on behalf of my asian kin-folk… i’m sorry
i’ve been meaning to write a post on this for a very long time and in light of the Deadly Viper controversy, i can’t put this off any longer.
at the risk of sounding like a complete sell-out, I want to apologize on behalf of the Asian-American community for the following:
- for being ultra-sensitive to anything remotely, potentially, and inadvertently racist
- for criticizing mono-cultural organizations, churches and conferences without offering practical solutions and room for common ground to be reached.
- for being passive-aggressive (can’t help that as much)
- for stinky food (kimchi is actually really good considering it’s another word for “strangely edible rotten cabbage”)
- for choosing to operate in our own silos and enclaves without much of an effort to integrate, collaborate and procreate (actually, this last bit is definitely taking place so scratch that).
These things being said, i do want to ask the non-Asian (particularly my white brothers and sisters) community for a few essential pieces in our on-going social dialogue:
- please continue to make efforts to make diversity in your life an ongoing discipline and priority. in other words, befriend more people who are not like you (easier said than done, i know and this goes for all of us!)
- if you are going to tread into potentially race-sensitive territory, make sure there is credibility behind your methods and motives. (In fact, it may just be easier to NEVER use a non-white reference until you establish the same credibility that, say, Eminem has… bad example? perhaps…) It is the truth that since the Caucasian population is still viewed as the majority culture in America, there is a higher standard (double standard?) that you are held to in actions and speech. Not fair, but true.
So where do we go from here?
What do we need?
we need BRIDGE PEOPLE. not activists, angry [insert race here] men, or our respective versions of Malcolm X. we need people who will help unify and bring understanding between cultures that will continually misunderstand and hurt each other. some of us are just better at functioning in many diverse settings and your network of friends and partners is often compared to that of the United Nations. if this is you, you are a bridge person and you need to step into the gaps of friendship.
we need to use our INFLUENCE to promote COLLABORATION. some of us function in incredible spheres of influence and the tendency is to bring the “proven” commodities (aka, people like us) into these platforms. however, we need to intentionally search out the “hidden jewels” deep inside the ‘hoods, ghettos, barrios and specialty kimchi stores (these don’t actually exist). For instance, if you are a high-level record-exec, please stop operating under the notion that only a certain race can play a certain type of music and do it well… (ahem…)
Finally, we need lot’s and lot’s and lot’s of FORGIVENESS. It’s hard to give the benefit-of-the-doubt to people we don’t know so that’s why it’s important that the aforementioned BRIDGE and INFLUENCE people need to lead the charge in this regard. I love what my brother @davegibbons tweeted earlier today in light of the many jabs being thrown at my Deadly Viper bros:
[Mike and Jud] I stand by you guys. I know your hearts. I know you would never intentionally hurt the AA (asian-american) community. Much love to you.
How about that now?
Ironically, I had met with Jud Wilhite and Mike Foster yesterday in a creative planning meeting for an upcoming conference, and we had discussed at length the need for diversity in large, influential gatherings. I respect these guys a lot and my feeling is that they would never seek to offend anyone…
It’s a cliche but it’s timely and appropriate to say, “You’re either a part of the solution or a part of the problem.” So pick a side. I’m gonna TRY to be a BRIDGE-person that uses my INFLUENCE to FORGIVE and understand… of course this doesn’t mean i’ll stop being angry at offensive things but at least i’ve resolved to unite what’s split apart.