Do you recall the first time you stepped into an international business reception at a major hotel and found yourself amidst a sea of Asian faces? If so, you may also have noticed a diversity of Asian cultures and conversations in some incomprehensible languages: Cantonese Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and perhaps others. If you have been put off when people in your presence have spoken a language other than English, you are not alone.
Our world is burning up from within. We need action – now – to lower the earth’s temperature, to stop mass incarceration , child abuse, and human trafficking. And what about self-harm and self-hate? Why does our own spirit twist against us so violently?
Searching for more answers – or at least some deeper insights – I turned to the lives of three people burned by hate, and burning with love. The first is Vietnamese monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Editor’s Note: February commemorates and celebrates American history and culture. Here are two aspects of this month in the words of one of the best speakers and communication coaches in the country, Vincent Ivan Phipps. The first of his essays looks at the history of Black History Month. The second looks at Valentine’s Day with advice we can all use to our own benefit and that of our loved ones.
Why is Black History Month in February?
Thank the ASNLH, Association for the Study of Negro Life and History! In 1916 an American historian, Carter G. Woodson, began editing this organization’s primary scholarly publication called the Journal of Negro History. In 1924, as a member of the historically Black fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, Woodson used the platform of his fraternity to introduce Negro History and Literature Week. In 1926, Woodson and the ASNLH inaugurated Negro history week in February 1926 which eventually parlayed into National Negro Month or to what it is called today, Black History Month.
His name is Stan Maclin. He lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia, having moved there 20 years ago. He is the founder and curator of the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center in that city.
It should come as no surprise then that Maclin’s Center has garnered national attention and many phone calls ignited by the recently released movie “Harriett,” the story of Harriett Tubman who single handedly made many forays deep into the south to free slaves.
When asked why he started the Center, in words that undoubtedly flowed from his mouth hundreds of times over the years, Maclin said that he wanted to open a place where African Americans can learn about their history, identity, and culture. He wanted to be able the educate future generations so that history does not repeat itself.
Small talk delights and confounds us, and it is worth asking why. In this short humorous piece I will confine myself to American small talk, as there appear to be different variations on this tune, as Mark Twain might also have pointed out if he had written more about American English and less about the German language.
On the one hand, it can feel overly factual and too easy, (are they making fun of me?) on the other hand, it is full of ambiguity and hidden meaning. But do you KNOW what that meaning is? It is also a way of getting to know you quickly, whatever the circumstances, sharing information, getting the real information fast or just having some fun in a bored moment.
Hence I share with you a “Small Talk Vignette” from one of my trips in the US. Although I am American, I have felt like a foreigner in the US at various times, and this was one of them:
We came to America without a clue
When November rolled around and Thanksgiving, too
Stories of pilgrims sailing in hope
The Mayflower and Plymouth Rock – Who knew!
They fled from the British
but wasn’t that us?
Just listen to this little girl’s
vocab of therefore and thus
I’d never seen a turkey, no drumstick or wing
Never saw a pumpkin or eaten a pie
My eyes got bigger and my ears perked up
I knew the tune I heard them sing
My country tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty
but the words were all wrong
cause it’s an English song
“God save our gracious queen
God save the Queen”
We’d come from Bermuda to be a Jew
Religious freedom and expression, too
Where seldom was heard
A Hebrew prayer or word
Now we sit down together
for the best feast ever
Embracing a new life, a diverse one, with pleasure
Giving thanks for our differences and our joy beyond measure.
To celebrate my birthday, I addressed a group of Global Scholars at Chattanooga State Community College on the societal trends in this political environemnt through the lens of cultural anthropology. Chattanooga is experiencing major cultural shifts as globalization transforms the South’s demographics. We are very much in need of a new generation with global leadership skills, multicultural expertise, and political involvement.
I used to write about terrorist destructors in the U.S. every spring. My articles began with the domestic terrorism of the Oklahoma City bombing more than twenty years ago on April 19. That’s when I became the community/media liaison for Oklahoma’s Tulsa Jewish Federation. It was shortly after the bombing destroyed the Murrah Building and so many lives were affected. I felt compelled to investigate what led to the deadliest bombing, prior to 9/11, on our native soil. The violent hatred that I saw has not only continued, but has expanded globally, and now, it encompasses the entire year.
When Jessica’s father bought her a one-way ticket to the States from Guatemala when she was 25, that was his way of saying, “I believe in you, hija, and I expect you to truly ‘be ‘somebody’.’” Now go do it.
ASIAN AMERICANS IN THE USA
Asian Americans comprise about 5.6% of the United States. Among them, the Chinese Americans, with 3.79 million—constitute the largest Asian ethnic group in the U.S. Most of them arrived at this country in three separate immigration waves, each characterized by its own set of reasons for migration.
The first wave took place during the Gold Rush in California as part of the 1800s immigration wave. The Chinese immigrants were primarily laborers from Southeast China. Some came voluntarily with the intention of returning to their home village with wealth and prestige; others were kidnapped and bought as Asian slaves. This article will follow the story of Chinese Americans and the challenges they still face.