A Conversation About White Privilege and Why it Exists

The title may be misleading because I’m neither an anthropologist nor a sociologist, so I actually have no real scientific or societal basis as to why White privilege began and why it’s still in existence. I have some pretty good ideas, but not founded enough to write an entire blog post about them — this is about how it DOES exist despite what some people may say.

First off, being a minority in America is a weird thing, especially belonging to the “elite” minority group, the one white people don’t really mind all that much except when it comes to penny pinching and a lack of understanding at nail salons. Have major strides been made since the beginning of American time? Absolutely. But why is it that not that long ago (less than a century, even) that it was illegal for me to marry a white man, to own land or a home, to even vote? Why were fellow Asians (the Japanese to be specific just in case you’ve been living under a rock and literally know nothing) forced into internment camps a mere 70 some years ago? Babies born in internment camps are still very much alive, which means it wasn’t long ago enough (of course it shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but it did, and nothing I can do or say will change that).

And to add to the confusion (for me and probably everyone else), I’m an international adoptee, which has garnered such comments as, “Well, you’re not a real Asian” or “So you’re basically White.” Have I said these things about myself? Totally. But there’s a difference between what a person can say about themselves and what other people can say, sorry if it bothers you and feels unjust. And I’m working on curbing comments like that anyhow so as to not add to the unfortunate race problem we have here in the old US of A. (And just as an aside, I recognize there are some major race issues in other countries, but I don’t live in those countries, probably you don’t either, and that doesn’t really affect how America acts. If it does, it most certainly shouldn’t — “Well, as long as there’s a group of people more racist, then we’re fine.”) But back to the issue at hand — I am most certainly a real Asian (my facial features prove that quite readily), and I’m not basically White since I am, last time I checked, full Asian. Also I’m not basic at all *snaps*. It would appropriate to say, under these circumstances, “Well, you’re ethnically Asian but culturally American, which is a predominately White culture even though White people can’t seem to get enough of Taco Tuesdays.”

tacotuesdaysimpsons

If you’re a White person reading this, fuming and foaming at the mouth that I am declaring that White privilege exists, well … sorry, but I don’t make the rules. Does it appear that White people in America have some unearned social advantages because of the color of their skin? Absolutely. Does it mean I expect all White people to sit around feeling bad about themselves because of the color of their skin? No. That would be racist. (And just to clear things up, we all say or do racist things from time to time, and those instances do not make us Racists. They make us humans who say and do dumb crap. When a minority says to you (should you be White), “That’s kind of racist,” don’t get all up in arms about it. Accept the feedback and reevaluate what you’ve done and then probably stop that particular behavior. Recently I got into a rather heated argument with someone over Facebook (which I most certainly did NOT want, by the way — I hate Facebook arguments quite thoroughly and don’t ever go to other peoples’ pages to disagree with them, even if I feel confident I can be diplomatic about it) in regards to whether “South Pacific” is racist. First of all, it totally 100% is, and I don’t give a hoot about in what decade it was written or what the original intent was. People are unintentionally racist all the time, and that doesn’t make it any less offensive. It just makes it steeped in ignorance. Plus, things age out. Let’s all agree to retire “South Pacific” because it’s 2016 and no one should be producing it anyhow. And rather unfortunately, the White person with whom I was trying to discuss the matter did NOT take my feedback well and then downgraded my distaste for racism to mere offense. I wish a more productive conversation could have ensued from the whole thing and that the other person could have begun to understand that when two Asian people are saying, “This thing is racist against Asians,” it very well may be. For a much better explanation of the ultimately too negative connotations to the words racist and racism, plus several good ways White people can overcome their White fragility (y’all are SUPER fragile) and occasionally swallow that uncomfortable pill of being wrong, check out this post here.)

“But what about reverse discrimination? White men can’t get anything these days because of all the benefits the minorities are getting.” HAHAHAHAHAHA shut up and go away, first off. No one wants to hear about how hard it is to be a White man in America. But that does bring me to my next point about The Problem with Affirmative Action, and Why it Needs to Go Away. It’s been proven time and time again that the government probably needs to stop making sweeping generalizations about groups of people and offering handouts to those they consider less fortunate — there’s actually very little that bothers me more than White altruism (I’m looking straight at you, Brangelina).

Story time. When I was in college, one of the organizations held Affirmative Action Day in the student union, where they sold food at different costs depending upon the buyer’s ethnicity. Spoiler alert: that didn’t go over well and no one thought it was a good idea. I mean, I guess it was cool that for just some pocket change I could buy a burger (or was it candy? Too old, can’t remember), and I think at the time I took part in it just because it was so cheap (cheaper for Black students, cheapest for Native Americans, which … the offensiveness runs deep with that one, kids.) Here’s my beef with Affirmative Action: it was created by White people, for starters, and appears to be a handout to POC (people of color) because apparently we can’t achieve anything without the assistance of our White superiors. Is it reverse discrimination, however? Absolutely not. It is, unfortunately, hiring employees or accepting college students for all the wrong reasons. Accept Black students into your student body because of their GPA, their motivation, their drive, their extracurriculars — not because you have a percentage you need to fulfill to appear diverse. They’re out there, they exist, and they don’t need your help. We don’t need your help. But ultimately till that goes away, when someone says, “I want you because of the color of your skin,” that is not in any way similar to, “I do not want you because you are White.”

I don’t think the answer is abolishing the notion that race exists at all. I’ve heard that argument, and it just ultimately sounds like something a White person would say. I’m proud to be Asian, to be a little different from other people, to have unique traits that no one else can have. I think there are dozens and dozens of cultures that shouldn’t be downgraded in the name of fighting racism under the guise of “But we’re all humans.” I DO think we need to open up the conversation about White privilege, what White people can do about it, how they can take responsibility for it, how they can learn valuable lessons from POC. And I think POC need to recognize that the majority of White people are inherently good, that they have good intentions, and that there’s a lot they (and we) don’t know. When someone says something racist, don’t be rude about it. Let it be a learning experience, and if they react negatively to that feedback, don’t engage in argument. You’ve offered up knowledge, and what they do with it is up to them. I’ve been told almost my entire marriage that the key to success is good communication, and that translates VERY well to all interpersonal relationships. When you take the time to listen and understand, that’s when growth occurs. That’s how we get rid of the race problem in America.

The-biggest-communication-problem-is-we-do-not-listen-to-understand.-We-listen-to-reply

We’re All a Little Bit Racist

I mean, that’s true, isn’t it? Even when we don’t mean to be, racism just kind of inherently happens because stereotypes exist, and we as a society bow down to them, and then we start to think we’re right.

Stereotypes come from somewhere — they have to — so the argument, I suppose, is that they hold within them some iota of truth. And while that may be the case, over-generalizing an entire group of people, whether by ethnicity, country of origin, religion, or political stance, is something we should probably all avoid. Even if a study were done that proved it to be true in 98% of all cases, there would still be that 2% proving it is not a blanket theory.

So Mexicans slough at work, Blacks kill police officers, Asians are good at math, Indians may actually be computers in human form, and White people are gun-toting patriots.

I’m going to go ahead and just dispel any idea that Asians are good at math because I am quite terrible at it (in recent years, I’ve become a math atheist. And I know, I know, you’re wondering what it ever did to me and why I’m bearing a grudge, but it’s far easier to not acknowledge its existence than let it ruin my life). I do not play the violin. I’m pretty lazy and lack self-discipline. I speak one language, and I don’t eat rice on a regular basis (because, you know, carbs are bad for you *insert eye roll here*).

There’s this misconception that, so long as it’s “positive,” it’s not racist. And it’s true that not all stereotypes are racist, but for the most part, all racism is stereotypical. I belong to a group of individuals who are often viewed as the superior minority — my people work hard and apply themselves. Except for, you know, the ones who don’t, but they’re in the minority of the minority and simply do not count. When you say to me, “You must be good at math,” don’t snow yourself into thinking what you said wasn’t actually racist because *sighs* it was. Offensive? Not particularly, until I start thinking about the racism aspect, but I realize you could say far worse things to me, so I suppose I should count my blessings that I belong to the most worthwhile race.

By the way, not all Asians work hard. *raises hand* I slept in till 11:30 today and didn’t get out of bed for two hours.

