Here’s a short piece I worked on for a client’s blog about #MyAsianAmericanStory (link below). If you haven’t heard of it, or haven’t been following the movement, it’s well worth looking up.
Asian Americans have been sharing their stories on Twitter, ranging from heartbreaking recounts of grandparents in internment camps and facing numerous injustices, to racist slurs casually slung about in conversation, to the commodification of Asian women.
This piece had to strike a balance between the client’s voice and needs, and my desire to share these people’s stories. The struggle for any freelance writer, I think, is earning a paycheck vs. having 100% creative control (which I don’t think you can ever have if you’re writing for someone else). <– Other freelancers, feel free to chime in here!
For this topic, although I could have just done my own blog post on it, the readership wouldn’t have been the same, and I wanted as many people as possible to know and learn about #MyAsianAmericanStory. It might come off as too simple or lighthearted for some (and it is very simple because of client requests), but I promise that it was not written to make light of these stories that people so kindly and openly shared. It’s just that the nature of the blog I wrote for is not to spew out long, journalistic pieces. (Nor am I that type of writer.)
This piece is to allow us to unite over shared experiences, whether it’s an eye roll over an ignorant question, or a snarky comeback to a slur, or remembering that our grandfather went through something similar.
Being Asian American and having seen the prejudices my parents faced as they built their lives in the US, as well as experiencing my fair share, this movement really hits close to home.
If you’ve ever been called “ching chong”, had eyes pulled at you, been asked where you’re REALLY from, or had people do over-the-top “impressions” of immigrants speaking English, I strongly urge you to keep the conversation going and participate in #MyAsianAmericanStory.
Find the blog post at the EastMeetEast site here. (Yes, it’s an Asian dating site. We all have to start writing somewhere.)
Edit: Is it the most ideal site to post something like this? Probably not. But the NY Times won’t return my calls for some reason (kidding). Some negative feedback has suggested that by posting on a “dating” blog, I have somehow cheapened the meaning of the movement. It’s disappointing to have it perceived that way. All I can say is that while I cannot fix or change what has been posted on the blog in the past, I can certainly try to make a difference in the voice that is set moving forward. We’re all on the same side.
PS – when people make fun of Asians speaking English, I wonder if they have ever stopped to consider what they might sound like speaking a foreign language, if they even speak a second language at all. It baffles me that people never keep in mind how difficult it is to learn another language, much less have the confidence to use it in front of native speakers.