angry reader of the week: marissa minna lee

Once again, it is time to meet another Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is self-professed fangirl Marissa Minna Lee.

Who are you?
A cynical idealist. Also, someone who spends way, way too much money on Star Wars paraphernalia.

What are you?
I am a Taiwanese American and recent UCLA grad working in public mental health policy. I'm also a writer, crafter, a huge fangirl, and an avid blogger--and somehow this provided me with a basic skill set for advocacy work. I was supposed to be a doctor, so I guess I'm a bad Asian daughter?

Where are you?
I'm based out of West Los Angeles, California. There is no Taiwanese food here and that makes me a sad panda.

Where are you from?
Every place I've lived has been right next to a major university. My family is from the bubble known as Irvine, California. I was born in Gainesville, Florida and when I was younger we lived in Santa Cruz, CA.

What do you do?
In addition to my day job, I'm part of CA-YEN, a group fighting for better mental health services for people aged 16 to 25. I've always been interested in healthcare advocacy, especially reproductive health care education. I'm currently involved with HelpingJanet.com, trying to encourage more people--especially Asian Americans--to register as potential marrow donors.

My biggest project right now is with Racebending.com; we're a group of fans rallying against blatant employment discrimination in Hollywood. We're very vocally protesting how Paramount discriminated against actors of color in The Last Airbender. We just revamped our website, so check it out!

I'm a big geek, so I do geeky things. Oh! And I rescue guinea pigs!

What are you all about?
Speaking up and speaking out! I guess I have a naturally defiant and insubordinate personality. I've always piped up about things that bothered me. It took me a while to learn that it takes more than speaking out to make meaningful actions. That's something I'm still trying to practice. But even just speaking out can make a difference.

What makes you angry?
The justifications people use to defend inequality and discrimination. I mean, seriously, it takes effort to think up those excuses! But people use them to be complacent, and become dangerously close to becoming complicit. Complacency is always a choice.

Discrimination and racism within and coming from the Asian American community. It's not always racial, either. (Eg: the way the Asian American community treats people with mental illness, rape victims, LGBT folks, etc.) We can do better!

People who say, dismissively, "Don't you have something better to do or a better cause to support? Hollywood casting? Sex ed? Guinea pigs? What about Darfur? What about AIDS?" I firmly believe that the smaller causes need champions, too. And if you're not going to help, please get the hell out of my way!

Here's an awkward one. In Asian American activist circles, I hate when people disparage Asian/white interracial relationships. I'm disturbed that some APAs feel that Asian American women who are dating white men are deliberately undermining APA advocacy efforts, are brainwashed, or can't be legit APA activists. Sometimes I feel like the argument simply boils down to "They're taking our wimmens!" It commodifies Asian American women, and it's insulting to our personal agency and intelligence.

Grr. Arrgh.

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