Sunday, July 31, 2011

Adventures in Multicultural Living: Facing the terror of sports culture far outside my comfort zone in Recreational Paddling class

From ACJ Advisory Board Member Frances Kai-Hwa Wang:

When my teenage daughter, Hao Hao, started rowing crew for Huron High School, the president of the crew parents’ group recommended that we parents also get involved by rowing with the Ann Arbor Rowing Club. I thought he was nuts.

Hard enough to take a child to and from five crew practices a week, how was I supposed to find time to add in my own practices as well? Still, the group of parents who also rowed looked pretty cool at 5 a.m., dressed in their own red and black spandex outfits, unloading the boats alongside the kids.

Yet here I am, climbing into an outrigger canoe at 7:15 in the morning.

Hao Hao took a course called “Recreational Paddling” last summer, and I happily drove her down every morning, watched the canoes take off, then sat in the car writing on my laptop until they returned. A bad shoulder saved me from all the friendly, “Why don’t you join us?”

Unfortunately, my shoulder got better.

click on link for more: Facing the terror of sports culture far outside my comfort zone in Recreational Paddling class

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Join Us! WHIAAPI's Upcoming Webinars (1)

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, will hold a webinar on how to file complaints for bullying and harassment in schools

Join Us! WHIAAPI's Upcoming Webinars (1)

Blog: Farewell to Tigger Wu - AALDEF

Emil Guillermo goes Amok on Rep. David Wu:

Blog: Farewell to Tigger Wu - AALDEF

Sunday, July 17, 2011

AML Dancing to summer music outdoors and for the Japanese American Obon festival

from ACJ Advisory Board member Frances Kai-Hwa Wang in AnnArbor.com:

My daughter Hao Hao and I were at an outdoor music festival when she first spied the little girl. About 3 years old, in a pink Hello Kitty dress, and one long brown curly ponytail, the little girl was dancing and twirling and hopping and flopping along with the music in front of the stage. “Awww, so cute.”
“That was you, not too long ago.”

(Then the little girl tried to climb onto the stage for her adoring fans, “That was definitely you.”)

I love listening to music at big outdoor summer events like Madcat Ruth at Ann Arbor Summer Festival's Top of the Park or George Bedard and the Kingpins at Grillin’ for Food Gatherers.

There is always an older couple dancing close on the side, cute little kids in sandals hopping all around. Perhaps the Internet has ruined my ability to concentrate for long periods of time, but I like the openness, the casualness, the fresh breeze ruffling the leaves on the trees.

click on link for more: Dancing to summer music outdoors and for the Japanese American Obon festival

Sunday, July 10, 2011

AML: Reading light summer romance without Asians, Asian Americans, or people of color | AnnArbor.com

from ACJ Advisory Board Member Frances Kai-Hwa Wang in AnnArbor.com:

While looking for light reading material for a recent airplane ride, I grabbed a pink book with a naked male torso that I vaguely recalled picking up at the King School Book Fair for 50 cents. I read the back cover, I read the first page, I randomly flipped through the book, and I could conjure up no memory of actually having read the book, so I stuck it into my carry-on, well within my 22-pound limit.

Although I usually prefer writers like Richard Rodriguez and Andrew Lam, not to mention Literature with a capital L, it’s summer, it’s an airplane, and I want something light and easy and with a happy ending. I have an equally embarrassing secret weakness for watching bad romantic comedies on the plane this time of year, too.

(I was sorely disappointed to realize at 35,000 feet that I had indeed read this book before, but it was so terrible that I could not remember how it turned out, so I had to read it all the way to the end a second painful time).

Summer is the season for light romantic comedies, and because there typically are no Asians cast or written into these stories, I can, ironically, go “off-duty” regarding race and culture for a moment and indulge myself in the great American illusion that the white experience is “universal.” It can actually be extra-hurtful to accidentally encounter an "Asian" character (like Mickey Rooney's character in "Breakfast at Tiffany's") when I am in this mode because I thought I was safe.

click on link for more: Reading light summer romance without Asians, Asian Americans, or people of color

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blog: Vargas, the Undocumented - AALDEF

Check out Emil Guillermo's blog at AALDEF on Jose Vargas:

"As I set off my Chinese fireworks on the Fourth of July, thinking about freedom and independence and what it means to be American, I also had Jose Antonio Vargas on my mind."

click on link for more: Blog: Vargas, the Undocumented - AALDEF

Sunday, July 3, 2011

AML Balancing old and new traditions for family and community at Fourth of July and Ann Arbor Summer Festival

from ACJ Advisory Board member Frances Kai-Hwa Wang in AnnArbor.com:

When my seven-year-old son, Little Brother, came home from school and said that his first grade class would be talking about family traditions the next day, his older sisters all simultaneously said, “Uh oh.”

Because our family talks about traditions a lot more than “normal” people, his sisters jokingly call a lot of things “tradition” that are not really traditions in the normal sense. However, because Little Brother is so little, he cannot always tell when his sisters are joking. What if he thinks these are real traditions and tells his classmates about them?

For example, whenever Hao Hao does anything that bothers her older sister M — including going into her room and sitting on her bed and reading her books, she insists that she has to do it because, “It’s tradition!” Whenever anyone breaks out into song and dance, the stated reason is always because, “It’s tradition!”

Every Friday night we have dumplings for dinner before Chinese School. Is it because Mommy is too tired to cook on Friday nights? No, it is because, “It’s tradition!”

M always argues back, “It’s not a tradition just because you say it is.”

click on link for more: Balancing old and new traditions for family and community at Fourth of July and Ann Arbor Summer Festival