The Rape Culture – Let’s Blame the Ladies

I’ve been a little late on this one. Simply because I’m more ready today to stir things up than I was at the beginning of the month when it counted. Anyways, it’s almost the end of International Women’s History Month and this is the post that I was afraid to post:

There is one thing that every culture on Earth has in common and it is the horrible way we treat our women.

I was afraid to post it because I was afraid that it came across as too flippant toward women and I held it back. It’s all true. There is no nation on earth that holds its women in high esteem. Here in America #BlackLivesMatter but women are still objects of violence and subservience.

Women have claimed that while we may have abolished slavery, we have put in its place a culture of rape. You and I can argue about pay equality and women’s liberation, but where there is an agreement in my mind is that violent nature that men exhibit toward women. Take, for example, Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies. She takes the bold step to speak out about feminism and instead of logical facts and opposing viewpoints, she is inundated with threats of rape and violence on every social media platform available.

Essentially, rape culture is a setting in which rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality. I got that from Wikipedia. To men, rape is our weapon. It is the ultimate form of dominance that man can display over any person, male or female. I once sat in the green room of one of the improv shows I perform, and one of my fellow actors asked the ladies, “why do you dislike rape so much?” Normally, I don’t respond to conversations that I’m not directly a part of, but I just had to. “Tell me what part of being violently forced into sex, do you not find exciting.” I believe that was the last time I ever performed with that person.

As much as women present a preponderance of the evidence that a rape culture exists and as much as women on a daily basis fall victim to it, we do nothing about it. That’s where the word, “culture” comes into play. It’s normal to us, men. Women are sexual conquests. Our threats are always sexual in nature. As men, we do nothing about it.

“Nothing?” you say, I say. “Nothing!” We perpetuate this rape culture in two ways. The first is by shifting blame. It’s not my fault, I treat women so horribly. It’s the way they dress and the amount of makeup they apply. The string bikinis, short-shorts and perfume are essentially pheromones.

There we sit on the witness stand, explaining that the sex was consensual. “It was obvious to me by the way she dressed, that we wanted to have sex.” “She made a porno, of course, she wanted sex.”

Growing up as a teen, I went to my church’s summer camp every year. There was Bible study in the morning and Bible study at night. But in the afternoon was free time. Free time meant swimming and that meant seeing my girl-friends in bikinis. Being smart adults, the camp counselors put an end to it before it could begin and all the girls had to cover up and wear a large t-shirt over their swimsuits. Girls should not be a “stumbling block” (1 Cor. 8:9) to the boys. That’s right. It’s the girls fault boys can’t handle themselves.

As Christians, we teach girls not to wear make-up until they are adults. We monitor the lengths of their skirts. We place rules on ear piercings. Listen to what girls are hearing from our attempt to protect them. It is a sin for you to wear make-up. It is a sin for you to wear provocative clothes. It is a sin for you to be a stumbling block to men. If you violate these sins, whatever happens to you is your fault.

The second way that Christians perpetuate the rape culture is what we don’t do. We don’t teach our boys to exercise a little thing we call “self-control.” Here’s something you never hear a father say. “Son, when you and Jane go out tonight. Don’t rape her!” I would personally add the phrase, “or I’ll shoot you!” In those all-important teen years, parents are not setting their sons aside and explaining that women are not prey for sexual hunting. Or that there is no such game called “Get In Her Pants.” No, instead we tell our women, not to sexually stimulate guys or there will be consequences. Boys are then unleashed on college campuses scoping out their first, second and third target for the upcoming semester.

Oh my God. I’m ranting. I’m a self-righteous prick. Ladies. All I can say is I’m sorry for my behavior and that of my fellow men. Not that it changes much.

My Chinese Wife

This post is written in love. I love my wife. I love my wife. I’m writing only because I love the irony.

Every year during the Lunar New Year, or as I called it all my life, Chinese New Year celebration, we enter banquet season. My mother’s side of the family holds a lavish banquet and then on my father’s side we take a trip to San Francisco for two lavish banquets.

This is the time of year that I do some sort of Chinese/Asian thing. This is also the time, my Caucasian wife dives deep into my culture. For the rest of the year, I’m basically an Asian WASP or AASP. My wife mingles with my Chinese family, she learns a new Chinese words and she tries to be as Chinese as possible. I don’t even up this amount of effort into the event.

This year’s “I’m Chinese” adventure is to talk about Chinese New Year to my daughter’s elementary school class and distribute red envelopes to all the kids. This is the ironic part. My wife is not Chinese and neither is my daughter. It was then I realized I’m married to “Lucy.”

My Real Position on Diversity and Racism

After looking at my last few tweets and status updates, I’ve discovered that I’ve been a little cryptic about my real position regarding racism and diversity for the sake of being humorous. I feel to continue this discussion in a real way, I should make a statement and share my real feelings about race and diversity.

Let me start by saying I’m an Asian-American. Like that’s a surprise. Both my mother came to the United States at the age of 10 just after WWII ending. My father was born in San Francisco. His father came to the United States around the time of the earthquake. Both my grandparents came to the U.S. so that their children could have better lives. The vast majority of my aunts and uncles, ten in total, graduated from college. My father was an Aeronautical Engineer and worked for Rockwell on the space program that put an American on the moon, and my mother was an early computer programmer and knows more about computers than I do. My brothers have college degrees, and most of my cousins also have college degrees.

