By Sara Clayton
With the swearing in of newly-installed Kim Jung Un of North Korea, it seemed like brighter days were ahead. Now that Kim Jung Il, the oppressor of North Korea, is gone, it was his son’s chance to turn over a new leaf with his nation and the rest of the world.
When the United States and North Korea reached a deal under which the North would put a partial freeze on nuclear weapons and a mission test moratorium in return for U.S. food aid, the world let out a sigh of relief… for the time being.
However, on March 27th, after only about a month, North Korea breached the deal and decided to go ahead with its satellite launch.
Lee Myung Bak, the president of South Korea, deemed this audacious move as “a direct challenge to the international community.”
But these threats are not new. North Korea has always had a history of trying to make ends meet, only to break promises and propose another ludicrous satellite launch or nuclear attack.
North Korea is a modern day tyranny. The only reason why proper sustenance, among other necessities, cannot get to the citizens is because of the severely corrupted government. The marches that were organized when the notorious Kim Jung Il still ruled were eerily cult-like, as athletes tumbled about and twirled flags around while citizens cheered and applauded for their “Dear Leader.”
It really is revolting, to see royalty standing on the balcony, waving from above as starving and demoralized citizens stare up, feigning joy and happiness for their leader, the brand that has been burned into their minds since their birth.
As those of royal blood greedily munch on caviar and chug down expensive wines, the people of North Korea must find a way to stay alive each day, getting by on whatever they can afford.
When will this cycle, that has been going on for too long, end? Will someone have the courage to try and assassinate Kim Jung Un? Will the son next in line finally step up to the plate, realizing that his crumbling nation is in need of a strong and reliable leader?
As of now, it is all up in the air. It is still difficult to tell whether or not Kim Jung Un will be as fraudulent as his father, but it is obvious that there will not be any large-scale humanitarian efforts being implemented in the near future.
All we can really do now is hope for the future, and do our best keep the relations between the US and North Korea in check, because the worst thing that the US could do is to seriously aggravate an already neurotic and unstable nation.
Like many of North Korea’s failed plans, let’s just hope that this breach-of-contract is yet another lofty bluff.
By Livia Soong
A national dialogue on school bullying has been reignited with the recently release documentary “Bully,” Lee Hirsch’s moving and troubling film about the misery some children inflict upon others.
Sure, the Weinstein Company film doesn’t say anything that hasn’t been talked about before and there is a debate on whether it’s an award-winning documentary or an extended public-service announcement.
Despite personal feelings about the documentary, the national issue seems to persist and remedial action doesn’t seem to be working.
The $1.1 million documentary is pertinent to everyone, especially to the Asian-American community because studies have shown they are some of the most bullied in U.S. schools.
For example, a couple months ago, a YouTube video of a 17-year-old Asian student being viciously beaten by a group of Chicago teens went viral on the Internet. The graphic video shows the seven teens kicking and choking the student while yelling racial slurs. Throughout the duration of the attack, the victim pleads for mercy from the mob.
The question then becomes ‘why?’ Why are Asian Americans targeted as easy victims to bullies? What makes us so vulnerable to both physical and psychological attack?
Being an American-born Chinese (ABC) and growing up in a predominately white community, I’ve seen Asians targeted and victimized time and time again. Is it because we look and dress different? Perhaps, it’s because some speak with accents and some of our names aren’t westernized. Is it because we eat different foods or maybe because we’re simply too nerdy for your liking?
When confronted by bullies, we don’t necessarily breakout into Bruce Lee mode and fight back. Some may argue that we assume the position of a doormat and let the bullies walk all over us in the hopes that if we don’t do anything to draw further attention to ourselves they’ll stop.
Of course, this backfires. One, someone who doesn’t stand up for against bullies is immediately labeled as an easy target for return bullying. Two, as a bully victim, the emotional effects translate into future feelings of ineptitude and lack of confidence.
It’s our differences that make us easy to pick on. Perhaps being raised in America with a different cultural backdrop makes it easier for bullies to alienate us from our “more westernized” peers. And perhaps our vulnerability to attack can be found in the way we were raised.
Let’s not assume that all Asians know some form of Tae-Kwon-Do or Karate or Jujitsu. I, for one, was raised to rise above violence and find other ways to resolve conflict but even that looks more and more like a double-sided coin. On one hand, walking away is being the bigger person, but on the other, it can be misconstrued as being a coward.
Though there’s no doubt bullying has both its short- and long-term adverse effects on the Asian-American youth, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
Admission records have shown that there is a disproportionate number of Asian Americans excelling in schools and going on to attend some of the best colleges and universities our nation has to offer. And if there is one thing we should take away here it is that life goes on long after high-school bullying has become a blur in our rearview mirror.
Right now, there isn’t an insta-fix to eradicate bullying from the face of the earth. Nonetheless, when it happens we should remember to not let those moments define us. Life is much more than a string of “give me your lunch money” moments of your yester years.
After all, at the end of the day, it’s not about how you were pushed down— it’s about how you got up. So get up!
By Benjamin Liu
This has been a tumultuous month for Jeremy Lin, the first American-born Chinese (or American-born Taiwanese) NBA player.
After starting for the first time in February, he was able to lead the New York Knicks to seven straight victories virtually without All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.
It was expected that when the two returned, the Knicks would only have more firepower, but the ball club instead found itself struggling.
Lin and Stoudemire have worked well with each other in the pick-and-roll because Stoudemire thrived under a similar offensive scheme in Phoenix. Lin and Anthony, on the other hand, have yet to find the same balance because Anthony demands the ball for isolation plays, a style of play that doesn’t depend on Lin’s presence on the floor.
