My daughter came home from the gym and said, “I saw a truck with a large Confederate flag and Trump signs all over it. Why do we have to live here? Why did you move us from San Francisco?”
I chuckled. “Actually, Mesa, AZ is more like most of the country than not. In San Francisco, we lived in a bubble. And even that place has changed a ton in the past 15 years.”
“I want to live in a bubble!” She whined.
I get it.
It reminded me of the time I came home crying after a particularly grueling day of racial taunts in elementary school. As a 100% ethnically Korean-American girl growing up in Davenport, Iowa in the 70s, life could be challenging. Each day, someone called me chink or told me to go back where I came from.
My father reacted sternly to my tears: “Caroline, life is going to show you much harder times. Don’t be weak and cry.” His jaw grew hard and his face turned red.
“Go. Wash your face.”
And we never spoke of racism again.
And I’ve yet to find the answer to the question I had: “How do you convert racists into kind human beings?”
Locals (Phoenix/Mesa, Arizona): Please boycott the Breakfast Club in Phoenix. A young man had the “n word” written on his ticket by a coworker. The owner says it was just a joke and no one has been held accountable. In fact, this young man, Rakevion White, has had his hours cut with no explanation.
The sequel to the “Crazy Rich Asians” film has been delayed because of a pay dispute. Adele Lim, a female Asian writer, was offered 1/8 the pay as her male (white) co-writer. This is an enormous disparity and even more egregious when you consider what she brings to the table (which he cannot): an Asian perspective to an Asian film.
Here are some of her words on the matter:
“Being evaluated that way can’t help but make you feel that is how they view my contributions,” Lim said. She also feels women and people of color are used as “soy sauce.” In other words, they’re only there to add a cultural flavor to the project.
Every zebra has unique stripe patterns – much like humans’ fingerprints.
If we could just appreciate our singularity – and the originality of others, this world would be a more peaceful place.
I like Ram Dass’ observation: When we go out and see trees, we don’t judge them. We don’t say this one is better than that one. We appreciate every tree. We should do that with people. Appreciate every person.
Judgmental people tend to judge themselves fiercely. They believe it makes them work harder and be better. In fact, judgmental people possess an insecurity and sometimes a level of self-hate that disables them to love others.
There is strife in America right now. There is a great divide. But ignorance is being met with consciousness and ultimately, awareness will win.
She sat across from me at her birthday dinner. She just turned 35. I am almost 49.
“I have laugh lines! I am getting gray hairs that stick straight up on end!”
“Well, it just makes it easier to pluck them out,” I said, trying to cheer her up.
“I am not going to complain about getting old. I LOVE aging!”
I looked at her sideways. This was unexpected. Who loves aging?
She explained, “We’re lucky to get old. Not everyone does. We should celebrate getting older, we’re so fortunate to keep living!”
I’ve decided that even though I live in America, where it is becoming a crime to be gay, trans, Mexican-American, Muslim or old, I hope we will eventually be like Taiwan when it comes to social issues. I’m not gay, but as an Asian-American, I know what discrimination feels like. In Taiwan, gays have equal rights. The Taiwanese also respect their elders and take care of them. So I’m going to walk around proud in all my Asian and old glory because I know I’m lucky to be alive and kicking.