwiches that we had bought. You and your brother arrived after we did. I don’t remember if this was during your brothers transition into the marines or right before. But I do remember me eating Subway Club and you having a Spicey Italian. It was then that you educated me on how to save money by microwaving your sandwich so you did not have to pay the extra 50 cent charge for toasting. This was the spark of our friendship that lead to many nerdy pho conversations that was sprinkled with talks of girls, sour candy induced car rides, and movies.

Even though some of our hang outs were reduced since you met Kaila, I did not mind. Despite me giving you a hard time about it, I was only joking. I actually remembered the first time I met her. It was after EDC 2013. Or 2012, I forget sometimes. But you took me to grab some pho in Daly City as I blabbered on about my misadventures and my sinful activities. I probably should have held some of my enthusiasm back, seeing how that was the first time your future wife was meeting me. But I couldn’t, I was too excited and had to tell you everything. I wanted to tell you about how I fell in love in a magical wonderland, and I could tell that day that you too had also fell in love back in reality. After many more dinner dates where I was third-wheeling it, I could tell that soon you were going to marry her. Now when I look back at it, I should have taken your invitations to go see all those scary movies that you wanted to see. But like your courage and muscle definition, I did not have the will to see movies that potentially scared the crap out of me. Instead, I limited our media pleasures to nerdy and action stuff. And hard rock music in your car.

Thanks for all of those rides, BTW. Thanks for driving me home after those nights of pho, getting me home safely after a night of drinking, and even driving Natalie home the first time you met her, despite the fact that she got super intoxicated, was uncooperative, and threw away all of our sour candy. Thanks man.

I’m not going to lie to myself and say that we were the best of friends, but I hope that you considered me to be a dear friend, like I did. In fact, I will admit that I admire you. Whenever I saw you, you gave me hope for humanity that they are people like you out there in this cruel, messed up world. You also gave me faith in myself that I can become a better person. In my eyes, you stood on this pedestal that is only shared with a select few of amazing people. You can say that I was a little jealous of you and your life: you were a great man who was in phenomenal shape, a loving wife, a great family that loved and supported you through your journey of adulthood, and you’ve built a solid group of friends that followed you as you lead them to the path of fitness and laughter, while stopping to grab your occasional bowls of pho, of course.

You were taken too soon my friend. An amazing man like you with a heart of gold that inspires all is what this world needs and we will be feeling that absent with you gone. Now, every time I have a bowl of pho at Kevin’s Noodles House (Irving or in Daly City) or maintain the proper form while I deadlift and clean, I will remember you and how you were there for me during those past moments. Even though you left me for Kaila, I don’t mind because she is an amazing woman and was your perfect match. I know that I could have made this post shorter, but I couldn’t. I could actually make this longer, but I’m not going to bore you with my blabbering, even though I could tell that you wanted me to shutup at times during pho. I just needed you to know how much of an amazing person you were. To tell the truth, you are still influencing my life. You’re the best human being I know, I aspire to be half the man you were.

I know you’re training Jesus up there, so go easy on him. See you on the other side, Andrew.


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Bad Asian Mom Chooses Car Over Son

By Airec Sype.

Long story short, a mother in Yiwu, China, refused to let firefighters save her trapped child by breaking the window of her BMW and wished to wait for a locksmith. She basically decided that her material object was more important than her son. And I doubt that it was because she didn’t have car insurance.

Damn, stuff like this really pisses me off. Of all the moments where I wished a negative story wasn’t about an Asian person, this is probably in the top 5. This kind of reassures that stereotype that Asians, particularly women, are materialistic. I’m not saying all Asians are like that, but this c*nt really is.

My parents used physically discipline on me when I was growing up. However it was only used when I was doing something stupid, never was there an incident where my father or mother came home after a night of drinking and beat me. I understand that their form of discipline was one borrowed from their old country; they didn’t know of any other structure of discipline. However there is no exception in this case, this lady wanted to make sure her posh BMW stayed unharmed while her child was dying in a car that was being baked by scorching heat; now that is some sh*t that is unforgivable.

