MONTH FOUR of being on Patreon! Thank you so much for being my art patron. It seriously makes a difference in my hustle life: I can by my art supplies with joy and ease. Thanks to you!
April has been rough. It was winter here in Chicago. It snowed. THERE IS HOPE THOUGH! It will be in the 70s this week! I don't want to fool myself in thinking things like that don't affect art. It's all interconnected: my thoughts, diet, sleep, relationships, spirituality, conversations, creativity, etc. All of it influences one another. That reality is both miraculous and sobering.
Continuing my exploration of race and microagressions, I'm still pressing into the discomfort of this topic. This month has emerged with a clear focus, which is dissecting where my subconscious racial shame comes from. I'm Chinese - born in California and raised by my mom and dad who immigrated from Hong Kong. Looking back I'm slowly seeing how the strong message of white supremacy has snuck into my the fabric of my upbringing. I was conditioned by my whole world to devalue foreign-ess, and to become as white as I can be. Despite my parents doing their best to protect the Chinese culture and language, the pressures of society was much stronger. The saddest part is that what society was saying (that the more white and american you present yourself, the more society will uplift you) was entirely true. I'm just at the beginning of piecing it together, and I have a feeling that its going to be a life long process. Sharing about it through Memory Mondays has been really encouraging to me, because so many conversations with friends and other people of color has emerged from it.
by kesina boom // broadly
38. In general, just don’t assume we want to be white or want to assimilate. And don’t pressure us to do so.
50. If you call a woman of color “exotic,” you deserve to stub your toe every day for a year. Do. Not. Do. This.
62. Refuse to speak on an all-white panel. Regardless of the topic.
67. Don’t say things like “there are two sides to every story!” or play devil’s advocate when it comes to conversations about race.
69. It’s never useful to say stuff like, “But what about the white working class!!!” Have you thought about non-white working class people’s needs?
93. Remember that your queerness/womanhood/transness/class background/disability doesn’t exclude you from white privilege.
99. Recognize that fighting racism isn't about you, it's not about your feelings; it's about liberating people of color from a world that tries to crush us at every turn.
100. And remember: Being an ally is a verb, not a noun. You can’t just magically be an ally to people of color because you say you’re one, it's something that you must continually work on.
I'm not done with Maya Angelou! This two part podcast interview by Oprah is so good. You will cry. My favorite part is when Maya ushers people out of her house during a party she was hosting, because the said degrading things about people. Oprah asks her how she has that much courage. Maya responds by telling her that it didn't come over night, and it was a small act of courage - feeling good about it - and then the next. That courage grew over time - so that you can stand up for the humanity of your fellow brothers and sisters like that. WOW. You must listen to these two episodes. PART 1. PART 2.
Ok. You might have see A Quiet Place directed John Krasinski. I'm actually not recommending you to see this movie - you will hate it if you don't like suspenseful and scary movies. BUT it did make me think. Granted, it was a well made movie, and for me it was fun adrenaline filled experience. If you did see it, THIS podcast episode [We Watch Whiteness by Still Processing] addressed this movie, and it blew my mind. They basically call out white fragility and white people fearing that they will be silenced. The whole episode is worth listening to. I can't wait to listen to more episodes! What I gather is that they talk about current pop events and bring social awareness to it from the perspective of being two people of color.
This is Week 18 of #TWmemorymondays:
Week 18!! Crazy how Mondays come around seemingly so much faster than Friday. Today's microaggression/memory is when I (along with most WOC) are called "EXOTIC."
Like what I said in my instastories, as child that term wasn't as prevalent in the bay area, but once I became an adult and moved to the Midwest...oh my did that change. (Here's a picture of me as a 6 yr old before the exposure of what I will learn in my later years.)
I was so aware that my asian-ess was and is for some men a novelty, and that came through them by drawing attention to my "exoticness". In the dating scene, I was consistently trying to sniff out any hint that a guy had "yellow fever" or had a thing for Asians. It's an awful experience to encounter someone who fetishizes an ethnicity. It's SO incredibly dehumanizing to be diminished to a caricature of what westerners thing about Asian women: this sensual, other worldly, submissive creature.
It's really disgusting, and media and history shows how far back this kind of dehumanizing potrayal exists. Read the article link in my profile to learn more about how the world "exotic" is racist.
Another reason why it's so harmful is because it assumes and upholds a "right" kind of beauty that you're not. You are exotic because you don't fit into the normal white American beauty we all know and can recognize. Feeling like a foreign object of desire is not flattering at all...it's actually pretty scary.
We all need to stand up for upholding the dignity of WOC by being intentional to HONOR our cultures and differences. Maybe try complimenting a woman for a characteristic that is uniquely hers. There are so many empowering ways we can really compliment each other.
#TWmemorymondays: A painting inspired by a memory every Monday of 2018. Connecting abstract art to real life. Week 18/53. 'Exotic' / 8x8 in / mixed media on paper
I hope you have an empowered and enboldened month of May! And I'll leave you with this quote by Maya Angelou: