A highlight from Cathy Park Hong

Still Processing


Hello wesley hello jenna. So a few weeks ago we decided to do something on the show that we have never done before but always wanted to do which is read a book and this year. We chose minor feelings in asian american reckoning by the poet and author and cultural critic. Cathy park hong. So now that we're done reading the book we're gonna talk about it a little bit. And then we're gonna talk to kathy but wesley. Do you remember why we pick this book in the first place. I think what we wanted to do was try to think about what's been happening in this country for the last fifteen months since the pandemic started and there seemed to be this uptick partially driven by the president's association of the corona virus with china but also this longstanding tension between asians and america. Right and this idea that they're not american and the ways in which those problems manifest themselves through violence and hate speech. One of the reasons to talk about. This book is what cathy park. Hong doing in it is is is truly reckoning with asian american identity and she isn't the first person to attempt to do it but there was something urgent in her writing. There's a real simmering rage here that it just was. I don't want to say it's pleasurable experience. But there's there is some adding onto pleasure in it because it matched my own. Yeah yeah. I mean it's worth noting. This book was finished way before any of this started happening. And yet it's a book that is so right timed for right now and in the wake of watching the anti asian sentiment spike in this country and thinking about how to show up in solidarity thinking about how to reckon with the difficult feelings around the individual attacks are happening in this country being perpetuated by black people and what to do with that and how to still make fight intersectional despite the discomfort a big part of my desire was to fill in my own knowledge gaps and refresh. You know what. I either misremembered or didn't know about just the experience of a lot of asian people in asian american people in this country and so cathy's book is one piece of that puzzle for me right Also in that same period of time did a bystander intervention training. That was just really useful. And it's been really interesting to really see these attacks in the sentiment as just part of a much bigger campaign of oppression white supremacy in. I mean it's worth noting to that cathy's book represents kathy's experience it is station perspective and east asian american perspective and the book. Kathy does grapple with working class communities. She is acknowledging the vast diaspora that is pan. Asian is right. I mean asia is a huge landmass and includes everything from pakistan to the philippines. And so when we talk about asian american anything asian anything. We're including so many people. I mean you know for us in this country don't confuse chesapeake bay blackness with california blackness. Because let me tell you something the same. It's just been really instructive to remember the compression. That's happened in the name of organizing and thinking about what that conveniences four and just remembering there so many nuances in the mris and the narratives and the stories that people are bringing. Yeah i mean listen. I'm always bring back this rainbow. Coalition fred hampton. So for me. It's just like activating this idea of where our shared solidarity's can be productive rate and thrive and honestly what we're talking about is care caring about each other's experiences so before we talked to kathy. I mean i should also say generally for the last couple of weeks people have been sending me notes and coming up to me and saying you know on the street in their masks that they are reading this book. And that's heartening Because i think there really is a hunger to hear from people who because of the way this country has been set up and whose voice. It's prioritized we don't hear from asian-americans very often and there is a real pent up. Demand for hearing people speak about what their experiences have been like. I love hearing. You say that. Because look i i keep thinking about last summer. How so many people order their anti raises reading books and never picked them up. And i'm so sorry those people you know y'all are missing out your performative. Actions are not welcome here and this has just been such an incredible way too. I think show solidarity and also really lean into the gray space that exists between the black white binary that dominates all of the conversations about race in this country. Which of course we understand why. I'm really leaning into the old black american proverb. You know you can't do better and so you know better and we are always in a place of trying to know better so we can do better and i feel really grateful for everyone who has showed up to do this journey with us. It feels amazing and is just one piece of action of

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