Immigrant Stories: How did you come to US?

Celebrating the Immigrant in all of US--even you, yes you



H* #16: Mental illness in POC communities

This week, BlackinAsia and unapologetically-yellow discuss mental illness in POC communities. From the high rates amoungst Women of Color due to toxic stress, from the importance of self-diagnosis to how mental illness and mental health issues are not talked about because they are normalized, mental illness in POC communities is not an oft-discussed topic. (x, x, x, x, x, x) For this week’s weekly topics, we have Kim Kardashian’s Vogue cover, Michelle Obama’s trip to China, the Taiwanese student protests, and Divergent’s strong opening weekend. We also answer two anonymous listener asks about supporting LGBTQ activism in Africa and mentioning the neo-imperialism of English-abroad programs to a Vietnamese-American friend who plans on doing JET.

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This week’s podcast is now out! On mental illness in POC communities and the importance of self-diagnosis.

(via owning-my-truth)

Representation matters


It wasn’t until my visit to Japan (and a year abroad in China) did I start to wear makeup. I had always thought makeup wasn’t for me, but after two months in Japan, I finally realized that there is a whole world of makeup artists and products that cater to people who look like me. It was mind-boggling. And then, I realized why. In the States, every ad and every commercial had a bright, white face with clear, double-lidded eyes (always blue!) - definitely not monochrome lids or short stubby eyelashes. Nobody represented me in the media, and thus I grew up thinking that makeup was not for me. 

Oh how wrong I was! 

Malaysian Prime Minister Says Flight 370 Crashed In Southern Indian Ocean, "All Lives Are Lost" [UPDATED]


UPDATE — March 24, 4:15 p.m. EST:

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak announced Monday that conclusive new satellite data indicates that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crashed in the southern Indian Ocean and there are no survivors.

“MH370 flew along the southern corridor and its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth,” the prime minister said at a news conference Monday. “According to this new data, MH 370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200 aircraft, seemingly vanished after reaching an altitude of 35,000 feet on March 8. There were 239 people on board: 227 passengers and 12 crew members.

Families of the missing passengers were informed Monday that nobody on board the plane survived.

“Malaysia Airlines have already spoken to the families of the passengers and crew to inform them of this development. For them, the past few weeks have been heartbreaking,” Razak said. “I know this news must be hard; still I urge the media to respect their privacy, and to allow them the space they need at this difficult time.”

Malaysia Airlines released this statement agreeing with the Prime Minister’s announcement, saying “we have to assume that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean”:

Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean. As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia’s Prime Minister, new analysis of satellite data suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean.

On behalf of all of us at Malaysia Airlines and all Malaysians, our prayers go out to all the loved ones of the 226 passengers and of our 13 friends and colleagues at this enormously painful time.

We know there are no words that we or anyone else can say which can ease your pain. We will continue to provide assistance and support to you, as we have done since MH370 first disappeared in the early hours of 8 March, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The ongoing multinational search operation will continue, as we seek answers to the questions which remain. Alongside the search for MH370, there is an intensive investigation, which we hope will also provide answers.

We would like to assure you that Malaysia Airlines will continue to give you our full support throughout the difficult weeks and months ahead.

Once again, we humbly offer our sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy.

Malaysia Airlines sent a text message to families of Chinese passengers prior to the Prime Minister’s statement informing them of the conclusion that the plane crashed.


Malaysian Airlines to #MH370 families: “None of those on board have survived,”

Reacting to the negative backlash that it had informed family members via text, Malaysia Airlines released a statement saying they only sent the text to those they could not reach in person or by phone:

It is with deep sadness that Malaysia Airlines earlier this evening had to confirm to the families of those on board Flight MH370 that it must now be assumed the flight had been lost. As the Prime Minister said, respect for the families is essential at this difficult time. And it is in that spirit that we informed the majority of the families in advance of the Prime Minister’s statement in person and by telephone. SMSs were used only as an additional means of communicating with the families. Those families have been at the heart of every action the company has taken since the flight disappeared on 8th March and they will continue to be so. When Malaysia Airlines receives approval from the investigating authorities, arrangements will be made to bring the families to the recovery area and until that time, we will continue to support the ongoing investigation.

They were quick to point out that they had spoken “face to face” with as many family members as they could.


