Change in the Huff Post

So, I’m not going to pretend that I’m the reason why the Huff Post has added Asian Voices to their navigation bar, but I’ll still pretend that it still had some factor when I submitted my pitch to them and proceeded to get rejected.

I’m just happy that it exists now. Huff Post, will you please consider accepting some of my other articles, or nah?

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My Body Draft ii

CN: adoption, allusion to sexual abuse and self-harm, nudity,

My body has been commodified from the moment I was born. For one reason or another, I was abandoned/relinquished/rejected/given a better life, given a different life. My birth date on the certificate says that it’s October 29. My adoption papers say I was found December 15 and officially admitted January 15. I don’t know where my body is.

My body materializes when I’m estimated to be 10 months old. My mother hands over a briefcase of cash, and I am hers. There are bruises all over my body and patches of hair over my head. I don’t hesitate to go for the bottle.

 

You’re a slob

You’re lazy

You’re a pig

You’re fat

 

My body is available to everyone and anyone who wants to look at it. I wear a blue shirt, I’m the shape of a blueberry. My boobs are big for an Asian. He said he’s never been with a Chubby Asian girl.

 

You’re too dark to be Chinese

Have you ever thought about getting surgery for your eyes?

How do you Blind Fold an Asian? With floss.

Why is your face so flat?

Do you see in widescreen or normal?

 

My body wants control. It has scars that are over 10 years old. Hair turns different colors, get a nose piercing, let it close. Get a tattoo, it’s more permanent. It wakes up in the middle of the night and is no longer clothed. Someone is sleeping on the couch outside of my room.

 

At least hair isn’t permanent

I don’t want to see the nose piercing

I paid good money for you

You better not get a tattoo

 

My body is the least of my priorities. I don’t listen to it. Other people matter more. Development of type ii diabetes at age 22. I’m embarrassed by my nipples. They’re not soft and pink. Maybe that’s why I don’t like people looking at my body. Maybe that’s why I don’t like to look at my body.

 

Officially Welcome to the Gladieux Family

Asian’s are genetically predisposed to developing type ii diabetes

 

My body doesn’t work the way that it is supposed to. I’m listening.

 

 

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Images of my Body

 

A Letter to my mom

I spent a long time thinking about this topic, how to approach it, and how to write about it. I worried about whether or not I would offend people, or if what I am saying makes sense. In the end, the only relationship and experience I can write about is between my mother and I. I hope that this letter can help people, particularly white Americans with children of color, understand more about how one transnational, transracial, Chinese American adoptee feels about the state of our nation.

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Dear Mom,

We just finished our conversation about Charlottesville, and it was a lot. Speaking about race with you can be exhausting and even a waste of time. It can be frustrating, especially when you tell me that I shouldn’t get mad. But, how can I not? How can I not be angry and hurt and betrayed when there are white supremacists that walk through the streets telling me that my life does not matter. How can I not fear for my life when there are men and women who say that I do not belong in their America when I did not come here by choice? How do I say that another white person is who brought me to their America? You brought me here.

You tell me it’s better to pick and choose my battles, and that people will not listen to me when I am angry. This is probably true. As a woman, as an Asian American woman, my voice will often go unheard more often than yours. This is why I need you to speak up for me. I need you to take up some of the battles for me. And sometimes, you have. When I was younger, you told me a story about how when you went to church with me when I was a baby; a pastor had said the word “Gook.” You told me how that shook you to your core. You said that in church, it was one of the only spaces you felt you could let your guard down. You told me that space was violated. A few weeks later, you interrupted a church meeting, with all white men, and said that you had gotten a pastor a present. That present was a dictionary, and you told him that he should learn better words and that he should be ashamed.

When I brought this up, you looked ssurprizedthat I remembered. I also remembered how a few months ago, you told your older friends that they shouldn’t say Indians, but rather Native Americans. It is moments like these, that means the most to me. It is moments like these, which are what make me proud most proud of you. However, there are also moments when I am ashamed. You will make comments, intentionally or not, that are often racist.

One thing that has affected me my entire life has been your comments about the color of my skin. You would joke and say, “you look like you have been working in the rice paddy fields all day.” You would tell me that you ruined my skin and that I used to be a cream color. When I came home for the first time after my semester in the North East, you had commented how light I had gotten. You expressed happiness, but I thought that I looked sick. I didn’t believe that I radiated the way I did when I was out in the sun.

Having you, a white American whose ancestry reaches back to the American Revolution, as my mom has taught me a lot of things, and I know that I have shown you a lot of things. You now listen to what I have to say and take into consideration about the world around us. You use the correct pronouns for my friends, and you catch yourself when you’re about to say something homophobic. I don’t expect you to march in the streets. But I do expect you to talk to your friends. I expect you not only stand up for me; I expect you to stand up to any form of bigotry. I love you, and you are my hero in so many ways. Probably in more ways than I have ever articulated to you, but this does not mean I cannot be critical of you as you are critical of me. You are my mom, and you will always be my mom. Do better. Be better.

