Category Archives: American

Owning Up to Anti-Blackness

From "Your Asian Isn't Quiet"

Photo from “Your Asian Isn’t Quiet”

Recently, my black co-worker called me out for making a racist remark. It was a moment of restorative justice for both of us.

Having been someone who has encountered white fragility far more times than I’d like, I knew this was a moment to practice what I preach by owning up to my shortcomings. The few moments in my life when I’ve had the courage to call out present-day subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) racism, I was met with defensiveness and excuses, which led to greater frustration and pain for me.

Remembering my own frustration with well-intentioned white folks, I reminded myself that the best way to respond to when someone calls you a racist is to listen. Because you probably did do something racist and the right thing to do is learn how to do better next time. Because not everyone will always be so willing to walk you through your racist shortcomings. Continue reading

The Day After Election Day 2016


Today, the day after Election Day 2016 (one of the heaviest days of my life, I experienced the most genuine human interaction with strangers since I moved here over a year ago.

As I walked through Bed-Stuy to the subway (and really all day), I noticed that everyone was looking at everyone. When I first moved to the city, I developed a habit of greeting people because acknowledging people is important to fostering community. Unfortunately, gentrification is slowly shifting that culture. After the winter, I grew cold and my willingness to open up and acknowledge people decreased out of fear. Many experiences of cat calling and being followed made me wary of who I talk to. So I grew accustomed to having few daily human interactions despite constantly being surrounded by people.

Today, everyone was glancing at folks around them, as if to determine one’s political leanings from their eye contact. I noticed that most folks of color greeted me with assuring smiles and hellos, while most white folks kept their heads down as they blasted music or kept their nose in a book. Granted, this discrepancy is usually how my encounters are but today, folks seemed to be intentionally making efforts to acknowledge each other. Continue reading

Rebellion: An Innate Reaction to Being a Child of Immigrants


Last week on the subway, Zadie Smith’s novel, “White Teeth” sent me on a half hour writing reflection frenzy of whether or not I’m inherently rebellious. Note, I mention character development details so spoiler alert for the paragraphs ahead!  Continue reading