We have asked #Malaysia Airlines about the text messages sent to relatives. Their response here:

Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

Families of Chinese passengers who were gathered in Beijing issued the following scathing statement on Monday, calling Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysian government, and the Malaysian military the “real executioners.”

At 10pm on March 25, the Malaysian prime minister sent a statement to the families of MH370 passengers without any direct evidence that MH370 crashed in the south Indian ocean and no people survived.

From March 8 when they announced that MH370 lost contact to today, 18 days have passed during which the Malaysian government and military constantly tried to delay, deceive the passengers’ families and cheat the whole world.

This shameless behavior not only fooled and hurt the families of the 154 passengers but also misguided and delayed rescue actions, wasting a large quantity of human resources and materials and lost valuable time for the rescue effort.

If the 154 passengers did lose their lives, Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysian government and military are the real executioners who killed them. We the families of those on board submit our strongest protest against them.

We will take every possible means to pursue the unforgivable crimes and responsibility of all three.

Shortly after the Prime Minister’s press conference, stretchers were rushed to the distraught families of passengers and crew in a Beijing hotel.


Significant number of stretchers now being taken into Chinese families of #mh370

Jason Lee / Reuters
Jason Lee / Reuters

Source: Mike Hayes for Buzzfeed

This piece really spoke to me. #Palestine #diaspora #poetry #writing #betweentwoworlds (at Copley Formal Lounge)

This piece really spoke to me. #Palestine #diaspora #poetry #writing #betweentwoworlds (at Copley Formal Lounge)


"Sometimes I think if I hadn’t gone four years ago…"

"If you hadn’t gone four years ago, you’d have gone the next year. If not one year after, then two years after. You didn’t belong here. What did I tell you the first day? You have to choose to be here or there."

Le Passé, dir. Asghar Farhadi, 2013

(Source: fahmadfaiz)

On something that will always hurt


U can say something in broken Mandarin without the proper tones and pronunciation and people will instantly understand what he is saying. If they don’t, they will go out of their way to try to understand what he is saying. 

I say something fluently with the correct pronunciation but wrong tones (or tones that they’re not used to, given the differences between Mandarin and 方言) and it’s a minute of blank stares until I run the gamut of possible tone combinations and finally hit the correct tones. Or, if I am stuck at the airport because my flight got canceled, like when I was trying to leave Kunming for America, I have to cry at the service counter before people realize that oh, she actually can’t understand what we’ve been saying and we’ve been rather rude to her and explain to me slowly why my flight can’t be rescheduled.

Each time this happens, it cuts a little deeper. The sting is sharper.

Without language


My words were never my own for I spoke a language that didn’t consider the inner conflicts tearing me apart
But my mother tongue didnt have room for the sarcasm that was part of my western lifestyle
So I made my own tribe but they didn’t feel the need for prayer and repentance…so I left
I move consistently although there is nothing to flee from
I am neither a refugee or a daughter of one but I have no identity
No burning in my rearview and no smoke signals beyond the hills
And yet as I write this I am still not worthy of a language
I’m either too white on the inside or too black on the out
I’m the awkward third wheel, the exception to people’s stereotypes
I am your green card for ignorance
Your inexperience I simply allow for my language is not valid to teach
I just want to be worthy enough to speak up and teach
I want to be respected no matter what tongue I speak.

(via qaaliciid-deactivated20140415)

we come in search of our gods
not the gods of our colonizers or colonizers as gods
not the gods of those
who watched while any person in the way of
was slaughtered and concealed
so the celebration could go on.

from agrarian poverty to capitalist world power
they call it a miracle
but how much carnage was traded for us dollars?
how much of our prosperity continues to be funded
at the price of anyone browner?

not the gods of those
who isolate us from millenia of wisdom
ways of preserving
thriving as human
that never showed up in the GDP
or imperialist texts on our barbarity

not the gods of those
who erase our histories
and reinvent them as cold war doctrine
the records began only once we were
whitened enough
sterilized enough
eliminated enough to build emptiness in place
pin-drop, carbon-copied environments
isolating us from deep reserves of unaddressed pain.

crosses scarring the land with signs of violence
each the site of an extraction and a transfusion
life drained out and poison returned
staking out territory in our very ability to think and question and exist
outside of the confines of another’s agenda
using our own compassion and sense of justice
as a cage to hamper energies
that would otherwise rush forward
mending and empowering the brokenness
toward a self-reliant people
who nurture and love and know
beyond what has ever been shown to us.

