“American”

Just got done reading Mia Tuan’s, Forever Foreigners or Honorary Whites?: The Asian Ethnic Experience Today, and appreciated her thoughts on the word “American”.

What race do you think of when you hear the word “American”?

I suspect many think of a Caucasian person.  Why not an Asian?  Further, why do Asians often self-identify themselves as “Asian-Americans”?  Why don’t those with European heritage identify themselves as “European-Americans”?

Although those are rhetorical questions, I will answer them: looks.  As Ronald Takaki asserts in his Strangers from a Different Shore and as is supported in Tuan’s research, those with Asian heritage cannot “shake off” assumptions of foreignness as readily as their European counterparts because they physically do not fit the mold of what society says an “American” is (read: white).

For example, if you are an Asian, have you ever been asked, “Where are you from?”  You respond, “Chicago.”  They retort, “No, where are you from from?” — as if they are incredulous that your black hair and yellow skinned-body could actually be natively born in the United States.

A similar question would seem almost farcical if asked of a 2nd generation European, for example, simply because Europeans look more like what American society has traditionally defined “American”.

More Christian Manga

A year and a half ago I wrote about Christian manga. Today I got a mailing introducing Zondervan’s line of graphic novels and recently I read about another series.

Interesting. I’d like to check out the Manga Bible and see how they render the stories. With ~80% of the Bible being in a literary genre, I think it would be a great read.

Related, this morning I listened to a talk entitled, “Words of Delight: The Bible as Literature” by Dr. Leland Ryken. Highly recommended; it will challenge your approach to the Scriptures.

[update: ysmarko has some good thoughts and links]
[another update: graphic history of manga] [ht: cpyu]

Gerald Ford and King Jesus

This thoughtful post, which starts off:

The 37th President of the United States died yesterday. Gerald Ford was 93 years old. In hearing the news I was immediately struck by the beauty of King Jesus. You may raise an eyebrow and wonder aloud as to how and why.

reminded me of my recent post on King Jesus. How important it is to see earthly leaders in the proper perspective! Their fleeting reigns are only a shadow of the reality of the eternal reign of the True King.

[via JT]

More On Beauty

“I think it’s because of this kind of intense instant access to celeb rity and famous people that we didn’t even have 15 years ago. We are constantly comparing ourselves to Paris Hilton. We live in such a time of the rise of the image.”
– author Alex Kuczynski (Beauty Junkies: Inside our $15 Billion Obsession with Cosmetic Surgery) on why cosmetic procedures have become so common in our culture , USA Today 10/17/06.

[ht: CPYU Youth Culture e-Update]

The Office

In an attempt to stay in touch with pop culture as well as try to learn more about the daily grind of many people, I rented the first season of The Office on DVD.

While I think it gives helpful insight into some of frustrations and politics of a company, I cringe nearly every time Michael speaks; he is so self-centered and untactful.

Next stop in cultural literacy: Lost.

Do you watch either of these shows? Vote now.

Beauty.

It is interesting when two friends blog about the same issue on the same day.

NedFlanders80 and TowardCanaan both wrote about beauty and referenced this film from Dove.

They have both written thoughtful insights so I won’t add much except for two thoughts:

  • While the Dove campaign is targeted at women, men would do well to learn this lesson from it as well: Images of women are not reality; rather, they are usually the result of Photoshopped and manipulated pixels. [think of the implications this has regarding p0rn]
  • I always get kinda nervous when we talk about “self-esteem.” [Dove has a “self-esteem fund”]. I’m far more comfortable with “self-significance”, but poor self-esteem just seems like flip-side of pride. Both are me-centered: pride says, “I’m so great. Look at me!”; poor self-esteem says, “I’m so bad. Poor me.” It seems to me we ultimately need more God-esteem (which would then boost our self-significance).