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He was robbed at gun point and stolen from many times, sometimes with physical altercations involved. He once asked a magnificently dressed black couple who had been looking at felt hats where a particular hat went; the woman smiled and walked straight out the door. They may have lived in a large urban center, but their personal spheres of interactions with people of color were narrowly defined.They didn’t grow up with diversity; didn’t go to schools where they could be with and interact with people of different backgrounds, and they didn’t speak English well enough to have a diverse group of friends.I will tell you that my father is one of the most decent, kind and good human beings alive at heart, but that does not mean he is not flawed.
Filial piety is a real thing, and I generally shy away from writing what could be construed as negative portrayals of my parents.Asian countries also tend to adopt a highly Westernized beauty standard of “lighter is better,” where the prized aesthetic is comprised of fair skin, large eyes, round face and pointy chin, and a general appearance of daintiness and sweetness — the face of obedience.That aesthetic is clearly morphing with modernization, globalization, and more diverse preferences, but is still the dominant imagery.I once saw a young black woman and her friends come in, sift through hats and scarves and gloves, talking to my dad loudly all at once, and I watched as she slipped a pair of sunglasses into her back pocket.
I told my dad and he tried to close the door, only to have her and her friends scream in his face.
When my mom saw Coolio perform Gangstas’ Paradise being at the Grammy’s, she commented “What are all these homeless people doing on stage? Once on the subway, we stood next to two young black teenagers who were joking around and when the train came to a sudden stop, one of them accidentally stepped on her foot and turned to her and said “I’m sorry, Ma’am” very politely, and I saw her look at him with furrowed brows and an icy stare, a fraction of a moment of sheer contempt, before she looked away. My father’s experience is different, but equally telling and influential to me.