I feel like I need to also say something on the matter of racism in humor. Look, a few of my favorite stand-up comedians are kings and queens of self-deprecating humor relating to their ethnicities and countries of origin. We could probably argue all day long as to whether that humor is a good outlet to deal with the duality of being a minority in America or a negative impact on an entire race because it’s feeding into the stereotypes. I personally consider it the former, although I’ve heard some that not only stepped into the latter but actually jumped in head first, and then it was no longer amusing to me. And unfair though it may be to you, it’s just more acceptable for minorities to joke about, you know, being minorities.

Otherwise, racism in humor is awkwardly uncomfortable to me. If something is both funny and racist, the take away from that ultimately should be that it’s racist, and it just shouldn’t ever be uttered. Really nothing should ever trump racism. When I was in high school, I was working on a group project with some friends. One white boy, one white girl, one black boy, and myself, so like … AMERICA! Somehow the topic of funny racist jokes came up (I feel like it must have been jokes at first and then treaded into the uncomfortable place of racism), and after the white boy told one particularly offensive “joke” involving the n-word (he actually said it right there in front of my friend, Marvin, and I don’t recall how he reacted, but I was none too pleased), my friend (I’m just going to spoil the ending for you and let you know the relationship ended upon utterance of this joke) said, “No offense, Mary, but …”

I’m going to give you a brief lesson on how to be a decent human. If you must begin anything with the words “no offense,” then you really shouldn’t say it ever at all under any circumstances. You are openly admitting that you are a fool because 1. you know you shouldn’t say it, 2. you’re admitting you know it, and 3. you’re doing it anyhow. Seriously, that makes you suck at humanhood.

The rest was, “… What do you say to an Asian you see in the hall? …*insert the most uncomfortable silence known to man* … I CHINK I GOT SOME GOOK IN MY EYE!”

So, I mean, like I said, the friendship died a fiery death right then and there. One racial epithet is more than enough, two is just gratuitous.

The problem is, I know what her line of thinking was — as an adoptee, I’m considered by many friends and acquaintances to essentially not be Asian. And while I am certainly not interested in Korean culture, the fact that I was born in Asia to parents of Asian descent and a long line of Asian ancestors makes me, ahem, Asian. I can’t really alter that. But because of this non-Asianness, I am somehow immune to all things racist? (I do pose this as a question because it baffles me still.) I may watch the Super Bowl and eat pizza and listen to Adele while wearing leggings (I draw the line at Uggs, although I bought some seriously cute leg warmers today), but … still Asian. Still going to be offended by racist comments.

It happens, accidental (and intentional) racism. And whether or not you believe race is something created by society to separate us and we’re all just humans gosh darnit, it’s here to stay. I doubt we’ll ever truly be able to get away from it. (Also, I think that’s a really stupid argument and sounds like something a white person would say to seem relevant to his ethnic “peeps”.) What’s important, however, is how mindful we are on a daily basis, how hard we try to be thoughtful and kind and to ignore all the stereotypes, allowing ourselves to simply learn about those around us.

Hey Remember How I Used to Blog?

Here’s what happened.

I took a lead role in a community theater production over the summer, and then I basically had no free time. I worked a half-time job (I know, I’m a total wuss because I wasn’t even working full-time) and spent dozens and dozens of hours rehearsing and performing and whenever I was on the computer, I didn’t really feel like blogging.

*Because sometimes I’m just a bad person.*

And then I quit my job and went to Disney World and got sick and started makeup artistry school, and I realized my blog wasn’t going to write itself (last colloquialism of the post, I promise) and I was probably losing followers, and the last thing I need in my life is for fewer people to like me. I just really like being liked.

So.

Let me tell you about the time I auditioned for a lead role in a professional theater company because I didn’t really know what exactly a professional theater company entailed and figured it would be more or less the same as community theater, except paying (which, I mean, is sort of accurate except NOT EVEN AT ALL, I AM SUCH A MORON). So I put on a dress and did up my makeup and worked with both voice teachers on my 16-bar cut (yeah, I have two voice teachers now, no big deal) and met my best friend, K, at the theater to razzle dazzle a bunch of strangers who would either receive me well or look at me, stone-faced, and say “thank you” after I sang. And to be honest, I figured this was just my foot in the door for the production staff to start getting used to my mug.

