Shin Hyunji and Jung Hoyeon for Oh Boy! Jan 2014 by Kim Hyun Seung
New socialist Seattle councilmember Kshama Sawant just gets more and more awesome: pledging to take home less than half of a councilmember’s $117,000 salary. The rest? Solidarity fund to support workers’ strike funds and environmental, women’s, and civil rights causes.
Plus size Chinese fashion
here’s the thing about immigrant narratives and why (white) people think they’re “sentimental”
it’s because it’s not just about the protagonist. in a lot of white American stories it’s all about the protagonist, the hero, and it’s JUST that person’s story. whenever parents or similar mentor figures come up they are often archetypal and one-sided, magically appearing to distribute advice and disappearing again. so rarely are their own stories included within the main narrative because they are not deemed important enough.
like step outside this Western centric mentality for one sec. so many Asian American narratives are real tearjerkers for the likes of myself because they include our parents’ stories that we know so, so well and have internalized. we’ve all heard it. they moved over here from China/Korea/Japan/Vietnam/India/whathaveyou to give us a better life, they sacrificed so much for us, they learned how to cook their own foods because nowhere here made it the way they liked it, and on and on. these stories are so much a part of our own, coming from an almost mythical Other place that we know to an extent and yet we don’t, that it’s almost impossible not to include in some way when writing our own stories.
in a lot of Western stories even when family backstory is included it is always framed around the narrator; the narrator eclipses most of it and understands that because of this, they must fulfill their destiny, or something along those lines. I would argue that in a lot of immigrant narrative we share the story space more equally with our family members and it’s really jarring to a lot of people who have grown up reading tales of Individualism and ME ME ME ME to be like “why did that writer include that whole chunk of his mom’s backstory when it’s extraneous to the immediate plot/you don’t need to go into such detail” oh but the writer does!
because we can never tell our own stories without including those we were brought up with!
disclaimer it’s late and I’m hella tired and rambling but that comment “oh this is way too sentimental” really cheezed me off okay why is it sentimental to talk about your parents we can’t all be drugged up rockstars who angst over sad girls and smoke cigarettes on Brooklyn rooftops while our parents play absolutely no role except to provide all that money that the narrator is constantly spending on booze and torn jeans
(Source: wednypls, via saotome-michi)
In Vietnam women have always been in the forefront in resisting foreign domination. Two of the most popular heroines are the Trung sisters who led the first national uprising against the Chinese, who had conquered them, in the year 40 A.D. The Vietnamese had been suffering under the harsh rule of a Chinese governor called To Dinh. Some feel that if the sisters had not resisted the Chinese when they did, there would be no Vietnamese nation today.
The sisters were daughters of a powerful lord. Trung Trac was the elder; Trung Nhi, her constant companion, the younger. They lived in a time when Vietnamese women enjoyed freedoms forbidden them in later centuries. For example, women could inherit property through their mother’s line and become political leaders, judges, traders, and warriors.
Trung Trac was married to Thi Sach, another powerful lord. Chinese records note that Trac had a “brave and fearless disposition.” It was she who mobilized the Vietnamese lords to rebel against the Chinese. Legend says that to gain the confidence of the people, the Trung sisters committed acts of bravery, such as killing a fearful people-eating tiger - and used the tiger’s skin as paper to write a proclamation urging the people to follow them against the Chinese.
The Trungs gathered an army of 80,000 people to help drive the Chinese from their lands. From among those who came forward to fight the Chinese, the Trung sisters chose thirty-six women, including their mother. They trained them to be generals. Many names of leaders of the uprising recorded in temples dedicated to Trung Trac are women. These women led a people’s army of 80,000 which drove the Chinese out of Viet Nam in 40 A.D. The Trung sisters, of whom Nhi proved to be the better warrior, liberated six-five fortresses.
After their victory, the people proclaimed Trung Trac to be their ruler. They renamed her “Trung Vuong” or “She-king Trung.” She established her royal court in Me-linh, an ancient political center in the Hong River plain. As queen she abolished the hated tribute taxes which had been imposed by the Chinese. She also attempted to restore a simpler form of government more in line with traditional Vietnamese values.
For the next three years the Trung sisters engaged in constant battles with the Chinese government in Vietnam. Out armed, their troops were badly defeated in 43 A.D. Rather than accept defeat, popular lore says that both Trung sisters chose the traditional Vietnamese way of maintaining honor - they committed suicide. Some stories say they drowned themselves in a river; others claim they disappeared into the clouds.
Over time the Trungs became the stuff of legends and poems and a source of pride for women who lived more restricted lives. Today, stories, poems,plays, postage stamps, posters and monuments still glorify the heroism of the Trung sisters.
“All the male heroes bowed their heads in submission;
Only the two sisters proudly stood up to avenge the country.”
15th century Poem
Via Women in World History. See also: Wikipedia
Elderly man beaten bloody by police during New York City jaywalking arrest | The Raw Story -
An elderly man was hospitalized Sunday evening after he was beaten by police who stopped him for jaywalking.
The New York Post reported that 84-year-old Kang Wong crossed 96th Street against the light about 5 p.m. as he walked north on Broadway, and an officer ordered him to stop.
But Wong, who lives a block away, didn’t seem to understand the officer, according to witnesses.
“The guy didn’t seem to speak English,” said witness Ian King, 24, a Fordham University law student.
“(The officer) stood him up against the wall and was trying to write him a ticket,” King said. “The man didn’t seem to understand, and he started walking away. The cop tried to pull him back, and that’s when he began to struggle with the cop. As soon as he pushed the cop, it was like cops started running in from everywhere.”
Wong was bleeding and dazed after the struggle, witnesses said, and had cuts on his face.
sex-positivity isn't so positive -
I think I’ve reached my last stage of disenchantment with feminism, and there’s one last thing I haven’t called out yet: sex-positivity
You read that right: SEX-POSITIVITY. The sacred tenet of white feminist dogma that no one has dared to question. Just kidding; actually a lot of women of…
Awesome PoC Tumblrs -
WoCinSolidarity have compiled an amazing list of Awesome PoC Tumblrs! First, give them a follow. Then, check out some of the wonderful blogs on their list below…
Actresses of Color
All Things Thai
Alternative Girls of…
We’re honored to be among these great POC blogs!
Comic Artist Yumi Sakugawa On Friend-Love, Identity And Art -
Yumi Sakugawa's more recent work I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You was published as a book in December. The comic, which first hit the Internet in 2012, looks at a modern-day friendship — friend crushes — and expresses all the delightful, little things we hope our best (and even not-so-best) pals will do for us.
Sakugawa, 29, never knew how she’d combine her two loves, drawing and writing. She’d been doing both since she was a kid but didn’t merge them until college, when she started making comics. But it’s clear that she’s both a comic artist and a writer — the two are inseparable. Her words, given a natural staccato by the confines of each panel, flow with a rhythm that the images help propel.
Her work has an eerie, wondrous quality to it, blipped with panels that will make your heart soar and dip and soar again. Themes of space and love pull readers into a pensive world of fantastical creatures. And when her characters aren’t fictitious monsters, they’re all undoubtedly Asian-American.
When I walked into my preschool on the first day of class, my name wasn’t Samantha. It was Hoang-Anh. The only English words I did know were, “stop,” “hello,” “please,” and “thank you.” My teacher made it very clear to my mother that afternoon what a hindrance my lack of English would be.
“Here in America, we speak English. She doesn’t even recognize her own name.”
My mother apologized, promising that she’d try to teach me English as quickly as she could. That night, she wove my American name into my nightly bedtime story, my birth certificate clutched in her hand and her fingers grazing over my place of birth: California. She had to remind herself that she did not come to America for this. For the next month, she and my father spoke only in English, read only English books to me, and listened to only English music.
I don’t remember how long it took for me to stop speaking Vietnamese. But it was the day I stopped singing Vietnamese folk songs to my bedridden grandfather.
It was the day he stopped recognizing me as his granddaughter, and knew me only as the strange little Vietnamese girl living in his house.
It was the day I stopped being Hoang-Anh and became Samantha.
Samantha is good at English; you could say she even excels in it.
