last night, i finally met the man behind angryasianman, phil yu! & hot dang, girls, he's cuter in person! for realsies! :)
he talked to students at my alma mater, columbia college chicago. it was a good sized crowd of both asian and non asian students.
gawd, they were young... and funny, and energetic and charming... holey moley, did i feel like a dinosaur. :) back in "my day", when the campus consisted of four buildings, i can count on my one hand the number of asian students that attended... i think that had more to do with the art school name recognition - columbia v. art institute - than anything else... and without trying to perpetuate another asian stereotype - i didn't know too many midwestern asian kids who went or even dreamed about going to art school like me... :)
i didn't really learn anything new about phil that i hadn't already read from interviews, i'd already read... except 1) phil's saw his first asian american film festival in chicago. 2) getting a degree in film, helped him realize that he didn't ever want to work in film. which surprised me since he lives in LA and seems well connected to film industry types and really, who wouldn't want to work with wong fu productions... :) 3) he prefers the blog without comments because readers end up linking to content on his blog and blog about it elsewhere so the information is dispersed and the blog is less of an echo chamber... *raises hand* guilty as charged.
at the start of the event, a student began with her own story of how she found the angryasianman blog and went on to say how much she relies on it for information and entertainment and how if helps her feel a part of a larger community. i totally agree. she also reminded me of how i came to find the angryasianman blog...
i started blogging shortly after paloma was born in 2003 as a way of chronicling my new life as a mom - and frankly, it gave me something to do with the odd sleeping and waking hours we kept. i also started to frequent online parenting forums on craigslist and urbanbaby.
now, craigslist also has a people of color forum - another community that i visited often. i think i was one of two maybe three asian women in that forum. and occasionally, folks from modelminority and maybe, yellow world would drive by and drop links and chat.... well, as per usual, the thorny issue of interracial dating came up. and i was asked if i was married to an asian man. i was honest and said no. and immediately i got flamed, called a sellout, self hating and a race traitor, etc... i asked one of the asian dads, "what will you do if your daughter falls in love with a non asian?" he replied, "she wouldn't do that because she'll know better."
that same exchange happened in every forum i stepped into - modelminority... yellowworld, etc... it absolutely broke my heart that any deep and loving relationships with asian men - friends, grandfathers, father, brother, cousins - were all negated because i'd married a white (mixed puerto rican) man. it didn't matter how proud i was to be filipino or how i supported/felt about the filipino or larger asian community... it didn't even matter that i acknowledged that sellouts and self haters existed... i married out. so i was the enemy.
i tried to explain that a) i was born with a very visible malformation on my neck - and that NO MAN - asian or non asian - was going to find that appealing. i knew at an early age, that only someone REALLY special was going to see past my appearance... b) for years and years, i pined (languished, really) for the attention of asian men... but i was always his best friend or more often HER best friend that could help him win her over... and guess what? SHE WAS USUALLY WHITE. my heart was broken (crushed) time after time... eventually, in college, when someone actually showed a romantic interest in me, he turned out to be white. and the first time an asian guy showed a romantic interest in me, i was already in a serious relationship with the thin man....
eventually, i gave up on engaging in conversations on forums and ended up quietly lurking...
often the forum posters would post links to phil's blog. i was a little hesitant to visit just from the name of the blog... i was too tired to be yelled at again... but i clicked and was relieved to find that he wasn't quite as angry as the name implied... or divisive and even accepting or at the very least tolerant of the diversity within the asian community... the items he posted (posts) were (are) always hilarious, honest, evocative and empowering...
and the rest is history... thru angryasianman blog, i found the kimchi mamas, the rice daddies, racialicious (before it was racialicious - mixed media watch -where i got my 5 minutes of blog fame w/ the rosie o'donnell ching chong fiasco), disgrasian, reappropriate, fighting 44s, etc... and thru all of those blogs i found more asian blogs and forums and a renewed/redefined sense of belonging... i was/am thankful that there was/is space in the room for a slacker asian blogger like me.
i'm so happy and proud that angryasianman is celebrating it's 10 year (what?!) anniversary. and how does that translate in human years anyway?? ;) it's a stunning milestone for a one in a million blog.
so phil, thanks for all the insightful and thought provoking reading material this past DECADE (head essplodes) - can't wait to see what you post in the next 10 years... hopefully, A PODCAST. (he also said he wants us readers to keep bugging him about the lack of one... podcast! podcast! podcast!)
and more shirtless pics of keanu... and rain... and daniel liu... and harry shum... :)
oh, and fewer pictures of asians in extreme eating contests... >:P
stay angry! :)