Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Irreconcilable Differences...

As you think, so shall you become.
- Bruce Lee

I guess it’s easy to look at the way things are and accept them. SLOWLY things could even be interpreted as getting better. Off the top of my head I can think of 5 primetime TV shows with an Asian series regular and only one of them has the kind of racist stereotyping that makes me want to punch a bitch (2 broke girls, I am talking to you!). I get that there are definitely people working within the industry to create a more robust and less stereotypical view of Asians in the media and I am grateful for that effort. But the very idea that Eddie has thought about this and dismissed it as something he should help with INFURIATED ME!

Throughout middle school and high school, I always loved to read and write. As an undergraduate going through my extracurricular literature classes, I became aware that the characters and stories I liked most (and wrote about) revolved around only white Americans, you know, like Aryan Jesus. Somehow, embedded inside my mind was the idea that white Americans were the better characters to read and write about because as long as I could remember, that’s what the world had me believe.

After I became aware of this fact I went out of my way to make attempts to find literature outside the white dominated culture but is still American. It’s so frustrating trying to find a character to relate to when they are all described with blue eyes, light skin and the such. As I began to delve into the wonderful world of “minority literature” the one thing that became EXTREMELY apparent to me was how few books and even fewer movies out there fit into this category. I think that was the first moment where I realized this was only going to change if people like myself were going to put in the effort to actually change it.

This was all stuff I tried to explain to Eddie as we sat down for lunch and tried to work through our issues. It just frustrates me so much because if anybody was going to understand how I felt about this, I would’ve assumed it was Eddie. He grew up with Amy Tan (one of America’s most well known Asian Authors of all time!) as one of his mother’s oldest friends! How could he not see the importance of carrying on the fight to create and be recognized after growing up KNOWING one person could make that difference!?

After I was done, Eddie apologized for letting things get so heated between us before. He told me that he completely understood where I was coming from, and has spent his entire career feeling guilty about this very argument we were having. But in the end he wasn’t going to change his ways because no matter how he tried, creatively, certain paths are just closed to him.

I could see it in his eyes. He wanted me to say that I was okay with it all and that I accepted what he was saying and was ready to move on. As friends, I was completely willing to accept his point of view and not hold it against him, but as his creative partner I was not. I don’t know if I want to pursue a life in film, or if I want to be a painter, or a sculptor, or even a cartoonist. All I know is that creating with Eddie really isn’t an option anymore because he and I are on very different paths now. He’s always going to be one of my best friends on the planet, but when it comes to matters of the imagination from now on one of us is always going to be holding the other back.

I feel like I am coming off a lot more rigid than I am actually being! It’s not like I want to start casting an Asian person in every role we have from here on out. It’s just the very idea that an Asian actor isn’t even an option JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE ASIAN really bothers me! I have fought too hard my ENTIRE life to be so much more than some token Asian guy, and to actually be a part of anything that’s going to reinforce this idea I fought so hard against… I just can’t do it! So I am not going to.


Trevor said...

You gotta do what you gotta do. What you're saying makes sense to me, this really isn't a friendship ender but its enough to end a partnership. You haven't been comfortable with the way your career has been going for awhile. You've held your tongue and have been a great friend, but being a good friend doesn't mean that you need to compromise yourself or your values. I am happy you are going to be able to end your partnership on good terms though, that's the most important thing!

Anonymous said...

This seems petty. You can't see eye to eye so you end your relationship with your oldest friend? Its not even a big deal. You are making a mountain our of a mole hill. They use that phrase in your homeland right? Man up and stop being so sensitive, it's really unnatractive.

Hetero-Challenged said...

As someone gay and as someone Asian, I completely related to this post, especially the beginning about the type of White-Centered culture we live in.

Like you, I got extremely exhausted by the misrepresentation and under-representation of Asians in the media, let alone gay Asians...and so I actually turned to "minority literature" earlier in high school. That was when I realized I connected more with African-American authors than other students (white people) because they spoke of race and how they spoke of race was different from White authors. "The Color Purple" is a great example or the The Autobiography of Malcolm X...

So your comment of "JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE ASIAN" was pointed and poignant, and I completely understand where you are coming from.

I disagree with anon that you are making mountains of mole hills when race and how race is portrayed is very much important to how many Asians see themselves.

I'm sure you were pissed when Goku was going to be played by some White kid...or that the semi-autobiographical movie, 21, was played by another Caucasian when in reality, the good looking, suave, smart protagonist was actually Asian.

You're not coming off rigid about your beliefs, he is coming off prejudiced.

fellow asian said...

I hate that Asian guy from 2 broke girls too! I saw the first episode and was mildly entertained, but as I watched further I was so offended by this asian guy and the poor quality of jokes in general that I stopped watching.

I see where you're coming from, you aren't being petty. You shouldn't have to compromise yourself or your beliefs for anybody, not even your friends!

Jason said...

You gotta do you. You have nothing to feel bad for. "anon" doesn't know what he's talking about you handled yourself like a gentleman.

John said...

So what you're saying is, you will do anything for love, but you won't do that? LOL! Sorry I see where you're coming from and you're a good guy and made the right call. I hope you do decide to go into film so you can make this difference in the world, I bet you could do something amazing.

Frank said...

I want to join the chorus shouting down "anon". You are a good guy and I respect your decision. Eddie isn't being fair to you or himself. You should go ahead and make the film yourself then you can show him how wrong he is.

Anonymous said...

I want to start off by expressing my gratitude to you . You had me addicted within seven entries. Most importantly your message has skewed the spectral line to question , “How has homogeneity affected the interpolation within the climate of social stratification, economic status, variants through culture sexual barriers. I would like to think you have spoken Eddie? Its ironic how perception through frequency promotes tickeration of Hummingbirds. I can tell that you guys

care for each other