Asian Americans don’t look or think alike
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.
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:
- “While the images may have been offensive to some and uncomfortable to others, I know their intent was to actually try and honor Asians“
- i myself wasn’t offended before… and am not offended now. but apparently, i may be the only chinese person out there that’s not.
- irritated about the whole Deadly Viper thing. irritated. really? ya had to shut them down?
- Hey Zondervan. I just showed my deadly viper book to 3 asians at Starbucks. They LOVED it.
- I’m sorry, but it’s soo dumb that this happened. deadlyviper.org/ My ASIAN WIFE totally agrees, too.
- I’m Hispanic,my son is Asian, @MikeFoster cn wear a sombrero & hold maracas 4 all I care.DeadlyViper chnged MyLife
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:
- Why can’t the church rise above all this being offended garbage? In Christ I can rise above taking things personally.
- I am at a total loss of words after reading this: deadlyviper.org
- unbelievable, was shocked. Glad that I got to be a part of Deadly Viper just in time. #deadlyviper
- frustrated and confused by #deadlyviper being shut down by @mikefoster and @judwhite.
- I am deeply disturbed w the news of @DeadlyViper website bein shut down. I was just finishin #dvca. I feel robbed.
- Why does it feel like “assassination” of 1 culture trumps character/integrity assassination for all cultures?
- Ticked about the #DeadlyViper controversy & shutdown. I was considering it for group study.
- disappointed that zondervan caved to hyper cultural sensitivity and pulled deadly viper
- You guys did NOTHING wrong.
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.