I write this to say that for my family being a minority in the United States was not easy, but somehow we made it. We survived and somehow flourished in what some of my peers call “The most racist country in the world.” In my old age, I still would rather live in “the most racist country in the world,” than anywhere else. I’ve also come to believe so would everyone else, even the worst of victims of white racism.

That said, let’s dive headfirst into the subject of diversity. My official statement is this. I probably would be more behind the whole diversity movement if the movement embraced Asians and Latinos. At the moment, Diversity is meant for the groups that yell the loudest. As of 2016, the loudest groups are African-Americans and the LGBTQ communities. In my mind, this is not a problem, but a sad reality of human nature. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. I’ve been told that Asians need to support African Americans because once they have equality, when we’re next in line after the Latinos. So basically, we’re going to solve racism one race at a time. I don’t buy that.
We may be different racially and culturally, but we’re all still human beings. The sad truth is that we’re all selfish by nature, and when we gather as blacks, Latinos, and Asians, we’re downright narcissistic. Human truth: my group’s demands are to be met before yours.

We may be different racially and culturally, but we’re all still human beings. The sad truth is that we’re all selfish by nature, and when we gather as blacks, Latinos, and Asians, we’re downright narcissistic. Human truth: my group’s demands are to be met before yours.

I know American history. I’m not blind to the atrocities of slavery. I’m not blind to the violence leading up to the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s. At the same time, my ancestors didn’t own slaves, nor were we enslaved. As an Asian, I feel like an outsider to the America’s conflict between white and black. I am now relegated to a mere observer in the conflict. As an observer, to my Caucasian and African-American friends, you all are screwed. There will be no winners in this fight, and you’ll kill each other to ensure, you’re not the loser. Sadly, you are actually doing this. More thought about this in the future.

Let’s get back to diversity. As my African-American friends felt frustrated that no black actors had been nominated for a second year in a row, I wish to convey my frustration that only one Asian actor has won an Academy Award in acting. That was Haing S. Ngor in 1985 for the Killing Fields. He was Best Supporting Actor. As happy as I was for him, the guy wasn’t even American. That’s like Javier Bardem’s Oscar was a victory for Latino Americans. It’s as if Bardem’s win was a victory for latinos, and he isn’t even latino, he’s hispanic. We’re a little frustrated too. There is a level of frustration that occurs when there are thousands of Asian and Latino actors and the actors that win were imported from outside the United States.

Why aren’t there more Asians with leading roles, hell any role, in Hollywood? If I were to be truly honest, we just not that good…yet. Hold on, before you brand me as a self-loathing Asian. In all honesty, I can’t think of the Asian George Clooney or the Asian Matt Damon. What about the Asian Meryl Streep? She doesn’t exist…yet. Is it a cultural issue? I’d say “yes” on both sides.

When Asians came to America, our parents encouraged us to get into careers that made a lot of money so that we would be financially stable. We should become doctors, engineers and bankers. Any thought of becoming actors and artists were literally beaten out of us as children. So yes, culturally we just don’t have a lot of good Asian actors.

White American culture has also held us back and not because they are overtly racist. HUMAN TRUTH: It’s sad but true, with every culture and race in the world, we are most comfortable being around people who are the most like us starting with race. We tend to root and support people who are the same race as us. I support Asian actors in Hollywood, but I support the Chinese ones more. As an American, I would rather see an American succeed over a Canadian. The only way to end racism is to end culture and become one homogenous group. You know you would hate to live in that world.

White people would rather watch movies starting white people, just as black people watch movies starring black people. Is that racist? No. White people don’t hate black movies and vice versa. It’s what we as individuals prefer. I love movies and 99% of movies star non-Asians. I don’t shrug my shoulders and put up with it. White or black, just tell me a good story and I’ll watch your damn movie. Sure, I’ll sees an Asian movie in support of my movie.

Last year, I attended the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. By the title, you can guess what kind of movies are shown there. This is the best showcase of films produced by not only Asians but Asian-Americans. It served as the barometer of how far Asians have come in Hollywood. I walked away feeling, we’re not there yet, but we’re on our way. Of the movies, I saw only two stood out as potential mainstream successes. The first was “Twinsters” (now on Netflix), a documentary of an adopted Korean actress, who in her twenties, discovers she has a twin sister she never knew existed. The other was “Miss India America,” a comedy about the “Miss India” beauty pageant. It was genuinely funny with great jokes and told a non-typical story surrounding the adventure of a strong Indian woman. I had high hopes for the Wong Fu film, “Everything Before Us.” This should have been a breakout hit. They had production values of a typical Hollywood Rom-Com movie, but the story and acting had few fatal flaws that could have been easily fixed. This is not to put down the Wong Fu film, but just a statement that a few noticeable changes could have made this a significantly better film. Again, we’re on our way, but not there yet.

Let me conclude by saying this. The fact is the United States is a predominantly white country. That’s a fact, and this predominantly white country produces predominantly white movies. I may be a little naive, but I believe excellence in the things we do and produce is our only trump card to problems of the lack of diversity. For people of color, including myself, opportunities are opening up right now for black, Hispanic and Asian actors and filmmakers. It’s time for us minorities to seize the opportunities and up our game and become better actors and filmmakers. Strive for excellence because the door is closing and we have the opportunity to make sure that door stays open for a long time.