I know that there are particular ideas out there about Asian Americans, even among ourselves.
Years ago, I heard in some Christian ministry circles that we were reflective, and quiet and nice, and subservient. We didn’t rock the boat. I owned this for a while, for some innate and still mysterious reason to me, I wanted to embody these qualities too. But in truth I’m not—-and in truth? I don’t think other Asian Americans are either….maybe some Japanese folks? Not that I can in any way speak for that ever changing and dynamic culture.
But Asian Americans are not reflective, I think as a whole. I meet so many, who tell me, “Huh, I never thought of that.” or “You think way too much!”
And we can be vicious in our comments in our criticism; we do not always think through who we are talking to; we do not think of the consequences of our comments. We have not considered everything. We have not asked questions. We are quick to judge. Christians too.
This is true of everyone, I suppose, not just Asian Americans.
But I guess, as an Asian American, when I hear criticism from an Asian American, particularly from another Christian, it cuts me deeper. I know I’m suppose to engage and forgive. Unless you’re interacting with a group that’s received repeated and reinforced teaching on loving one another, giving each other feedback etc, engagement is tricky—it’s not usually welcomed. It can be considered uncouth unless I’m in a position of higher status, like with a leadership title. And even when feedback is being asked for, if you don’t speak “correctly” (whatever that means), it can be like a trap—a trap for you to fall through and be shunned. It takes so much trial and error, a high degree of relationship, and honestly–I think God’s initiative. I think ultimately, to engage—to speak truth and say “I’m hurt” or to stay in the conversation and forgive—is loving. Is very, very loving because it takes so, so, so much. Many of us in fact, are raised and encouraged by others to keep out of it, to “let things go”—which many don’t really do. These vicious words, criticisms that many of us live with day to day (that shame and shape what we are to believe and do).
No wonder so many of don’t speak out. No wonder so many are afraid.
And this is one reason why, I write anonymously. And my comments are still off.