the question

I think anyone who is a person of color has been asked this question. I don’t think it’s bad, but it’s how white people ask the question that’s pretty noteworthy of the cringe and awkwardness in asking. There are many different ways they ask, much like the many different flavors of white there actually is. Some of my favorite over the years include:

‘What are you?’

‘So where are you from? Like really from?’

‘What is your origin or your parents?’

If you haven’t figured it out, this question is about race, more specifically ethnicity of the more colored skin toned people. I understand how people are curious, but there needs to be a better way of asking about someone’s ethnicity. It’s so awkward to put into words awkward to hear someone try to ask in a way that won’t offend the person of color. I don’t think it’s such a touchy subject to ask about someone’s ethnicity or race or culture since people are curious, but the wording some people choose to use kill me.

‘Like where are you really from?’

I’m from a small town in North Carolina, even more specifically I came from the womb. I didn’t come from anywhere else or anyplace else for my birth certificate says so. But I get what the person is asking, ‘Where is your culture/heritage from?’ Now, with that question, I would give the answer they wanted and say I’m Filipino and Chinese. To ask where I’m really from would imply that my loyalty remains with this distant, probably romanticized country you’re thinking off than where I’m actually from and demean my status and kind of citizenship of the current country I am from and probably know better because I grew up here. And I’m sure anyone who carries another race in front of the American status – like mine would be Asian American – is just as much American as Abraham Lincoln is and as American as the immigrant who came to here for a better life.

‘Where are your parents from?’

I thought it was funny to be asked this question. To nicely ask my ethnicity by asking about my parents, it’s not that awkward, but it’s a different way of asking. I thought it was a great way of asking about my heritage, but once it goes back to again distant generations I wouldn’t know off it goes back to this romanticized period of my culture than the present and actual culture of my people with asking me instead of past generations. Not only is it going back to this archaic culture that seems out of touch with the current generation, it’s also degrading for your knowledge of who you are to be dismissed and ask more of your parent’s status than an actual acknowledgment of who they are.

‘You don’t look like -insert race-, so what mix are you?’

I’m a mix of mischief, wit, sleep deprivation, and vodka. Because I do not fit your perceived image of a certain race does not mean I am any less of my race and ethnicity. So this brings up this great declaration, not all Asians look alike very much like how all black people do not look alike or how all Hispanics look alike. This generalizes who we are to a limited understanding and perception of culture than the actual diversity and complexity and richness of these marginalized cultures, races, ethnicities. With this generalization of how we should look like, it also infers how you think we act and ought to be than the reality of us as people than this clump of misinformation. Let my Asian self be Asian and nothing less just because I do not share squinty eyes like how you think all Asians share.

This also does not mean I am different ingredients of ethnicities, but rather a hodgepodge. I never understood people were able to describe themselves as 1/8 Cherokee, 1/8 German, 1/4 Irish, and 1/2 French. How are they so precise that you can make a cake out of your race ingredients? I’ve always answered this question as Filipino-Chinese, but never 50/50 because my ethnicity blended into part of my mother’s family being mostly Filipino then marrying Chinese and my father’s side being Chinese, but growing up in the Philippines – this isn’t some teaspoon of Chinese mixed with a cup of Filipino, but it’s a blend that’s not well defined.

Honestly, just ask the question ‘What is your ethnicity?’ This is not offensive and it’s not awkward to put into what you really want to ask and awkward to realize this is the question about to be asked or how you ask the question. Different ethnicities and cultures should be talked about and embraced rather than discouraged, further marginalized, and appropriated because of this ignorance. We’ve become so culturally sensitive towards acknowledging and wanting to learn about others, that we’ve become culturally ignorant. Don’t understand why Asian Americans get mad when you joke about cats and dogs being their food? Don’t understand why African Americans get mad when you wear cornrows or use their slang? Don’t understand why Latino Americans get mad when you dress up in a sombrero and poncho for Halloween? Don’t understand why Native Americans get mad when you wear headdresses and moccasins for fashion? Ask and learn why, ask and learn about their culture, ask and learn to be better aware of ethnicity and the differences in how they live versus yours and how beautiful and meaningful their traditions are just like yours are. People aren’t any more sensitive or can’t take a joke when it comes to their culture or ethnicity because it is something that defines them, they’re most likely pissed that this is the version of their culture/ethnicity that is socially accepted and that who they are is so much more.

So what is your ethnicity? Learn from us. Learn our religion, food, heritage, celebrations, why something holds value to us when you perceive it as something trivial. When we talk, share, educate ourselves, we understand these issues and become richer with this shared culture and knowledge.

 

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NYT, CNN, BBC

I find it alarming that the White House banned certain news media from its Friday press conference.

The News isn’t supposed to be articles praising the President’s every move or claiming the President to be the greatest despite actions and policies that are not aligned with ‘greatness.’ The news is supposed to inform the people so they can understand the facts and develop their own opinions and feelings about it. The News is supposed to give different perspectives of events unfolding around them. The News is supposed to be critical, thought-provoking, and honest.

Fake news is not news that does not follow only one perspective or kiss up to a President’s awful policies and careless actions, but it is news that is so distorted to only see the event in one way, a good way that benefits only one person. Fake news is lies being told as truths, such as the 45th Inauguration having the highest attendance and the Bowling Green Massacre, by our government and its officials. Fake news is essentially propaganda blindly leading its people into thinking everything is fine when actually everything is not fine.

