1) I haven’t touched my research thesis, focusing on Deadly Viper as a case study, since I finished it last year. After the defense, I tucked it away on my hard drive amidst a fog and ignored it in a proper postpartum-depressed-like manner. (I feel a pang of guilt for saying that, but as my thesis committee reminded me time and time again — writing that damn paper is like is like carrying a child for 9 months. Towards the end, you want to pop. But we’ll save the guilty baby talk for another post.)
2) Why? Just why? Just, just, just…why? Just really why? Amen.
Ashamedly, I am out of touch with my Chinese heritage, a fact that I lament and try to reconcile. When I asked my husband what was going on, he managed to mutter the phrase “communist party” while he was scouring the blogosphere. I had to do a double take at the Red Guard propaganda screen capture and tap into my Highlights magazine Hidden Pictures prowess, but it really wasn’t needed. The red arm band secured over an olive green uniform. All of this took a matter of seconds to understand. Mao, the Cultural Revolution, Chinese communists, the land of my forefathers, my grandparents on the run, my parents born in Korea outside of our ancestral homeland.
What takes longer to understand is why a prominent White Evangelical chose this distressing image to display on his Facebook feed with hundreds of thousands of followers (not to mention with the impending launch of a certain megachurch in Hong Kong). And why, after people posted light concerns and extreme disgust over the image, he defended it as a funny-haha-joke and told the offended to get over themselves. What I mostly have a hard time understanding is why we can’t seem to get a decent conversation going about it. Hey, we got our 15 minutes of fame already, right? Warren gave a fragile non-apology apology camouflaged between 143 other commenters, and then another vague “I’m sorry if you…” apology on his Facebook. And then nothing. And then this offended people group has to stew in their own mess that they made. This is our problem, right? We’re the ones with a bone to pick after silently sitting at the table for so long. We should just get over it. You know, laugh a little.
Getting a decent conversation about it doesn’t detract from the Cross and the Kingdom. The whole — “get over yourself, and get back to focusing on Jesus and winning souls for Christ” — drives me insane. It’s an absurd either-or scenario where Asian American Christians who decide to speak up about some harbored affliction are all the sudden less Christian or not Christian at all. Talk about undermining and discrediting your neighbors’ pain. And then stepping over or crossing to the other side of the street.
I’m not mad about what happened. I mean, I am, but I’m not. I like what Dr. Sam says about Pastor Rick: “…a good man is good not because he is right all the time, but because he owns up to his mistakes. I think he’s doing the best he can in his response.” And I do believe that Pastor Rick thinks this is the best he can do. I think that about Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite, too. I think they think…this is it.
This can’t stop at a vague Facebook “I’m sorry if you…” non-apology apology. Historically, Asians [in America] are notorious for being the silent minority, but I’m holding on to the hope that this stereotype is becoming outdated, especially in the context of Church and the Gospel and giving voice to the voiceless and reconciliation. Our narrative is twisted in the passiveness of Asian culture and the aggressiveness of American culture. To not be one doesn’t mean we have to be the other, though. I think we’ll find sure-footing somewhere. Back us up. Don’t tell my yellow skin to “lighten up” and find humor in racism, systemic or otherwise, throw out a [feeble] apology, and end the conversation.