Topics & Articles

Home

Culture

Ethnic Groups

History

Issues

Links

Viet Nam



Search

or Browse the Archives

or Gets Posts by Tags



Most Popular Books on Asian-Nation

Miscellaneous

All posts copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le.
Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

The views and opinions expressed on this site and blog posts (excluding comments on blog posts left by others) are entirely my own and do not represent those of any employer or organization with whom I am currently or previously have been associated.

Blog powered by WordPress


Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

January 23, 2017

Written by C.N.

A Love Letter to the U.S.

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election as the 45th President of the United States of America, my fellow sociologist (and wife BTW) Miliann Kang has written a ‘Love Letter to America’ (first published at The Massachusetts Review) that captures many of the sentiments that many Americans from diverse background feel about the what’s been happening in the U.S. these past few months.

 

Dear America,

I sat down to write you a breakup letter. But I can’t tell if I want to break up with you, or if you have already broken up with me. Does this election mean that we are going through a rough period, or that we are fundamentally incompatible? Do we as a nation need therapy, a divorce lawyer, or a restraining order? Should we just call a babysitter and go see a movie?

Or is it time for us to call it quits and start seeing other people? I have to admit, I’ve always had a thing for Canada.

I am mad at you and disappointed in us, America. I am still processing the fact that while you say you love me, you have jumped into bed with Donald Trump, a man who openly insults women, Blacks, Muslims, Mexicans, people with disabilities, and basic principles of civility and civil liberties. On November 9, I woke up and realized that I didn’t know the country I thought I married. I felt like I had shared my deepest hopes and fears with you, and in return, you had punched me in the gut, spat in my face, and were ready to throw me out on the street.

This election has not brought out the best in us.

I know, you are going to call me ungrateful. After all, my parents came as immigrants from a war-torn country and you welcomed us—tired, poor, hungry, and huddled. You turned us into doctors, lawyers, artists, people who can speak and vote and stand up for what we believe in! We are now Made in America—but you still do not fully own us as part of the family. We don’t quite fit the image you have of yourself, and you still have such a hard time with that. We have stretched the way you look, talk, worship, dress, dance, and eat (and even though we have improved your palate immeasurably, at the end of the day, you just want your meat and potatoes—with ketchup, not Sriracha).

I’m getting a little confused writing this: who do I mean by “you” and who do I mean by “us?” Does “you” mean Red State, Republican, rural, non-college educated, racist, sexist, anti-queer, xenophobic, neo-Nazi, white supremacist Neanderthals? Does “us” mean Blue State, Democrat, urban, suburban, college-educated, liberal, elitist, nearing enlightenment do-gooders?

Is the dividing line those who voted for Trump and those who didn’t? If so, what happens when “we” lump all of “you” together, and you do the same to us? What is left if only one of us wins, and the winner takes all: the house, the car, the pension, the wedding pictures, the college friends? And the kids, what about the kids? We shouldn’t just stay together for their sake—or should we?

It seems like we don’t know who we are and what we want from each other anymore, or maybe we never really did. We manufactured this big, beautiful, poetic dream of a more perfect union, and it feels like we are on the verge of falling apart.

But I am still in love with you, you crazy, magnificent, flawed idea of a country, you. And I think, deep down, you still love me, too. It’s just your fear of commitment to a truly equal, free, and democratic relationship that is making you say and do mean things right now. This makes me feel unloved and want to cry sometimes, but I know it is because you too are feeling hurt and confused. We can talk about it.

I know I haven’t appreciated enough how hard you work, how firmly you believe in your principles, how tired you are of not getting respect, and how insecure you feel about the future. I know I have also felt like you don’t listen to me and take me for granted, and I hate to have to say this, but you scare me sometimes. You do seem to have some anger management issues that you need to work through.

Am I kidding myself that we can work this out? Is this the self-delusion too often seen in dysfunctional, abusive relationships, or is this true love? Metaphors can be tricky, especially when people get hurt, so I proceed with this one very cautiously.

We need to recognize the danger signs that we are at high risk for some form of national domestic violence. And just as licensed marriage and family counselors know that prevention is much more effective than trying to stop harm once it has escalated, we need to intervene before things get out of control. I’m not sure exactly how this intervention looks, but we—meaning everyone with a stake in keeping us together—need to get immediate and intensive training in conflict resolution, public education, knowing our rights and the rights of others, being active bystanders, and when necessary, martial arts.

We can get through this, but both of us are going to have to change. We are going to have to work harder than we ever imagined.

