Adventures in Cultural Competence

Originally a blog for my 'bewildering' experiences as an international, it has since evolved into... something else. Though not entirely. The point is, when I say 'stupid foreigner', I do sometimes mean myself.

For the curious: home was Philippines for most of my life; then sixth form at a British school in Italy; then college in the grand ole US of A (East Coast). Currently I go back and forth between Rhode Island and Manila.

'Cultural Competence' is a reference to a mandate that my school issued to many of its organisations, which probably tells you something about my school.

http://ssoux.tumblr.com/post/83495438726/i-want-to-comment-on-why-the-model-minority-myth

ssoux:

I want to comment on why the Model Minority Myth is bad - not good, not neutral, but nothing other than bad. 

  • Firstly, no racial stereotype is positive. They are reductive and created with the intention to limit one’s humanity. They are caricatures of an entire group of people.
  • The Model Minority Myth was created by white people.
  • It was coined in the 1960’s when the New York Times Newspaper ran stories describing the success of Asian-Americans (I believe specifically Japanese-American and then Chinese American people) in the US despite marginalization(they didn’t want to say racism) basically saying that through cultural influences which promoted strong family values and hard work ethic, Asian Americans were able to “thrive” in the US despite the barriers that were present.
  • This was the 1960’s, an era that included numerous social & political movements not only in the US, but around the world. The Model Minority Myth was created in opposition to those movements, namely the Civil Rights Movement in a manner that proposed Asian Americans, who were/are racial minorities, were doing quite well in spite of the issues that were being highlighted throughout the Civil Rights Movement (a movement largely headed by Black Americans).
  • Not only were white people using Asian Americans as a means for justifying that things were fine the way they were, white people were pitting Asian Americans against other People of Color.
  • The Model Minority Myth contributes to the idea that all Asians are interchangeable. It ignores the differences in histories, economic status, and educational attainment among the people of various ethnicities who are racialized as Asian, collectively and individually. 
  • Statistically, it just isn’t true when you look across the board at various ethnic groups racialized as Asian the level of economic and educational disparity. (For Hmong-American people, the percentage of those living in poverty is 25% & we’re also below in terms of educational attainment and annual median salary)
  • Having been perpetuated, it’s placed unfair expectations/pressures on Asian students academically and contributed to false ideas of our performance making academic aid and support more difficult (in terms of its availability and in asking for it)

(via susurrations)

That assumption has a terrible flip side: Girls of color are often viewed as always sexually available, simply because of their race. Just look at the specific stereotypes: Latina women are “spicy,” Middle Eastern and South Asian women are simultaneously “exotic” and “repressed,” Asian women are “submissive,” black women are “wild” or “animalistic”—it doesn’t matter what disgusting stereotype you choose, it boils down to the same thing: Women of color are assumed to be always available for sex…. On top of all of this, it’s important to keep in mind one of the main reasons women of color are expected to be always sexually available—because in countries where they’ve been historically enslaved or colonized by white cultures, the white men in those cultures felt free to rape them with impunity. That women of color in colonized countries should have any say-so in what happens to their bodies, sexually or otherwise, is a pretty new idea in the grand scheme of things, and one that women of color have had to fight hard for, and still have to fight for today.

The problem with English is this: You usually can’t open your mouth and it comes out just like that—first you have to think what you want to say. Then you have to find the words. Then you have to carefully arrange those words in your head. Then you have to say the words quietly to yourself, to make sure you got them okay. And finally, the last step, which is to say the words out loud and have them sound just right.
But then because you have to do all this, when you get to the final step, something strange has happened to you and you speak the way a drunk walks. And, because you are speaking like falling, it’s as if you are an idiot, when the truth is that it’s the language and the whole process that’s messed up. And then the problem with those who speak only English is this: they don’t know how to listen; they are busy looking at your falling instead of paying attention to what you are saying.

NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names

I finished reading this some time ago and since then I was trying to write something coherent and meaningful. I couldn’t. Go, find it, read it, that’s all I have to say.

(via ancientwinters)

(via susurrations)

Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods, often claims that to know a culture, you must eat their food. I’ve eaten Vietnamese food my whole life, but there’s still so much that I don’t understand about my family and the place we came from. I don’t know why we can be so reticent, yet so emotional; why Catholicism, the invaders’ religion, still has such a hold on them; why we laugh so hard even at times when there’s not much to laugh about. After endless plates of com bi, banh xeo, and cha gio, I still don’t know what my grandmother thinks about when she prays.

—Soleil Vy Ho, Craving the Other (via rubato)

(Source: soleilho, via susurrations)

freedominwickedness:

saturnineaqua:

intheindigo:

shanellbklyn:

historicaltimes:

Babies are strapped into airplane seats enroute to LAX during “Operation Babylift” with airlifted orphans from Vietnam to the US. April 12, 1975.