Having different news outlets is good because there are details in each story that come from different perspectives. It allows people to get a full understand of policies, events, and ideas. It provides a true democracy of speech and accessibility of the people with its government. The media is unofficially the fourth branch of government and has its power in making the people believe this and allowing them to know this. There is great responsibility in informing people and it depends on many different news outlets to develop their story and share it with others. By blocking some of these news outlets from doing their job, then it is only the people that are suffering at the hands of a tyrannical government. The news should not be allowed for a certain few who agree with you, Mr. President, but everyone who participates in this democracy of ours, and yes, this includes your critics, the 65 million who voted against you, CNN, New York Times, and BBC because democracy is not only limited to the landowning, white male, but to all of us.

united divided states

I still cannot believe that a man with no real political experience and over inflated ego that spills on his twitter account is the 45th President of the United States of America. It doesn’t feel real. It’s like seeing Nicholas Cage in any movie and still thinking he’s Nic Cage. It’s seeing Donald Trump doing anything and still seeing him as he is. I don’t see him as President. I don’t see him as qualified. I don’t see him as a different man by gaining that title, but the selfish businessman he is.

I am not bitter and have accepted the fact that he is our new President. However, I do not support his agenda and many of his appointed officials.

The people have taken back their government? Yet the popular vote went largely towards your opponent, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and you’ve entered the White House with some of the lowest approval ratings of the people. The forgotten man will be forgotten no more? Okay besides the middle-class white man who thinks Olive Garden is a classy establishment and only reads the Bible and clickbait articles; what about the forgotten ‘forgotten men’? What will you say to the citizens of Flint who still have no water? What will you say to a child whose family is gone because they’ve been deported? Will you argue that ‘All Lives Matter’ include the black lives, Latino lives, Asian lives, indigenous people lives? Will this United States come together by including and protecting the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and other sexualities? Will we come together and be ‘great again’ despite our different beliefs of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and nihilism? Have the ‘outsiders’ finally entered politics, when Sir, you are a billionaire interested in keeping and making your profit, but only differ from them in never having a political career? What is your new healthcare plan that is ‘so great and so much better than Obamacare’ and will it also provide for the people, even the marginalized ones? And what will you do to reassure than girls are worth more than their bodies and looks, but have deeper purpose of being intelligent, funny, lively, inspiring and that they do in fact matter in this country?

Mr. President, are you listening to the people?

How do you pick someone as Secretary of Education when they have never attended public school, had children in public school, worked in a public school, or really had any interest with public schools? That’s like telling a doctor to farm the land. They have no knowledge or real understanding of what they’re doing and bound to fail because of their prior experience of medicine and the body instead of crops and cows. I don’t understand how you can appoint someone for an agency when they don’t believe its purpose. I do not understand how you can even appoint someone to a department who wanted to get rid of the department and even forgot its name? How do you appoint people based on loyalty instead of qualifications? Have you forgotten Hurricane Katrina and the government’s slow aid to people who were dying?

Mr. President, do you care?

The campaign is now over and appealing to the parties isn’t as important now as working for all American people. I’m sure the Republicans are satisfied or whatever they call themselves now like alt right, but what about the United States of America and all its citizens, current and future. How will you uphold your promise in keeping us together and working together to ‘Make America Great Again?’ You can’t blame one side for their behavior or call their ideas or claims ridiculous. You can’t tweet about how awful and overrated people who disagree and criticize you are at 3 AM. You can’t be ignorant of the news and the media, when yes I do agree the news now is not the same quality in informing people as before, but you have to acknowledge them and their reputation for letting the people know what’s going on.

Our country is divided and this inauguration is only creating new cracks. Our problems and solutions aren’t black or white. They’re grey because we all have faults and our solution isn’t the solution for everyone. For the next four years, we should not retreat into hearing only our beliefs and tending to our ideologies but listen to the other side and their opinions. When we do not challenge ourselves and open our minds, we make the divide deeper by not compromising or listening to others. What makes America great is its diversity. We have different opinions, ideas, beliefs that make The United States and when we can work together maybe we can be what our Founding Fathers imagined when they created a government serving the people with The Great Compromise. In no ways, do I want Donald to fail, but I do want him to consider the reality of his job and the work he will have to do to serve the people.

In no ways, do I want Donald to fail, but I do want him to consider the reality of his job and the work he will have to do to serve the people. Whatever he does next, it affects all of us because after all he is the most powerful man in the free world now, and I can only pray he does his job for all of us and more importantly this country and that it can move forward, united and more compassionate.

the American Dream

I think it’s a goal of everyone to be better. We push ourselves towards our dreams and imagine achievement. We want to be better in different aspects whether it be who we are or how we see the world. We feel the need to eat healthier, work harder, and become successful.

We want to be better than where our parents got, better than our co-workers who got that promotion, better than our peers who made that perfect grade, and our friends who are making their mark on the world.

We get caught up in being better than others, when really the only person we can be better than is ourselves from yesterday. To compare ourselves with others often overlooks our own talents and our own little successes that they cannot see having value. Competition and rivalry aren’t bad, but sometimes we work on improvement that should be focused somewhere else.

This need to be better is something that has always been a working progress for me. I used to be caught up in being better than friends, peers, strangers. But it’s their successes I’ve lusted after and was distracted in making my own successes. Now I’ve realized what their goals aren’t what I want and that I have worked towards nothing that has made me happy. I want to be happy with my own successes and towards my dreams even if people don’t see the value in it, but I’ll feel as I become better every day than the last in working for a reality of a dream.