She can write essays while in half sleep and when she was twelve, she read Virginia Woolf. But Samantha, I, had clorox poured down my throat. When I speak, I sound too smooth, too glib, too lost, in comparison to my mother who sounds like home and warmth and a country I can no longer remember how to find. When my mother speaks to me in Vietnamese, I can understand her perfectly. But when I try to respond to her in anything but English, it’s like trying to look into my blind spot without turning my head.
I try to make up for what I lack by embracing as much of my heritage, my culture, and my history as possible. But there is only so much I can do when during family reunions and family weddings, I am tightlipped the entire night, sipping soda xi muoi and straining to remember how to say, “I’ve been good, and you?” If there are a handful of Vietnamese words I do remember how to say, it is sorry. Xin lỗi. I am so sorry.
If I could ask my grandmother something, I would ask her how it feels to have four grandchildren who can’t speak to her, how it feels to have her family tree hemorrhaging at its roots when her two baby grandchildren turn their noses up at Vietnamese food. I would ask her if she feels proud of my mother for successfully bleaching my accent right out of my throat.
I would also apologize to my grandfather.
I’m sorry that I stopped singing.
Today, The Toast published an illustrated-essay/comic I wrote in November called “What Would Yellow Ranger Do?”. You can read it here. It’s about a few things, but two of them are the frustrations of being an immigrant(and the constant reminders of not fitting in) and exoticism. There’s quite a few drawings of the Yellow Ranger too, who I think is really cool.
I think it’s my first fully autobiographical piece, and it’s kind of harsh, and a bit mean, and pretty dismissive at times. I actually winced a bit while reading it over yesterday, because I don’t think I’m portraying myself in a particularly pleasant light. If just five years ago, if I’d met the rude, brash, unapologetically feminist person I am today, I’d be appalled.
In the six weeks between when I wrote this and today, the #NotYourAsianSidekick hashtag exploded all over Twitter(organized by the remarkable @suey_park). It’s about a lot of things, but the thing that struck at me the most was about carving out space for an radical brand of Asian American feminism that’s rooted in solidarity with other people of colour and rejecting the presumptions of white feminism when they do not work for PoC.
I’ve spent a lot of time buying into the myth that the only way for the marginalized groups to be heard is by politeness. Subservience, even. Logic. Intelligence. Scholarship. Proof. Evidence. Charts and graphs and studies and sources.
Postcolonial study has always been an undercurrent in a lot of the work I do, even if its mostly implied(it’s hard to make work that references museums a lot, without acknowledging how the concept of a museum actually started). But even when talking about race and feminism more overtly, I’ve always been academic about it, practically Spock-ish in my approach.
And I’m not sure it really works anymore, because I’m just not that kind of person. I’m not a great public speaker; I freeze up when I’m angry. I have lots of feelings and emotions when things are important to me, and my hands shake when I try to argue for them. But, it’s not my job to handhold people through the intricacies of postcolonial and feminist theory. I’m perhaps - a little bit tired of referencing Gloria Andalzua and bell hooks and Edward Said when what I really want to say is FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU FOR NOT LISTENING TO ME.
Which is to say, I think I’ve been spending an undue amount of time telling people why they should listen to me, why I’m worth listening to, why I’m smart and intelligent and make good points - rather than just standing up and speaking.
And I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make work that is more aggressively “me.” And it occurred to me, after decades of believing that there were just certain ways for women(of colour, especially) to behave or they just wouldn’t be heard, that the best way to make work that is aggressively me is to be aggressively me. And, I’m not very nice sometimes. I’m loud and frequently impolite, and sometimes I’m an antisocial hermit, and sometimes I’m gregarious and entertaining, and sometimes I’m an asshole. I am vast, I contain multitudes.
But, I don’t have to be logical to be heard. I have a voice, and I have the internet, and that is enough. I won’t always be right, but I deserve to speak, just as loudly as anyone else(besides, apologizing is something I’m pretty good at). I don’t have to be afraid that I am not speaking for all women, because I’m speaking for at least one woman of colour, and that’s enough. I will talk, scream, write and paint and sculpt and write and write and write because I am valid. My feelings are valid. My emotions are valid. My anger is valid. My sadness is valid. My happiness is valid. My disappointments are valid. My internal conflicts are valid. My mood swings are valid. My bad days are valid, as are my good days, and all the days in between because they are mine, mine, mine.