Nov 212009

Family resemblance. Twins look alike. Siblings look alike. People who have a few similarities can easily confuse others who aren’t familiar to them. You see, the world is really way more complicated than the market-driven society we live in that values simplicity.
Asians who look alike
The thing is, the Asians you know does not represent all Asian Americans nor the 34+ Asian ethnicities, cultures and languages that are lumped together under the umbrella of “Asian Americans.” Let’s not over-simplify.

The recent incident around the Deadly Viper book has stirred quite the confusion, particularly when the reaction from Asian Americans is very mixed. While some Asian Americans have been vocal about the offensive cultural insensitivities, other Asian Americans did not notice anything wrong. Those who didn’t see anything wrong remarked:

Some say offensive. Some say not offensive. This suggests there are (at least) 2 very different groups: sensitive and non-sensitive.

Is it good for the non-sensitives and non-Asians to bear with the concerns of the sensitives? From Romans 15:1, “We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this…

To those without the gift of mercy, without this sensitivity, the stereotypical alpha male, the end of Deadly Viper as we knew it, appears to be censure, along with confusion. And in our haste to move things forward, move on, and get past “it”, I fear the loss of this huge opportunity to address the elephant in the room — why can’t the church talk about its racism, especially the unintentional and systemic ones?

Now there’s a “backlash” of disbelief over the decision, and to say anything is akin to walking on egg shells, like:

To those who don’t think it’s a big deal, conversations will not make it a big deal for them. Or, some may think the very valuable content can override smaller issues over form factor. I don’t think the non-sensitives will care enough to use their time to learn more from the sensitives. Sensitivity, or lack thereof, varies for both Asians and non-Asians.

I’m most bummed that the book being pulled, the website’s sudden shutdown, and the sensitivity of the issue prevents us to talking about this more in depth in the open. I feel censured too.

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