Dear institutions

If you are going to hold specific programs supposedly geared towards helping immigrant communities, maybe you could not pathologize those communities.  Also, you should be aware that your institutions really don’t have interpreters available.  At least I haven’t been able to get one.  Additionally, don’t think I didn’t catch that Freudian slip where you said, “But obviously we’re not trying to tell you that our way is the way you should be doing things.”  Right after telling us how much we’re all alike.  Uh huh.  Additionally, trying harder and taking action is not particularly helpful if your institutions are not listening. And it puts the onus solely on us.  Because the problem obviously is that we aren’t doing anything.

KTHNXBYE.

Dear whomever

If you would only acknowledge my superior rightness most of the time, things would go much smoother.

Dear attorney,

I appreciate that you thought something I wrote approximately five years ago about citizenship merited a broader audience.  However, I noticed your name was the only one on the byline.  You are worse than many college students when it comes to plagiarism.  At least they usually try to rearrange the words.  You, on the other hand, lifted entire paragraphs and mixed them with your own shitty sentences.

It would be nice if I knew who provided you with my writing, so I could go break their knees.  Thank you.

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Dear WAP

We exchanged a few emails at the beginning of the year when I helped you get information on citizenship for your child. We even met at that cultural event. And then you wrote to me frustrated that you couldn’t find any cultural activity for your very small child. My response that cultural communities had no real need and little inclination for such activities, and that the adoption community could hardly care less obviously didn’t please you.

I applaud your efforts to set something up, and I told you that in no uncertain terms. So why does it piss you off so much that I protested your use of a racial stereotype in your logo?

Please allow me to deconstruct your message:

Wow, I never even thought about it!!!! (I am so privileged I don’t HAVE to think about it.) I agree that it isn’t very original but when you have ZERO budget, originality cannot be bought! (I don’t actually know what the word “stereotype” means and I am not motivated enough to find out because, frankly, it doesn’t concern me.) Anyway, I wonder how it’s possible to not use a “racial stereotype” when trying to represent a Chinese child!!!! (But I’m still not motivated enough to find out.) Should I have given him a pseudo americanised look so he appeared less Chinese? (‘Cos he IS Chinese, right, and you know you are being ridiculous, right?)

You know, sometimes I wonder if that’s what really shocks you the most? (I think you have a chip on your shoulder.) Whatever, I don’t hold it against you. (‘Cos it’s all your fault anyway. You should be less sensitive.)

Please refer to my free apology.

Fed Ex sucks

So I have the day off.  I was expecting a Fed Ex package.  I think Fed Ex sucks.  My past experience has been very poor.  There was the package that took more than 12 days to arrive.  The rep claimed delivery had been attempted TWICE but I didn’t even get a door tag.  I’ve also received “Sorry We Missed You” tags when I was in fact home.  There was a package that wasn’t delivered and Fed Ex claimed that it was because the driver couldn’t obtain a signature.  When I noted there was signature waiver, the rep then said, “Oh, well he thought it looked valuable so he didn’t want to leave it.”

The drivers never, ever ring the bell.

I don’t get it.  I assume they have to eventually deliver the package.  So what’s the point of the tags?  Is it just because they’re having a busy day and don’t want to stop?

Today I heard the truck and looked out the window to see the guy writing out a tag next to the truck.  He hadn’t come up the steps yet.  He hadn’t rung the bell.  He was just going to tag and run.  So I opened the door, which forced him to actually get my package.

UPS rings the doorbell, even if there is signature waiver.  My postal carrier rings the doorbell.  Why not Fed Ex?  Because they suck, that’s why.

Dear Jury Administrator

Dear Jury Administrator,

Why do you insist on repeatedly calling me for jury duty?  And where exactly are you getting my name anyway?  Because I note that the last three summonses had three distinct variations of my name.  So I can only guess that I have been given multiple chances at being selected from various databases.

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And another thing

Yes, yet another.  Maybe even several.

First.  You white parents don’t have to worry about teaching your children not to be “oversensitive.”  Because what you’ll really teach them is that you’re insensitive.  And then they’ll probably learn not to tell you anything at all.

Second.  It seems that many of you feel that you have suffered from discrimination.  I would bite my tongue until it’s bloody if you were telling me about some painful incident you experienced and you deemed it “racist.”  Because I know that there are many things in our lives that can wound us deeply.  So I would be trying to listen to the emotive content and not to your incorrect word choice. Continue reading

Special offer! Free apologies

Don’t say we at Resist Racism never do anything for you. In an effort to increase the total number of real apologies received by anyone really, but in particular people of colour after some thoughtless racist comment, here is a ready-made apology that can be cut and pasted or learnt by heart.

Make some cards for your friends!

I  am/we are sorry for what I/we did/said. I/we now understand that it was offensive and wrong. I/we will not do it again.

That should suffice. But in the event of a burning need to justify oneself, additional cards could be made:

I/we would like you to know that I/we did not intend to offend anyone. Since I/we did, I/we acknowledge that impact is very different from intent, and realize that I am/we are woefully ignorant of what it means to live in a diverse society. I/we promise to unpack my/our white privilege and help others do so.

Peace on earth and goodwill to all

It’s almost Christmas. You know, that end-of-year festival that is given pride of place in the western countries most of us live in.

It’s the festival I grew up with: a house decorated with lights and sparkles; green and red, (okay, in those days it was more multicoloured hues); a tree that smells of sap and drops needles all over the floor; a stocking for Santa to fill with bits and bobs and sweets; presents under the tree from the extended family; chocolates, dates, candied fruit and fizzy pop laid out in our own version of an all-you-can-eat buffet; and roast, stuffed turkey with two types of potato, carrots and brussels sprouts, sausages wrapped in bacon, and followed by Christmas pudding.

We called it ‘Christmas’, but there wasn’t much of Christ in it, (apart from being dragged to church when my grandmother came to stay). There was, however, a feeling of warmth and light in the middle of a cold, dark period, a coming together of loved ones and an air of ‘goodwill to all’, and a promise of good days to come. In short, it was more of a winter solstice celebration.

And these are the traditions I want to pass on to my children. So why do I feel, deep down, that I have more explaining to do? Why do I find it ever harder to get into the Christmas spirit (the non-alcoholic kind, that is)? Continue reading

Dear whomever

The Olympics version.

Dear Bela Karolyi,

Would you please stop with your comments about the size of the female Chinese Olympic gymnasts? In case you didn’t notice, some of the Japanese gymnasts are pretty small, too. But they weren’t kicking your team’s butts, now, were they? Also, I saw Shawn Johnson hugging a couple of members of the Chinese team and they towered over her. Are you sure Shawn Johnson isn’t really eight? Because I was taller than her when I was eleven. Seriously. Thank you.

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Citizenship as privilege

Three stories have come to my attention recently about adoptees who are in danger of deportation. The first involved a little girl who was brought to this country illegally and then abandoned. She was legally adopted, but her parents have been unable to establish permanent resident status for her.

The second involves a girl who was adopted from Russia. But Tatyana Mitrohina’s parents never acquired citizenship for her:

She was adopted by a couple in Sonoma County, California, soon after, but did not have an easy transition to life in the United States. And although her parents applied for her to receive citizenship, a combination of bureaucratic delays and legal missteps left Mitrohina without it. At the age of 21, she moved out of her parents’ home and has not been in contact with them since.

I found this case really disturbing, because Mitrohina’s parents never acquired citizenship and now she is at danger of being deported. But the third case was even more troubling. Continue reading