Asian-American Forum
Fall 2015 Issue no. 25

Editor's View: Times are challenging for Asian-Americans, particularly Chinese-Americans due to the increased militarization in the Far East. Thanks to diversity politics, the overt Yellow Peril is no longer acceptable. However in its place is a lot of uncertainty and angst and covert bigotry. Sometimes it's even taught through Special Education textbooks, as in one story about a female dog named Chee who was trying to find a job at a brick factory, but ultimately rejected.

Of course I'm used to all kinds of tasteless jokes and references and have developed a tough shell. But these days, there is unfortunately more of it. People free-associate me with Walmart and the takeover of America; supposedly gentrified people patronizingly ask me where I study no matter how old I am; guys give me the twice-over free-associating me with Asian massage parlors. If I complain about being stared at, either I'm paranoid or ostracized as if there were no in-between.

One can't be passive-aggressive about such matters. Of course Asians are taking matters into their own hands even if they aren't doing it on the scale of #Black Lives Matter. We can be musicians, writers, authors, poets, thinkers, dreamers as well as the classroom nerd. That's why videos like "Things Asians Hate" or "If Asians Said The Stuff White People Say" are cute.

Here's my take on it all. You have to learn how to be assertive, even if it comes from reading a book like When I Say No, I Feel Guilty by Manual J. Smith, written over thirty years ago. But of course we need updates. AAF's article "50 Ways to Turn It Off" is sort of a humorous take.

And with regard to the Asian massage parlors compounding Single-Asian-Female (SAF) identity challenges, believe me, I am hard at work on that one, since very few glossy Asian establishment newspapers and magazines seem to dare touch the subject, let alone the gender-bender online renegades.

Finally there is the subject of Boomers versus Millennials. According the Pew Research Center, as of this year Millennials outnumber Boomers. While in January 2015, the numbers 75.3 million (aged 18-34) snuggle close to 74.9 million (aged 51-69), the disparity will be noticeable by 2030.

That's the quarter of the population (42% of the population counting post-Millennials) who grew up after the inception of Reaganomics and came of age during the War on Terror. They are obviously highly technical, but Boomers complain about them regularly. (See "Baby boomers ruined America"). AAF's article, "Millennial Thing" sort of addresses the issues we overlook concerning this silent underappreciated generation.

50 Ways to Turn It Off

On Amtrak, the conductors seat you in the evening dining car across Mr. Uncouth, a smelly man, whose clothes are soiled, breath stinks, and dirty nails chewed short.

Mr. U. brays he is traveling home after months of hard work as an asphalt worker and he has made a lot of dough. He turns around and expects everyone at the table to congratulate him, and furthermore, divulge their relative professions.

You want to have some compassion, but not when you later realize he is probably just a criminal ruffian who uses the trains for smuggling.

You know the type and what they plan to do, which is dig for personal information. You worry that your name and address are displayed on your carry-on luggage, but your companions seem not to share your worry.

First the white lady beside you has a husband she can call. Second, Mr. U. ignores the other white male seated next to him. You are the victim. It doesn't matter what you say, the routine is to relentlessly dig, play prove it, and try to inflame you.

Here is a list of ways to turn it off or turn the tables around:

  1. Adult life is more varied and complex than face value...
  2. Smile and say nothing.
  3. Redirect to task at hand.
  4. Have you had any rice to eat yet?
  5. Tell them you are a missionary and talk about your spiritual mission.
  6. Something is on my mind and I am not in the mood to talk.
  7. I'd love to talk with you after we all get to know you even better.
  8. He wants to know all about me. How about if you tell us your life story first.
  9. Change the subject with a question. So what is the latest book you finished.
  10. Change the subject and summarize a book you enjoyed recently.
  11. I don't have much to say. Ask someone else a polite question.
  12. I never have much to say. That's basically how I am.
  13. Now is neither appropriate time nor the proper place.
  14. Sometimes I am a sports fan...that's all I care to divulge.
  15. I have the right to remain silent--and call my lawyer if I have to.
  16. I'm an advocate for the War and Peace Report...
  17. We are both finger puppets and stage poets in the brief scene called Life.
  18. I don't share important information with strangers.
  19. This is my lucky day! To be interrogated by a sociopath!
  20. I don't play. You heard me. I don't care to answer that question.
  21. I live in 3-dimensional zen...Nature is all around us.
  22. I don't need to be accountable to strangers...
  23. I am not obliged to make small talk with you.
  24. You look like you have something stuck between your teeth.
  25. Wisdom compels me to keep my mouth shut.
  26. You shared your business, but I like to mind my own.
  27. If you carry a cell phone turn it on and call someone. Fake it if you have to.
  28. Turn your tablet on and become preoccupied in an application.
  29. Combination of any of the above as needed.
  30. Take an extended bathroom break.
  31. I'm more of an idealist than a materialist, if you know what I mean.
  32. I've taken a vow of silence on my life story outside of work.
  33. My duties vary by the hour, right now it is being an ideal customer.
  34. Outside of work, I am sort of a walking zombie.
  35. You're stuck on the work dialect. That's kind of boring don't you think.
  36. Walking collection of mote, processing mote, and execrating mote.
  37. I watch TV sometimes, but mostly I read newspapers.
  38. In the morning I think about morning prayers.
  39. In the afternoon, I am transforming karma into virtue.
  40. In the evening, I am preparing for evensong.
  41. My thoughts are busy with spiritual concerns.
  42. I am too busy to talk with you.
  43. Can we come back to that question later?
  44. I'll take a raincheck on that question.
  45. How about if we postpone your discussion.
  46. Please leave me alone.
  47. We are all students of Life, don't you think?
  48. I am a professional student at buddhist school.
  49. You are just trying to be sociable, and I really appreciate it.
  50. It's the weather again, sunny today and gone tommorrow.

Whatever tactic you choose, you have to practice the delivery, tone, rapidity, stance, and micro-aggression to achieve the desired effect. Mr. Uncouth's sole intentions are to hamstring one's ego and rough up one's complacency.

It is obvious from his smoke and fangs. The type also profits by appearing to attract others to notice him. The dining car conductors lack any kind of empathy. Others seated at the next table are visibly licking their jowls.

Suppose you elicit one of the following reactions? Here's how to play it cool.

  1. He sneers and declares you are unsociable. Don't worry about it, because the elderly lady will shortly supply us with plenty of conversational distraction.

  2. He plays your card and you steer it toward more suitable ambiance.

  3. He stalls and tries to return to digging later. Repeat the lines from earlier.

  4. Remember: I don't have to explain myself to anyone! Ever!

You must be assertive to achieve the desired effect. Useful Wikihow advice is listed under "How to Get Rid of Nosey People" and "How to Speak Your Mind."

Note with regard to Third-Party interference:

  1. If you are in a controlled academic setting, you may have to respond but the bottom line is that few if any professors are really turned off by silence. Remember in the real world the Rat-Race is never-ending so learn to offer bit-cheese for bait.

  2. You can practice a useful alibi which provides protective coloring. I live at home and smoke a lot of weed.

  3. Predators come in all stripes or colors, whether politicians, phDs, or criminals. The trend is on the upswing due to an unhealthy emphasis on Dollar-Strong.

  4. Don't be afraid to tweet your issues and concerns to friends, family, people you trust, police, and consumer protection agencies.

In conclusion, Mr. Uncouth left the other white guy alone. He and the older woman seemed to hit it off, but he always emphasized having the last word. Remember, when you are on Amtrak, grades remain stuck on level with the tracks.

Better employ yourself with real life street-sense if you want to survive.

1. Fool on the Hill, "I just sit around and do nothing all day, literally, at least that is all you will ever be able to see..."
2. Manual J. Smith, When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, <>
3. The International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict, Ottowa, Canada, <>


Millennial Thing

Photos from "Safe Space" Students at Claremont McKenna College & #ConcernedStudent1950 vs the media at University of Missouri in Columbia, MO.

It's a familiar scene. A professor exerting control over the classroom by whatever means necessary is something all students will run into during college. They should be used to it; it's not as if they haven't already endured K-12 schooling with in loco parentis teachers.

However this time it's different. The professor takes her class outside to teach them a field lesson. Immediately it becomes a field laboratory in communication, because when you are outside there are the elements to contend with, and that includes other people.

The professor loses her temper because outside camera crew are trying to film their gathering. Again, this is par normal for a course in mass communication and there should have been no reason for this professor to be publicly humiliated and then basically forced to resign.

Here is what U.S.A. Education Law states about in loco parentis:

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that school officials exercise more than parental power over their students. In fact, cases involving school searches and seizures helped to define and shape the current doctrine of in loco parentis. In New Jersey v. T. L. O. (1985), the Supreme Court noted that school officials, in carrying out searches and other disciplinary functions, act as representatives of the state, not merely as surrogates for the parents, and thus cannot claim the parents’ immunity from the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.

Meanwhile the media is buzzing with tweets, flash news stories, and campus news. Is it a Black Lives Matter issue? Is it about Jim Crow? Is it gender dynamics at work? Is it a case of conflict in communications practice? An attempt to shun the media?

Somehow, it translates into a marvelous feat of social engineering. These young (sheltered) college students, who have grown up under the influence of the War on Terror were taught by Baby-Boomers who in their formative experiences gradually became today's career-conforming liberals. Grownups who espouse constitutional values in tune with diversified textbooks, politicians of the moment, who pin US flags on their lapels to show their commitment to the Afghan and Iraq wars.

No wonder Millennials are kind of mixed up. They saw what grownups do, not what they say. They grew up with only one outlet: smart phones with texting. So next time you take the time to look at this YouTube video, hopefully the generational impressions will jump out.

They knew who they were acting for. A nation viewing Millennials trying to express themselves but confused about who they are supposed to please, what they are supposed to think, and even what to say. But they engineered their secret fantasy of kicking a prof in the butt.

Maybe it's time we stop forcing political correctness issues and start treating everyone like human beings with rights to freedom of expression. And no, that does not make me a racist!

Here's an explanation another media student blooper offered:

“Maybe I didn’t articulate myself good enough,” she [Asian student] said. “There are good people and there are people that are not embracing to other cultures that may not live up to standards of proper behavior, but we have to look to heart. We have to look to this person to see what she or he really is. Look to the heart — the actions not the race.”

If we really focus on the gist of the matter, rather than the hype of political leverage and appropriateness, wouldn't that gradually help make the world a more liveable and peaceful place?

1. Mark Schierbecker, #ConcernedStudent1950 vs the media, YouTube, 09 November 2015, <>.
2. Kerry Picket, "Asian Student Makes Safe Space Unsafe," The Daily Caller, 12 Nov 2015, <>.
3. U.S.A. Education Law, "In Loco Parentis," Education Law, 14 Nov 2015, .


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