it’s a glass, it’s a gymnast! it’s–

Tumblr.

I don’t wish to prolong the inevitable.

Since I first created this blog in September (wow, that long ago?), I’ve learned 2 things:

1) There’s so much to talk about! and

2) WordPress.com is not the place to do it.

What am I saying? Well, for 1) I’m saying I’d like to continue the discourse and expand it. More specifically, I’d like to make known the discrepancy between 1.5 and second generation Asian Americans. I want to make known that there is a difference. I want to be able to make it more public what these terms mean and what they imply. I want to show people the difference in cultures, in language, in life. I want to go over some of the more well-known stereotypes that each generation of Asian Americans suffers, to help debunk the myths, to bring into the light the true and the false, the painful vs. the painless. (E.g. small eyes, loud talkers, etc.)

I’m not saying I want to draw the line between bullying and joking, because that all depends on tone, relationship, context, and representation of who is doing what. But like so many advocates of anything know, the first step to action is awareness. The goal is that hopefully, instead of exhorting people to alter their viewpoints, the knowledge imparted into them will do all the work, and people (readers, viewers) will take their own initiative to be more aware, more cautious. More caring, more conscientious, enough so to learn not to assume. And I want to present all this information to the right audience, in a language I can speak.

What do I mean by ‘language’? Well this leads me to 2). Location, location, location.

The question of language is: who am I speaking to? Who is my audience? Where are my people? One thing’s for sure: they aren’t here, and they aren’t on my wordpress blog.

I mentioned in a past post that I prefer to speak in with loose structure (as long as you get what I’m trying to say, who needs it?), casual language (we’re buds! No need to be formal here), and gifs (fun fun fun!). In this way, it makes me able to reach out to those in the same situation, the same generation, and to relate to a world of gifs and sarcasm– but wait, that can’t be right, because I’m describing the people of Tumblr.

I get Tumblr, and Tumblr gets me. And by now, I’m starting to get the sense that those on WordPress.com don’t appreciate the creative use of gifs the way I do. I can only imagine that when they scroll through my blog they see large pieces of text and then obnoxious flashy gifs and say:

So, it seems only natural that I create a Tumblr blog to continue my discourse on.

It’s not just a place with insane fanatics (among other things), but a place with intelligent dialogue, i.e. usually via witty remarks and questionable grammar and punctuation, but meaningful nonetheless. With unique voices and clear messages, Tumblr is filled with conversations that have been avoided too long and need to be had. They say what needs to be said, the things whispered behind hands and not in households or schools where the typical reaction is:

The “Asian American” tag on Tumblr is quite revealing in itself, and with a quick Google search, I easily found a blog about the activist history of Asian Americans and one blog that belongs to an Asian American photographer who seeks to represent the misrepresented.

As to how I wish to continue the discourse of my blog (read: reactions to racism via personal/others’ accounts), I find myself much inspired by two particular blogs: Disgrasian and Angry Asian Man.

Disgrasian is a website run by two Asian American women who write and talk about racism with basically no filter. The writing is quirky, and it uses personal opinion and experience to the uttermost to get their points through. They do their best to answer questions about racism, whether it’s about Asians or not (though Asian Americans are the focus). In one particular post, Jen, one of the writers, does a scene-by-scene breakdown of the new Karate Kid, tearing it apart with the assistance of her mother.

Disgrasian.com

Disgrasian.com

The Angry Asian Man blog has a voice and style that I relate to and appreciate. He posts about what’s relevant, interesting, or extremely strange, and it all relates to Asian Americans and racism, all from his perspective. On the About page where he talks about himself and how the blog came to be, he gives the motive and reason for why he writes, and really, for why we all write:

Mind you […] it was all very facetious. A big joke about hyperbolic, misguided Asian pride. And most people knew I was joking, save for a few who just got annoyed at my “zeal” […] or those who were truly concerned that I might actually lead some some sort of dangerous Asian uprising. Watch out for that guy —he’s really vocal.

However, in time it became apparent to me that I was actually only half joking. The concerns I was raising were funny because there was truth to them. Because racism does exist, and because Asian Americans still do struggle with issues of acceptance in this country. My context for discussing these problems often came from comic exaggeration, because at times, it was the only way to make such ugly issues open and approachable.

So Angry Asian Man became a cause. And just like Angry Asian Man, the views expressed in the contents of this website will inevitably be ridiculously zealous and exaggerated. Of course, it’s all in fun, but just like the persona of Angry Asian Man, rooted in truth.

Angry Asian Man

blog.angryasianman.com

I understand his mentality very well.

To sum up, with wordpress, in terms of the discourse I’ve been in engaging in and blogging furiously about, I seem to have run into a wall.

Thankfully, the Tumblr blog is under way. It’s up, but still a lot of work has to be done, so until I come out with the half-finished product, look out for the post!

Until then, keep waiting.

Assuming the suspense doesn’t kill you.

Advertisements

say it ain’t (david) so!

Yup. Again.

Here’s a bit of old news: this year’s Miss America was the first to be of Indian descent! And just to reiterate David So from his video, she was Indian-American, as in Asian-American. (Yes, India is a part of Asia please do your homework.)

Here’s another bit of old news: racism still exists! Maybe we’re all tired of seeing it, hearing it, and shaking our heads at it, but it’s still as prevalent as it’s always been– prejudice will always exist in some way or form especially concerning skin pigmentation or outward appearance and yada yada… we get it.