I first found this story on Uproxx and did a little more research on a Yahoo! news page. So needless to say, many Internet outlets have picked up on this story. Not to mention the public shaming by random people through social media, like Twitter and other blogs.

Moral of the story is don’t leave your kid in a car during high temperatures. And if your child is locked in a car during a heat wave then smash that window to save YOUR OFFSPRING! Don’t be a bad Asian; you’re suppose to be smarter than that. SMH!

I know this site is called #SorryAsianParents, but this lady needs one for #BadAsianParents. I feel sorry for this kid who has to grow up knowing that his life isn’t worth a window on a BMW. If only China had affordable car insurance like GEICO.


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Let Us Celebrate 61 Years of Jackie Chan: My first Asian Hero

(Jaaaackkiieee gots jokes as he post a hipsterized pic of himself on Facebook)

By Airec Sype.

Action comedian actor director singer Jack-of-all-trades Jackie Chan celebrated his 61st birthday earlier this month. So I have to mention it; how can I have a blog that celebrates my Asian American weirdness without talking about one of my heroes JACKIE CHAN!!!

Growing up in America, there were not a lot of Asian heroes for this cute little Asian baby, who was lucky enough to be born in this great nation (MURRICA!), to look up to. Most of the heroes I (or we) had were from the relic VHS tapes that translated kung-fu movies onto giant heavy television boxes.

When I talk to some Asians and Asian-Americans about Jackie Chan, I get the conciseness that you either like him or hate him. Some Asians dislike Jackie Chan (I know this is going to get annoying but it doesn’t feel right just using his last name; there is more power and status if I just keep saying Jackie Chan) because they don’t see him as a martial artist despite him having training in multiple of different styles. But then they’re Asians, like I, who loves this man.

The legacy of Jackie Chan is his ability to combine comedy and action. There is a sense of authenticity to his work because he does almost all of his stunts himself. Uproxx has compiled a list of his notable injuries. This is because he was originally a stunt man in old martial arts films. In fact, he got hit in the face by Bruce Lee himself in a failed attempt of a sneak attack.

However, behind all the action and laughter, Jackie Chan also has a sensitive side. During a press-conference, Jackie Chan reveals how he wants to do a movie about love. Knowing that this might not be the Jackie Chan we all know, he said, “I love to produce movie which I love where I can speak what I want to speak and do what I want to do. It is not all about making money.”

Getting hit in the face by Lee and breaking almost every bone in his body all in the effort of entertaining us, that is the man behind the legend. My favorite movie will probably be Legend of the Drunken Master. That movie has the perfect combination of comedy, action and Asian boys with daddy problems . . . Oh did I forget to mention that this man can SING!!!

Oh yeah, this man got it all.

Let’s go back to this idea of Asian or Asian American heroes. Growing up there really wasn’t much for us to look up to besides these kung-fu flying, fist punching, ass-kicking action heroes. Growing up in the 90’s, the idea of an Asian American in the mainstream media was not feasible.

I’m not saying that there wasn’t any Asian heroes when I was growing up, I just didn’t know about them nor did I have the mature mental capacity to appreciate them (not saying I’m mature, I still act like a frat-boy at times). I was introduced to Yo-Yo Ma while watching an episode of PBS Arthur, but I didn’t really know who that was. There was obviously Michelle Kwan who can literally fly on ice, but I didn’t like ice skating as a kid.

Growing up, I wanted an Asian Arnold, or an Asian James Bond. These were men that I could look up to! I didn’t want the Asian henchmen in the Rambo films who gets gunned down by starving POW to be my heroes. Fu*K those guys, they were WEAK! Or I wanted a swavey Asian guy who can come into a room and swoop the girl, not the creepy four eyed Japanese pervert that the white hero was saving her from.

That is one of the things I was envious of as a kid, these white little boys had someone they could look up to; they were able to picture themselves as the hero and mainstream media reenforced that dream. So if I followed what the 90’s told me, I was bound to be a fu*king four-eyed henchmen who is perving on white woman while getting my ass-kicked by some white guy or just some nerdy sidekick who does all the math homework and robot stuff.

