Image Description: Painting of a dark-skinned disabled woman on left in a jail cell clasping hands with olive-skinned disabled woman on right in a warzone. Woman on the left uses a wheelchair and is wearing orange prison clothes with bars in the background. Woman on the right is wearing a hijab and her left arm & left leg are newly amputated & bandaged. Image on text reads: ”Disability Justice means resisting together from solitary cells to open-air prisons.” Art by Micah Bazant & Sins Invalid.
Badass Trans Women You Should Know: Cecilia Chung.
Cecilia Chung is a senior advisor to the Transgender Law Center, a San Francisco City Health Commissioner, and a member of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. She was honored last night by the California State Assembly as one of its Women of the Year for her tireless advocacy for trans women’s health access.
The last time an Asian-American family had their own American sitcom was in 1994. The show was Margaret Cho’s All-American Girl and while the Korean-American comedy was poised to be groundbreaking, it didn’t pull the ratings ABC wanted and was canceled after one season. Cho says executives found it to be either “too Asian” or “not Asian enough,” and the sitcom’s premise changed so many times that by the end of its run, it looked nothing like the culture clash family comedy it originally set out to be.
This fall, an Asian-American TV family will make television history by helming the first Asian-American-focused sitcom since Cho’s one-season show. Fresh Off The Boat, based on the memoir by chef and restaurateur Eddie Huang, takes place in 1990s Orlando and follows the lives of 12-year-old Huang’s Taiwainesse immigrant family, and the culture shock that ensues when they move from Washington D.C. to Florida. The show stars Randall Park (who Veep fans will recognize as Danny Chung) and is a long-overdue win for Asian-American representation in the primetime slot.
On June 19, 1982, a young Chinese American man named Vincent Chin was brutally beaten to death in Detroit, Michigan. Vincent had been at his bachelor party with friends at a local suburban bar when Chrysler superintendent Ronald Ebens and his stepson Michael Nitz insulted Vincent: “It’s because of you little motherfuckers that we’re out of work.” Ebens and Nitz were found guilty of manslaughter and charged three years of probation, a $3,000 fine, and $780 in court fees without spending a day in jail.
The murder of Vincent Chin became a pivotal point for the Asian American community and is often considered to be the beginning of the pan-Asian civil rights movement.
#NeverForget how the justice system failed us. Never forget the name #VincentChin.
Jenny Yang in “If Asians Said the Stuff White People Say”
"I just LOVE dating white guys because they’re so large and overbearing"
"Omg 2 forks?! That would look totally cute in my hair!"
India gained its independence
from its British colonizers,
following the Partition of the Indian subcontinent.
The Partition shaped the region
into a set of distinct nation states.
Migration between India and Pakistan
in particular was marked by a distinct
To date, the Parition is the one of the most fatal
and largest human migrations that has ever happened.
Half a million lives were lost
and fatalities were huge on both sides.
During this time, anti-Muslim violence
that had its roots in upper-caste Hindu
Violence against Dalits, indigenous peoples,
and other religious minorities
also filled the streets.
The country was literally on fire.
India was independent.
And its people were burning.
You can be ‘free’ and dying, all at once.
In Hindu Sunday school we sing the national anthem every week.
We are taught how India fashioned itself,
a broken lung
reimagined as country.
The White Man came and raped our women.
Stole their clothing
and wrapped English women in it called them “exotic.”
Stole our food,
made our people march to the ocean
to lick our own salt.
Stole our tongues
and shoved English down our throats.
Stole our land,
burned our temples,
turned guns and money
against all of our people.
At Sunday School,
the Indian Independence struggle
sounds like the bravest thing we have ever heard.
Gandhi, our hero,
Nehru, his right hand man.
For our families:
Sunday School is one of the only places in this country
where they are allowed
to see the brownest parts of themselves
reflected in us.
I remember my mom close to tears
the first time I wrote my Sanskrit alphabet.
For our families:
believing in India
is a way of believing
that a world outside all of this white,
outside of the impossibility of the American dream.
Something magical about India,
something about the wide open dreaming,
something about crossing an entire ocean
and drinking holy water wherever you find it.
We respond to the United States
by clinging onto the parts of Hinduism
that are pure and violent, all at once.
When my mother says she is so proud
I can still say all of these prayers
to all of these gods,
I hear she is that much less afraid
that everything (Indian) she remembers is dying.
The trouble with this
and all national anthems
is they are all convenient ways
of wiping off the blood.
Hiding the bodies.
Our temples, our Sunday Schools,
our yoga, our prayers—
these are all elaborate strategies
to keep us bowing to India
and forgetting most of our people,
This story is an elaborate strategy
of getting us to hand our money and lives
to feed a bloody fairy tale,make India seem safe and magical
instead of violent and far-right.
It keeps us drawn in because
it draws up the most desperate parts of us,
the parts that want difficult things
like homeland, happiness, belonging.
Hindu Nationalists spend millions of US dollars
trying to teach the diaspora what we ought to know
and nothing of what we shouldn’t.
