I’ve been thinking a lot this week about faith, not so much in the church-going sense, but what the active practice of it looks like regardless of whether you believe in organized religion or not. On a fundamental level, faith feels like the moving force within all of us – why any of us get up each day hoping, or rather, working towards something a little bit better than yesterday. I have to think it’s the reason why my family migrated to the U.S. thirty years ago and why many families still make the oft-dangerous trek across borders to somewhere they don’t call home.
It’s been a sad, but eye-opening few weeks. The senseless violence against my AAPI community is perhaps not altogether surprising, but heartbreaking nonetheless. I know I’m not unique in the fact that I find faith the most difficult to practice when it’s most important to do so, but it’s almost midnight on a Saturday and I’m sitting here typing into the blogger-sphere thinking about how my parents came here with nothing but two suitcases and a dream, and I think maybe we’ll all be okay.
This is a weekly outfit roundup as it always is, but it’s also a tribute to my East Asian roots, to forward movement, and to the power of what a little faith can do.
[REPOSTED FROM INSTAGRAM]
I am Asian AND an American.
When I was a sophomore in high school, a boy told me I shouldn’t audition for the school play because there were no Asian specific characters in the cast. The play was set in 1183 England, and I remember responding with, more or less of, an apology that I was even trying for a seat at the proverbial table because, well, he was right, wasn’t he?
I spent the better part of my adolescence feeling limited and ashamed of my Asian heritage. For every comment I received (and relished) from a well-meaning individual claiming he/she “forgot I was Asian,” there was always someone to remind me that they only forgot until I wanted something more than just what I was given. This is the #modelminority myth at play – the notion that racism somehow doesn’t exist because Asians are given a seat at the table and widely accepted by white culture as somehow being “less of a minority” than other races. The seat is tenuous at best, and it only exists for us when we’re complicit in our own oppression.
It took years of self-reflection to undo the internalized racism I felt, and if I spent the first quarter of my life feeling ashamed of my heritage, I will spend the rest of my life making sure that no one ever forgets I am Asian and how proud I am of that.
Today is the #goldopen of Disney’s film, Raya and the Last Dragon. It features a cast of predominantly Asian actors and is set in a Southeast Asian-like setting. We’ve come a long way in the fifteen years since I was in high school, but as the recent onslaught of violence against the #AAPI community has shown, we still have so much more work to do.
So, in honor of Disney stepping TF up and giving us badass Asian princess warriors, I’m taking a moment to celebrate the duality of being Asian and American, sitting at the table, and not just asking, but demanding for more.
“個人至少擁有一個夢想，有一個理由去堅強。” (A person who has at least one dream has a reason to be strong.)