Model Minority (bull shit)

They come at me like,

“Oh you know how it’s like for them!”

“You mean how it’s like for us?”

They forget just cuz you put me in a separate category,

You, being divisive, compartmentalizing struggle,

And saying, “cuz we all struggle in life,

But I yell BS

Slap the cards down,

Let’s all show our cards,

But you separate,

Why?

Cuz you’re scared that if we compare notes,

Our experiences,

We’d know what you’ve been doing to us this whole time?

Nah,

You’re fallacy is presuming we aren’t all more intelligent

Than the ghettos you create.

Sending monsters

Hood to hood?

But only you’re the ones wearing hoods

Disguised in euphemisms,

That only create division,

Cuz how do you keep you’re lies

If everyone speak the same language,

But you.

“Mommy, am I a black person?”“Why do you ask that?” I’m amazed at the sweetness and sincerity he’s asking me.“I want to be a black person because I don’t want to be a white person if they are bad.”“Baby, do you understand what that means? Do you understand the difference between a black person and a white person?”He shakes his head no.“Aww baby people are good and bad by their actions. Being white doesn’t make a person bad,”“And being black doesn’t mean you can’t be bad too?”“Yes baby, we can be all those things by how we act and treat others.Come here, let’s go have this conversation with Smores.”We walk over to the bedroom and I ask Clarence to ask Mars what he thinks.“Smores, am I a black person?”And I catch him up on our dialogue. We both look at one another with smiling and knowing the wisdom of this question.“Clary, well you are an Asian person, mommy is an Asian person, I’m a black person, your sub is a white person but we are all people.”“So my sub is a good person too…”“Yes Clary, we are all good people if we are kind and nice to each other,”Mars explains to him, “we are all human.”“Do you understand the difference of why you are Asian and Smores black and your teacher white?”He looks at me bright eyed, then shakes his head no.I look again at Smores and we are both in awe.“It just means where our ancestors, parents And grand parents come from, like Korea, or Africa, but we are also here in America.”But I love the fact that he doesn’t see race, and I look as his eyes grow heavy and he falls asleep just like that.Mars says, “I’ve seen Clarence just like this since the first day I met him and he said to me, ‘I like you,’ as he touched my face and looked at me big eyed and genuine. He just approached me and knew I was receiving him with love, but I knew he was special that he just came up to me when he just met me. He just feels the good energy.”I’m joyful. “honestly, I love that he doesn’t see race. He just sees we are all different shades of human. I want to just let him stay this pure a little longer.”“This is what I’ve always said. Racism is taught.”Mars and I have been quoting Clarence’s words from a couple weeks ago in our daily talks and jests.We were all sitting in the bedroom, each watching our own shows one evening and sharing what we found funny. Elijah and Mars next to him and I, myself, half dangling off the the bed with my head hanging to be near them sitting on the rug.Clarence just starts laughing out loud saying with amusement, “it’s kind of funny, but we all kind of look alike.” He laughs again so amused at his own epiphany, “But me and Smores, we look exactly alike.” He squeals with laughter at the revelation as Mars, Elijah, and I look at one another than start cracking up because it’s so real, and Mars exclaims laughing so happily, “Yes Clary, but me and you, we look EXACTLY alike!” And we all continue to laugh as I am bursting from heart to toe. “Yes Clarence!” I shout, “we do all kind of look alike, but you and Smores, you guys look Exactly alike.!”

Conversations with My Son on #blacklivesmatter

Children do not censor nor worry about political correctness. They just want to know the truth, as they understand it. Racism isn’t a truth, it’s built on lies. It is non sensical.  


In the car, Elijah loves to play games. Recently he’s been playing slug bug, which then escalated to jack a jeep and kick a cop from friends and uncles who played it when they were kids. As we drive home Elijah shouts “kick a cop” as we drive past 6 police cars pulled over with no one else visible but two empty shoes and a jean jacket sprawled on the sidewalk. I cringe and feel sad. 

“Baby, I don’t think that’s a good game to play. I know you don’t mean anything bad by it, but there’s been really hard things happening with cops and it might really hurt somebody to say that.”

“Why? What’s happening?” Innocently.

And a part of me does want to protect him from the ugly things in this world, but he’s old enough to ask and understand. 

“Well there’s been a lot of bad things happening with some police men, at different times, shot black men without reason. Stopped them for something minor and wrongly shot them. 

“Why mom? Did they just shoot them or did they die?”

“Two died last week and, well, you know how I’ve told you before that I don’t like you playing with toy guns, especially outside because sometimes police mistake them as real guns, well it’s like that sometimes, but it’s because of racism and fear I think. And so there were protesters…”

“What’s a protester mom?”

” It’s when people gather to stand up for something they believe in. They might hold signs and chant their beliefs out loud. People were protesting because something needs to change. Not all police are bad and I believe so many are really trying to protect people, but it’s happening more than it should. It shouldn’t happen at all. And so people protest. And so black guy shot and killed five police men who were at the protest because he was angry and upset about the police killing black men. So people might be sensitive about saying anything negative towards anyone right now. It sounds disrespectful.”

