My friend Chu is so cool, you may have seen her on this blog before for her work with digital storytelling. That’s right, it’s here. Since then, her students at Charlestown High have been chosen as Champions of Change as part of Obama’s “Winning the Future” program. What does that mean? That means they’re going to the White House because they’re video is proof that regular Americans can make big changes in their community.
And they could use your help. First, watch the video:
Then head to http://www.crowdrise.com/bcncyouthcenter, read more about their project, and help them get to Washington DC by April 5!
That’s soon, so do it now.
I wish the world would be considerate enough to stop the offensive, racist crap, at least until I’m done with this quarter of grad school. I don’t have time for you, Pete Hoekstra. I really don’t.
So many things wrong with this ad– who thinks that a rural factory worker is getting rich off what used to be American jobs? Why does the background look oddly like Vietnam if you’re not trying to invoke anti-Vietnamese feelings too? Why is yellow peril such a perennial political favorite? Why did someone cast an Asian American woman speaking fake broken English? And why is she flirting with the camera?
Logically, I know that the good old days were never that good. That some things get better and some things get worse, but historically, things never get simpler. It doesn’t stop me from thinking it, though.
I recently watched “A Class Divided“, a PBS documentary about Jane Elliot, and the third grade class that she taught in 1968 (you can watch the whole show on PBS). She divided her class by eye color, blue and brown. One day one, she told the class that blue eyed people were better than brown eyed people and treated them accordingly. The next day, vice versa. The lesson ended with her telling them over and over again “We don’t judge people by the color of their skin, do we? No, we judge them by the inside.”
If only we could stop racism by getting everyone to feel a little bit of discrimination! There would be no interracial discrimination! Or sexism by men of color! Or racism by women! There would be no issues of discrimination within the LGBTQ community! But we all know that isn’t true. Life never was that simple.
Which is not to say that the reactions of the students wasn’t genuine. It goes to show how quickly and deeply inequality is felt. It shows how quickly superiority is acted on.
Props to all of the people cited in the Boston Globe’s article on digital storytelling— Giles Li, Pratna Kem, Sophia Kim, and Chu Huang!
The article’s all about the ways that the videos being made in Boston’s Asian American community not only address important issues of (mis)representation of Asian Americans in the media, but also the ways in which video-making has proven to be an important avenue for young people to get involved in self-expression.
Two of the videos mentioned in the article can be found in earlier posts here (Giles Li, The First Draft of Yao Ming’s Retirement Speech) and here (Pratna Kem, Wear I Fit). The third video mentioned, I Can’t Let Go by Chu Huang is below. You’re famous!
There are so many days and months dedicated to causes that I never catch them until the day is almost over and everyone is telling me about it on Facebook. Yesterday apparently, was National Coming Out Day. So I missed it, but people come out every day! Like people say when February is gone, “Black history happens all year round.”
I like this video because it’s about Asian American people coming out (or not) to their families, and the extra stress that often comes out of being queer and Asian American. Or, in some cases, Christian, queer, and Asian American. It can be a great combo when you’re comfortable in your own identity and have strong communities supporting you. Otherwise, it can feel really lonely. Via Color Lines:
A great video from my hometown favorite Giles Li, his poem “First Draft of Yao Ming’s Retirement Speech”:
The video is full of cameos from my friends and organizers in the Boston area, including yours truly. Take a look, or a few, and enjoy until I’m on my feet in this new city of Seattle.
At UMass Boston’s Asian American Studies Program, there’s a media literacy class that teaches students to make their own videos. Some of them have been featured here on my blog, but now, they’re all (mostly) in one place!
To see the videos, check out http://shirleystang.com/filmmedia/
Or you can check out one more that I’m posting here: