Do You Really Love Chinese Food? (Part 1)

Do You Really Love Chinese Food? (Part 1)

Do you genuinely think so, or are you simply paying a lip service and welcome only Americanized immigrants?
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“I love Chinese food!” My American friends yelped.

“We have to eat real authentic Chinese food together sometime!” I shrieked excitedly.

Chinese food, like American food, includes a wide range of different types, depending on where it originates from. For instance, Sichuan food is numbingly spicy, Shanghai food is subtlely sweet, Shandong food is generously filling, and Cantonese food is delicately nourishing.

They are all Chinese food, yet so different from each other. I love Chinese food. However, now that I have moved to America – the land of opportunities – to pursue a college education, I no longer have 24/7 access to my favorite food anymore. I yearn for Chinese food, especially Dim Sum.

Dim Sum, not one specific dish, is a category of brunch food in Cantonese cuisine. It ranges from steamed savory pork to sweet tofu pudding. They usually come in bamboo containers, which are stacked in a trolley with an inside heater.

An older Chinese lady would push the trolley around and serve food through the steam rising from the hot dishes. Everyone can pick a few favorite dishes because each is served in small amounts and shared by the entire table. A pot of hot tea, a few trolleys pushed around, a few bamboo containers of food, a table of friends – together they make a classic Dim Sum experience.

When I finally found a must-try Dim Sum place in LA, I immediately invited my American friends, who had explicitly expressed their love for Chinese food. Very soon, a few of my close friends (all Americans) and I set up a Dim Sum date. “I love Chinese food!” my friends yelped again and again on our way to the restaurant. Even the abnormal pouring rain in LA could not quench their excitement. My heart was pounding – now they would finally get a real taste of my culture, and they would love it!

I was wrong. When the steaming dishes were put on table, my friends hesitated. Slightly frowning, they looked suspiciously at the food, “What’s this?” They pointed at the food with chopsticks loosely and unskillfully strangled in their hands. When they finally took their first bites, they stopped chewing almost as soon as the food touched their tongues.

Now, they looked down with eyebrows tightly knotted together, but still putting on a polite smile. I knew they had never had this before, and they did not like it. Not to mention love. Then, when I felt too painful to witness their reactions and looked away, they would quietly spit out the food. Some of them would not even try to hide, but gave me a funny face, “It’s weird.”

And then, they would not touch anything else without questioning, unless the more adventurous ones of them tried and approved it to be edible.

I was hurt, to say the least. I thought my friends loved Chinese food. I thought they loved my culture as much as they loved me. But is that true? Maybe my friends did not know what they got themselves into when they said they loved Chinese food.

Maybe they did not know better because it is not “politically correct” to tell someone of another cultural background (especially if they are minorities) that you do not like their culture. Or maybe they thought everything would come catered to their American taste, like how Panda Express is actually Chinese-like American food. When they came to Dim Sum with me, maybe, they were expecting something like Panda Express. They said they loved Chinese food, but they only love Americanized Chinese food.

If even my friends, who have been so loving to me, are like this, how many Americans actually love Chinese food? How many of them actually love immigrants’ cultural food? Do they even understand immigrants’ cultures? Do they claim to welcome and accept immigrants, but actually only like Americanized everything? Yes, I know it sounds like I am overreacting, but please at least hear me out before you make any judgment.

America is known as the land of opportunities for people of different backgrounds. Immigrants have come to America for different reasons for the past 400 years. Even the sonnet (the New Colossus) carved on the Statue of Liberty – the signature sculpture of America – sings America’s acceptance of immigrants.

It tells the “homeless”, the immigrants, to “give [America] your tired, your poor,/ your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It promises to “lift my lamp beside the golden door” so that immigrants can see the way towards an affluent future in America. The sonnet accentuates the “value” of America – diversity.

Certainly, now that Donald Trump is the new president, the country seems to have become unprecedentedly anti-immigrant. However, the president’s distaste for immigrants does not mean the public holds the same opinion. In fact, a lot of people, especially angry Democrats, have become even more supportive of immigrants. When Trump signed Executive Order 13769, people were shocked.

Democrats were enraged. When the Order was executed in January 2017, stopping immigrants from certain countries from entering America, nationwide protests at airports erupted. There is no need to argue how much most Americans dislike president Trump and his anti-immigration ideas. They protested just about everything related to Trump. However, how many of them literally hate everything Trump has to say?

A lot of people actually dislike Trump as a person, so much that they protest by becoming even more pro-immigration, only because Trump famously opposes immigrants. However, do they really understand and appreciate immigrants and their culture? Perhaps, even in today’s political atmosphere, most people still only say they welcome immigrants, and only love Americanized palatable minority cultures.

According to a recent survey, most people, especially Democrats, claim they think immigrants are as honest and hardworking as U.S. citizens. Almost half of the Democrats believe immigrants who are illegally staying should be allowed to become citizens if they meet requirements. The presidential candidate from the Democratic Party, Hilary Clinton declared at the eighth democratic debate that she wanted to keep immigrants and even “see them on a path to citizenship”. After the election, California State Senate leader also promised to “defend” immigrants who “[contribute] to the California Dream, but lack documentation.”

So many people like me come to America with beautiful American dreams, expecting to be accepted and appreciated for our unique backgrounds. But Americans – or at least most of them –do not seem to keep these promises, though doing a great job at paying lip service to immigrants. Otherwise, if the majority say they welcome immigrants, why when the population is behaving as one entity, the welcoming attitude does not seem to hold true anymore? Americans want the benefits of having immigrants, but they do not accept the immigrants’ tough-to-take-in cultures. They want only the “sweet deal”.

Wondering how this is the case? Come back next week, and I'll show you.
Cover Image Credit: Lucilla Dal Pozzo

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Islam Is Not A Religion Of Peace, But Neither Is Christianity

Let's have in honest converation about the relgious doctrine of Islam

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Islam is not a religion of peace.

Christianity is also not a religion of peace.

But, most people in both religions are generally peaceful.

More specifically, bringing up the doctrine of Christianity is a terrible rebuttal to justify the doctrine of Islam.

That is like saying, "Fascism is not a good political ideology. Well, Communism isn't any good either. So, Fascism is not that bad after all."

One evil does not justify another evil. Christianity's sins do not justify Islam's.

The reason why this article is focused on Islam and not Christianity is the modern prevalence of religious violence in the Islamic world. Christianity is not without its evil but there is far less international terrorist attacks and mass killing perpetrated by Christians today than by those of Islam.

First, let's define "religious killings," which is much more specific than a practicer of a religion committing a murder.

A religious killings are directly correlated with the doctrines of the faith. That is different a human acting on some type of natural impulse killing someone.

For example, an Islamic father honor killing his daughter who was raped is a religious killing. But an Islamic man who catches his wife cheating and kills her on the spot is a murder, not a religious killing. The second man may be Islamic but the doctrine of Islam cannot be rationally held at fault for that killing. Many men with many different religions or experience would make the same heinous mistake of taking a life.

Second, criticizing a doctrine or a religion is not a criticism of everyone that practices the religion.

It is not even a criticism of everyone who make mistake while inspired by the religions. Human are willing to do heinous things when governed by a bad cause. Not every World War 2 Nazis was a homicidal maniac but human nature tells them to act this way in order to survive in their environment. It is hard to fault a person from traits that comes from evolutionary biology and natural selection.

However, commenting on a philosophy, ideology or a religion is not off limits. Every doctrine that inspires human action should be open for review. The religion may be part of a person's identity and it holds a special place in its heart but that does not mean it should be immune to criticism.

Finally, before going into a deconstruction of the myth that Islam is a religion of peace, there needs to be a note about the silencing of talking about Islam.

There is a notion in Western Society that if a person criticizes Islam, then that person hates all Muslims and the person suffers from Islamophobia. That is not the case, a person to criticize religion without becoming Donald Trump. In Western Society criticizing fundamental Christians is never seen as an attack on all Christians because there is a lot of bad ideas in the Bible that Christians act on. Therefore, criticizing Islam should have the same benefit of the doubt because the Quran has many bad ideas in it.

The Quran advocates for war on unbelievers a multitude of times. No these verses are not a misreading or bad interpretation the text. Here are two explicit verses from the Quran that directly tell Followers to engage in violence:

Quran 2: 191-193:

"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (disbelief or unrest) is worse than killing... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists and wrong-doers)"

Quran 2: 216:

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

There is no rational way to interrupt these passages in a peaceful way. The whole premise of both passages is to inspire followers that war against the unbeliever is justified.

The first verse advocates for genocide against non-believers for the mere transgression that a society worships a different god or worships another god along with Allah.

The second passage is arguable more dangerous because the first passage just advocate that fighting may be a necessity, while the second passage encourages it. The second passage claims that war on the unbeliever is a good thing under the eyes of Allah.

The reason why these passages are dangerous is because they directly incite religious violence. For most followers of Allah, these passages are ignored or they convince themselves the passages means something they do not. However, for a large numbers of followers that view the text of the Quran as the unedited words of Allah, these texts become extremely dangerous. These passages become all the rational they need to wage war on non-believers.

This is dangerous because there are millions of followers of Islam worldwide that believe every statement in the Quran is true.

Therefore, the Quran becomes a direct motivation and cause for its followers to attack non-followers. Rationally one can understand where the Islam follower comes from, if a person truly believes that Allah or God himself wrote these words then why would you not comply.

Especially when there is verses in the Quran that says the Follower who does not fight the infidel is not as worthy of a Follower that does wage war against the non-believer (Quran 4:95). Finally, when male Followers are told that their martyrdom fighting for the faith will be rewarded with an eternity in paradise with 72 virgins for personal pleasure. If a Follower truly believes all of this is the spoken word of Allah then there is more rational why a person would commit these atrocities then why they would not.

Men and women are radicalized by these passages on a daily basis.

No, it is not just the poor kid in Iraq that lost his family to an American bombing run that indiscriminately kills civilians but also the middle classed Saudi Arabian child or some Western white kid that finds the Quran appealing. If radicalization were just poor people, then society would not have much to be worried about. However, Heads of States, college educated people and wealthy Islamic Followers are all being radicalized and the common dominator is the doctrine of Islam.

Osama Bin Laden, one of the most infamous terrorist in history, was not a poor lad that was screwed by the United States military industrial complex. Bin Laden was the son of a billionaire, that received an education through college from great schools. There is no other just cause for Bin Laden to orchestrate such grievous attacks on humanity besides religious inspirations. A person can rationally tie Islam Followers gravitation towards terrorism to a specific verse. Quran 3: 51 tells readers,

"Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers."

Any rational person can tie Islamic passages like this directly to terrorism. It is not a complicated correlation to like Nazism and Jewish persecution to Christianity. The Holy Book of Islam directly encourages the Followers of Islam to inflict terrorism unto the non-believer.

So why do some many people deny these obvious truths about Islam and violence?

Political Correctness and the want to not be viewed as a bigot. The correlations here are as direct as the terrors of the Spanish Inquisitions and Catholicism and no one is afraid to retrospect and say, "Yes Christianity caused the direct murder of thousands of people". A person would not even be controversial if one stated that both World Wars has significant religious undertones. However if anyone states that terrorism and violence has a direct link with Islam then there is an outcry.

Even President Obama refused to use the terms Islam and Muslim when publicly talking about the War on Terrorism. I am a hypocrite also because I used the term Islamic Follower instead of Muslim in an attempt to sound more political correct.

That is a problem when society refuse to use terms that are correct in an attempt to not offend anyone. Imagine if scientist could not report their findings because the underlying politics. Society needs to be able to have open dialogue about this problem or else it will never heal. Society needs to throw away the worrisome about being politically correct and focus on identifying the problems and solving them.

The world of Islam needs to open themselves up to this criticism.

There can no longer be a closing of dialogue where the West cannot speak on the doctrines of Islam because they are not partakers (That applies to all organized religion too, especially the Catholic Church). People who draw Muhammed must no longer be threatened with attacks on their life.

When Islamic women and men speak up about the sins of Islam, they must stop being silenced. If humanity is going to take steps into the future with better technology and more dangerous weaponry, then we need to solve this problem with Islam and gradually to organized religion at all.

If not it will doom us way before we get there…

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this article follow my podcast on Twitter @MccrayMassMedia for more likewise discussions.

Cover Image Credit:

https://unsplash.com/photos/JFirQekVo3U

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The American Paradox: ​Colonial-Settler Capitalism Vs Native International Federalism

The European Nation-State Structures Supporting Colonial-Settler Systems Towards Capitalism; And The Native American Confederation That Is An Internationalist Collective Towards The Unity Of All The Tribes Of Humanity.

