The Paradox of Being an Asian-American Woman Leader

My laugh is a guffaw. It can pierce your ears or shock you if I’m not careful. In church, at Starbucks, anywhere in a crowd, people are unsure of what to make of such a loud laugh coming from me. I’m a 5’2” Korean-American woman in her mid-30s, but most people would probably think I’m […]

Asian. American. Christian. Woman.

I walk each day as an Asian-American Christian woman drifting between four separate worlds (Asian. American. Christian. Woman.). These worlds often have opposing values affecting my mindset, responses and how I make decisions. I grew up in Boulder, CO one of a handful of Asian-Americans. At the age of nine, I accompanied my dad, producer […]

There Are No Experts

I listened carefully as the man in the center of the room, a well-respected black civil rights activist, shared about his years of experience in community organizing and advocacy. Then he said a word that made my insides clench in shock: “Orientals.” I hoped it was a slip of the tongue. Surely a longtime native […]

Coming of Age in This American Life

I. As a girl, I learned about racism from my white father. He taught me it was evil which was the exact opposite of his upbringing where racism was as natural as a Carolinian drawl and black eyed peas with salty cured ham hocks and collard greens.  His blonde haired blue-eyed roots were soaked in […]

I Am Not White

I am not white. Don’t laugh because I know some of you might. I’ve heard the laughter. When I’m invited to speak on the topic of race and racism I often start out my presentation with that line, and it often is received with laughter. There is a hint of righteous indignation in the laughter […]

Always a Foreigner, Never Home

My face is the filter through which people see me. It can’t be helped. When people look at me, they see an Asian girl. To some, it’s the face of familiarity, but to most it’s the face of a foreigner. It creates distance, division, and tension. It brings up questions of heritage and place and […]

Remembering Vincent Chin

His last words were, “It’s not fair.” I remember the first time I read the story about Vincent Chin. It was in Helen Zia’s book, Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People. I was reading it for my senior thesis in seminary, which also became a huge influence on my writing Making Paper […]