Husband + iPhone = best headshots I've ever had. Seriously.

Husband + iPhone = best headshots I’ve ever had. Seriously.

As it turns out, they liked me well enough (see also: I’m Asian-American in Utah — but seriously the director laughed several times in all the right places, so I think they did actually like me, and it’s just an added bonus that I’m, like, the one Asian actor in the entire state) and told me, upon finishing my audition, that they’d like to see me back the following day FOR A LEAD ROLE. This was baffling to me. I thought perhaps they were confused. I left before they could change their minds.

But here’s the thing. I realized in high school, after a brief stint thinking I might end up on Broadway, that I’m a great singer, a mediocre actor (this has improved thanks to my most recent director, Andrew Hunsaker, to whom I am eternally indebted), and a bad dancer. So I changed my plans because a lot of people on Broadway dance. It’s just kind of a thing, although why I have no idea because I think singing and acting SHOULD JUST BE ENOUGH, thankyouverymuch.

And I’d auditioned for a dance-heavy show.

WHICH I realized the day of callbacks, when almost every single woman was donning a leotard and the world’s shortest skirts and dance tights and character shoes and tap shoes, and I was walking around in my H&M leggings and then sitting in the corner eating glue, waiting for my turn. And then I kind of blew it. I was funny enough and charming enough and I sang really well under the circumstances of getting over a nasty head cold I picked up in Disney World (yeah, I got sick in Disney World, how lame is that). But dancing.

Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

To be honest, if I’m at a dance or a mixer (I don’t even think those exist any more, and I don’t really have a lot of opportunity to dance these days unless I make it so, see also: the dance party I threw together post-Aida when we were breaking down the set, and by “we,” I mean the rest of the cast while I danced around holding an electric screwdriver so it looked like I was participating — I kid, I kid … that was more or less how it happened, but no one ever had anything for me to do, or perhaps they realized I’d be ultimately worthless in their attempts to go fast and just had me be guardian of the tools) then I’m not too bad. I’ve got a good sense of rhythm and I’m very bendy and limber and I can get down. But if I’m given choreography, particularly that of the fast variety, and I’m surrounded by people who know what they’re doing, I kind of freeze up and forget how to move my feet at the same time as my … everything else. And that’s what happened. I shuffled my feet around and stared very intently at the feet of the man to my left, which almost led to a collision, and I walked away feeling rather dejected.

But we’ve got the race card. And I was called back for a principal role at a professional theater on my first go around, so every once in awhile, I am struck with a false sense of hope like maybe, just maybe, I’ll make it into the show. As a set changer or something.

Something you should know and might already know if you’ve been following my blog or are my friend: I’m ridiculously impatient. Ridiculously so.

I just found out tonight that casting won’t occur for another 2-4 weeks. WEEKS. As in I will probably see at least 4 more photos of baby bumps from a couple friends. As in I could go on the Special K Challenge and lose 6 lbs. As in I could grow my hair out almost an inch. Things just HAPPEN in 2-4 weeks.

Ugh. Gross. Put me in a medically induced coma. Cryogenically freeze me. Anything to make the time pass.

10 Things that Don’t Need to Be Said

As an anxiety-ridden obsessive-compulsive Korean-American adoptee Mormon in an interracial couple with a penchant for depression and not planning on having children, I kind of get the whole gamut of things people probably don’t ever need to utter under any circumstances.

Also, I am really addicted to BuzzFeed right now, so here goes.

1. “I’m kind of OCD” and/or “That’s kind of OCD.”
To specify, you can’t really “kind of” be OCD. You either are or you aren’t. What you CAN be, however, is generally compulsive, which is a trait every single person on this earth has. You don’t have to have some mental disorder to feel compelled to alphabetize your Blu-Rays (which, by the way, if you’re not doing, just start, okay?) or organize your kitchen counters. You aren’t mentally ill if you don’t like fuzz on your clothing or notice a speck of food on your work desk. If you weren’t compulsive, you’d be kind of … in a vegetative state of apathy, when you really think about it.