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Throughout the history of the United States there has been two major contradictions: the state apparatuses formed off of the model of European nations, and the federal structure modeled off of the native tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy. While these two systems have evolved side-by-side with one another; there are differences that need to be highlighted. There is a clear connection between the atrocities committed by the European structures that caused the genocide of the native population and the enslavement and forced migration of African populations towards the end goal of profiting economically. There is also a clear connection with the ideals embodied in the federal structure and act of unity designed to integrate and concentrate a multi ethnic, multi cultural structure towards the aim of a transcended system designed to bond human species.

When we look in closer details to this colonial settlers heritage, it has a lot in line with Anglo Saxon superiority, which extended into Anglo American superiority, which we consider today as "white supremacy". This perspective of racial supremacy and ethnic identity has conflicted with the basic pretexts of the model of native designed federalism by sheer fact that the atrocities of mass genocide of the native population and enslavement of Africans populations. Defense and justification was rationalized by the ideas of European style nation-states which became a main aspect of the colonial-settler structure that has built the United States's States and defended the corresponding structure of capitalism it supported. This structure of capitalism, white supremacy, and nation-states serve to culminate into the colonial-settlers apparatus that ultimately embodies some of the worst aspects of imperialism and other forms of exploitation. The colonial wars with native peoples, the manifest destiny against the rest of the native population in the continent as well as the conquest of Mexico, the overseas expansion that occurred during the Spanish-American war, and the modern imperialism/neocolonialism via corporations and global military domination of the post World War II "Pax Americana"; just to name a few examples of the colonial-settlers atrocities. As Martin Luther King Jr once said, this is the mentality of the "triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism"; which was another way of describing what has been embodied in the colonial-settler structure, and is something dating back to the origins of the United States. But even with these atrocities, the origin of the United States is shared by its federalism.

Federalism was the basis that formed the United States in its beginning via the Articles of Confederation, and later the adoption of the Constitution and the formation of the federal government. While the colonial-settler structures blended with this, Federalism was a creation of native peoples in America. The idea of federalism was rooted in the collective native tribes of America who formed a confederation most know today as the Iroquois Confederacy. It was a coalition of tribes that came together to form a collective that worked in the interests of the group as a whole rather than any one individual tribe. These basic pretexts of political organization, coupled with native economic values of resource conservation and egalitarian distribution towards members of the collective tribe; formatted an institutional system that strikingly contrasts the individualism of European nation-states and their economic structure of capitalism with its privatization and self-serving incentives. This manner of transcended organization beyond any one particular tribe structure allowed for a system of unity that could be seen as a proto-form of internationalism, given theoretically the tribes welcomed all other tribes. The development of this international perspective likely was influenced by the interconnected trade network systems that intertwined the Americas in multiple structures of trade and commerce. It has been said that the Iroquois Confederacy developed the concept of a peace belt, a belt used to signify members of the confederation and a sign of friendship to the tribes connected in the vast North American and Pan-American trade networks. One could compare this to a proto form of universal citizenship/international passport. It is worth noting that this internationalist mentality has corresponded with the US federal structure in its motto E Pluribus Unum.

In the end, the atrocities of the European nation-states and its corresponding loyalty to capitalism has all but destroyed the native Federation and its corresponding economic system and mentality of international unity of the human species. The colonial-settler structure of the United States continues to wage a campaign of imperialism as a means of expanding the economic capacity of its capitalist structure via exploitation internally of the populace within its borders!and colonial territorial apparatuses; as well as protruding externally with an expanse of militarism on a global scale as a way of consolidating economic domination and exploitation. The loss of the memory of the history of federalism, the native mentality of egalitarian internationalism, and other tragedies inflicted by the cruelties of the colonial-settler imperial occupation derived from European systems of government do not hold unilateral hegemony over the course and path of the United States federal government. While the two corresponding structures have codeveloped, the inherent nature of the colonial-settler system is not one that is unalterable or invulnerable.

The basic pretexts outlined in early draft of the Articles of Confederation, such as the model written by Thomas Paine, outlined a federal government that instituted universal citizenship, voting rights for all, abolish of slavery, economic protection and egalitarian distributive methods, amongst many other attributes lost to placate the colonial-settler heritage. Entire wars have been fought to curtail this colonial-settler imperialism, and in the end the federal Union has repelled and advanced, even if slower than desired. The momentum of history will approach a point in which the colonial-settlers structure collapses internally and externally, just as every imperial power has; but with the legacy of the native union embodied in American federalism, the potential for a rebirth and rejuvenation of that lost perspective is possible. And when that perspective is revived and re-instituted, the United States can finally live up to its motto: Out of Many, One.

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