Lin’s scoring output has also seen a decline since the team’s two main scorers have returned.
Now that his hot streak has cooled down, the question is whether he can continue to play at a high level. Many believe that Lin only thrived under coach Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense.
When D’Antoni resigned and was subsequently replaced by Mike Woodson, Linsanity was thought to be completely over. Woodson has stressed two main points in his coaching career that were expected to lead to more bench time for Lin.
He relies heavily on veteran players, following famed coach Red Holzman’s standard that “rookies were to sit and listen and learn.” Woodson also sets up half-court plays where the tempo is slowed down so superstars like Anthony can create their own offense through isolation plays.
What has been surprising is that Lin is still in the starting lineup despite Woodson’s coaching philosophies. This may be attributed to Woodson’s desire to avoid the same pressure from fans that led to D’Antoni’s resignation.
Despite all the skepticism, Lin has the resources and ability to become a greater player who will bring Linsanity to a whole new level. He is still young, and playing regular minutes gives him the experience that he needs.
For those who criticize his turnovers, it is possible for him to improve his ball-handling as a point guard. (He played the shooting guard position in college, and it was only during his transition to the NBA that he changed his role.)
And it is certainly still possible for Lin and his All-Star teammates to find their rhythm. After opening March with six straight losses, they have since won seven of their last eight games.
Lin commented on the team’s progress after a recent 115-110 win against the Indiana Pacers, saying, “We have talked for a long time about finding our stride and coming together as a team, and I think that is what we are doing now. I think we have come together as a team. It’s good to see.”
As the Knicks have come together, Lin has been able to show the world that he is capable of running the team as its starting point guard. This is a testament to Lin’s offseason work ethic, which proved valuable when the Knicks needed it most.
With the proper system of training in place, there is nothing stopping Jeremy Lin from continuing to “Lin” in the Big Apple.
By Jeffrey Ledesma
Many opponents of hate crime legislation argue that hate crimes are no more harmful than ordinary crimes. I beg to differ. Hate crimes are a constant reminder that prejudice is not only alive and well but also thriving in American society.
As dozens of residents take to the Los Angeles streets today in tribute to Trayvon Martin, the black 17-year-old fatally shot by a neighborhood watchman in Florida, it’s hard not to realize that a post-racialized American is far from our reality.
Martin serves as a current reminder that we live in a racialized world. For the Asian-American community, there was a reminder in the Vincent Chin case.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the murder of the 27-year-old Chinese American beaten to death in June 1982 by two white autoworkers who went virtually unpunished for the crime.
“The decision was made to go public because we felt we had to fight and let everyone know the anger and sense of injustice that we had suffered,” explained Jim Shimoura, a civil rights attorney on the Chin case.
The killing of Chin and Martin sparked and continues to ignite a public outpour of support and outrage that hauntingly mirrors one another.
In response to the courts slap-on-the-wrist punishments for Chin’s murderers, diverse groups of people flooded the streets holding up signs that demanded justice. Signs that read “Chin Up for Justice,” “A Job is a License to Kill,” and “$3000 for a Human Life?”
Today, in the City of Angeles, one march for the slain teenager is dubbed the “1 Million Hoodie March for Trayvon Martin,” to highlight the ridiculous notion that wearing a hooded sweatshirt, which Martin was at the time of the murder, can evoke justifiable suspicion.
Protesters at the Million Hoodies Union Square in New York demand justice in response to the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. (Photo by David Shankbone)
“I’ll bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way,” Fox News host Geraldo Rivera said Friday.
People were livid by the insinuation that Martin was partly to blame because of what he was wearing. Rivera later tweeted that “critics of my hoodie comments think they’re mad at me but they’re really mad at the undeniably unfair reality of young male black/brown life.”
I agree that it is this undeniable reality of young men of color that needs to be addressed. However, you shouldn’t be justified in killing someone because of what they are wearing any more than you should be justified in killing someone because of the color of their skin. These two prejudging justifications are one in the same – both beyond the spectrum of reasonable human dignity. Playing off of the protest signs in the Chin case, a hooded sweatshirt shouldn’t give someone else a license to kill.
George Zimmerman, 28, called the police about following a person acting suspiciously in his gated community. Zimmerman was told to stop pursuing Martin, but he did not.
The self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman claimed he shot Martin in self-defense. But why would any person feel threatened by a young man whose arsenal consists of a bag of Skittles and some ice tea?
With that said, a hate crime is undoubtedly tough to prove, which leaves me fearful that at the end of this tunnel Martin and his family will not find justice.
In the call to police, Zimmerman never described Martin as black. Martin was simply a person acting suspiciously. Was that characterization brought on by the fact that he was a young black male wearing a hooded sweatshirt in a predominately white neighborhood? We will never truly know.
The heart of the problem lies in the fact that our socially constructed racialization of different minority groups is invisibly subconscious and deeply engrained in our society. Although it allows us to live blissfully in blindness, our rose-colored submission to the myth of a post-racialized America doesn’t allow us as a society to deal with our internalized racism.
As Americans, we need to realize that racial hierarchies and stereotypes still prosper. We are all part of an audience constantly being fed a social narrative that tells us what we should think and about whom we should think it.
Nonetheless, we are not totally powerless. It is our responsibility to realize that this narrative exists and figure out how to counter that narrative in our everyday lives.
We shouldn’t assume that people with tattoos are gangbangers. We shouldn’t assume that people speaking Spanish aren’t Americans. We shouldn’t assume that black teenagers wearing hooded sweatshirts are dangerous.
As a society we have built tall walls with bricks of racial biases and it’s imperative that we acknowledge and understand these walls in order to tear them down.