I'm Angry Asian Man's Angry Reader of the Week. The feature began in 2009 and has been a cool glimpse into what Angry Asian America looks like. What a privilege it is to be able to share thoughts on this platform; I started reading Angry Asian Man as a young student organizer at UCI and it continues to be a way of feeling engaged with what I'm starting to understand is but a fraction of what Asian Americans are up to. The site's aggregate approach to Asian/American-related media highlights our relationship with mainstream media and also the innovative ways Asian America communicates with itself and with the broader community.
After sharing what makes me angry, my mind has naturally turned to what I have been doing about those things. I touched on so much, writing down most of what comes to mind when I think about things that get the fire going in my chest and steam coming out of my eyes. But what do I do beyond that? How do I engage with the world so that I'm doing more than feeling it?
The thing that immediately comes to mind is that I write about some of those things. I'm a writer. I didn't identify as one in the interview, really, because it still feels strange to identify that way when my daily practice is primarily personal, and because I've become much more sporadic in sharing my writing lately. There's been a lot of inward-turning lately, a side effect (benefit) of the critical self-reflection practiced with such intention in Public Allies Los Angeles. I think often of what I read in one of Grace Lee Boggs' books: that there is a need for a stop or pause to the industrial machine, the economic machine, so that we can take stock of how our society is (or is not) meeting people's and the planet's needs.
It is perhaps an impractical idea systemically, but as an individual it has felt really good to pause in a lot of outward action and practice serious reflection on how I want to move through the world and how I want to contribute to it. I worry that there are ways in which becoming focused on certain kinds of work forces us to neglect some of the other ways that we can work to live more sustainably and humanely with each other, and that doesn't feel right either. That we have a system that creates this dissonance is another thing that makes me angry.
I end the Angry Reader interview with the idea that we who can do something, must. I realize I'm saying that for myself more than for anyone else.