i went to this conference over the weekend at Duke University. basically, it was all about being Asian American and what that means in this time and era, when our representation in media, politics, and mainstream society is extremely lacking. many of the keynote speakers & workshop leaders said inspirational statements and spoke about stepping outside our niche and passivity.
one speaker, Eddie Lee (who i could never compare to–those perfect Asians -___-), drove home the point that “there is power and purpose in every part of our lives, even failure”. Interesting enough, he also spoke about standing (2). a theme that seems to constantly occur in this season of life. however, his standing takes me down a different path. he says,
“take risks by TAKING the impossible.
we need resilience
STAND UP … because our community needs it”
however, the connecting point to everything i heard in the keynotes and conference theme came about in a workshop that a UVA Intervarsity campus pastor, Gregory Hsu, gave about “A Future Together: Bridging the Divide between Religious and Non-Religious Asian-Americans” (video here).
the speaker’s main point was within the Asian-American community, there is a sharp divide between these two groups, which is detrimental to both. he argues that each group needs the other in order to advocate for our causes and fully comprehend the individual’s identity. religious AAs can be detached from the “physical issues” (e.g. racial discrimination) because they have religion as the pinnacle of life and they’re above ethnic problems. so they turn away from the cultural and physical aspects of being an Asian American and avoid the community, etc. on the other hand, non-religious individuals have physical limitations even though they understand the physical reality of being an Asian-American. it’s fine if they don’t accept religion in their life, but they should at least pursue and come to an understanding about their philosophy on life in order to be be refueled in their passion for the AA community.
so obviously since i stand on the “religious side” of this issue, i think this workshop really challenged my worldview of the community i have surrounded myself with … both at home and at American. often i categorize my Asian and Christian communities into different places. at Chi Alpha i HATE being that Asian person who knows all the other Asians, so i do my best to avoid it. with my Asian friend circle, i don’t talk about my faith really because I don’t want to be that Christian person who goes on about the Jesus guy. those are my two halves. but now i clearly see the lines i’ve drawn in my own life. . . and as Greg, the speaker challenged me — guess what? sometimes God calls His people to …. BE THAT PERSON. maybe i gotta let all my pride and selfishness go and stand in THIS gap. among my people (literally). among my brothers and sisters. among the future ones.
don’t know what this all means, but that’s not important. it’s okay because all i have to do is say yes and all the other pieces will slowly fall into place. one step at a time. i got this.