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13 year-old Asher Brown was an 8th grader at Hamilton Middle School in Cypress, TX who killed himself last Thursday because, according to his parents, he was bullied at school. The Houston Chronicle reports that Asher was bullied for being small and for not wearing designer clothes; MSNBC reports that he was also singled out for being Buddhist and having a lisp. Most of all, his stepfather David Truong and mother Amy Truong believe, Asher Brown was bullied for being gay.
The Truongs now say that they had complained to Hamilton Middle School officials repeatedly over the last 18 months about the harassment Asher experienced, but their phone calls went unanswered and their visits to the school failed to stop the bullying. The school district of which Hamilton is a part, Cy-Fair I.S.D., is denying that they ever received complaints from the Truongs, other students, or school employees.
This story hits home for me because that’s exactly where it takes place. I grew up in Cypress, TX. I graduated from the Cy-Fair school district, attending both middle and high school there. The house that I grew up in is 2.5 miles away from Hamilton Middle School, which is listed on its website as a “2010 Texas Exemplary School.” I actually would have gone to Hamilton had it existed when I was that age.
It’s been many, many years since I’ve lived in Cypress, and it has changed considerably from the small town on the outskirts of northwest Houston that it once was. The woods I used to play in behind my subdivision and the ones surrounding so many homes in the area are mostly gone, built-up with more subdivisions, box stores, gas stations, grocery stores, mini-malls, and malls.
The demographics have changed, too. Of the 1620 students enrolled at Hamilton Middle School this year, 7.3% are Asian. I’d have to dig up my old yearbooks to figure out what the percentage was back when I was in middle school, but I’m guessing it was less than half that number. I wasn’t the only Asian kid in school, but it sometimes felt that way. Back then, I was teased and bullied for being different; I was called “chink,” “gook,” “jap,” “snake eyes”; the very first high school football game I ever went to, an older kid ching-chonged me in front of hundreds of other spectators; people screamed from their cars at me and my family to “Go back to where you came from”; even my so-called “friends” told me one year at church camp that I could never date outside my race because the Bible said it was wrong. Still I feel like I had it easier than others because I was a girl–only once did someone threaten to kick my ass out by the school buses. Twice, if you count the time I voted for the Democratic candidate in a 7th grade mock election Continue reading Asher Brown’s Suicide Hits Home
Filed under: Asher Brown, Asher Brown Bullied For Being Gay, Asher Brown Suicide, Being Different, Bullying, Cy-Fair ISD, Cypress TX, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Gay Teens, Hamilton Middle School, Hometowns, Homophobia, Misfits, Opal Hamilton Middle School, RIP, Shame, Texas, You Can Never Go Home Again
Google has blacklisted a list of terms for users of Google Instant, to prevent people from accidentally stumbling upon porn, violence, and hate speech, unless they really want their porn, violence, and hate speech. Basically what this means is that Google Instant’s autofill function won’t fill in words like “bisexual,” “Latina,” “gay men,” “rapping women”–for the violent and spelling-impaired–or “n*gger,” so if you’re actually searching using those terms, you have to hit “enter” in order to get your results. Included among these terms–some of which seem incredibly innocuous, like “are” and “meats”–is “asian babe.”
Which makes sense, given that when you search “asian babe,” you get a whole lotta this:
And a whole lotta, um, that:
Filed under: Asian Babe, Asian Babes, Blacklisted Words, Censorship, Google, Google Autofill, Google Instant Blacklist, Google Search Results, Offensive Terms, Pervs, Porn, Rapping Women, The Internet Is Overrun by Racists and Pervs
Jen knows that I’m a complete and total sucker for the Pacific Northwest–the trees, the rain, the waterfalls, the salmon, the oysters, the mushrooms (chanterelles or magic), the Subarus, the microbrews, the bikes, the un-ironic use of puffy vests, the fact that everybody recycles. It is where my heart lives, even though my body lives near my beloved writing partner’s epic clothes closet and archive-worthy library (okay, set of bookshelves) in Los Angeles.
And so it is no wonder that Grand Hallway, a rising Seattle band recommended to us last week by the brilliant and amazing Goh Nakamura, immediately fell into the warm, velvety folds of my heart (say what you will—my heart has folds and they are velvety)–absolute love at first listen.
Like my heart, Grand Hallway might best be defined by it’s many, many, many audio layers—which range from tempestuous to tame, earthy to unhinged, vocal to instrumental, tactile and ethereal. It is a unified community of sounds, in that fabulous way that so defines one of this decade’s breakout heroes Broken Social Scene, and up-and-comers Local Natives (formerly known as Cavil At Rest). Perhaps, not so different from life in Seattle, the music is about the art of surrender as a robust action–to the elements, to the rain, to the moment, to love, to life itself. There’s nothing one-note about that.