Blacks and Latinos were also lucky. Of course black kids had . . . well they had the whole NBA and hip-hop industry in the 90s to look up to . . . and Malcolm X and MLK. I’m not a complete racist here. And Latinos had Oscar Dela Hoya and Ricky Martin (before he came out). But there I was, thinking that my future can do no better than Mr. Miyagi. And he wasn’t even the main hero of the Karate Kid! THE KARATE KID WASN’T EVEN ASIAN! Thankfully Community fixed that.

I guess that’s why when Al from City Guys first appeared, I hung onto that character. He was one of the first Asian looking males on TV that I saw swooping girls off their feet. The same feeling of inspiration arose when I first saw John Cho in American Pie. Despite their small roles in the show or movies, their presence on the show gave me a light of hope that an Asian American male like me could one day exist in a mainstream American world where my role isn’t the nerdy foreign exchange student . . . and that I too can get cute white girls (but that’s not the point of this conversation.)

Of course now when I look at the Asian American, or just Asian in general, heroes of today, I can think of Jerry Yang, the creator of Yahoo!, or Margret Cho, or the Chinese who left their homeland and built the railroads/gold mines. I can think of people like that who risked their lives or did amazing feats instead of solely relying on action stars like Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa or any other yellow-skinned karate master. But lets not forget those two, they’re pretty badass. Oh, and that Asian kid from 21 and over, his chill-to-pull ratio was 5:5.

That is probably why when shows like Selfie, which has an Asian American male as a lead actor, gets cancelled I feel a little hurt inside. Or actions like replacing the Asian characters in movies like 21 and Dragonball: Evolution hurts the young Asian American community. I feel for the lost of an easy hero for young Asian boys to look up to, to picture themselves as a possible version of their future. Some say that the media is evil, but it was the quickest way for young minority boys like I to picture themselves in the American world. School and books and Asian doctors, pff. That didn’t matter growing up in the rough side of Visalia. Movies was our salvation for a potential better life. In a way, that sense of living vicariously through a fictional character allowed us to be hopeful of becoming a real American. It’s what the media told us.

Despite the lack of Asian males in the media, we still have mix-martial art fighters. But sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s fighting when two Asians are going at it.

Now looking at it in hindsight, we kinda all had a hero with us growing up. I didn’t realize it until I reached college and was able to think like an “adult.” My father kinda is a hero. Any minority kid can call their father a hero, a man who risk his life leaving his old country for a better life for his family, a man who slaves away at work so his children can have an American life/education. Well unless your father was a bastard, then this doesn’t apply to you.

Sure my dad was an SOB at times, but he was there for me and had my back. He didn’t know kung-fu or built robots, but he got his yellow ass over here and fertilized me on the great soil of America so that I didn’t have to make shoes for Nike.

I guess heroes are everywhere, it just took me a little while to realize it. If you’re Asian American, try to be a hero for the kids of tomorrow. Oh and I love you Jackie Chan.

 


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Exploring Microaggression: Is everyone a racist? Can Comedy Justify a Little Racism?

showing my asian booty by the bay bridge

showing my asian booty by the bay bridge

By Airec Sype.

Edited by Broscobar

 

“You’re pretty cute, for an Asian guy.”

One of the many phrases that I’ve heard in my life that opposes my ethnicity as an Asian-American. That disclaimer lingers in my mind; are they trying to flatter me and what attractive features I actually possess, or are they trying to sneak an insult about the lack of attractive features my ethnicity at large possesses?

If I’m cute, then why need to add a qualifying clause. Why the need for a justification!? I’m flattered, but what about all the other Asian boys? Dose she (and others who utter this phrase) think that the majority of Asian males are ugly, or weird-looking, or perhaps strange anime characters who belongs in J-pop bands?

Other statements like, “You’re not that smart for an Asian,” or, “You probably know some form of martial arts,” also resonates with me. Despite the last statement being pretty badass (cuz we AZN kick ass), it seems clear that there are plenty of stereotypes (positive and negative) thrown at my face constantly.

In fact, recently I’ve learned that these kinds of statements that includes an Asian qualifying clause, is a form of microaggression. Hell, I wrote a whole blog post about it a month ago.

It’s sometimes difficult determining which form of microaggression to praise and which to reject in an angry-minority-blogger-kind-way. Sure I’ll gladly accept the fact that you think I’m cute, but I will revile this common unholy standard of attractiveness for Asians and this belief  of a small penis!!! (>.<) !!!

So how do we determine what is OK to say and if the person who spoke the offense, if any, is at fault?

My buddy, Daniel, 25, of San Francisco, says, “Sometimes the person who committed the microaggression may not be aware of it, and yet it happens all the time when people use generalization based on race, gender, or use stereotypes.”

What does that mean? If I say that all Asians are good at math, then does that mean I’m a little bit racist? Or if I say that all Jewish people are good at saving money, does that mean I secretly think Jews are cheap? Or if I open a door for a random girl, then does that mean I’m secretly a misogynist? (Actually true story, some woman on my first week of college got upset at me for opening the door for her, pff. She should have walked faster if she didn’t want me to give her a taste of my gentlemanly qualities!)

This is all confusing, I’m sure. I, too, am also at fault for spewing negative racial, sexual, cultural and many other -als out there. Especially during a heated game of HALO! But I don’t think I’m a racist; I think I’m just a jackass in the nicest way possible. This does not stop me from using microaggressive Asian stereotypes as jokes or joke about other racial (or any other class of people) stereotypes.

Can an Asian make racial jokes about Asians? I’m sure I can; I’m Asian.

. . . don’t lie you P.C. America; we all do it . . . it could be in a subtle-behind-closed-doors form or in a vulgar matter . . . we’re (well a large sum of us) idiots, which is why half of the world hates us . . .

 

The Mexican is strong in my friends cooking

The Mexican is strong in my friends cooking

Here is an example of me exercising my microaggressive urges. A friend of mine, Martin, 28, a college educated man of San Francisco, made carne asada fries and I comment: “The Mexican is strong in you.” Did my comment imply that my friend is now a better Mexican because he can make these south of the boarder fries . . . hell yea. I won’t shy away from calling my statement a little racist. Like how I would post on my black friends Facebook wall, “Happy Martin Luther Kings Day.”

Martin returned the joke by saying, “My parents would be proud, Airec Syprasert.” Our banter is one that implies that he is a better “Mexican” because of his skill to cook a dish with a Latin flavor, instead of his career. This is the kind of relationships that me and many other people in the world have with their friends. We share a racially open alliance where one could use racial stereotypes to aid or hurt one another, all for a good laugh . . . or a stinging burn!

Comedians like Dave Chappelle and Kevin Shea also uses racial stereotypes in their jokes, but the general public views them as comics rather than racists.

Was it racist when Shea says, in the video, that black people have white people to “worry” about, or that the last Asian man on Earth would be chasing his dog for dinner? Yeah. But it’s funny! The comedy of truth. Even today the internet is popping up with numerous of blogs and vblogs ranting about how white people are oppressing blacks in America.

Here is Jimmy O. Yang with some more Asian stand-up. It’s funny but borderline racist.

In the name of microaggression, the blanket word that shines an ugly racial light onto everything American, it does seem like everything is a tad-bit-sometimes-always-a-baby-racist. But if everything is racist, then that’s bad right? If everything racist is bad, then why do comedians make racially profound jokes/commentary, or why do best friends throw offensive hay-makers and maybe an occasional n/c-word or two?

My Jewish friend, lets call him J-Friend, 24, graduate student at USF, believes that the people who uses the term microaggression are hyper politically correct people, claiming that everything is racist.

“Microaggression is one of those terms I can’t help but roll my eyes when I hear it,” he says. “I’m more callous than others but I think racist jokes, and even antisemitic jokes, are hilarious.”