Image courtesy of youtube.com

Image courtesy of youtube.com


2. “Just think happy thoughts.”
Just stop. Just stop now. People suffering from depression, seasonal or otherwise, do not need to hear your sage advice as to how to overcome it. There is an inherent difference between depression and feeling blue. Feeling blue is one of those things that would absolutely be fixed by thinking happy thoughts and eating cheesecake. Depression isn’t really. If it were that easy to overcome, we’d all be thinking the damn happiest thoughts on earth all of the time.

Image courtesy of juxtapost.com

Image courtesy of juxtapost.com

3. “Don’t worry about it” or “Don’t stress too much.”
I will if I want to. I will if I don’t want to. There is literally no way that you can convince someone with anxiety that things aren’t worth worrying or stressing over. Just let us deal in the ways we need to deal. Like with medicine and therapists. This especially goes for individuals who have OCD. “Oh, so you want me, an obsessive, to cease worrying? Done and done.” <—– will literally never happen
Your plan to make us stop worrying is futile, so you may as well just throw in the towel and either worry with us or love us for our other outstanding qualities.

Image courtesy of glennster.deviantart.com/

Image courtesy of glennster.deviantart.com/

4. “Never say never!”
This is specifically in reference to the not planning on kids issue. I get it, you and your spouse and your children are the happiest family on earth, and I admire that. There’s nothing bad about having a family; I literally can think of nothing unless, of course, you’re Amanda Bynes, and then maybe hold off, mmkay?
When people hit a certain age, like 29 or 30, and Spouse has been through an -ectomy, and both are college graduates with their heads on straight, chances are they are old enough to have made a solid decision together that doesn’t involve anyone else. Also, colloquialisms. Let’s just rid ourselves of them right now while we can.
Furthermore, should we change our minds, that’s not a good time for you to say “I told you so.”

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

5. “Where are you from?”
Oregon.
No, but where are you from?
Oregon.
Before that.
Well, I was born in South Korea, but I was adopted when I was three months old.
<insert awkward Korean phrase here>
Oh, I don’t actually speak the language. Because I was three months old.
When are you going back?
… I don’t really have plans to.
Don’t you want to meet your real family?
They’re in Oregon. I see them pretty regularly.
etc.
et cetera

Just watch this.


6. Anything about the “real” family.
Let’s just establish something: calling either the birthfamily or the adoptive family real is offensive to the other and generally incorrect. The best way to get around this? One’s a birthfamily. The other is family. Adoptees don’t generally consider themselves to have any sort of fake family in the mix.

Images courtesy of mamiverse.com

Images courtesy of mamiverse.com

7. “What’s your real name?”
Not all adoptees, especially those adopted domestically, have different names than the ones they’ll have the rest of their lives. And it kind of goes back to the real v. fake family thing. I was given a Korean name by the adoption agency (Kim Jong Mee, which I find disturbingly similar to the former and current presidents of North Korea), but my real name, which appears on my birth certificate, is Mary. Always has been, always will be.

Image courtesy of thegazette.com

Image courtesy of thegazette.com

8. “You speak really good English” (can be followed by “… for being from Hong Kong” and yes, that really happened in my real life)
I’d hope so. I was an English major, after all.

Image courtesy of forlackofabettercomic.com

Image courtesy of forlackofabettercomic.com

9. “You’re Mormon? How many wives do you have? hahahahahahaha”
Polygamy (called plural marriage by Mormons in the 19th century …) was taught by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) for more than half of the 19th century, and practiced publicly from 1852 to 1890 by a minority of families (between 20% and 30%). (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism_and_polygamy)
For the record, we haven’t practiced polygamy for 123 years now. That’s a long time. That’s longer than the oldest person in the world has been alive. So probably we can stop with the jokes about it.

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

10. Are you going to raise your kids bilingual?
If you’re talking to an adoptee, then don’t even bother. If you’re not talking to an adoptee, then maybe. Maybe they will raise their kids to be multilingual. Maybe their kids are going to get all the jobs because they speak literally every dialect on earth.
Probably it is not your business. Also, seriously disinteresting when it really boils down to it.

Image courtesy of memegenerator.net

Image courtesy of memegenerator.net

My Plight

Remember that time David Archuleta sang “Imagine”? I think most people liked it, but it mostly made me want to shoot myself in the face because the Beatles are the I Ching, and frankly no one should really be covering them, especially a kid like David Archuleta. Sorry if you were in love with it; I was not.