This looks dangerous as fuck 😒

ikr? I was thinking how they would not have been secure if the plane crashed only to find out that one of the planes in the operation did crash.

what?!

Most of the babies taken to the United States by “Operation Babylift” were not orphans in the first place; they were children from refugee camps who were fraudulently designated as orphans by American relief workers — most of them with religious affiliations — who believed they’d be “better off” being raised by white Americans.
Operation Reunite is an amazing nonprofit run by Babylift victims which seeks to use DNA testing to find and reconnect with their real families back home in Vietnam.

freedominwickedness:

saturnineaqua:

intheindigo:

shanellbklyn:

historicaltimes:

Babies are strapped into airplane seats enroute to LAX during “Operation Babylift” with airlifted orphans from Vietnam to the US. April 12, 1975.

This looks dangerous as fuck 😒

ikr? I was thinking how they would not have been secure if the plane crashed only to find out that one of the planes in the operation did crash.

what?!

Most of the babies taken to the United States by “Operation Babylift” were not orphans in the first place; they were children from refugee camps who were fraudulently designated as orphans by American relief workers — most of them with religious affiliations — who believed they’d be “better off” being raised by white Americans.

Operation Reunite is an amazing nonprofit run by Babylift victims which seeks to use DNA testing to find and reconnect with their real families back home in Vietnam.

(via susurrations)

call-of-cthulhu:

sinidentidades:

 Australia’s history of racism towards Aboriginals is absolutely disgusting. 

Until the mid-60s, indigenous Australians came under the Flora And Fauna Act, which classified them as animals, not human beings. This also meant that killing an indigenous Australian meant you weren’t killing a human being, but an animal.

To this day, Australia breaks every code of the Geneva Convention when it comes to indigenous Australians and their human rights. The “public housing” that the government has given them are one-bedroom shacks with no running water, no electricity and no gas, that entire families are forced to live in. These shacks are in communities in the outback, as far away from “civilised” society as possible. Out of sight, out of mind.

Indigenous Australians that live in the city are commonly forced to live in very dangerous and derelict areas that the government gives very little funding towards. Redfern in Sydney is a highly indigenous Australian populated suburb that is rife with crime, unemployment and horrendous living conditions. The government does next to nothing to help these people, either.

Whenever riots have broken out as a result of incredibly low morale, the police and the government are very quick to point all the blame at the indigenous Australians and say that they are the cause of their own problems, rather than looking at what the actual cause is.

Unemployment rates amongst indigenous Australians is astronomical. Crime rates are astronomical. Suicide rates are extremely high within the indigenous Australian community. Death from inadequate living conditions and inadequate health care is common. Brutality towards indigenous Australians is common.

The way many indigenous Australians are forced to live is equivalent to that of what one would expect from a third-world country. Indigenous Australians are considered by the UN to be one of the most horrendously marginalised groups in the world.

And how does the government amend all of this? With a national “Sorry Day”, where white people plant a hand in some designated area of soil as a token of their white guilt, and then continue going about their white privileged day.

On top of that, white people here commonly bitch and complain about how “good” indigenous Australians have it and how “thankful” they ought to be to the white man for improving their quality of life. Meanwhile, indigenous Australians have lost almost all sense of identity and culture because of white colonisation.

What is left of Aboriginal identity and culture has been nearly completely destroyed. And most people in this disgustingly privileged country do not give a single god damn fuck.

Australia is a disgusting country when it comes to racism. I am disgusted by my own country.

(Source: artsofpolitika, via susurrations)

allthingswiseandwonderful:

laborreguitina:

policymic:

This is what American Indians really look like

"Where’s your horse? Would you bless me? I’ve always wanted to be blessed by an Indian."

These are the types of questions photographer Matika Wilbur, a member of the Swinomish and Tulalip tribes, has encountered when meeting non-Native people. Such experiences have largely prompted her latest endeavor, Project 562. Wilbur, whose name means “messenger,” wants to use her photography to deliver a powerful message about what it means to be Indian.

Read more | Follow @policymic

the fuck i don’t get where some people get the nerve to say such things but i’m a sucker for a great photo project

The second from the last pic — WOW!!!!

(via susurrations)

madlori:

explore-blog:

Measles has surged back in Europe, while whooping cough is has become a problem here in the U.S.

Childhood immunization rates plummeted in parts of Europe and the U.K. after a 1998 study falsely claimed that the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella was linked to autism.

That study has since been found to be fraudulent. But fears about vaccine safety have stuck around in Europe and here in the U.S.

NPR maps the resurgence of preventable diseases due to public ignorance and lamentable misinformation about vaccines.

Pair with Bill Gates on vaccines, animated.

Andrew Wakefield has so much fucking blood on his hands, it’s unbelievable.

(via sugahwaatah)