we are told to stop questioning
god’s plan
when we never got to tell the difference
between god and the men selling this god to us.

so we pray for relief
from the way we work in frenzy
to carry this country to prosperity
building the very forces
that will continue to erase us
while the country keeps crediting those
who from safety
commanded our massacre
ate our loss to claim it never existed.

our bodies and minds
spread-eagle like markets to be exploited
our habits studied to be twisted and inhabited
by artificial needs
our insecurities invented and made operational
the skins of our supposed liberators
sold to us as necessity

they did not come with guns pointed at those
living today to tell their stories
they killed those nameless and unfound
and they had the power
to make it seem we had done it to ourselves.

this is what colonizers do.

broken and irreversibly divided
we come in search of the gods in us
who have risen from illegal authority
when we found the smallest space to do so
who will shed light on
our true miracle
the power of people
kindled by han
daring to love what was always theirs.

Esther Choi

A year and some months ago, I moved to Korea with almost no planning or forethought. I was least prepared for what it would mean to me as a Korean American, how it would tap into my oldest traumas, destroy the protective idealizations of my heritage, and leave me feeling so constantly frustrated, powerless, disconnected, and overwhelmed. This is an almost unedited version of what I wrote in a moment of crisis during my year there. It’s an experience I have yet to even begin to process, and hope sharing this can be a first step in making it legible.

(Source: stabra)


Óscar Diaz

Sin Título


¡Qué Lástima! .1 @ Godine Gallery 

"This piece came from a conversation with my mother about how language migrates and changes. Our Salvadoran Caliche differs generationally and is also affected by the fact I did most of my growing up in the U.S.A. The composition of the text is not only sculptural but serves a concrete poetry purpose. The piece was installed near two doorways in the gallery to invoke the feeling of home. The "Yo" and "Mi" start each sentence from opposite ends and they meet at the same place at the words "sectiembre" and "septiembre." My mother and I might speak our language a bit differently here and there but it connects us to each other in the end anyway. The materials used were artesanias that Salvadorans in El Salvador make and that commonly make their way to Salvi businesses in the U.S.A. They are painted in a folkstyle with scenes of Salvadoran campo life which is closely related to the Caliche my mother and I speak.” Artist Statement 

Anonymous asked: Why do people (non-Chinese and some Chinese/ABCs I've met as well) not believe that Chinese people exist outside China and Western countries? Like it really baffles me why I have to give a short immigration lesson every time someone asks me where I or my parents of from and I don't answer with the usual [Asian country or Western country].


i can’t speak to how chinese people (in china) think of the diaspora, but in the west i think a lot of this has to do with the racialization of chinese people (and asians by extension) as fundamentally alien and foreign, which related to the idea of the “perpetual foreigner.” by this i mean people view chinese as too connected to an ~ancient and mysterious~ culture to be able to fully assimilate into any other culture, which then helps to construct the idea that chinese people do not migrate. to add on the that, i think immigration restrictions (which ofc were largely informed by these ideas) helped to solidify the idea that chinese americans are either from families that settled before the exclusion acts, or are recent immigrants from after the exclusion acts were lifted. there’s very little place within the american imagination for the reality that plenty of asian americans have complex migratory histories and plenty of non-asian, non-western nations have sizable asian populations, notably throughout latin america.

if anyone lives in or around NYC, the museum of chinese in america has a wall that shows several families’ migration histories and it’s really fascinating.


i read this a slightly different way and my answer will reflect that:

i think part of this comes from very essentialist ideas on race and identity, which is something i can understand from Chinese Chinese who don’t really have a personal understanding of diaspora but something i don’t understand from Chinese-Canadians, Chinese-Americans, etc. like i’ve met Chinese-Canadians who are baffled by the idea of an ethnically Chinese person born and raised in Mexico and identifying as Mexican.

or for another, even more ridiculous example: even though Britain is ‘western’ and has a long history of Chinese immigration, i see on youtube videos of Chinese-British vloggers, there’s always at least one commenter who needs to marvel over the idea that a Chinese person can have a British accent.

people need to understand that English-speaking big city Chinese-Americans and Chinese-Canadians are not the only representation of Chinese diaspora.