Photo courtesy of archuletafanscene.com

Photo courtesy of archuletafanscene.com

Or have you ever heard someone cover Christina Aguilera? And you think to yourself, “Wow that person sang pretty well, but it sure wasn’t half as good as Christina” (you may as well know right now that I have a major crush on Christina’s vocal chords, and she essentially can do no wrong aside from butcher the national anthem, and I think she’s the greatest female vocalist to ever live).

Another random factoid that will truly have something to do with the rest of this somewhat muddled post: This one time I was watching an interview with Steve Carell, rather early on in his career, and he was telling whichever talk show host about how he landed the iconic role of Michael Scott. He was really excited that his agent had quite the promising role till he watched a few episodes of the original “Office” with Ricky Gervais, and then suddenly he was petrified and really didn’t want to bother going into the interview.

Photo courtesy of popwatch.ew.com

Photo courtesy of popwatch.ew.com

I mean, the guy was kind of right.

The point is: When someone has perfected something in a way it seems as though no one else can, that’s a lot of pressure on anyone who wants to replicate it. Chances are everyone will be comparing you to the original, despite any differences you may have, despite the fact that you’re performing it with your own interpretation, etc. etc. And as you can probably tell, I’m a little nervous about this whole having the lead part in a musical business because AS IT TURNS OUT, Heather Headley is magnificent.

Photo courtesy of thebroadwayblog.com

Photo courtesy of thebroadwayblog.com

My fellow lead can rest really easy because Adam Pascal was terrible as Radames.

The other issue with which I’m really grappling is that Heather Headley has different vocal chords than I do. But seriously, Black people are biologically different in the voice department than the rest of us, and without boring you with anatomy or science, the bottom line is: they’re more better. They’ll always be more better. There will never be another more better set of vocal chords. This wasn’t really proving to be much of an issue till I listened to the full soundtrack and discovered a really great Gospel/Spiritual style song, sung, of course, by Aida.

*screeching brakes*

To catch you up, I am literally the whitest non-white kid to ever walk the face of the earth. People are regularly baffled if they’ve met me over the phone first because they see me and wonder where the heck Mary is and why this random Asian chick is there in her place. I don’t speak any other languages. I don’t have any sort of distinguishing accent (unless you want to consider the lack of accent of Pacific Northwesterners to be an accent, in which case sure, fine, whatever). I can belt out the high notes just fine. But ain’t got no soul.

Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com

Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com

Forget about it. I throw in my towel now.

Most of my friends have been extremely encouraging, telling me how I’ll be great and to not worry, but I’m pleased (no, really, I’m genuinely pleased) that two of my friends and my voice teacher all admitted that my best will still lack soul and potentially fall a little flat. I mean, it just is what it is. You get some little Asian-American adoptee from suburban Oregon, and she’s only going to be able to do so much, man.

Photo courtesy of ebay.com

Photo courtesy of ebay.com. It’s Carolina Blue, in case you were wondering.

 

Let’s Start an End

I’ll just warn you now: This post is going to have a couple instances of slightly harsher swears than you may be accustomed to from me. I’ll be quoting people if that makes you feel better, and it’ll still be PG-13. There will also be some racial slurs thrown in for good measure (again, quoting people, and by now you probably realize this is going to be a serious post).

So. Let’s talk about bullying.

I was neither a bully nor was I particularly bullied when I was growing up. I went through the regular little kid racism in grade school on a pretty daily basis — dumb stuff like, “Your eyes look like this” (cue the infamous stretching of the eyelid corners) or “Your face is flat” or “You look different” (newsflash, kid: we all look different). But since I was raised by excellent parents who helped me adjust to the world in basically every way, I remained pretty unphased.

I mean, I still remember almost all of it.

Like the time in sophomore Biology class and a couple students somehow got onto the topic of hilarious, racist jokes (there were four of us in the group and honest to goodness — I can’t make this up — one was Black and the other was me), and a girl I thought was my friend said, “What do you say to an Asian in the hallway? … I chink I got some gook in my eye!” In case you’re wondering, no, we’re not still friends, and no, I didn’t think that was particularly hilarious because I don’t like jokes that include epithets. Maybe I’m a killjoy.