 

Love,
Your radical little girl

It’s over

I cannot believe that my month in South Korea has come to an end. Early tomorrow morning I will be flying back home to Miami, and honestly, I wish I was staying longer. I’ve made friends here, and it’s just generally astounding to be in an environment where things are catered to East Asians. For the first time in my life, I was able to buy glasses that don’t fall down my face or touch my cheeks. For the first time, the hairdresser did not comment that cutting “oriental” hair too hard. There are so many things I will miss, but there are also things that I am ready to leave behind. I can’t wait to post more about my adventures in South Korea, but tonight I will just take the last few moments to reflect and enjoy my time.

First Week in Seoul

Well, I did it. I’ve made it one week without dying. Not that there is actually a possibility of that happening because Seoul is probably one of the safest cities you can travel to. Of course, you need to be aware of your surroundings and don’t extensively bad choices, but that’s anywhere you can go. Honestly, the only time I felt unsafe here was when I walked down a street in Itaewon and there were very loud, white American men walking and taking up the entire walkway. I think that it may just be residual panic to anytime I see a group of men back in the States. Anyways, here is a list of a few things that I have learned from the past week.

1. Seoul’s transportation system is amazing. Figuring out the subway system was a little overwhelming at first simply because Miami’s metro goes in a straight line, and I still manage to get on the wrong train. However, thanks to a little app called Subway Korea, navigating and getting directions is very easy AND you can do it offline. I recommend getting a reloadable Tmoney card to save time and money. What is also great about the public transport is the fact that I can stand and actually reach the handrail straps. A beautiful concept, really. Nothing will make you feel more independent than being able to transverse Seoul by Subway.

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2. I really enjoy traveling alone. It has given me the opportunity to set my own schedule and spend as much or as little time in a location. However, It’s also really lonely for me. I’ve never been alone for this much amount of time unless I’m choosing to be by myself. It’s sometimes hard to force myself to leave my apartment, although part of that was because I was still finishing finals, but I know I have to do it anyways. It’s nice to be amongst people in the Subway and interacting with them whenever I need to buy something, but generally, I haven’t been really able to have extensive conversations aside from a few people sporadically throughout the week. Of course, there is the internet connection and I’m able to speak to my friends, but the time difference is a huge killer. I just found out that while I like alone time, I also enjoy having the option to be with people whenever I want to.

3. On the flip side, I’ve rather enjoyed going to this dog cafe called Bau House. I’ve been here twice because at least I can cuddle with a dog. It’s truly amazing and I plan on going back very soon.

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4. Being Asian American in Asia is a wild experience. There are moments where I’m in a particularly touristy area and sales associates will speak to me in Chinese. Of course, I know about enough Chinese to say I don’t know Chinese and then they will speak to me in Korean, and then I know about enough Korean to tell them that I don’t speak Korean and then they look at me and realize that I only speak English fluently. Actually, I’ve learned enough Korean that I was able to go into a store and buy something without the Sales associate speaking English to me. Either my Korean is passable enough to buy stickers from a stationary store, or the guy didn’t know English. I guess I’ll never know. Additionally, I was sitting off to the side of a walkway filling out a form and tourists approached me and spoke very slow English to ask me if I spoke English. I looked at them briefly and let just enough silence pass before I spoke to them in my American accent. Needless to say, they were a little taken aback. It’s just been really funny.

5. Whiteness is a huge thing here. I look at some of the billboards and advertisements and people are blindingly almost impossibly white. I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself that dark, but sitting next to some of them women on the metro clearly demonstrates that I’m at least 10 shades darker than they are, and that’s an understatement. Additionally what I found interesting is that they use a lot of white Americans as advertisements. Seeing Western faces is a bit odd. One of which is Anne Hathaway and I’m still trying to figure out why.

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Overall, it’s been a great first week and I’ve done so many things that I can’t fit in this one blog post, so hopefully, I’ll be able to write more very soon!

First 48 Hours in Seoul

Well, I’m here.

The first 48 hours have been wild. Just coming out of Incheon Airport was overwhelming after a 13-hour flight. I will say this, the Koreans have public transportation down to a T. Getting an airport limousine ticket (think peter pan bus, but a lot better and a lot more efficient) and arriving at your location is incredibly easy, even someone with not a lot of common sense can do it. Of course, this is something sometimes I lack and well, I missed my bus stop. The poor bus driver freaked out and then decided to leave me in Itaewon, a neighborhood in Seoul known for foreigners, and told me to take a taxi. I hailed one (my first time ever hailing a taxi), tried to communicate, did not communicate effectively, the taxi drove away. Frantic, I see a white person who I just assumed spoke English, she did, and was able to eventually find my way to the place where I am staying. What should have been an hour to arrive at my destination, turned into a four-hour fiasco.

