Never Ask an Asian Where She’s From and then Insist that “Pennsylvania” is Not a Legitimate Answer*

You’ll have to forgive me. I started listening to all the podcasts piled up on my PC this morning during breakfast, and now I am all fired up. About Big Things.

I know I’ve written previously about celebrating the Little Things of life (I am one of the Seinfeld Generation, after all, that is, the generation who grew up watching Seinfeld, not actually of Jerry Seinfeld’s generation, which already has some catchy nickname, I am sure), but some things deserve to be reported and discussed. Like the illustrious head of our nation-state implying in his annual speech before the bicams of our national legislative body, that we may possibly be invading the land of the Persians very soon. Read Ted Koppel’s thoughts on NPR’s website here. And then, please read the rest of NPR.

This distresses me, not because I believe in having or want to have my homeland attacked, but because of all the atrocities against myself and my fellow citizens that are committed in my name and in the names of my fellow citizens. LIke having the wrong skin color. This poor man, a Rutgers professor and artist, might possibly have been disappeared merely through ignorance and fear. We have regressed from the fight for civil rights to the fight for mere human rights.

I would like to think our decision-makers and elected officials do what they do because they believe they are doing what is right, however far their concepts of right may be from my own. I threw up a little in my mouth when I first learned of Iran Contra (somehow, the Ollie North thing didn’t really interest me when I was five) in my high school polysci class, but I’ve come to believe over the years that President Reagan and/or his advisors were doing what they thought they needed to in the looming spector of a Communist threat. For me, the looming spector in that situation was the threat against the rights, freedoms, and sovereignty of the South American peoples. But then, I had the advantage of growing up without that looming Communist threat, maybe because of the decisions and work of the people with whom I disagree. (See what I did there? Tried to see more than my own side of the situation. Others should take note.) I feel the same about the current global political climate. I just have radically different priorities from the people in charge. And I’d like to think there’s room and space and a solution that addresses both those sets of priorities.

Until then, those of us not in charge can Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way which is a major theme from one of my new favorite movies, Idiocracy, the latest opus from auteur Mike Judge (he of Office Space). I promised a review of that movie, and I assure you, it is on the way. Until then, please, please don’t just get out of the way.

Be an active citizen. I don’t mean rolling around to your local voting station every four years. I mean, read a newspaper. Read a book that expands your worldview, one that isn’t by Stephen King or John Grisham or Dan Brown. Find out what’s going on around you, beyond your own personal circumstances, and take part.

* I believe this line of questioning is highly offensive to most Asian Americans. I can’t even coherently explain why, it gets me so very very angry. If you can’t understand why, you’re probably one of those people who want to see my birth certificate and notarized pedigree for proof, and then you’ll probably check my gums and teeth.

And On a Lighter Note…

Do You Have the Fanta Fevah?