Over the weekend I hosted a birthday party.  So when I was lighting the candles on the cake, some of the guests were joking that I was going to burn my fingers since I was trying to use just one match.  And then one of the guests said this:

Geez, it smells like burned pork sausages in here.

And then he repeated it in case nobody caught it the first time and “explained” the joke.

It pissed me off. And since then I’ve been thinking about internalized crap. Because I have long struggled with my weight.

For years I could not keep weight on.
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Valuable feedbacks

The “Chin Chens” trailer has been removed from youtube.  There is a note from the same account holder dated 03/03:

Thank you to all of the viewers who have seen our teaser trailer of “The Chin Chens” and provided valuable feedbacks as part of your participation in our focus study group.  We will be releasing our next trailer in the coming week.  Please stay tuned!

Hopefully the valuable feedbacks said, “Dump this shit now.”

Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

[Note: Items tagged ‘no endorsement here’ are provided for the convenience of readers and do not represent the opinion of RR. ]

Can a regimen of no playdates, no TV, no computer games and hours of music practice create happy kids? And what happens when they fight back?


A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:

• attend a sleepover

• have a playdate

• be in a school play

• complain about not being in a school play

• watch TV or play computer games

• choose their own extracurricular activities

• get any grade less than an A

• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama

• play any instrument other than the piano or violin

• not play the piano or violin.

I’m using the term “Chinese mother” loosely. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise. I’m also using the term “Western parents” loosely. Western parents come in all varieties.

All the same, even when Western parents think they’re being strict, they usually don’t come close to being Chinese mothers. For example, my Western friends who consider themselves strict make their children practice their instruments 30 minutes every day. An hour at most. For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It’s hours two and three that get tough. Continue reading


My arm hurts because I had to get a big old shot the other day.  And I was thinking about writing a blog post on my Anti-Racist Resolutions™.  I rarely seem to get my responses right the first time.  But what I know is that I do have to respond.  Perfect being the enemy of good and all that.

I was thinking about several different issues I’d like to address better, but kept coming back to one thought in particular.

About a month ago, I was walking on the sidewalk in front of the grocery store when a white guy punched me in the arm.  Hard.  Continue reading

Whatever I remember

Edited to summarize:  Adults should not repeatedly tell children they are stupid and worthless in both their words and their actions.  And other adults should not stand by and allow this behavior.  And then when adults are old and only have one person who has ever been there for them, they should not think that an inheritance can be used like a whip.  Because if you never got anything, you’re not afraid of not getting it.  The end.

The cult of culture

CULTURE!  Mmmph!  What is it good for?  Absolutely nothing!

Subtitle:  A very long meandering rant.  Get out now while you still can.

What is culture?

Culture of a way of life. Culture is about connection. Culture is “living, breathing human beings” (more on that later).  Culture is the air we breathe. It surrounds us; it is everywhere.  Culture binds us to others.

First and foremost, culture is a lived experience.

This is what culture means to me.

Often I find that my thoughts solidify when they clash with other viewpoints. Recently I have been thinking about culture a great deal because of my exposure (heh) to white adoptive parents. As a result, I’ve been thinking about how I define culture by what it is as well as what it is not.

I often find other people’s conceptions of culture lacking.  Culture is not merely owned by brown people.  We are not the only ethnic people.  Our ethnicity, our heritage and our culture are not add-ons.

Culture is not a knickknack you pick up on vacation. Culture is not the display of an object or a people. Culture is not inherently contained in things. Culture is not a toe-dip and a quick retreat.  Culture is not looking at people. Culture is not an optional yearly visit or an afterthought.

The proper descriptive term for these would be cultural tourism.   Not culture.

It appears that many adoptive parents now endorse the idea that an adopted child should be exposed to his or her culture. But what does this mean in practice?

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That didn’t take John McWhorter long:  An Empty Seat Next to Me?  I Wish!

Obviously, in the interest of fairness, John McWhorter needs to make sure you know this doesn’t happen to him.  Or his friends.  Because of course the problem is that we don’t hear enough accounts of how racism doesn’t really affect black people.  (Or how they should pull themselves up by their bootstraps.)

It’s a skillful bit of spin.  And if you read the comments around the web, you’ll see it’s a viewpoint that is widely praised.  When the cup is half full, you should be grateful for that half cup.  Because you were never entitled to the full cup at all.

I am mystified by John Edgar Wideman’s account in The New York Times about how people on the Amtrak Acela train don’t take the seat next to him until it’s practically the only seat left. I am mystified not because I haven’t heard plenty of claims of this kind. I am mystified because nothing of the sort happens to me.

Note: I am not questioning Wideman’s experience — which is what makes accounts like this such a challenge for me to wrap my head around. In my book Winning the Race, I devote a chapter to this type of thing — of the sort that motivated Ellis Cose’s classic Rage of a Privileged Class. It was the hardest chapter I have ever written. Continue reading

The hive tells me no.

(Also, ten bucks says Eli Steele is related to Shelby Steele.  You know, the “Content of Our Character” guy.)

This piece of byte-waste from the LA Times is about how the new interracial generation will save us all.  It’s yet another version of once we all f*ck each other and the races mix we will have harmony. No, seriously. Because identity politics are the cause of all our racial problems:

The day will arrive when this interracial generation reaches political consciousness and finds itself at odds with America’s divisive identity politics. Of all Americans, they represent the best opportunity to end these politics and point America back to its tradition of individualism.

People who identify as mixed race have already reached “political consciousness.” There are groups such as Mavin and Swirl and numerous hapa organizations. Do they find themselves “at odds” with identity politics? I can’t really say.  But what I do know is that many multiracial people self- identify as people of color.  Is that buying into “divisive identity politics”? Continue reading

‘We are human’

I saw this sign at a protest recently and nearly cried:  We are human.

Because I remember the first time I really thought about this phrase.  It was at a workers’ strike.  The employees were African American.  Their “allies” were mostly young white people.  And one white woman’s rallying cry was “These people are human too!”

I think I probably heard this expression previously and just couldn’t articulate its utter wrongness. My understanding was jolted into consciousness by that white woman’s face.  Continue reading