So now with this new generation of “minorities,” we are faced with this racial line that divides actual racism and comedy.

Also, if someone refuses to see comedy in microaggression, then does that mean that person is a little bit racist? Can a person be so politically correct that subconsciously their mind is being microaggressive?

“In some ways though you are right; some people who proclaim to be the most non-racist are basically gentle racists,” J-Friend said. “Like the white Social Justice Warrior(s) f*cks who runs around being every ethnic minorities white knight calling racism everywhere. Like if you’re more pissed off than the supposed victims then it seems like you’re doing it more for mental masturbation than actual justice.”

I will admit that I dislike some of the white SJW at SFSU. I understand that some Caucasians have “white guilt,” but you don’t have to be the forerunner for every minorities battle. This eagerness to jump to a minority defense is what caused some whites to be accused of “march-jacking” the police brutality protest in the Bay Area.

I also cannot stand the minorities that claims that everything is racist. Even some people think Chappelle is a racist. This feeling was ever so true in my Asian American studies classes. Not everything is racist . . . Well let me rephrase that, not everything that can seem racist is meant with malice or harmful intent.

I guess this is why we have terms like microaggression . . . oooppp . . .

“I think racism just is the negative stuff that no one actually inherits or passes down or is proud about, while the positive stuff being cultural tradition type stuff that people are proud about and want to pass on,” Broscobar says, 25, graduate of UC Berkeley. “Jokes are a different matter though. Sincerity goes out the window and it’s all entertainment. Laughing at a racist joke is the goal because it exists in a vacuum; it’s not supposed to be passed on and no one is supposed to want to pass on or inherit the negative stuff.”

Intent seems to be the key factor when it comes to microaggression, everyday human interactions and comedy. When it comes down to it, it’s really hard to say what is right and wrong when friends are throwing blows at each other or when race, and other nouns of oppression, is used as a comedic trope. Race is a touchy subject and will continue to be one as long as there are ignorant people in the world.

However, this and the blanket term “microaggression” shouldn’t hold you back from making a joke, as long if it’s without malice intent (that word again). Comedy is just tragedy plus time right? So is it ok to laugh now? I also don’t think that my friends who says that Asians have small penises are all racist (I’m average when I’m not drunk, fyi), nor do I think they harbor secret racist feelings. They are idiots, but I guess they’re my idoits? Unless you’re like this Asian girls ex-boyfriend, then you’re just a f*cking racist and gets NO pass! So lighten up, throw some microaggression around . . . an intelligent person should be able to determine what is harmful or not: respect each other out there. Don’t be a jackass.

-Till next time, Sype.

-ps, I do think there is still racism out there, I’m just talking about a little bit of diet racism.


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Exploring Microaggression: What the hell is Microaggression?

By Airec Sype

The internet has always been a hub of good ideas: if you’re into stuff like DIY’s or trying to find a non-trendy-but-trendy-hipster place to brunch, or trying to gather up magical tips to help you lose your virginity for the first time. (Porn isn’t a reliable source for educational virgin tips for getting women or losing your virginity btw. Not everyone is lucky enough to just stumble into a threesome). But if you troll the internet a lot, like I do, you will notice that it is a Wild West of ideas with raw-uncensored thoughts. Which, of course, without filtration, the internet is saturated with a lot of racist (but sometimes hilarious) comments.

Instead of me calling it “internet racism,” lets ground this phenomenon in the scholarly world. First coined by Harvard professor Chester M. Pierce in 1970, psychiatrists have described these light “insults and dismissals” as microaggression.

Derald Wing Sue, psychologist and professor at Columbia, defines microaggression as “brief, everyday exchanges that send degrading messages to certain individuals because of their group” that occurs subconsciously when no harm is intended, unaware of the unintentional offense.

For example if I said that all Asians can’t drive, or all Mexicans are illegal immigrants, or all Middle Eastern are terrorist, or all black people can rap, or all Jewish people are cheap, or . . . maybe I’ll stop there . . . then it’s a form of microaggression. I think.

