40. Asian ≠ Jackie Chan

桜 - 20

So, a couple of weeks ago in my English class we got to discussing an Asian writer for one of our critical readings. Somehow the conversation shifted over to how my teacher couldn’t quite remember his name at first, and one of the girls made a comment about how her mom “can never really remember Asian names” and “always just calls them Jackie Chan.” (P.S., the writer’s name is Francis Chan. Not hard at all.) Anyways, my teacher thought this was hilarious, laughing and saying how that was so true and “it’s just a lot simpler to say that, right?”

I’m not calling out anyone as racist here, because I know these people and they are amazing people–super nice and sweet and would never be racist on purpose. But one of the other Asian boys in my class kindly pointed out that calling every Asian Jackie Chan just because you can’t remember their name is “kind of racist,” and my teacher just said “…wait, how?”

I get it, sometimes Asian names are hard for people who aren’t familiar with them. I have an entire family of Vietnamese names that can attest to that. But I’m gonna be real with you: at least make an effort. It’s just respectful. You wouldn’t want someone coming up to you and calling you, I don’t know, Brad Pitt just because you’re white and they can’t remember your name. In fact, you wouldn’t like it if someone just didn’t make an effort to remember your name, regardless of your skin color.

It’s literally the most basic courtesy in the world to remember someone’s name. And if you don’t, then ask them what it is, don’t just think of the first famous person of their race and call them that.

~ Hoài-Linh

XXI. Another Day

large12

I think I was about ten years old

Watching the news with my dad.

I didn’t see nothing but tears and blood

And a bunch of people looking so mad.

“That’s war,” I was told.

I said, “How? That ain’t nothing like the games I have.”

I couldn’t grasp the sense of an innocent child

Dying by the hands of a grown man.

And while some kids raised on cartoons,

Young girls making money in dark rooms.

We all deserve a decent meal.

Why his belly so soft? Why she holding that hard spoon?

And where is my head of state?

If crime pays, talk peace, still engaging in heavy arms trade.

In the jungle that we call Sin City,

While life rules, survival of the fittest.

– “Another Day” by Nico & Vinz

XX. Feelings

large11

She wrote down her feelings in a journal.

No descriptions.

Just the words.

She wrote down a name next to each feeling.

No explanations.

Just the names.

She stared at the paper for a while.

No tears.

Just silence.

Then she burned it.

– kh.

© Placer County, California | April 2016

XIX. All About You

large10

You say that it’s alright,

And I know that it’s a lie

From the black in your eyes.

You don’t have to do this on your own,

Like there’s no one that cares about you.

You don’t have to act like you’re alone,

Like the walls are closing in around you.

You don’t have to pretend no one knows,

Like there’s no one that understands you.

I’m not just some face you used to know.

I know all about you.

And you should know that someone cares about you.

I know all about you.

– “All About You” by Birdy