TOM CRUISE: Watch my movie!
DUDE ON THE LEFT WITH THE LUSCIOUS LOCKS: Hey Tom, what’s up bro? Can you sign something for my lady?
TOM CRUISE: You look good to me.
DUDE ON THE LEFT WITH THE LUSCIOUS LOCKS: You could sign whatever, man. Maybe her shirt? We didn’t bring anything.
TOM CRUISE: Hmm… I wonder what Suri’s wearing today? Hopefully that cute, cute, cute little Burberry dress I presented to her in a box tied with a ribbon before I left. I just love her so much. She’s totally my favorite of all my kids.
GUY ON THE FAR LEFT WITH HIS EYES CLOSED: Is Tom Cruise here? I can’t see anything!
TOM CRUISE: That Cameron Diaz, what a tall drink of water. Where is she standing?
GUY ON THE FAR LEFT WITH HIS EYES CLOSED: I can’t see her either!
TOM CRUISE: Did any of you happen to see The Last Samurai?
MAN ON RIGHT: I did. Not the most accur–
TOM CRUISE: I am so in love with my wife, Kate! If I wasn’t here at this premiere, I would be ordering a dozen cupcakes to send to her while she’s shopping at Barney’s.
CHILD BEING HELD BY MAN ON RIGHT: I hate it here, Daddy! Can we GO?
Why She’s a Babe: Jane Chen is a good-looking do-gooder. Not only is she a babe, but she’s helping to save the life of babes in the traditional sense of the word with the Embrace Infant Warmer, which looks like a mini-sleeping bag and can perform the role of an incubator for babies born prematurely at less than 1% of the cost of a traditional incubator–$25 versus upwards of $20,000. Chen and her team of Amazians plan on piloting the Infant Warmer in India before introducing it to other developing countries. And anyone saving babies–a bit of an obsession of ours, we’ll admit–is beautiful in our book.
Watch Jane’s TEDTalk in which she explains how the infant warmer works:
Filed under: Amazians, Babes, Babies, Beautiful Babies, Do-Gooders, Embrace Infant Warmer, Good-Looking Do-Gooders, Incubators, India, Innovative Ideas, Jane Chen, Non-Profits, TED Fellows, TED India, TED Talks
How many of held your breath and prayed this morning that the University of Texas student who fired off rounds from an AK-47 before killing himself on campus wouldn’t turn out to be Asian?
Oh, right, all of you!
Still haunted by Virginia Tech as though it were yesterday–not to mention the Binghamton shooter and, more recently, the Discovery Channel hostage-taker–I think it’s safe to say that most of us would be happy to never see the words “Asian” and “shooter” next to each other again unless we’re talking about excellence achieved in the various shooting sports featured at the Olympic Games.
The UT shooter has since been identified as 19 year-old math major Colton Tooley, pictured below.
Occupation: Lawyer, mom, former beauty queen
Known for: Helping foreigners sitting in Afghan jails. The Daily Beast‘s Elise Jordan just profiled the daughter of an American dad and South Korean mom, mother of three and 2004 Miss Wisconsin, who is currently a registered attorney with the American, British, Italian, Norwegian, German, and Canadian Embassies and recently negotiated the release of high-profile Brit detainee Bill Shaw. Motley wears neither a dress, veil nor headscarf in trial and is, according to Jordan, “one of the most respected lawyers in Kabul.”
Motley, who was crowned Mrs. Wisconsin in 2004, grew up in Milwaukee and earned her law degree at Marquette University. She had never traveled outside the U.S. before she began working to rebuild Afghanistan’s legal system in 2008 as a part of the State Department’s Justice Sector Program. Traveling around the countryside—visiting women’s prisons, juvenile detention centers, and some of Afghanistan’s roughest and toughest jails—she found that “not only were due process violations being ignored for virtually all of the accused persons, but there were quite a few foreigners trapped within the legal and prison system,” she says.