In simple terms, it’s kinda racist but not, but still kinda is . . . like diet racism!!!

Since openly expressing your hate for another racial group, like lynching black people or sending Japanese people into not-so-fun-summer-camps, isn’t the cool thing to do anymore (because we all know how uncool it is to be judgmental and exclusive right bros ‘n hipsters), diet racism seems to be the new trendy form of hate. Especially on the internet. #newhatenowtrending

Sue also states that microaggression appears in four forms: microassault, microinsult, microinvalidation, and microrape. But if you want to explore more of her work or what all of those four micros mean then you can hit up the Wikipedia link provided above like I did. Especially microrape, it’s just as bad as it sounds.

Being a millennial, we have all been exposed to a misguided judgment powered by microaggression, either online or in real life.

One time my brothers and I tried going to a party on the North side in Visalia. Little did we know, it was a Norteños party (gangsters who bang red). The (Mexican) door guy told us that no Gooks were allowed. At that moment, we didn’t know why this guy was being a fucking racist. Then he proceeded to say that if we don’t bang then it’s ok and welcomed us to come in.

Being obviously dumbfounded by his second clause, we asked him to explain what a gook was to him. His definition of a gook was an Asian gang-banger . . . if he or his fellow gang-brothers had seen the movie Full Metal Jacket or took a simple high school history class, he probably would know that being a gook isn’t a simple street banger and that Charlies were also in the trees and not chocolate factories. So instead of embracing his lukewarm idiotic welcome, we decided to get the fuck out of there.

Now I know that not all of us have had access to a gang kind of experience, I know we have all seen this ignorance in the comment sections on YouTube or on Facebook.

While doing research for one of my blog post on A Dark Minded Giggle, I came across some over-generalizations of the African-American culture in the comment section of this YouTube video:

Long story short, LTG defeated Viscant (20-4) in a game of SF4, or as the gaming community we call it: a raping (yeah, we nerds can have a harsh choice of words).

LTG is African-American who presents a “thug” style. Or urban. I don’t really know what to call it. But in the YouTube comments, Uzumaki Naruto provides an explanation on why “ghetto blacks” are how they are.

so microaggressive bro

so microaggressive bro

Now is he trying to be a racist? I don’t know. I’m not a ninja like he is. He does not state that he dislikes African-Americans but offers his own scientific-sociological explanation on why “black communities” are “like that in the first place.”

He may not have malice intent, but you gotta admit that his view of African-American upbringing is pretty fucking racist.

Now let us look at some stuff online that isn’t as harsh as Naruto comments and a little bit more of a diet racism.

BuzzFeed has some examples (like my Azn brotha down there) of racial microaggression in their post “21 Racial Microaggression You Hear on a Daily Basis,” by Heben Nigatu:

Yeah, I’ve heard that one before too brotha

Or this BuzzFeed post by Tayna Chen, “21 Questions Asian Americans Are Sick of Answering

Those two BuzzFeed link shows us some examples of lighthearted stereotypes, if lighthearted racism is a thing. However, BuzzFeed has also been an unintended platform of ugly unfiltered thoughts of microaggression towards Asian Americans as well.

On January 6th, BuzzFeed requested their Facebook followers to ask questions that a civilized person might have for Asian Americans in a new segment called Ask an Asian . . . you must be an idiot or super oblivious if you didn’t know what was coming . . .

I first caught this story from the blog Angry Asian Man after my friends kept posting it to my wall. Basically, along with a some questions people had about Asian culture, there were just some racist ignorant questions.

oh yeah, what do you think was gonna happen

oh yeah, what do you think was gonna happen

here are some that made the cut

here are some that made the cut

It looks like either BuzzFeed deleted some of the comments or they’re somewhere in the “see more” section. If you visit the Angry Asian Man link that I provided above, you can see his compilation of racist questions.

Being an avid poster on Facebook, I too have witness my fair share of internet racism on my comment sections.

these are my friends

. . . these are my friends

To be fair, my friends are dicks. But they’re my dicks. In a non-homo way. Not that there is anything wrong with being gay. Dammit I “microaggression” again.

