Wow.

I managed to finish the Tumblr  blog. Somehow.

If you’re interested, click away!

I give you my masterpiece. (Sort of. Don’t get too excited.)

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a look back

It’s been a little over three months (wow three whole months) since I started this blog and as the school term comes to an end, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on my experience of having this blog.

What have we learned? What has been accomplished? What meaning has been brought to our lives?

We’ve been through a lot together, and *insert strains of nostalgic music*

Sorry I had to get that out of my system.

But really now.

Over these past few months, I’ve learned a little something-something about what it means to have a blog: specifically, what it means to be the author of a blog about Asian Americans.

Remember my second blog post, the one about Techne?

Techne is defined in the dictionary as “the principles or methods employed in making something or attaining an objective.” Teche is also a tool and form of rhetoric, the art of effective writing, with which comes the need to convince readers of my legitimacy through use of Aristotle’s ethos (trust), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic).

Well, I’ve now come to realize how very relevant techne is to how I express myself on this blog, not to mention how other Asian Americans express themselves and their opinions concerning the Asian American community. At the very least, those successful in conveying themselves use techne. People like David So, Wongfu Productions, The Fung Brothers, and Timothy DeLaGhetto all use techne in the context of speech. I realize techne references to writing and that I’m talking mostly about Youtube Channels, and this use, too, is an important fact: I’ve learned that there are multiple ways to carry the discourse of Asian Americans (and their stereotyped problems), and that the visual and spoken word are just as effective as the written.

This is because they all have exigence, each person speaking has an audience to speak to and a reason to carry out their message, all by using ethos, pathos, and logos. Who would trust me if I didn’t have the oh-so obvious cred of being Asian American myself? And who would watch a single one of David So’s videos if he wasn’t talking from personal experience (’cause man his narrative is so authentic and his storytelling hilarious and effective)? Who would bother watching DeLaGhetto’s strange interactions with the camera (sorry but it’s true) unless he made a rational point now and then?

In the end, it’s all about being able to relate, because that’s the best way to get the point across. Otherwise, honestly, we wouldn’t even bother.

But what’s the source, the medium, the very thing through which all of this is even achieved?

(‘Youtube,’ you answer blankly, and granted, that is a totally acceptable response because yes I post a lot from that community.)

New Media. Social media. Mass media. Media media media.

Whatever adjective you decide to slap next to it, the bottom line is that everything we do, talk about, discuss, or publicize, it’s all done through a sort of media. It’s undeniable. There is no argument.

Like I detailed so thoroughly in my earlier post about false geniuses, the world today is so dependent on getting the word out through media, be it blogs, videos, podcasts, or an article. It’s the one thing we look to for information the most nowadays, and hopefully wherever we’re looking, it’s a trustworthy source, determined by the user friendly design of the webpage or fancy edits of a video. Angry Asian Man‘s website is a great example of what a user friendly blog might look like, with it’s familiar Home, About, and Contact tabs.

It’s why I’ve chosen to talk to all of you about Asian American stereotypes and the woes begotten from the resulting misconceptions via a blog. For me, there was no other way to go about setting forth the discourse I wished to engage in.

I’m the kind of person who adores the anonymity and lack of (genuine, meaningful) confrontation in blogging, as well as the ability to construct with words.

(Yes, I am that person.)

I’ve chosen blogging because audience matters, and I’m really much more willing to converse with (or at) people who would rather read articulate and thorough (albeit lengthy and rambly) text. This blog is meant to be read, it’s meant to entertain, so when I’m telling my stories or talking about the Asian American community from my perspective, I want the right people reading.

More and more, the words, “there’s a time and a place” reveal the intent of my blog, and others like it. WordPress is just another place where people’s voices can be heard. In reality, how many times has anyone ever made this horrible, verbal blunder that was said with no ill intent whatsoever, but was horribly insensitive at the same time?

What in the world do you say to that?

You’ll find it harder to correct anyone, especially if you’re someone like me, and especially when you don’t know how to go about it in the first place.

Concerning the Asian American community, I know that generally we’re a soft-spoken group, out there– we make up maybe 5% of America’s population, what are we supposed to do? The struggle between White and Black, Caucasian and African American, has lasted for decades (NAY, CENTURIES), and I realize that perhaps in comparison we’re a recent, minuscule addition to the mix, but we’re still here. At the store, in your classroom, on TV, living our lives and being misrepresented in every way.

A little bit of knowledge goes a long way. To emphasize why I choose to talk about Asian Americans without exhausting the reason too much, with a sorely underrepresented community such as ours, it gets to the point when laughing off non-PC jokes or outwardly ridiculing people for their lack of understanding becomes tiring. It stops working. It’s not effective.

This isn’t a blog where I hold up the “RACIST” flag every time something slightly offensive happens, though goodness knows we have enough people doing that for us already.

(Though the way I could condition people if I were such a person…)

Like my soon-to-be-published blog will thus illustrate, I’m here to educate. Or, here to say that education is the answer. Not necessarily the be all and end all to racism, but the tentative solution to unintentionally hurtful or awkward statements. The people who matter aren’t going to make the same mistake twice when they’re told explicitly what that mistake was (and its consequences).

And it’s not just information and knowledge that needs to be put out there, like a free candy bowl on Halloween (a clear ‘take what you want and don’t talk to me I’m scared of people’ sign). It’s the delivery that counts, the place, the people, the accessibility.

In blogging, knowing your stuff and then being able to back it up is extremely crucial in any discussion. Ever since my little wiki project, I appreciate so much more the importance of sourcing. You can’t understand or trust everything you learn from just experience, even if it’s what draws people in the first place. What if I were to bring up, say, the culture barrier between different Asian Americans and you have no idea what I’m talking about? Questions will be raised and BS will be called.

Most importantly, if I’ve learned anything this semester, it’s that people have got to care about whatever you’re talking about. Start simple, so that there’s something worth sticking around for, and then build up to the stuff that really matters.

And people will care, because

Thank goodness I’m moving over to Tumblr, where text will be less overwhelming and more spread out. Being in the zone can really tire someone out.

This will probably be one of my last… meaningful posts in a long while, so, as farewell…

Here, have a diving giraffe.

It’s been fun, but seriously… I need to get that Tumblr project done.

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.