A few brief lessons on what we did not learn at Bal Vihar:
- Before independence:
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS, has been coordinating pro-Hindu, anti-Muslim activities since 1925, 22 years before the formation of an independent nation state. The RSS is an all-male, all-Brahmin political party with sketchy records whose ideals center on maintaining caste and inciting violence against Christians, Sikhs, and Muslims.
- Our Hero:
Gandhi’s ideologies and actions suppressed, and did not propel caste liberation. If he is upheld in the West and in Hindu Nationalist curriculum as a major hero, it is because those in power will always call on token nonviolence and say ‘why can’t you be more like that other brown man?’
- Caste Violence:
Every hour 2 Dalits are assaulted, 3 are raped, and 2 are murdered. The RSS coordinates activities that keep Dalits and indigenous peoples in India suppressed or turning guns on their own.
India is occupying Kashmiri people’s land and using its increasingly armed military force to sustain its presence in the region.
India elected Narendra Modi, a virulently Islamophobic, anti-Pakistan, and pro-Hindu Nationalist prime minister. We cannot understand the contemporary War on Terror without figuring India as its convenient brown ally.
the first time i was called a terrorist was in 5th grade
i remember my mother telling me that she didn’t
want me to go to school because
white people did not understand the difference between
a hindu and a muslim
to them we were all brown
and that was enough evidence for the american flags
that sprung up overnight like an allergic reaction
this is the story of a generation:
we who hit puberty the same time the
planes hit those towers
fumbling in the remains
inheriting an endless war as a bed time story
our bodies stolen
from us by the headlines that taught
us that we, man
one of grandma’s favorite stories she’d tell us growing up
was that when grandpa took her out for their first date
she refused to eat a single bite because the cook was muslim
after coming out i used to joke whether it would anger her
more if i married a man or a muslim woman.
there is a woman who looks like my grandmother weeping on a stage.
she tells the story of her son shahawar matin siraj
how the FBI paid native informants to spy on muslims after 9/11
to plant dissent and use it to justify the global war on terror.
one of them targeted her son.
over night he was abducted and taken to prison.
it has been over ten years.
i want to call my grandmother
tell her about him and the more than 1,000 brown men
who looked just like me growing up
that were kidnapped from the streets in 2001
and put in planes flying away from new york city
to be detained or deported
but i know that she will not believe me
because she believes in america
and will hear a muslim name
and what could be more
incriminating than that?
it will not matter that we speak the same language,
because our tongues are severed by a partition
silent and painful,
like a gaping wound
mistaken as mouth
a group of white liberals dress a puppet in a suit and paint him ‘brown’
call his college essay about growing up a minority ‘articulate’
give him a pat on the head every time he says something right
like: racism is in the south / racism is in the past / racism is prejudice
take photos of him for their view book
tell him his religious garb is ethnic and beautiful.
share him like an upworthy article.
give him extra points for using creative english like:
tell us how you were “wounded” by the slurs
(while we send a drone to pakistan)
tell us how “violent” it was for your classmates to mistake your identity
(while we stop & frisk them in jackson heights)
tell us how “militantly” you worked to get where you are today
(while we send officers with guns to break in their homes)
convince the puppet to run for political office
ghostwrite his speech about realizing the immigrant dream
watch him deport thousands back to the middle east
watch him send troops to follow them there
watch him kill his own
watch him not care.
what does it feel like to be a model minority victim?
what does it feel like to have a white man touch you
(even though he’s pulling all your strings)?
what does it feel to be brown and beautiful
for once in your goddamn life?
do you ever look back to where you came from?
do you ever look where they are taking you now?
you brown, when convenient
you brown, when resume
you brown, when you want white,
look white, do right, do white,
“what does it feel like to be a solution?”
seconds to tear out
all of the sutures in your skin
1 - white supremacy has always relied on the telling of certain victim narratives over others
2 - racism is not just a cultural attitude, it is an economy of violence
3 - hindu upper caste indians earn more income on average than whites in this country
4 - muslim south asians are now the poorest minority group in new york
5 - who profits from being vague? from solidarity for the sake of salary?
which means that i am sitting in an auditorium weeping
along with this mother who could have been mine
because i am thinking of all the ways that i am not her son.
thinking about the distance
between a bully and a bullet,
a slur and a sentencing,
a plane and a prison.
thinking about these two forms of class:
how one of us was sent to a private cage
and the other to a private college.
thinking about how so many of us have been taught to name the ways that we have been hurt,
but rarely take the time to name the ways we do harm.
how easy it is to wear words as shields like
call me brown
not brahmin, not bourgie, not bigot
so tonight i am calling my grandmother and all of
the rest of us in this country who
put american flags on our lawns,
english on our tongues,
put on islamophobia like a skin whitening cream
the same day they put you in jail
and called it justice
so i will keep calling her back when she hangs up
even though our people continue to be hanged
so i will keep calling until you are free.
until we are all free
from our own
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
this is an original poem by alok of returnthegayze.com please continue supporting the artist
Wellesley students interested in social justice & Asian American issues, consider running for an eboard position! We’d love to have you in the WAA fam!
Wellesley College WAAM-SLAM II Transformative Justice and Education Bill