An Open Letter To The Man That Told Me There's Enough Of Our Kind In The Population.

This post is inspired by and in response to Michael Luo's open letter on The New York Times.

I was publicly discriminated against because of my race while attending an open workshop for college students last year. The lecture was intended to encourage students pursuing design careers to build portfolios and ask questions about careers in art. In the middle of the lecture, without any warning, the speaker, an Art Director at some design firm, began to talk about bullying and how he wanted to teach us a "lesson" about facing adversities at work.

He called out three minority students involuntarily in the classroom including me to use as examples of bullying in corporate culture. He first pointed at an African-American student and said “I would not hire you because you are black and might even steal my wallet. I don’t trust you.” He then walked up to a Hispanic student and said something insulting about his language.

When he got around to me, he said “I wouldn’t hire you. You’re Chinese. You’re the majority group and there’s enough of your kind in our population.” He proceeded to relay ethnic slurs about the Chinese as the entire class listened on. I sat there, explicitly being pointed out as the only Asian in the room, and I was shocked to hear that some of the people around me were laughing. 

At first my reaction was to be embarrassed. My pride was hurt but I didn’t want to overreact or be sensitive so I continued to engage in the lecture. But then I grew angry to see that there were adults in the room sitting in silence, allowing this demonstration to happen and to serve as an education model for students.

At the end of the lecture, I approached the speaker and confronted him about what I had just witnessed. His intentions were to inform us about “real-world” situations, but his behavior was unethical, offensive, and overtly racist. He became defensive and attempted to justify his actions by saying that he was once bullied too and that we should be "prepared to face anything in order to achieve our dreams."

After some time, he offered me an apology and as I accepted and was about to leave, he continued to say, “But you are Chinese. And you are the majority of the population.” AppalIed by his ignorance, I corrected him and informed him that I was Korean. He hurriedly brushed me off as other students were still listening in on our conversation, and seeing that there was no point in arguing anymore, I exited the classroom. 

I decided to report in to my own professor, to gain his perspective on the occurence, which resulted in a series of e-mails, a response from the speaker, and hopefully a real change, if any, in the way he approaches future students and victims of his racist tactics.

Why I am so eager to share my story now a year later after the incident is because, honestly speaking, I wasn't scarred by the speaker or his words. I remember what hurt the most was not the words of the speaker but the silence of the classroom. To stand alone in a room full of people who are unable to empathize simply because of privilege or who are fortunate to avoid the situation. I was publicly humiliated and felt socially and racially excluded because of my appearance. It was a big lesson for me: to understand what it felt like to be a victim of oppression and to take up the social responsibility to stand up for those that are voiceless by not remaining silent.

TRAVEL & INSPIRATION

I'll be logging more about my recent work here and the opportunities I've had in the past couple months. Still not too sure where I want to go with this blog but with all the clutter of social media and apps, I want to use this as a portal for my own self-expression and journey through art. I find blogs a lot less confining and much more unfiltered, immune to false illusions created by views and followers. (But I'll always hold an affection for you Insta<3).

Pictured above is a compilation of photos I took during my past few travel days with the team. Visiting all these galleries and exhibitions with an agenda helped instill a newfound excitement for museums that I never had before. I found myself noticing and appreciating details and the varying textures, silhouettes, lines, colors, and shapes of each installment and engaging the expression of the artists themselves. I feel like I finally got a glimpse of the hidden gems and culture hidden within these streets and it makes me feel lucky to work in a city that is still quite foreign and overwhelming to me. I'm looking forward to exploring my own aesthetic style and learning where I fit in (or stand out) in this big big big world of design.

Here's a breakdown of places I visited-

STORES (NY):
Opening Ceremony
Totokaelo
Atrium
Stadium Goods
Flight Club
Nike LAB
KITH
Barney's
 

MUSEUMS (NY & BO):
Museum of Natural History
MOMA
Bodyworlds
New Museum
Cooper Hewitt (favorite)
Harvard Art Museums
Boston MFA (another favorite)
Boston College

City of Dreams and Air Pollution

I've been getting used to a surplus of company and downtime lately. I'm not complaining at all, I'm enjoying my time of break and rest but I also want to start preparing myself for the transition back into the city. My creative ambitions and curiosity draw me here but my Jersey roots will always call the suburbs home. Circumstances are leading me back to New York and I'm going to embrace the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and push myself to grow in every area possible, from my career to skills to my faith. NYC let's see what you got for me this year.

Trusting in the Process

'Here’s the Strategy Elite Athletes Follow to Perform at the Highest Level' 
Article shared by Sue Park.

I thought this was a great read on how to approach goals and how being process-minded can help with all your endeavors in the long run. This is relevant at least for me with goal-planning and being over-critical when I'm not able to follow through with certain steps undistracted. It's overwhelming when we screw up a tiny detail on the way to a larger goal but when we allow ourselves room for smaller failures, it's easier to get back up and keep pushing forward. It's like dieting. As my friend Kelly puts it, it's not a one-time thing, it's a lifestyle change!

starting afresh

Alright. I've tried starting way too many blogs and it's about time I keep it to one thing, so this will have to do. This blog will serve to keep track of my design work, photography, and any miscellaneous thoughts related to my creative endeavors.

I'd like to begin with a HELLO to twenty-sixteen. Lets see where you take us this year.