Nevertheless, I appreciate that David So brings the event up in not only a celebratory gesture, but an exposing one, albeit in a slightly crude and condescending way. His delivery is succinct, quirky, and fun to watch: it’s what keeps many Asian-and-non Americans alike subscribed to his Youtube channel.

As you know, I’m quite the fan of David So’s videos and their messages, mostly because of the way he conveys them, and that’s what I’m here to talk about today: why does it what the man does work so well?

Let’s break it down the way Porter wants us to.

Who here has ever watched a Youtube video?

That had better be the reaction I get, you with your ability to access this website in the first place. And based off the fact that of the top fifteen or so most subscribed Youtube channels, half of them are vlogging Youtubers, I’m going to freely assume that vlogs are well known by now.

Vlogs are visual, and the way David So represents himself on camera in each of his vlogs paints a quick picture even in the first couple of seconds, which in turn determines whether we’d like to stay and watch the video, to give him some time out of our day and listen to what he has to say. Online identity: it’s the most important thing out there nowadays, especially when you put your self out on camera, personality, face, all out for the world to judge, scripted or not. He’s not afraid to use all he’s got to put himself out there.

Right off the bat David So, without even having to explicitly say so, makes sure to position the camera so that he can talk to us at eye-level– he knows what we see, and the video automatically feels like a conversation, a rant, a heart-to-heart from one friend to another– only he’s a loud, fast-talking Asian-American with a big personality, humility (he reveals in many of his videos a self-consciousness regarding his slightly chubby nature), and he talks with a loose, slang-filled language straight from the ghettos where he grew up. And all he wants to do is make us laugh, and maybe have something to think about at the end of the day.

Like his speech, his cuts are quick, because he wants his videos to be as content-filled as possible. And, sometimes he’ll cut himself off and use silence or the nuances of his expressions to imply what he feels he doesn’t need to infer.

I use David’s videos because they speak to the audience I’d like to have on this blog: educated with a sense of humor. I discuss and bring up anecdotes about Asian stereotypes and racism etc. for awareness, but I’m not looking for a fight while I do it. I think it’s safe to say that my posts so far have been fairly light-hearted, if not a little indignant in the face of the ignorant, on behalf of those subject to unfair judgment.

His messages are short, sweet, and to the point– it’s what I’m working on, but his tone matches very much how I wish to portray the “exigence” of Asian stereotypes in an Asian-American world. He talks freely and uses his opinion, knowledge, and history to back up every single one of his points, and it’s the type of voice I currently am attempting to cultivate.

(Although, he is much looser in his language than I am, and he’s not afraid to point fingers or straight-out ostracize someone for their opinion– as much as he wishes for all to be educated, there are some people who cannot change until they want to.)

David uses Youtube, and right now as the internet’s most popular video-sharing website, it’s the right place to be if you want your voice, face, and opinion known: as a subscriber to his channel, when he posts, I’ll see it on my subscriptions page within the hour. The mere fact that I was able to embed the Miss America is Indian rant onto this blog makes for 90% of the reason I’m talking about it now– it’s easily accessible and universal in its function.

(You just press play. Seriously.)

For the most part, David aims toward an audience that: tolerates crude language (and sometimes crude humor), has an interest in what he is trying to say, and will laugh. (His channel is even called David So Comedy. You can’t get much more straightforward than that.) He even enables likes, embeds, and shares, as well as comments to continue the video’s dialogue (or something of the like) below the video.

He even engages with his own comment section, showing that he’s paying attention and that he does care about his viewers, though some of the time it’s an opportunity for him to textually tell someone of.

Generally, if the topic of his rant is controversial enough, or it emotionally affects viewers the same way it did David, there tends to be a decent engagement in the comment section. In the comments section of the Miss America is Indian rant I embedded, there were comments like:

Look here’s how I see it from two perspectives. The U.S. is a nation formed by immigrants of all nations around the world. Why is it so weird a beautiful woman with a foreign heritage (like everyone else in the U.S) be nominated Ms. America. And my second point if you want to get REALLY technical, why aren’t any actual Native Americans becoming Ms. America. If your going with that point of view anyone who is not at least half native american needs to gtfo of the competition.

The comment had 18 thumbs up. Usually when I see engagement, a ‘hierarchy’ of comments apart from the video about the video, it’s a sign that the video is either a) popular and/or b) very relevant.

Like many popular vloggers on Youtube, David makes videos for a living. He makes them because he wanted to make a living out of making videos, skits, rants, etc. In his most recent video, David So takes the time at the end to promote some of the work he’s been doing outside of Youtube, as well as to personally thank his viewers. And it’s not the first time he’s done it– many other vloggers make similar thank-you videos in gratitude when they’ve reached a certain milestone in their career if not for Youtube and their fans and supporters.

He’s motivated by the pure creative need to create videos, and so long as his videos continue to be engaging and of the quality we subscribed to him for, we, his viewers, will continue to watch, and support in any way we can, even if that means simply pressing the like button or favoriting a video. For now, I’m a fan.

David’s relatable and relevant, especially his thoughts, views, and attitude on Asian stereotypes. He gets it, and he knows how to work his audience– so for now, he’s got my view.