I remember all our road trips together, where we drove from Hollywood, to Little Saigon, to Brownsville, to Standing Rock, to Ferguson, to Hershey, PA, from Yosemite to the Everglades, from the Golden Gate to the Brooklyn Bridge, from the Lincoln Memorial to the National Museum of African American History, from the Superdome to the Ninth Ward, from Angel Island to Ellis Island.

Who else can contain such multitudes?

I can’t break up with you because I am you. Nor will I let you break up with me.

Yours truly. With love.

October 12, 2016

Written by C.N.

New Book: The Generation Gap in Asian American Families

In my ongoing series of interviews with Asian American academics that highlight new books and research that illuminate different aspects and details of the Asian American experience, I am very happy to present an interview with my friend and colleague, Professor Angie Y. Chung, faculty in Sociology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, regarding her new book Read More →

September 26, 2016

Written by C.N.

New Book: Orphaned Children in Modern China

I am very pleased to present an interview with my friend and colleague, Professor Leslie K. Wang, faculty in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, regarding her new book Outsourced Children: Orphanage Care and Adoption in Globalizing China. Her book explores the political, economic, and cultural dynamics of western humanitarian organizations caring for orphan children, many with special needs, Read More →

June 16, 2016

Written by C.N.

Links, Jobs, & Announcements #80

Here are some more announcements, links, and job postings about academic-related jobs, fellowships, and other opportunities for those interested in racial/ethnic/diversity issues, with a particular focus on Asian Americans. As always, the announcements and links are provided for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply an endorsement of the organization or college involved.

Call for Submissions: Asian and Latin American Read More →

June 6, 2016

Written by C.N.

In Memory of Muhammad Ali

This past Friday, June 3 2016, Muhammad Ali passed away at the age of 74. More than being regarded as the greatest boxers ever, Muhammad Ali is remembered as one of the most significant, famous, and celebrated athletes of all time. His legacy transcends his accomplishments inside the boxing ring and also encompasses his tradition of political activism, outspoken Read More →

March 17, 2016

Written by C.N.

Chris Rock at the Oscars: An Asian American Mother’s Critique

By now, you’ve heard of the controversy surrounding how all the acting nominees at the 2016 Academy Awards were entirely White, with no actor of color nominated. And you probably saw host Chris Rock’s take on the situation throughout the Oscars awards ceremony. And hopefully you saw the skit in which three Asian American children were used as props Read More →

January 20, 2016

Written by C.N.

New Books: Asian American History and Achievement

As the spring semester gets underway at many colleges and universities around the country, that means that new groups of students get their first introduction to Asian American Studies. With that in mind, these recently-published books provide some more details and sociological context about the history and contemporary dynamics of the Asian American community.

The Asian American Achievement Paradox, by Jennifer Read More →

December 11, 2015

Written by C.N.

Online Survey: Asian American Men and Discrimination

Below is a solicitation for respondents for an online survey about experiences of discrimination by Asian American men. As always, the announcement is provided for informational purposes and does not necessarily imply an endorsement of the research study being conducted.

I am emailing you for distributing my survey on Asian American men’s experiences of discrimination on your blog. I am currently Read More →

December 1, 2015

Written by C.N.

Online Survey: International Separation During Childhood

Below is a solicitation for respondents for an online survey about Chinese Americans who were internationally separated from their parents. As always, the announcement is provided for informational purposes and does not necessarily imply an endorsement of the research study being conducted.

We are seeking Chinese Americans for a new paid research study that looks at international separation between parents and Read More →

November 16, 2015

Written by C.N.

Deportations Punish Children Most

The following is a post written by my colleague (and wife) Miliann Kang, Associate Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. It was originally published at The Conversation.

Our national identity as a welcoming destination for immigrants is being eroded by our fear of undocumented immigrants – fears that are increasingly impacting children.

The fourth GOP debate Read More →

August 18, 2015

Written by C.N.

Online Survey: Asian American Fathering

Below is a solicitation for respondents for an online survey about parenting practices among Asian American fathers. As always, the announcement is provided for informational purposes and does not necessarily imply an endorsement of the research study being conducted.

My name is Zuzanna Molenda-Kostanski and I am a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program in the Department of Professional Read More →

June 22, 2015

Written by C.N.

Interesting Statistics for Immigrant Heritage Month

I must admit that I did not know that June is Immigrant Heritage Month. Up until now, I thought that although the U.S. recognizes all sorts of historical occasions with their own official month that we did not have a month to celebrate the contributions of immigrants to the U.S., despite the U.S. supposedly being the “Land of Immigrants.” Read More →