Blending into your Landscape

So here's a comment that caught my eye at the Single Asian Man blog:

For the most part, all AA’s are the same. And most just strive for what everyone else wants – nice house, 2 car garage, 2 kids, yard, decent job that pays the bills, middle class, go to church maybe, not break any laws and pay your taxes, and be a good nice citizen/neighbor. All AA’s care about is what’s inside their little bubble – anything beyond that or outside of that, it’s irrelevant and unimportant. If it doesn’t have anything to do with us directly, we don’t care.

That’s pretty much it. None of us strive to be some CEO of a fortune 500 company, none of us date supermodels, or become rock stars, and none of us travel the world and see the 8 natural wonders of the world. All we want to do is live in our little bubble, commute to work, eat out sometimes, hang with friends, play poker, drink at a bar, and come home, hope to get some sex from the wife, and go to sleep. And the entire cycle repeats next morning.

Most move to the suburbs after marriage and kids, to be able to inject the kids to a good school district. We like to buy electronic toys from time to time to keep up with technology and with the Jones, or in this case, the Kims or Wongs.

What else is there? That’s it. It’s the simple things in life. We don’t care what happens in Iraq or Afghanistan, we don’t care who is leading our country, we don’t care about politics or what shapes the world, and we don’t even probably vote. We don’t care about social injustices happening to other AA’s in the U.S., as long as the AA is safe and still in his/her own bubble.

I'd have to agree with this statement. Nothing wrong with enjoying the simple things in life. Nothing wrong with wanting to have a stable life of contentment. But I'd have to agree: Asian Americans like to keep to themselves and are not actively engaged in their communities.

Our greatest strength is self-reliance, but it is also our greatest weakness. Asians are expected to be self-reliant and not to complain about hardship, because our mentality is this: we take care of our shit. Everyone is expected to carry their own weight, so your personal shit shouldn't be affecting other people.

While this is normally a good thing, it makes things difficult when there is a call for unity within the Asian American communities. We'd rather not get involved. We operate individually and independently despite our numbers and our potential for solidarity.

Every so often, however, an event galvanizes us into action. It's usually something pretty serious like Vincent Chin. But short of that, it's tough getting Asian Americans out of their shells. Asian Americans don't pop up on the social, political or economic landscape, because we've blended so well into the landscape. Alvin Lin of Asians Not Brainwashed by the Media wrote this intriguing observation:

For magazines I've interviewed some AA entertainers trying to make it in their respective industries. You know what is sad, and what is supported by the above data? Many Asian Americans basically chase what is already considered trendy or cool, which is essentially what is pushed through mainstream media.

However, all the AA artists who make it mainstream have to first pander to mostly White/Black audiences, because they aren't getting any major grassroots support from Asian American consumers. Asian Americans aren't supporting 'their own', the same way Blacks helped created and nurture grassroots jazz, hip hop, or rap before it became mainstream.

What is sad is that you have AA artists who recognize this, and their strategy is that they know AA's will support them only AFTER they've received approval/prestige from other sources first.

It's like the story of the Little Red Hen: nobody gives you support until you find success. Sometimes I don't even bother asking for support or collaboration on a project, because I've been disappointed too many times by flakes and dead weight. I usually just go ahead and do whatever the hell I want, and people start to come around when my project starts taking off. This is what I've done with my blogs, my books and my articles. Keep doing honest work, and people will recognize it and buy it.

But I have to say, there's a big difference between my Asian readers and my non-Asian readers. I run a bodybuilding blog which has half the traffic of this blog. The readers of this bodybuilding blog are mostly white. And yet the ratio of book sales to traffic hit is 1:2 every month, which means half of my traffic translates into sales of my books. It's not as simple as that, of course, but you get the picture.

On the other hand, the Alpha Asian blog has twice the amount of traffic, but sales of The Alpha Asian Mindset are ABYSMAL. In fact, they're virtually non-existent.

I knew the book was for a very niche market, but I thought giving the profits to an Asian American cause would motivate people to buy. I guess I was wrong.

So here's my suggestion to you all: if you don't know already, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund is filing a federal civil rights complaint against the Philadelphia School District for violating the equal protection rights of its Asian students. If helping these students feel safe matters to you, then I suggest you vote for AALDEF on the Alpha Asian Challenge poll and buy the book. Profits from The Alpha Asian Mindset go to the winner of the poll.

Or if you hate my writings and think I'm a moron, then donate directly to the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Either way works for me. Just don't stay in your shell and blend into the landscape.

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