But seriously? why all this online hostility against Asian Americans. Is it because Asian Americans are viewed as the “model-minority” and we’re suppose to just bend over and take it? Why does no one outside the Asian American race jump to the gun and defend our honor as often as oppose to say an African-American? I want my Social Justice Warrior white knight too! Or in this case Social Justice Samurai! Preferably female and hot like in the movies.

No wonder the Huffington Post reported that Asian Americans are the most bullied.

A friend of mine said the reason why it’s easy to ask such negative questions about Asian Americans is because we are “succeeding” in America. And the reason why this PC America takes more offense to other ethnic misconceptions is because they’re still facing a tough struggle. There could be some truth to that belief, I guess. I didn’t know that Asian Americans won the Minorities War and a seat at the WeMadeIt Table. Yay us! We’re no longer oppressed and now everyone thinks we have big dicks!!!

But we have fallen off track here with my PRO-ASIAN-AMERICAN rant. Let us return to the topic of defining microaggression.

So microaggression is this term that we use in post-racial-politically-correct America to define something (a statement, piece of art, whatever) that does not intend harm but has an underlining oppressive tone . . . yeah, that kind of makes sense. And on the internet, there are a lot of stupid people being racist, sexist, homophobic, and all the other kinds of -ist. But you know what they say: there are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

But wait? If we use the term microaggression to explain something that someone might get butthurt over, then wouldn’t that mean that everything is racist? Like comedy or TV shows? Or your old aunt and uncle who immigrated from a different country who doesn’t know better? Iono, that’s a touchy subject here. But I’ll save this conversation for next time when I explore microaggression even more and question whether there is any validity to the term and debate if everyone’s a racist or if this is just a Social Justice Warrior term that lets everyone know that there is a stick up their ass. Hmm, that last part is kinda of mean.

Till next time, Airec Sype.

 

 


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A Very Asian Christmas: A brief history about Christmas and Asians

By Airec Sype

not trying to break Santas lap

not trying to break Santas lap

As I reminisce about my Christmas vacation, the overpowering memory of me sitting in my parents living room watching my six year old baby brother play Call of Duty on the PS3 underneath the 62’’ TV, as my eleven year old baby sister watched Ugly Betty on the iPad by the decorated artificial Christmas tree with wrapped presents underneath, this makes me wonder . . . where the fuck was my Christmas when I was 10 years old?

Growing up in the Central Valley, a predominantly White Christian Conservative area, the concept of Asian culture was foreign to kids of other ethnic culture in grade school. So a question I was often asked was, “Do Asians celebrate Christmas?”

Yes. Yes Asians do celebrate Christmas, you racist!

LOL, well let me elaborate on that. Yes and no, and well kind of.

For my family, it was after my spawning that my parents decided to embrace and celebrate Christmas. I am the first born, oldest of nine, so I consider myself to be the test subject of their experiment with integrating into American culture. English is my second language (now my primary language), so that meant that Lao/Thai culture came first and American culture and practices came second. And the wonderful commercial holiday that I love was no exception to this rule growing up in a gradually assimilating household.

Before we get into my trail and “failures” of the American Christmas experience, let’s have a little history lesson shall we . . . and this Asian version of Twas The Night Before Christmas.

Christmas is a predominantly Christian/Catholic holiday in America with a splash of American commercialism. So seeing how Christianity isn’t the primary religion in Asia, jolly ole Christmas came later-on when DIFFERENT Asian countries (I want to emphasize this fact, despite the whole “Asians look the same” concept, that there are different kinds of Asians) adopted the holiday after being colonized and subjugated to the oppressors religion or just simply because they were memorized after witnessing the magic of Xmas.

On a side note, Diane Severance, Ph.D, said that “Jesus was Asian” and that “Christianity began in Asia.” So HA! Take that you “White is Right!” fools. Your lord and savior was a math tutoring, kung-fu chopping son of a gun/God. The real reason why we Asians squint is so that we can see Him better through the light . . . Just kidding, but it is quite amusing to picture Jesus protecting himself from blasphemous naysayers and the devil with one karate chop at a time.

