I am not your enemy

That’s right my dear Korean American brother; yes indeed my Chinese American sister. Even though we come from different places, histories, and experiences we are more often alike than different.

Kim chi and Dim Sum are all right with me, and by the way I appreciate the fact that there really is more to you than food and anime. Yes, I know that there are things I can’t know; things that really aren’t secrets but are simply assumed when you are in your own company; things that are hard to explain to those who haven’t shared what its like to be the one or two kids in the class with squinty eyes and shiny black hair in a terribly unstylish bowl cut that your Mom gave you to save money.

I know that I don’t understand your struggle, and that it really is a struggle even though the myth of the model minority is as costly as it is based in partial truths. I know that because I am the un-model minority, and as much as I hate to admit, that myth is based in partial truth as well.

I know that I don’t know what its like to be unseen, invisible, and assumed to be either just like white people but of a strangely exotic kind of white. I know because I am all too visible, far too easily seen and assumed to be exotic in the same way that chimpanzees are.

I know that your people and my people most often meet across a counter top as you sell human hair and no-lye relaxers to me in order to finance the cost of your children’s expensive education so that they won’t have to slave away in a store for unseen countless hours. I know that my people think your people are little more than animated cash registers who we assume “speaka no Engrish” because we’re as baptized in the ignorant racialization of American society as anyone else.

I know that your parents would promise to fall over and die and disown you and faint dead away in that precise order if you married me, and that my parents would likely make some derogatory racial remark about you before getting excited about the fact that our children would likely have “good hair.”

I know that you like hip hop and rap and R & B because it expresses a part of you that seems unexpressed otherwise but that you would likely never actually venture into the hood other than to sell me some cheap Americanized Chinese food.

I am not your enemy even though there are those who would paint you as the model and inflate your egos in ungodly ways and divide our struggle so that they can keep you enslaved in your suburban middle manager-but-never-CEO lifestyles just as well as they keep us as nothing more than entertainer-athlete-criminal.

I wish White wasn’t the arbiter of all things good and glorious so that your women wouldn’t feel the need to change the eyes that I find quite alluring and enigmatic and mine wouldn’t spend so much time deciding who has good hair or not.

I happen to think samgyupsal would pair quite well with collard greens, and Kim chi jjigae with cornbread.

We are not each other’s enemy, and I wish I knew a way to bridge the gap so that we fought alongside each other against the common depravity that threatens both of our humanity.

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6 thoughts on “I am not your enemy

  1. “and I wish I knew a way to bridge the gap so that we fought alongside each other against the common depravity that threatens both of our humanity.”
    brother, you’ve found a way and are using it right now…

  2. hi, stumbled upon your blog via another one that i read. poignant observations. thank you for this. i will bookmark and keep coming back.

  3. holy $&#*. I apologize for the profanity, but that’s my gut response to this extremely honest (and right-on) post. I’m an AA Christian and lately have been thinking again about my ethnic identity (or lack of), and since my faith is extremely important to me, I started scouring the internet for what AA Christian leaders had to say about this issue. What I found was mushy, soft posts about why it’s okay to have our own fellowships. Until I came across a comment you left on next generasian church’s site, 3 years ago. Lol. I don’t expect that you’d feel necessarily the same way today, however you hit the nail on the head when it comes to AA weaknesses in the church. Brutally honest and I appreciate that. As a female, I currently don’t know what to do with the emotions I’m feeling about the lack of AA identity in America, in the church, our lack of AA leaders to look up to, the lack of our own art forms/music/etc which IMHO directly leads to the lack of “spiritual power” in our churches. By faith, I trust that the Holy Spirit is working in our people and this generation, just as He has done in the past. Please keep up the dialog on ethnicity. I’m particularly interested in the dialog between the black & Asian church. I DO feel there’s a lot we can learn from each other. A LOT.

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