If You Weren't Hyping Asians Until 'Crazy Rich Asians' You Weren't Paying Attention

In My Humble Opinion, The Hype On Asians Is Long Overdue

Dishonor on you, dishonor on your family, dishonor on your cow...

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I'm going to be perfectly honest: I'm still not fully comfortable with my looks. I used to be, when I was younger and like, in elementary school. But as I got older, people would make fun of my race (sometimes directly and sometimes it was an indirect comment) and it made me extremely self-conscious of the way I looked. I'm slowly re-accepting my appearance and traits that I cannot change. There are still people who tease so instead of listening, I try to ignore it. But recently, there's been a hype for Asians due to Hollywood. Specifically, "Crazy, Rich Asians, To All The Boys I've Loved Before," and the upcoming live-action "Mulan" film. Since these films, I've been seeing a lot of talk, both hype and criticism, about Asians. So let's talk.

I'm half Chinese and half Caucasian. Wasian, if you're hip to it.

So while I'm not fully Chinese, I still have features that indicate that I am part Asian to the rest of the world. Heck, my nickname in high school was Dumpling! So what's the issue, Maddy? You're also half white. Why are you even addressing this topic if it only kind of applies to you? Because I'm still Asian (they called me DUMPLING), my mom is full Chinese and I have a ton of family members and get this, they're all Chinese too!

It's still a part of me. It's literally 50% of my genetic makeup and it hurts 100% of me when I hear degrading comments about not just Chinese people but all Asians.

Here's what sucks:

1. Having to hear my friends, fellow classmates and random strangers make fun of Asian accents and their appearance, simply because they don't sound the same or look the same as them. I've even had people tell me that they didn't find Asians "attractive." Like, we all know that Asians don't have the widest eyes but if that's the only thing you don't like, don't date us? Just mind your business. Pointing it out isn't anything new here. While it's not technically a direct hit to me since I'm only half, O U C H.

2. Seeing non-Asians with tattoos of characters simply because they think it makes them look "exotic" or "artsy." I'll have you know that not only does it look extremely stupid for a non-Asian to have a character that they just Google Translated (they probably don't even know the proper way to say it or whether it's Chinese, Korean, Japanese or something else) inked on their skin, it's also kind of offensive. This isn't your language. You don't speak it and you don't have a history that connects you to it. So basically, get it the word in your own language, mmkay?

3. The stereotypes that go with being Asian that include but are not limited to: playing either the violin or the piano, only watching anime, being extremely smart especially in math and science, being shitty drivers but amazing ping-pong players, doing kung-fu everywhere, liking Hello Kitty and throwing up peace signs at every photo opportunity. I'm here to tell you that you're only partially right we just don't need you to point them out because sometimes you're wrong. I suck at math, I've only gotten one ticket ever and I can't play the violin to save my life. But if you want your stereotypes pointed out, feel free to DM me. Every race has 'em.

4. Not trying to attack anyone but it always seems to be people who are fully caucasian that tends to shoot insults about race. Are y'all jealous or just rude? Because as far as I'm concerned, we don't go out of our way to make fun of you.

5. You hate on us but then rave about our food? A'ight.

Here's what rocks:

1. Asians are be-yoo-tea-full. Do you know how many people thirst after Li Shang? There's a reason he sings the song "Make A Man Out Of You." It's because he's a man and an attractive man at that! While our appearances aren't everyone's cup of tea, I also have been validated that I'm not bad looking. When you look at a lineup of all white models and one from an Asian background, who's gonna stick out? Also, have you seen the cast of "Crazy, Rich Asians"? Yeah. I rest my case. We're beautiful in our own, exotic way. And our language and accents are beautiful in their own, exotic way. Still got an issue? Go to a nail salon and just try to understand the ladies as they talk shit about your cuticles.

2. We have rich histories that go back thousands of centuries and dynasties. Our characters are older than America. Heck, the Chinese invented fireworks (you're welcome, Fourth of July). They're truly awe-inspiring stories.

3. Our stereotypes are your Instagram stories. Bubble tea? Asian. Sushi? Asian. Pandas? Asian. Cosplay? Originated from Japan so ASIAN. Your jobs? Probably getting taken by Asians because if we don't succeed, we'll bring dishonor on our families and cows. You get the idea, right?

4. I don't know about you and this may be a bit biased but I think Asians are some of the funniest people ever. Ali Wong, Jo Koy, Russell Peters, Mindy Kaling, the list can go on for PAGES. We're also extremely hospitable (we'll send you home with enough food to feed an army) and you never really see Asians playing the bad guy. Not to mention that if you mix any race with an Asian, you will get one good lookin' baby. Just sayin' don't hate on what you don't know about.

5. Yeah, our food is the bomb.

Also, yes. We can tell the difference between the different types of Asian. It's like a superpower that only we get. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

There's always going to be pros and cons but I think that the pros completely outweigh the cons. Hollywood has had a history of rarely casting Asians but it looks like they're finally heading in the right direction and diversifying the big screen. Hopefully, by ushering in these new stars, negative opinions and stereotypes surrounding Asian culture will cease to exist.

As for me, I'm proud of both being of Caucasian and Asian descent. It doesn't hurt as much as it used to when I hear negative comments. Maybe it comes with getting older but I'm not trying to ignore my heritage anymore but rather, embrace it. It's part of who I am and I think I'm pretty damn fantastic.

So here's to lo mein, chopsticks, dumplings, and panda bears! We rule :-)

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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'The Farewell' Brings An Asian-American Narrative To Hollywood

I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.

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The trailer for Lulu Wang's "The Farewell" was recently released. The film, based on Wang's own experience, stars Awkwafina as Billi, a Chinese-American woman who travels to China after learning her grandmother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. "The Farewell" initially debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in January, and currently holds a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

"The Farewell" is an exciting film for members of the Asian-American community, as it encompasses many of our own experiences in having family overseas. Having this Asian-American narrative portrayed in Hollywood is especially groundbreaking and important to the community. "Crazy Rich Asians" has received much well-deserved acclaim for its leap in Asian representation, but the film did not necessarily depict a completely relatable experience and was only one story out of many in the Asian-American community. There were aspects of the characters' cultures that allowed the Asian-American audience to connect with much of the film, but the upper-class narrative wasn't quite as accessible to everyone.

While "Crazy Rich Asians" portrays Asians in a way that is very much uncommon in Hollywood and American media in general and had a hand in helping to break stereotypes, "The Farewell" introduces a nearly universal first-generation American or immigrant narrative to Hollywood. In doing so, the film allows many members of the Asian-American community to truly see their own experiences and their own stories on the screen.

For me, the trailer alone was enough to make me tear up, and I've seen many other Asian Americans share a similar experience in seeing the trailer. The film reminds us of our own families, whether it's our grandparents or any other family living overseas. I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.

"The Farewell," which is scheduled for release on July 12, 2019, depicts a family dynamic in the Asian-American experience that hits home for many, including myself. The initial critical response, especially towards Awkwafina's performance, is certainly promising and will hopefully motivate more Asian-American and other minority filmmakers to bring their own stories to Hollywood.

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