angry reader of the week: frances kai-hwa wang

Hey there. It's 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 Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, who wears many hats...

Who are you? What are you?
I am a writer, editor, speaker, educator, and activist on Asian Pacific American and multicultural issues. I have been a contributing editor at IMDiversity.com Asian American Village for twelve years, writing on APA arts, cultures, family, education, and lifestyle issues. I am also working on an (exciting) book of essays about APA identity in the Midwest.

I write a column called "Adventures in Multicultural Living" featured in AnnArbor.com, Ethnoblog.NewAmericaMedia.org (The AP of the Ethnic Press), JACL's PacificCitizen.org, RainbowKids.org, and InCultureParent.com. This column explores multicultural parenting, cultural practices, culture clashes, and moments of resonance that cut across cultures and move us all.

I lecture widely on Asian Pacific American history, identity, and issues. I was recently the keynote speaker at Purdue University's Asian Pacific American Conference, where I finally got to meet the one and only Angry Asian Man (My eighth grade daughter wanted to cut school so she could go meet him too).

I also lead workshops on "Raising Children with Culture(s) and Pride" and "APA Girl Power!" which offer practical hands-on strategies for normalizing ethnicity, culture, bilingualism, and difference for our kids so they do not have to go through the same identity crises that we had to.

I was Executive Director of American Citizens for Justice, the nonprofit civil rights advocacy group founded when Vincent Chin was killed. I am now on the Advisory Board. I also team-teach a course on "Asian Pacific American History and the Law" at University of Michigan and University of Michigan Dearborn with some of the attorneys who worked on that historic case.

I am also involved with an assortment of community groups, including the Outreach Coordinator of the Ann Arbor Chinese Center of Michigan, where I lead a team of rambunctious lion dancers to all sorts of multicultural events and international potlucks.

Where are you?
Online, of course!

My website: franceskaihwawang.com or multiculturaltoolbox.com.

My blog: franceskaihwawang.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/franceskaihwawang (but please include a message that you got this link from angry asian man so I know that you're real)

Twitter: twitter.com/fkwang

My columns can most easily be found at annarbor.com/passions-pursuits or ethnoblog.newamericamedia.org.

If you want to invite me to speak or run my columns or otherwise discuss taking over the world, I can be reached by email at fkwang888@gmail.com.

Where are you from?
Ha ha, Angry Asian Man, that's a funny one.

I divide my time between Michigan and the Big Island of Hawaii, and when I can, California too.

When I am with Asian Americans, I tell them I was born and raised in California.

When I am in Hawaii, I pretend that I am local (because it is just so much cooler to be local).

For "real Chinese people" from China or Taiwan, my "old home" (ancestral village) is in Shandong province, even though no one has been there for three generations and my 3 other grandparents are from Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, and Hubei.

When I am with non-Asians, sigh, my parents were born in China, grew up in Taiwan, then came to the US for graduate school as part of that circa-1965 immigration wave of engineers and model minorities. Yet I speak English so well!

What do you do?
I both harangue my kids, "What?!! Only 106% on your math test?" AND I give them the url for mymomisafob.com.

I am a big proponent of stealth education. Nobody wants to hear about hate crimes and civil rights, what a downer, they would much rather hear about our exotic lunar new year's traditions. So I dress up all in red and give the lunar new year's talks, and then sneak the subversive stuff in when they are not expecting it. I learned that from Kristina Wong's bigbadchinesemama.com (but not so violent). I also give my kids' friends Asian American books and Asian barbies for their birthday presents.

What are you all about?
I really want to help empower younger APAs so that they do not have to go through the same stuff we did with identity crises, being a minority, always being "the only one." I would love to spare people (starting with my own children) the angst of wrestling with who they are, what they are, how they fit in, and help them develop a strong sense of identity, culture, and pride.

It is important to educate young people about both the history and culture(s) from which their families came (to give them strength), and the APA history of which they are now a part (so they know they have a place here). Then give them the space to create something new.

I also want to help educate the mainstream about APA, immigrant, and other multicultural issues; to educate their next generation as well as ours; and to speak up for more recent immigrants who might not have the education, political awareness, or English skills to fight for their rights and their children's rights.

We have been in this country for over 200 years, we should have made more progress by now.

What makes you angry?
We have been in this country for over 200 years, we should have made more progress by now.

What really makes me angry are people who have no awareness of history or law or the constitution who want to revisit the same anti-immigrant or anti-minority legislation again and again. Like the head of homeland security who thought it would be ok to intern Arab Americans because he thought that the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was justified, the people in Texas who want to rewrite the textbooks to say there was nothing racist about the internment, and the Arizona folks and friends who want to deny citizenship to children of immigrants born in this country. Hey, we already fought those battles with redress and Wong Kim Ark. Let's keep history moving forward, shall we? It really bugs me to hear the same arguments from 150 years ago about how the framers of the constitution did not really intend for "those sorts of people" to become citizens. Those sorts of people are me.

Hey, Angry Asian Man, you forgot one: What do you love? Spam Musubi!
I love Asian American arts and cultures, the way that contemporary artists combine the old/traditional arts with the new/contemporary arts, the way that our cultures are constantly adapting to new environments (like Spam Musubi), the connections that are constantly being made between people of different colors and cultures, and the very cool Asian Americans who are there to watchdog it all (like Angry Asian Man!).

I think there are very cool global arts connections to be made with the Asian diaspora around the world. This is what I would rather be doing than defending my civil liberties against Arizona et al.

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