According to my understanding, the Philippines were some of the first Asians to enjoy eggnog and Lifetime replays of It’s a Wonderful Life and National Lampoon. Their privilege to enjoy this holiday early was due to “Spanish influences.” Or maybe because the Philippines were conquered early on by the Spaniard who were extremely Catholic. The power of Christ compelled them early!

Then there are Western influenced Asian countries, like Japan, who celebrate Christmas for the commercial purposes (and love I guess, pff), like gift giving and yellow snowball fights. I also know this is true because I’ve seen it in Japanese animes . . . and anime would never lie to a fellow Asian boy.

But some Asian countries, like China, do not recognize Christmas as a holiday. Whether you’re observing Dec. 25th for a commercial or religious holiday in those countries on the naughty list (looking at chu North Korea), then you’re still going to have to go to school as you watch other Asians frolic around in their Santa hats as they attempt with desperation and hope to get a kiss underneath the mistletoe.

You can read more about Christmas traditions in Asia at this Wikipedia page.

However don’t lose hope for little Lao Annie at her orphanage, Christmas is here . . . or I mean there! Why do Western countries and other mainstream Asians get to have all the fun?! It may have taken awhile but a blizzard of candy cane joy has reached the dry villages of Laos and exotic cities of Thailand. Whether this is a result of America’s commercial colonization or a Christmas miracle, it doesn’t matter because now everyone gets a Christmas.

James Zwier, Program Adviser at World Renew Laos, states that despite less than 2% of the population in Laos are Christians, “Christmas is the biggest celebration of the year.” Villagers uses this time to be with family and celebrate the farming year. It maybe a small victory, but it’s still a step forward into a global Christmas utopia!

Umm . . . so thank you European colonization and American media/commercial influences for bringing my fellow brothers and sisters overseas Christmas?

However, my parents were not lucky enough while they were in Asia to stuff stockings as they waited for jolly ole Saint Nick on December 24th; the only thing they stuffed back then were egg-rolls as they waited to go to their itty-bitty child jobs.

But after their migration to America and the start of our gigantic family, my parents got to try out their very own version of Christmas on me, which was interesting since they were (1) foreign to this concept of freedom to express love for another family member and (2) they weren’t Christians.

I am glad that I was my parents guinea pig in their Christmas experiment. When I looked around that night and saw all the things my little siblings now have, I can see how my envious tears, that I shed in grade school when I heard other kids tell their tales of Xmas victory in a form of toys, bikes and sneaky mistletoe kisses, watered the Christmas tree of joy that my siblings now have standing over them today. Compared to my first Christmas, which was with a small poorly decorated tree with some sticky rice and pork and no presents, this was a huge victory for my younger brother and sister.

My families version of a Christmas dinner

My families version of a Christmas dinner

my baby brother opening his presents . . . SURPRISE YOU GET CLOTHES!!!

my baby brother opening his presents . . . SURPRISE YOU GET CLOTHES!!!

Although I still feel like my Christmas interactions with my parents are more of “Why don’t you get a job” and “When are you going to get married” instead of hugs and presents . . . I guess somethings never change.

Stanley, 25, San Fran., a Chinese American, also has a similar experience with Christmas. He believes that Christmas means family traditions and whether to continue with the traditions or transition into something completely culturally new with your own family as the time goes on.

“It’s this kind of freedom that is what makes me proud to be an Asian American,” he said. “Like trying to find whatever makes you and your family happier.”

Now when people ask if I celebrate Christmas, I answer “Yes, an Asian Christmas.” Not to be a smart-ass, but it’s the honest answer since my family’s version of Christmas is different than the ones on Hallmark cards. Also, I tend to celebrate my X-Mas with lots of alcohol with my friends when I’m not strapped down with my family. But I think that’s more of a traditional alcoholics Christmas than an Asian one.

 

-I hope y’all had a very good Christmas and have a great New Year, Sype