Table of Contents
Soon Chung Park 박순정, age 74
Hyun Jung Grant 김현정, age 51
Sun Cha Kim 김순자 , age 69
Yong Ae Yue 유용애, age 63
Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33
Paul Andre Michels, age 54
Xiaojie Tan 谭小洁, age 49
Daoyou Feng 冯道友, age 44
Names of people, lives infinitely valuable, destroyed by white supremacy. This week, I’m stepping out of the way to raise up the voices of Asian women. They are ones who face this danger and injustice every single day. They are the voices we should be listening to. Thank you to Becky, my wife, for highlighting their voices to me.
Christine Liwag Dixon on the sexualization of Asian women:
The hypersexualization of Asian women plays a HUGE part in the violence we face. I've been cornered on the street as men say "me love you long time." I've been offered money for a "happy ending massage." I've been hit on because I'm Asian and told it's a "compliment."
Asian women are so often seen and treated as objects, as trophies and this very real problem is often seen as a punchline i.e. jokes about mail order brides, the portrayal of Asian women in Hollywood.
And Asian women are murdered because of it.
Rachel Lee expressing the collective han of our culture.
I am angry. I abhor white supremacy. It's wicked. It's fatal. Last night we saw a glimpse of that truth. White supremacy is fatal. And we need justice and an end to all this.
I am also grieving in pain. I see the faces of my mom, jibsanims/deaconesses, my favorite ahjummas and aunts when I think about the Korean women in their 60s and 70s who were murdered yesterday. Women in their 60s and 70s who couldn't afford to not go to work or work from home during a pandemic. Did they have daughters like me who were always worried about their safety and sons like my brother who wished they could stay at home, not only away from COVID but really from anti-Asian hate? They probably experienced so much shame because of their occupation. I know it can be like that.
I am also lamenting. I am lamenting the generations of silence, dismissal, and negligence of poor immigrants, specifically poor Asian women in our society. While many Asian American activists in this space have been advocating for working class Asian American women for years, that's not the case for everyone. Even as a 1.5-generation Korean American who comes from a working class family and strongly identifies with my Korean American community in working class neighborhoods, I have not always centered my work around the lives of the most oppressed and marginalized within my community. And for that I repent and I lament. I am recentering my work.
R.O. Kwon’s letter to fellow asian women.
“I will carry for a long time, for instance, the moment I first saw the Korean victims’ names written in Korean. In hangul, which I associate with joy, with homecoming. With deep, good safety. It is the language written on the books in my parents’ house, on the menus of restaurants I turn to when I really miss my mother’s food, in the birthday cards my parents send, retelling me the story of my birth in Seoul. This time, the hangul marked the passing of women shot for what they looked like, killed by a racist gunman and by this country’s white supremacy…”
“As a result, it has perhaps felt all the more brutal that we can’t quite protect our own elders. Elders who, in a lot of cases, moved to this country for us. Many of us have also been physically distanced from those we love most by this pandemic, and so it can feel as though we’re failing in this respect too, by not having been able to be there to keep our loves safe from a virus for which they, and we, are being blamed.”
Jiayang Fan on a white man’s “bad day” and his “struggle with sexual sin”:
I am Asian and I am woman. I’m neither sin nor temptation. Your guilt is not my evil. And I am not nor will I ever be yours to “eliminate.”
If your Asian activism didn’t center poor Asian women working in survival jobs, it better now.
— Connie Wang
Min Jin Lee on learning about the histories of all Americans, not just about white American history.
When I listen to what the police, prosecutors, politicians, and FBI say about Asian Americans and hate incidents/crimes, I think: we don’t need more policing, we need more classes in Asian American Studies, Women’s Studies, and Global History starting in high schools.
In fact, if all of us knew more about the complex histories behind the lives of all Americans, including colonialism, proxy wars, imperialism, internecine racism, ethnocentrism, religious practices & patriarchy—yes, starting out in high school, then we’d have a better country.
If we could know ourselves & each other better with basic knowledge & respect, we could become better Americans & global citizens. 21st century employment will require our students to have a global education & yes, a feminist education in order to adapt to a fast-changing world.
Why do I talk about employment? Well, the 21st economy requires different intellectual skill sets for its workers. Those who are getting left behind are sometimes discontented, fearsome & on rare occasion, violent. They are vulnerable to xenophobia & sexist political rhetoric.
Cathy Park Hong on what it means to have “Minor Feelings”
“Minor feelings: the racialized range of emotions that are negative, dysphoric, and therefore untelegenic, built from the sediments of everyday racial experience and the irritant of having one’s perception of reality constantly questioned or dismissed…”
“Minor feelings are also the emotions we are accused of having when we decide to be difficult—in other words, when we decide to be honest. When minor feelings are finally externalized, they are interpreted as hostile, ungrateful, jealous, depressing, and belligerent, affects ascribed to racialized behavior that whites consider out of line. Our feelings are overreactions because our lived experiences of structural inequity are not commensurate with their deluded reality.”
Follow Along Upstream
And feel a little less alone on your quest to your most courageous work.