Monthly Archives: February 2014

When Your Family Doesn’t Fit in a Box


I saw this post today and thought I would share it. Being mixed heritage Chinese/Japanese raised in a mixed race/mixed family, I remember getting all kinds of strange comments from people. My mom was Chinese, my stepmom was white, my dad was mixed Chinese/Japanese, my siblings were mixed and we called ourselves a family.

Screenshot 2014-02-26 10.57.07

I think what I appreciate most about what this single mom is doing is that she isn’t letting her adopted daughters quietly internalize these comments. She decided to rally with her daughters and figure out how to use this situations as a ‘teachable moment.’ Many times I’ve been so stunned I haven’t known how to respond when targeted by ignorance and racial comments. My ‘be polite and agreeable’ upbringing didn’t teach me how to confront or strike back when someone cast an ignorant comment and so many issues would be left unchallenged. Often as a young one I would be left silent and alone with these experiences thinking that it was somehow my fault these experiences were happening to me. ‘If I wasn’t Chinese this wouldn’t happen to me …  If I didn’t look the way I do … If I wasn’t a girl … If I wasn’t big-boned, … If, … If,… If …’

Ignorant comments and targeting happens all the time.  It’s always ugly but I think the hardest and most damaging part is being left alone. Congrats to this mom and her daughters for figuring out how to talk about these experiences and not go silent.

— Karen


We can do it!

In the spirit of planning an Asian Womens’ Leadership conference, Women MBA conference, as well as a Breakfast event celebrating women in leadership in Boston, *and* Karen’s (The Genki Spark’s Founder and Artistic Director) encouragement…a simple experience on how every little bit counts…

I received an email last week from one of my Genki sisters to sign a petition about the band: Day Above Ground and their recent release: Asian Girlz.  Some of you may already be familiar with the song (check out RockGenius link for lyrics), so I’m not going to re-hash the inappropriate lyrics and subjugation of women portrayed in the video (although, to be fair, I am not saying they are the only band who subjugates women..,) I will share that I was disappointed to see an Asian actress in the video.

*It should be noted that the actress, Levy Tran, has apologized for her participation and calls the band “Sweet boys, [who are] not at all racist”.  (Well, thanks Levy, for that vote of confidence and clearing the air on that… )

Having said all that, it’s taken me a few days to gather my thoughts about the situation and at first I really just felt angry that someone thought it would OK to write such a loaded song even “just for satire” as the band has said in interviews.  My second thought was: I’m sufficiently annoyed, now, how do I *stop* this song from being played?”  In addition to signing the petition, there was a call from several blogs to let the House of Blues know how we feel — simple enough.  I found the FB page for the House of Blues in LA and posted:

Hi – I’d like to urge you to cancel the scheduled show of Day Above Ground on August 10.  I am deeply offended and outraged at the blatant racism, sexism, and subjugation of women in their lyrics.  I would never patronize a venue that chooses to allow them to perform.  Thanks for your consideration.  

Simple enough right?  To be honest, I didn’t really expect much from this little FB post (but rather, far more from to the petition put together by AF3IRM – Association of Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization and Marginalization).

I will NOT...

To my surprise, the House of Blues actually responded and indicated that they are changing the line up and Day Above Ground will not be playing after all!

House of Blues Sunset Strip – Thank you for your feedback. The August 10, 2013 Kelly McGarry Presents line-up has changed. Please always check for the latest band line-ups.

It’s not an apology, but it’s change.

On a related, but slight tangent, one of my friends from the Netherlands commented on our new postcards with: “Wow Jen!  Celebrity!” and while it was a sweet thought, my comment back was something to the extent of “Celebrity?  probably not, but inspiration?  I can only hope….”

So I hope that this helps or affects some one to make a difference because YOU MATTER.

Here’s the link to the petition, resulting in the bank removing their video and (obscenely) offensive lyrics!

(Please note, the lyrics are listed and contain vulgarity!)