“Im brown momma, will the police shoot me?”

“I hope nothing bad ever happens to you. Just be good and don’t hurt anyone. I just want you to know so you know what’s happening. I just want you to be mindful and be aware. I love you.”

“Ok. I love you too. 

Mom, why do they say black people? They look brown to me.”

“Yeah it shouldn’t matter though huh?”

“Yeah.”

Oriental Girl

  
Racism burns at my throat and simmers behind my eyelids 

I see the people around me and identify with those persecuted, yet I hear, “what do you know about racism, your Asian, you people are good with ethnocentricity.”

And I nod, “right” but who are my people. 

No teacher ever presumed I was lazy or dumb, in fact I remember walking into my first day of 8th grade history and the teacher whispered in my ear as I went to collect my papers,”last year Henry (another Asian pianist) was my favorite student too” as she winked with a grin. 

I wanted to tell her, “well the only other old white lady I know well makes pies has 9 cats and a registered pedophile for a son. Will you make me a pie?” But instead I just decided to prove her wrong and didn’t do much work in class. 

Kids always asking me to help them with their math and do their homework because I must be smart right? 

Old men smacking their lips and telling me about Korea or Vietnam because my face reminds them of the subservient yellow women who praised their blond hair and white skin,

Whom he probably took advantage of, made a child with, and went back home to his American family. 

And we kept our mouth shut, just did the work, chuckled along when people slanted their eyes by stretching the skin around their temples, silently stared at them when kids would ask if the doctor dropped me on my face to cause it to be so flat, nodded when they assumed our names were conceived with the sound of metal chopsticks Ching changing the floor when they dropped, questioned the masculinity of our men until they were no longer attractive,asked me to pronounce my name 3 times before realizing it was a name from the Hebrew bible, wondered what kind of strange animal parts kimchi was made out of, commented on how well I spoke English and I would reply “pretty impressive being born in California huh?”

“your father is so not Korean.” When they see a free spirited man who loves rock and partying because men are supposed to all be in business, which he is, but have you ever asked the liquor store owner if his dream had always been to own a store, because when I sit down and talk with my dad, he came to America, spent all his money on a guitar because he was going to be a rock star, got stuck here and joined the American army to try me make his way home. 

Have you ever thought about what the woman at the counter imagined as her future when she was young? 

My mama, she didn’t grow up longing to sell children’s clothes at a non descript store in a swap meet that sucked the soul out of her pretty face. 

She simply wanted to be a house wife and cook and clean for her family. Yes some of the stereotypes are consequences of immigration, but America has lumped Asians as one race, one type, one characteristic, one kind until we believed it and if you were different, your own kind might call you “banana, because you were white on the inside if you listened to punk and studied American lit. “you’re not like your kind huh.” 

In the second grade when a new girl came from Vietnam, they picked me, the only other Asian, to be her translator. 

“Can you tell her to color the apple red.”

And I would. I would grab the red Crayon and look her dead in the eyes and speak slowly in my best Asian accent, “use a da reeeeeed crayyy on. Ok?” And she would just nod, and the teacher would walk away pleased. 

How many times people would tell me, “‘I like orientals. I had a neighbor who was oriental once and they were always quiet and polite.”

“Yes we are all quiet and polite. If you make fun of me, I will not talk back. I’ll just walk away silently and draw my eyeliner on thicker.” 

“You look just like…” and I would hear the name of some so and so Asian actress, who really looked nothing like me except she was Asian. 

And then wonder, what do I know of racism?

It’s been a silent slow passive aggressive emotionally abusive relationship with America, and so when my son asks, “Mama why do you cry?” When I listen to the news of injustice on the radio or watch the news, I want to tell him, it’s because for some reason the pain has been boiling inside of me since I was born living. And how stupid it is that we are relieved that he was born with large eyes, because that’s one less thing to be made fun of. 

Racism Talk with a 7 Year Old 

  
Elijah: Mom what is racism?

Me: it’s when people judge others because what they look like or who they are and I think it’s the most ignorant behavior. Why?

Elijah: my friend at school is not my friend anymore because he told another kid who’s black that he looked like poo. I didn’t like that so I don’t want to play with him. Is that racist?

Me: that could be taken as racism

Elijah: at school when we learned about Doctor Martin Luther King, they said he marched and spoke to make everyone the same. He was peaceful and didn’t fight with people. Then someone shot him. He was the best president huh mom 

Me: (chuckling) I think he was one of the best too, but he wasn’t a president. He was a preacher. 

Elijah: some brown people are better at things than some white people right?

Me: yeah there are all kinds of people that are good at things and sometimes not good at others. It doesn’t matter what color our skin is. 

Elijah: I like being brown though. 

Me: what else do you learn at school? Do you know about Christopher Columbus?

Elijah: no who’s he?

Me: no one. Just wondering. They usually tell a wrong version of that one.