By Ruth Huang, Advocacy Chair 2013-2014

Dear readers,

Fight for the good life. But before you go grabbing your pitchforks, recently sharpened pencils, or various blunt objects to storm Riot headquarters, Michael Kors or some sort of buffet, let me explain. When I say: “fight for the good life”, I’m not implying violence nor am I encouraging it, but rather urging you to make a choice. Make the choice to have a good moment, a good experience, day, etc. Make the choice to be happy. Happiness can be a choice. Acceptance? Acceptance is also choice. So how in the world does something like: “Fight for the good life you good people”, find its way onto a blog for AASU, the Asian American Student Union? It finds its way here because, well, I’m writing it and I can do what I want. But rather, more importantly, I found that it can really relate.

Growing up in a predominantly white area, it was easy to almost (and to my shame, I admit) disregard, or forget who I was OR, when I was much younger, even wish that I looked the same as my white friends. I say: “fight for the good life”, because a life giving into stereotypes and allowing internalized racism to have a foothold in your life, is indeed NOT the good life. Embrace yourselves, love yourselves, and accept yourselves, heck, CELEBRATE YOURSELVES. (Note: there IS a difference between celebrating yourselves, a culture you come from and the journey of your parents versus getting a big head for no reason) If this first year in college has taught me anything, it is that human beings can be very different. Humans are different not just in the way they work or look or are, but in their character, lives, way of thinking and ultimately their decisions all can also look vastly different.

When talking about Asian American issues, I admit, that it can begin to get lecture-y, dry, frustrating, emotion-evoking, and/or anger-evoking. People get angry because things aren’t the way they wish it were, they wish the world were a better place than it were, and don’t get me wrong, the world has many good sides however also contains many not so pretty sides. (Those sides, not being revealed until we choose to open our eyes to “reality.”) It’s not necessarily wrong to get angry or frustrated but it’s what you do with that anger and frustration that sets you apart. What sets you apart is how you share with other people that anger and frustration, whether it’s lashing out at them or “preaching to them” versus “preaching at them.”

I remember getting really annoyed at people staring. Going into the grocery store where I lived, I’ve noticed, is an ordeal more like a zebra walking into a mall in New York. Their mindset or thought process could likely be along the lines of knowing that zebras exist but then jumping to the conclusion, that zebras also don’t belong in a mall. I am not a zebra, thank the Lord, and I’m not from New York, but my point is, that people where I grew up would stare, me, the zebra in their mind and their grocery store, a place that I didn’t belong. No matter what, I was always, in their mind, the perpetual foreigner. (Note: If you don’t know what that means, look it up on Google, it’s ok to not know, but it’s not okay to keep on not knowing.)

I found that after coming to college and suddenly having this eye-opening experience of learning about Asian American issues and how we’re not taught about it in school and some people don’t care and wah wah wah. I found that anger started to boil up in me, in my heart. How could people do this, think that, say that? Why was I never educated about my history, and why had I simply accepted the perpetual foreigner attitude that people gave me and that I began to give myself? Anger the emotion is okay, but anger and bitterness? The kind that becomes a lifestyle that lasts and then grows is not.

Long story, and preaching over, I tell you guys to fight for the good life because sometimes we can get really down from talking about negative things and issues. (I did) However, there’s a choice and that choice is to fight. (I do) Fight to love yourselves. Fight to accept yourselves, your history, your culture, your background. Fight the good fight in knowing that there are people out there that are just uneducated, that just don’t filter what they say and they may never do so. Be okay with it.

Fight for the good life, not just in terms of issues, or anger, but in relationships, school, success, love. I say fight for it, because it’ll have to be a choice between sitting around letting other people telling us what to believe, why to believe, how to believe, and be, versus us standing up and making our own way, our own path, and our own discoveries. At the end of the day, fight for the good life, because you’re human dear reader (is it weird that I include that?) and you deserve it. Fight for the good life because you can. Fight against the anger and channel that passionate anger into revolutionary love, acceptance and passion.

Fight for the good life, because you’re human. Fight for it because you’re good enough. Fight for the good life because AAPI issues are important but at the end of the day, you’re more.
For those of you that scrolled to the bottom and decided TL:DR, at least read the following:

1) Next time, actually read the blog.

2) The next fact is a real bottom line

3) Firstly, make the choice to be happy. Accept and love yourselves. You are more. AAPI issues exist and we get angry, but make the choice to channel that anger and frustration into doing something about it. Do it now for yourself but know you’re helping future generations. Lastly, don’t ever tell me that you only read the three points at the bottom of a blog entry I did.