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I’m Asian…Take It Or Leave It?

Hey, wait a minute. Come back. Yup, when I pose the threat of the subject line, white America seems to have decided to leave it. Is being an angry Asian person the answer? In my opinion, no. However, will being the traditional, gentle, quiet Asian person be the answer? Obviously, not.

If we want to have a voice in how America looks at us, we need to stop putting the burden on everyone else and start putting it on us. We can’t sit back and wait for our savior to come from our peers and represent us if we have the opportunity to collectively do this now.

We can’t call Francis Chan or Dave Gibbons to be a spokesperson for Asian-Americans if they aren’t called to do so. What are we waiting for? What are we afraid of? Unfortunately, we have developed a certain complacency in the world we live in. Even though we quietly voice our opinions to our peers, we rarely voice our opinion to the rest of the world. However, when we do, we tend to be angry about it.

We must be the change we wish to see in the world. Do we try hard to understand what it’s like to be a Caucasian person, with all the rights afforded to them by American culture, and realize that their struggles and inner demons are no different than ours? We each misunderstand each other. We each live in a world of have and have not. We both strive for understanding of our contexts and we both have years of history that will be hard to change. However, if we as Asian-Americans reach out and share our culture in a way that commands respect, we may be met with respect. When we make it about us and them, it doesn’t really cause change, because the arguments have been the same for decades.

This process will most-likely be a long and slow one. There will be offenses and disrespect along the way. It will go both ways. We as Asian-Americans can be too sensitive at times, yet Caucasian-Americans can be way too insensitive at times. The reverse can be true as well.

I’m hoping we can stop being angry and start by finding a starting point. Continuing from where we left off doesn’t seem to be working. We should strive for common ground first, acknowledge some of our past issues, and find a way to move forward. Instead of waiting for the have’s to invite us to the party, why not start small within a group of our peers and build some momentum? After seeing all that has come to a head unbelievably quickly and surprisingly vocal in response to the Deadly Viper/Zondervan insensitive marketing fiasco, this could be a great chance to begin a fresh dialog where we invite Mike Foster & Jud Wilhite to the table, rather than watching them initiate and run with the ball. If we’re ready to talk, it seems like there may be some people (now) willing to listen.

About Dave Ingland

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