Apr 22, 2011


I've seldom thought of my gigs as parts of a "career" as such. I don't really think out my next move as much as most people from my peer group seem to do. I'm here, I'm trying to do the best I can, something happens and I move on, but it takes me a while. I'm not afraid of change, just not planning for it in short intervals.

I am fast approaching an age where I can't think of myself as young anymore. It is a little shocking - you live with yourself from day to day and know there are changes, but when you take the long view backward, you realize 20 years have gone by since this or that memory.

This means that it's time to think more about what I want the rest of my time in this work to look like, I suppose. But for me, I'm ready to have people with a deeper skill set and the requisite love for the community take leadership and move the conversation forward. I'm not going anywhere, but I don't have delusions of being the next greatest anything. I think it's freeing, actually. Suspending the ego and ambition as best we can without sacrificing drive and passion for the work might be the only way to grow old in work such as this.

I much better understand the idea that many have put forward about a shift in priorities when you have a child. At this point, while it's not true that nothing else matters or that my passion for some of the work is still strong, I feel a different sense of purpose when I'm conscious about the role I play for this little one. There will be a hundred amazing organizers, writers, lawyers, workers who I can look at and say, if I did something or many things differently, perhaps I could have achieved what they did or will. But my little boy will only have one father, however I play that role.

And that's quite a difference - striving to be better than the best in everything in the outside world, or striving to be the best you can, which is all your little one will know, inside your unit.

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The Death of So Called Political Power: They Want Our Land

WaPost A-1 story today talks about the dilution of black influence/majority districts with black flight/sweep out of urban centers around the nation. All this talk about gentrification and the future of "chocolate cities" doesn't take into account the human element. African Americans, especially, but also Jews, Chinese communities, and a range of others have a history of being restricted from living where they choose, later or directly as a result choosing to create their own communities.

Then they began losing those communities through class segregation celebrated as "integration" when people left the city for affluent suburbs, new valuation of the land they settled on as populations shifted and "center city" became a target with cross hairs on their properties (witness Chinatowns throughout this land), generations of new immigrants bought the American dream of integration and suburbia while turning away from co-ethnic cohesion that protected their predecessors amidst such animosity.

Not to mention the fact that people aren't stupid: it is clear that some communities get better services, better schools, better quality of life. Those are places that are "integrated" (read, less than 30% POC). And that means the enclaves aren't where it's at. The cynicism/realism is that people of color with the privilege of mobility have to go to where the good stuff is at, because it's not going to come to our people, and we're not going to be able to create it ourselves without political power (or will, in this largely dormant period for massive domestic community action).

So if you read this article, the whole situation feels like a terrible spiral: community folks of color live in close proximity to one another, then move out because they can or they have to (depends on the city and level of gentrification/rising costs) realizing that they don't have the political power with whatever power they have amassed over these painful 40 years to actually make things significantly better for urban communities of color. they move to the 'burbs, and they have a better quality of life but that of the folks they leave behind gets worse as the numbers decrease, and we end up with people throughout who have less elected political power than before.

And this doesn't even begin to address the complex issues these communities face on the daily in the suburbs.

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Apr 17, 2011

What Now?

It has been so long since I came to this site and shared anything beyond an apology for not writing here. I enjoyed writing here, and though there were only a few folks who came through, it felt like something small and manageable. Of course, many of us who share in some way long for a larger audience, and perhaps the advent of indiscriminate and mass sharing via Facebook and Twitter (and Tumblr, Posterous, etc.) makes blogs feel that much more old fashioned. There was a point when I didn't really read many blogs anymore, either.

The internet has become something different from what it once was for many of us in my generation. I lived on sites and message boards, and comment archives for some sites. Now, I'm in and out quickly, though the internet seems to hum in the background in my work, personal, and waking life in a way much like music, passing in and out of my primary zone of attention, but never for very long. With that, so too have gone blogs and other forms of serialized (or random) writing.

If I had the ability, I would create a site with a few trusted folks who I know would add something interesting when they have time. I would send it to people much the way I share links or start email discussions with a curated group of friends - in the interest of sharing, interacting, gaining something from that interaction.

In the years where I have fallen quiet on this site, I have not been writing elsewhere - not on another website, not in a personal weblog or journal account, not even in long form. And my letter writing, which was already haphazard at best, has been reduced to occasional birthday cards. I long for the time - but more importantly - the discipline to write regularly, honestly, and in a way that seeks and debates truth, community, this thing of life that passes so quickly. I am less interested in cataloging the acts that intervene between entries and more interested in exploring where I've been and where I'm going (as well as where "we" have been and where "we" are going) through a community of trust.

Part of me feels like there was an opportunity for that with this site or some successor that I could have built with friends years ago. I'm still interested. I still think about and try to live this "Asian American" thing, and the years have made me feel not more skeptical about these ideas of community, but more interested in exploring the nuances of this little sliver of the American experience in which I have invested my hopes, dreams, blood, sweat, and tears.

How to do that is my next big challenge. If there's anyone out there, I welcome your thoughts.

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