I have a dear friend who was bullied nearly every single day growing up and retaliated with bullying kids who were just a little more vulnerable. I don’t condone that reaction, but there’s a big part of me that understands where it came from. Because kids — especially the ones raised by mean people — are a force to be reckoned with, and you just can’t escape it.

I have two vivid memories of instances where I was bullied — both by girls, both over stupid reasons. The first was a reaction to my saying she looked like she did her makeup with Skittles — pretty rude, I realize, but for a week or so, her friends would sidle in next to me at the cafeteria and tell me they were going to, at some point, kick the shit out of me. In the end, things were resolved, and I managed to keep all of my shit inside, which is generally my preference.

The second was a reaction to my being — I don’t know, smarter? The TA? Champion of the underdog? — and they informed me, during a peer counseling session (that’s a joke, by the way. Don’t have kids try to fix other kids’ problems.) that they would call me a bitch every time they saw me in the hallway and would even have all their friends and cohorts and family members and gang boyfriends and who knows — the whole damn world? — do the same.

That never actually happened because the assistant principal and I had a lovely chat about what took place. I am nothing if not a strong, resilient girl, and I don’t take no crap from nobody.

But the bullying stopped there, and for the most part, lasted no longer than a week or two. I never found any reason to bully other kids because I was about 4’10” at my tallest in middle school and weighed I think around 85 lbs., plus I was raised by the World’s Nicest Woman who would have shuddered at the thought of my being mean to anyone. I was the kid who would go home, crying to her mother, about other kids getting bullied. I was the kid who encouraged her mother to anonymously purchase coats and longer pants for kids I saw being treated unfairly so maybe — just maybe — the bullies would get off their backs.

In hearing stories from friends who were bullied growing up, I think it’s high time we put an end to it. Close the chapter on bullying and move on to something a whole lot better. Put a stop to mean people raising mean kids, to abusive parents hitting their children, to alcoholics getting pregnant.

Look, I get it — we’re all going to get hurt at some point in our lives. We all will. But that doesn’t mean we have to put that on someone else — that doesn’t ease the pain at all. It just spreads it, like a wildfire, till one day we’ll look around and all we’ll see is miles and miles stretching across the globe of people who are hurt and are hurting and we won’t even recognize our own communities.

This video has gone viral on Youtube, and chances are you’ve seen it posted on friends’ walls and thought to skip it. Well, stop that. It’s a quick seven minutes that will change the way you view bullying and will hopefully continue to spurn change.

Want to learn more? Visit http://tothisdayproject.com/

Engrish

Engrish cracks me up. There’s probably a joke in there somewhere — for those of you just joining the party, this is what I look like:

I mean, this is what I look like after airbrushing my head.

I mean, this is what I look like after airbrushing my head.

Yep. I’m Asian. I’m Asian and I laugh at Engrish.

In my defense, I’m adopted and only look the part — I don’t speak the language, I don’t care for the food, and I know the most basic parts of the culture, like, the country is full of Koreans and a lot of them are Buddhist.

[No, I am not from North Korea. That wouldn’t actually happen in real life.]

So the other day, whilst in Las Vegas, Husband and I went on a shopping spree. And by Husband and I, mostly what I’m getting at is that I bought a ton of clothes and dragged him around the Forum Shops till about 11:30 pm, despite his upset stomach, headache, and exhaustion. I know, I know, wife of the year. I’m expecting my award in the mail any day now.

At my favorite store — we’ll call it I&N so I don’t get sued or something (yeah, like corporations read my blog) — I found a cozy hooded sweatshirt. As it turns out, I am a real sucker for cozy hooded sweatshirts. So I bought it, not actually reading the text embroidered on the front. I figured it had something to do with athletics or college or school or any of the other arbitrary things manufacturers put on the front of hooded sweatshirts, and I didn’t mind.

In fact, it says, boldly, in all caps, “SINCE 48 ATHLETICS ESTABLISHED.”

I’m sorry, come again? Is that like a partial headline?

Hooded Sweatshirt
Mom says I should return it, but there’s something kind of fun and campy about a grammar snob Asian wearing a sweatshirt with Engrish on the front of it. For all the world to see.