What's up, my friends? As always, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the 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 Kaohlee Vue.
Who are you?
My name is Nkauj Hli Vwj. My birth certificate spells it "Kaohlee Vue." The phonetic sound of the English version I have grown to accept is "cow-lee voo". Sometimes I tell people, "my name is Kaohlee, like a cow and Bruce Lee. Cow - lee." It always makes people laugh, and hey -- they never forget my name again. Plus, it reduces the number of times I have to repeat my name. In the end it doesn't really matter, because everyone who is not Hmong or does not speak Hmong is still pronouncing my name wrong anyway.
What are you?
Kuv yog Hmoob. That means "I am Hmong." I am also... Asian, American, first-generation U.S. born, a woman, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a proud auntie, and a student.
Where are you from?
My parents are from Laos, but I was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. We lived there for a couple of years before my family moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota (where I like to call Hmongtown). I'm not a big fan of cold weather, icy roads, and 7 months of snow, but Minnesota is home. Currently, I reside in Duluth, Minnesota.
What do you do?
I work in the Office of Cultural Diversity at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). Our office includes the Women's Resource and Action Center, GLBT Services, International Student Services, and services for students of color. As the Pre-Collegiate Initiatives Coordinator, I run our Student Ambassadors and Campus Visit Program. One of our goals is to make college more accessible to students who are first generation, from low-income families, and/or from underprivileged and underserved populations. I am also a secondary adviser for students of color, where I am an additional resource to my advisees. UMD is about 2.5 hours north of the Twin Cities, with about 10% students of color. A large percentage of UMD students come from the Twin Cities area, where there are larger communities of color. Therefore, attending UMD is often a culture shock for many of our students. As secondary advisers, we advise students with academics and offer support to meet other needs. In addition, I am an adviser of two student organizations at UMD: the Asian Pacific American Association (APAA) and Hmong Living in Unity and Balance (HLUB). (By the way, "hlub" means "love"). I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from passionate, critical, and genuine people everyday.
Outside of work, I attend classes as a Masters of Social Work student. I'm not exactly sure what I want to do with that degree, but lately my interests have been research and policy. During my free time I mostly run, YouTube, or Netflix.
What are you all about?
I'm on an endless journey of learning and growing. We continue to perpetuate many -isms because of ignorance, societal norms and learned biases. I believe there is always more to learn.
Many people are ignorant about issues because sometimes they really don't know. We're all human, we don't know everything, and we all make mistakes. I recognize that I am part of the problem sometimes, and there is much more for me to learn. I strive to challenge myself and others. I hope that with more knowledge and awareness, I will continue to empower myself and others.
I am also about... Loving and appreciating those around me, helping others, and exploring life! And of course -- food, candy, running, chocolate, YouTube, sugar, BuzzFeed, pastries, and sleeping.
What makes you angry?
Things that make me angry include... The lust for power. The social construct that is money. The influence of societal stigmas. The obsession with standardized tests. The inaccurate history taught in grade school. The American Dream -- the idea that if you work hard enough you will "succeed." Internalized oppression and horizontal hostility. When "allies" only come through for people when it's comfortable or convenient.
Something that also angers me is when I'm trying to watch a YouTube video, but I am forced to watch a horror movie trailer prior to the actual YouTube clip. I mean COME ON! If you're not going to give me an option to skip it, at least give me a warning.