Filed under: Afghan Jails, Afghanistan, Attorney General, Awesome Ladies, Balls of Steel, Beautiful Ladies, Beauty Queens, Bill Shaw, Blasians, Bribery, Death Row, Foreign Lawyer In Kabul, Foreigners, Fraud, International Law, Jails, Justice System, Kabul, Kim Motley, Kimberly Motley, Languishing, Lawyers, Locked up abroad, Miss Wisconsin 2004, Moms, Morality, Negotiating, Prisons, Release, Security, The Daily Beast, Threats, Westerners, Women
What to do when you’re not studying, calculating your taxes on an abacus, or practicing piano:
ID Film Fest, a festival specializing in Asian and Asian American work that has not yet shown in L.A., runs from October 8 to October 10 at Japanese American National Museum. [Margin Films]
A new campaign aims to educate Asians and Pacific Islanders on problem of the chronic hepatitis B in those communities, urging people to get tested for the virus that causes it. [Hepatitis B Foundation]
ASPIRE (Asian Sisters Participating in Reaching Excellence, Inc.) holds its sixth annual Asian American Women in Leadership Conference on October 10, 2010. This year’s theme is “Discovering the Leader Within.” [ASPIRE]
Filed under: Asian American Women, Asian American Women in Leadership, Asian Sisters Participating in Reaching Excellence, film, Health, Hepatitis B, ID Film Fest, IDFF, Japanese American National Museum, Laotian Civil War, Legacies of War, Legacies of War National Traveling Exhibition, Margin Films, movies, the Secret WAr
Loretta Sanchez, Blue Dog Dem incumbent representing California’s 47th Congressional District, would like to introduce her new web series*, How To Lose Votes And Alienate People. Here’s the first installation, pulled from a recent interview on Univisión’s Al Punto show:
Well shit, man. If I didn’t know any better, I’d venture that Sanchez’s eyebrows were–with an intensity–trying to cultivate a race war in Orange County. Those eyebrows betta hope this Vietnamese lady doesn’t come across them in a dark alley while packing Tweezerman Luxe Edition Swarovski® Crystal Slant® tweezers anytime soon. AND THAT IS NOT AN EMPTY THREAT!
*not an actual web series
Filed under: Anti-Latino, Blue Dog Democrats, Boat People, CA 47th Congressional District, Calling Immigrants Anti-Immigrant, Community, Congress, Don't Fuck With Jungle Asians, Drivel, Dumb Democrats, Dummyheads, Eyebrows That Frighten Me, Fools, Jungle Asians, Loretta Sanchez, Making Van Tran's Campaign Easy, Orange County, Race Wars, Really? There's No Better Option Than This Bitch?, The Vietnamese, Univision, Van Tran, Vietnamese Community, What If The Shoe Were On The Other Foot?, Xenophobia
It’s too bad it took this long for a DOTW to push back, because the email below from anti-immigration crusader Yeh Ling-Ling is kind of the kitchen sink of hate mail, a terrific read with something for everyone: Accusations of jealousy! Insults to our intelligence! History lessons! Asian, African, and Latin American people stereotyped as violent mass murderers! A portent of our own murders that sounds creepily like a death threat!
And how could I forget: The bringing of shame to our families!
Funny that she should mention our parents, because while my own read the blog, they rarely comment on posts, since they’re typically too busy with their choir practice and their potluck dinners and their taking of cruises to random places in the world. But it just so happens that my father wrote me right after we made Ms. Yeh–who’s made a career out of smearing immigrants as wasteful, violent job-stealers–DISGRASIAN of the Weak.
Below is a copy of his email (only his name and one line have been blacked out for privacy reasons):
Filed under: Anti-Immigrants, Anti-Immigration, Bad Spellers, Bringing Shame to Your Family, Death Threats, Disgrasians of the Weak, Hardass Asian Parents, Haters, Immigrant Haters, Immigrants, Smearing Immigrants, Tom Tancredo, Yeh Ling-Ling
Filed under: Adult Supervision, Father Figures, Frightening Underagers, Lourdes Leon, Miniskirts, Raccoon Eyes, Reasons Not To Raise Your Children In LA, Taylor Momsen, Teens That Already Look Like Fully-Grown Hasbeen Strippers, Where Hardass Asian Fathers Could Really Be Of Use
Happy 41st birthday (yesterday) to my friend and bespectacled Wonder Twin Matt Sharp, frontman of the most spectacular band ever to rock a Moog. Many folks don’t know that the Virginian Rentals founder and former Weezer bassist was actually born in Thailand, which is perhaps where he picked up his jungle Asian ‘tude and Hardass Asian anal retentiveness.
After many years of hibernasian, Sharp and Co. recently released Songs About Time!!, an epic audio/visual compendium that includes 42 fresh tracks and 52 black-and-white short films (directed by the brilliant David Leamy) that were documented and released weekly in real-time over the course of one recording year. Well, it’s about time.