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Me: I’m so proud that I was able to buy this out of a machine. Everything will be great! Narrator: Everything would not be great.

The first full day here, I decided to walk down the street to get to know my neighborhood. I casually happen to see a really large building (an understatement of the century) and decide it would be fun to spend 30 minutes exploring. I stayed there for four hours. Little did I know what I was walking into… “I’Park Mall is an impressive shopping center in terms of size. It’s 1.6 times as large as the 63 Building (the tallest building in Seoul) and 2.3 times as large as COEX Mall. The mall houses over 3,600 shops, located from the third basement level to the mall’s ninth floor. The shopping center has almost everything: home products, discounted clothing, restaurants, the CGV IMAX 11, and more!” It was wild and it was a good thing that I had left most of my money back home. It was over 9 floors and it was just… one of the most magnificent things I have ever seen. The rest of the day I spent in my apartment settling in and buying groceries from Emart. Emart… that was also an overwhelming experience, but this is something will right about in another post.

The next day, I mainly stayed in my apartment because I still have finals I need to finish. I got a really nasty stomach virus that I ended up in the ER room (Thank you, Rachel, for taking me!). Long story short, I have a lot of papers I have to write. I was able to go on a great food tour with the man Seoul eats with a lovely group of travelers. Ate really good food and had really great conversation. 10/10 would recommend.

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Us enjoying our first meal of many on this tour.

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Us enjoying our last meal. Yes, that is a cheese in the middle.

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The squid are in season. You can tell because their heads are so large and filled with eggs.

Overall, the first 48 hours have been… overwhelming. I feel like this is going to be my word to describe this trip at large. Really… overwhelming, but amazing. I cannot believe that I am here, in South Korea, doing research, by myself. I have a lot of thoughts and opinions about everything has happened at and between these events, but this is all I have to write for now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calling out Online Publications

I originally thought that I was going to post about South Korea on my post, instead, I’m going to post a think piece I wrote last night instead of sleeping before my trip. I submitted it to the Huffington Post, so we’ll see how that goes.

Where are the Asian Voices in the Huffington Post?

The past two years have been incredible for Asian Pacific Americans in regards to visibility. Now, more than ever, mainstream media has finally picked up on the discussions the community has been having for years. Whether it is white washing in Hollywood films, discussing the model minority myth, talking about hate crimes, or the murders of Muslim Americans and South Asian Americans, our voices are finally being heard, or are they?

The month of May is Asian Pacific American Heritage month, and usually, in my experience, it is rather lack luster. In fact, I didn’t even know that the Asian Pacific American community had a month until two years ago. To my surprise, when I opened my Spotify, they had created a page featuring music or curated playlists by Asian and Asian American artists. Looking through the playlists, I felt something that I cannot quite label yet; however, it is a feeling that I did not realize that I needed.
A few days ago, I saw an article circulating amongst some of my Asian friends on Facebook about how Asian Americans have the highest poverty rate in New York City, published by The Huffington Post. When I clicked the link, I noticed that the aesthetic had changed from since the last time I looked at the website, so I decided to take a look around. On the drop down menu, you have a ton of different categories to choose. One that piqued my interest wasScreen Shot 2017-05-10 at 12.01.54 PM.png Voices. Within Voices, are a list of subcategories of groups, with links to pages that have various articles that have been cross-listed in one spot. It includes Black Voices, Women, Queer Voices, Latino Voices, Fifty, and Parents. Nowhere in this category lists Asian voices. In fact, Asian Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 12.02.01 PMvoices are not even listed anywhere on the navigation tool. Disgruntled, I was going to write this article to explain why there should be an Asian Voices page—it’s not like we don’t have activists, culture critics, and other means of expression. Ironically, all of the links above are articles directly from the Huffington post, and there are plenty more, so where is our page?

Funny enough, when I googled “Asian American Huffington post” to find articles to prove my point, I stumbled across an article explaining how the Huffington post acknowledges that there is a lack of space on the internet for Asian voices, so they created one. I was pleased to know that it existed, but then I questioned: If there’s a page that was established (in January of 2017), why is it not featured in the navigation menu? Part of me thought that maybe it was because the Huffington Post doesn’t have an active Asian reading population and they’re waiting for it to build. But, then I investigated more and discovered that their Facebook community, Brazen Asians, has over 15,000 followers.

My question remains: Where are the Asian voices in the Huffington Post? They publish countless articles about how the Model Minority erases the issues facing the Asian American community and other issues that render the community invisible, yet they have rendered the community even further by not featuring Asian Voices in their navigation bar. Am I petty? Perhaps. But, even the tiniest of slights can build and contribute to larger societal issues.