Greetings From Mia Park I was racially slurred against three times last Sunday, all by men of color. One man yelled, "China Lee! What is you, White? YOU AIN'T WHITE." Another man walked up to me, hands in prayer pose, bowing, and said, "Ching chong". That night, a group of young men called to me in fake Asian jibberish, laughing. And this was during a day of Asian American theater celebration. I hosted a successful playwriting workshop for Asian American playwrights and saw Lauren Yee's play "King of the Yees" at Goodman Theatre featuring an all Asian American cast. I felt like the racial energy of the day was a wash.
To add insult to injury, two particular responses to my posting of this incident on Facebook were just plain dumb. One guy posted a photo of actress China Lee dancing in her underwear, commenting on great she was in the movie, "What's Up, Tiger Lily?". Another dumb comment came from a guy who pointed out that China Lee was the first Asian American Playboy centerfold, so maybe I could take this as a compliment. My response to both tone deaf comments was that further objectification of Asian American women does not right a wrong.
The comments made from the men of color hurt a lot because I hoped they would understand oppression and racism. The Facebook comments both made by Caucasian men also hurt because in their privileged ignorance of trying to make things better, they further insulted. Part of my advocacy work as a yoga teacher and actress is to normalize my presence and the presence of people who look like me. Asian Americans are still seen as the model minority, more submissive, and weaker than, and there's a twisted sense of permission that other oppressed people think they have to take out aggressions on us.
My response to these personal attacks and to open racism is that we need to cultivate tolerance, at a minimum, between all people. Then, we can practice love. And the only way we can love each other is to learn to love ourselves. And the only way we can love ourselves is to know ourselves. How do we do that? Ahhhh...it's a wonderful process that is unique to everyone. For me, it's spiritual work like yoga and taiji, and creative expression like acting and writing. I hope you find your path to yourself so you can begin the personal healing the world needs so much of right now. Thank you.
Learn to Teach Yoga Nidra
April 15-16. yogaview. Chicago.
Learn to safely and confidently teach guided relaxation, yoga nidra. Yoga nidra is a powerful healing and transformational technique from the Tantra Yoga tradition. It's safe for all practitioners and we need deep rest now more than ever. Bring it. CE hours available. Info and registration here.
Yoga for the Postpartum Body and Mind Teacher Training
Learn to teach pre-and post natal yoga from my friends at Amala School of Pre-Natal Yoga, May 4-7, 2017 in Chicago.