Eugene Cho

i’m taking down all my posters of miley cyrus and jonas brothers

joe jonas slanty eyes

mileycyrus

Enough is enough!  I bit my tongue several months ago when Miley Cyrus came out with her chink-eyed picture.  Last summer, I was pretty furious about the Spanish Olympic Basketball team and their team picture as the entire time slit their eyes.  Numerous folks pushed back and said I was making a big deal out of nothing.  Then, couple other teams came out with the same pictures.  And then today, another high profile celebrity – Joe, one of the Jonas brothers – has a picture out [above]  doing you know what.

That’s it.  I’m taking down all my posters of Miley and the Jonas Brothers!

Okay, these “musical artists” are not on my favorites list but I know that they influence thousands if not millions of fans including the three young kids in my house.  If you could see how my girls reacted when they heard that Miley Cyrus did that slanty eyes!  Why?  Because they experience this on a regular basis and how much it hurts them and how much it deeply grieves me as a father that some of the same stupid frackin’ stuff keeps going on.

Folks will push back and say, “Asian dude, relax.  They’re teenagers” and I’d respond by saying, “I’d love to be your kids.”  Miley is 16 and this Jonas dude is 19 [not sure when the pic was taken].  That’s clearly old enough to know something is stupid and racist.  And of course, there’s the whole motivation push back:

It was meant to be affectionate and fun spirited.

Really?   Go and have fun doing something else.  While the intent may have been to demonstrate an “affectionate gesture,” let’s make this very clear: slitting or slanting your eyes is NOT an affectionate gesture. You don’t mock physical appearance because you think it’s affectionate.

For example, when was the last time you saw someone do this as an “affectionate gesture?”

Slitting or slitting your eyes has been used historically in the past and present as a way to mock, offend, and degrade Asians locally and globally. And if we don’t make a big deal of this and other instances, it will continue to not only occur but be perceived by some as acceptable and affectionate.  And as I shared above, I can’t speak directly and authoritatively to the individuals involved. I’m not about to call out Joe and Miley as racists or whoever but let’s not mince words or stutter to defend the actions. They hurt, offend, and degrade all who are created with beautiful Asian eyes – just as God intended.

We need to slam the slanted eyes gestures as racist gestures even if they come from a 16 or 19 year – and for that matter, a six year old.  Why?  Because we don’t want 50 million teens around the world to think that slanting your eyes is affectionate.  Nothing is more scary that a Hannah Montana  or Jonash Brothers concert with 16,000 fans slitting their eyes.  Right?

I love this comment from Jessica, one of my blog readers who also serves as one of our worship directors at Quest Church.  I know some of you folks won’t like it but I’ll just ask that you read it and sit on it:

I know this incident hit a little closer to home for me so I may be ranting but per the comment that the outcry among whites about racial incidents a la Miley Cyrus being loud — Not NEARLY loud enough. The fact that Michael Phelps take a hit on a bong and looses millions of dollars in sponsorships and meanwhile Miley Cyrus mocks an entire race of people and only blogs a couple half-assed apologies with no greater repercussions — BOGGLES MY MIND!

Where were the big protests? Why didn’t any retailers pull merchandise? I mean, the mocking Cyrus did is STILL HAPPENING on playgrounds around the country subject countless Asian American children to the VERY denigration she perpetrated — children who were very likely fans of her career, children to whom she owes her very livelihood! And granted, I am just as guilty as anyone else for not making enough noise because truth be told, other than a mini-rant in my Race/Gender/Sexuality class this is my first public contribution. Nevertheless, to echo a sermon Pastor Eugene preached a few weeks ago about injustice, WE ARE NOT ANGRY ENOUGH. Okay, maybe I’M angry enough, but you get my point.

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129 Responses

  1. Eugene,

    i am so in agreement with you on this. It is wrong. It’s like when people here in the south hang Confederate flags and wonder why people get offended over that. i am white but know what that flag means to African Americans. AND when people continually use the phrase, “That’s so gay”, that is offensive to us in the LGBTQ community because it has been used to denigrate us in the past.

    Thanks for sharing your heart and a lesson in being sensitive.

    Warm Regards,

    Adele

  2. Ricki says:

    Miley and the Jonas brothers aren’t racists, but their music should definitely fall under genocide. It’s killing people who have good taste in music.

    • Tired says:

      @Ricki
      I agree with you, Miley and Jonas brothers are not racists (meaning they don’t hate), however, the chinese eyed gesture have been around to mock asians, and if you ask just about any asian kid growing up in white societies, I bet not one of them will say there were not teased.

  3. Matt says:

    how about when shaq spoke fake chinese when talking about yao years ago? is that similarly offensive?

    • Tired says:

      You’re right, Shaq’s fake Chinese comment is offensive, but he also may have been making a light hearted joke and kind of frustrated that Yao being Chinese who is foreign to the U.S. and taller than Shaq. This seems more out of jealousy than being racist or hate. But I agree, Shaq needs to chill and be responsible with his words. With Miley and Joe however, there’s really no excuse for them to make that gesture, unless if they were completely intoxicated.

  4. iy. says:

    totally. ok, eugene, you get points for being more up on the teenyboppers than i am this week.

    raaaage! this pissed me off. i’m sharing your blog post.

    notice in the jonas’ group shot, everyone is making their eyes slanty/closed, and the lone asian kid (the lone kid of color) is trying not to. he is being implicated in his own degradation. which is so common. so offensive.

  5. Blackwasp19 says:

    Christians have got to stand up against these sort of things. We are missing it. I don’t care if their items get taken off the selves, I care that Christians aren’t saying anything about it, that we are so silent about instances of racism. This is especially relevant because the Jonas Brothers claim faith in Christ. This instance isn’t even attacking the world, it is keeping those who claim Christ, accountable to their beliefs and actions. Calling out the Jonas Brothers (perhaps someone will do so in private) and saying that this is NOT the way a Christian is called to behave is not only defending our Asian brothers ans sisters, but also encouraging growth in these three young men. The world doesn’t need to step up and say something, we as the church should be the first ones to the plate.

    Personally, I am already done with Miley.

  6. jadanzzy says:

    the dominant majority will have their reward.

  7. Katie says:

    i think this is terrible, as most people on here probably do. but my question is, why are people even posing like this? how does this even come about? i’m just saying, when i’m hanging out with my friends and we’re chlling and talking and then someone pulls out a camera to take a picture my first thought isn’t, “hey! dude! let’s slant our eyes at the camera because there are these people, asians, and their eyes are slanty and that’s hilarious and so let’s pose like that because it’ll be great!” what? where does that even come from? how is that even on their minds?

    when did slanty-eyed asian poses for pictures become the cool, fun thing to do? at least the spanish team have a reason for why asian-ness was so salient – they had an asian sponsor and were about to compete in the olympics in CHINA. what’s the excuse of the tweens? i have one asian friend, so hey, let’s do this?

    seriously. i’m just really confused.

  8. hmmm says:

    I am a JB fan, and I’ll admit this is incredibly stupid. But that image is also way more out of context than the Miley one, no?

    People have constantly described Joe as Asian looking, in any case, and said it with mockery – look around the internet, it is incredibly gross the way people say it like a negative. Maybe he was being a dumb 16 year old and playing along. Ignorant, but doesn’t make me feel like I want to dismiss him the way that Miley group picture did.

    But your feelings are fair, of course.

  9. Keren says:

    i meant to share with you about an eye-slanting done to A not long ago at the preschool. she came home and started slanting her eyes and laughing…j. p. and i told her not to do that and that her eyes are beautiful. also, this began a very fruitful discussion and follow-up action within our “anti-bias” preschool. argh…i was dreading the day the “eye-slanting” thing would happen to my kids…didn’t realize it would be in preschool!

  10. Joe says:

    I’m just waiting for the push back from people who think it’s no big deal. Or perhaps they won’t post it, but they are thinking it. I’ve learned that people have a “get over it” attitude, but what underlies that most times is simply selfishness. We expect people to adjust to us, rather than seeking to understand and meet others where they are. Myself included.

  11. I totally understand. I am similarly uncomfortable every time go to the Disney store and see all the Captain Hook props where little kids can play at missing a limb. “Really???!!” I think, “is it that fun to pretend at having just a hook for a hand – for some of us it isn’t a game?” (and yes, I have worn a hook prosthesis when I was younger, I hated it).

    But having popular culture influence kids to mock others happens way too often. My mom showed my daughter The Lady and the Tramp recently and she has been singing the “We are Siamese” song constantly (in the horrible mocking accent). I’ve asked her not to, but she is at the age when that just encourages her all the more (she also likes to shout “poop” quite frequently… the joy). At the same time, she hears all the Asian kids playing and speaking different languages and tries to “talk” (by mimicing nonsense) with them. She’s 4, and I know she is just trying to be friendly, but I don’t want her to offend. Its a hard balance.

  12. Ken Zeleny says:

    I am also outraged that people find it acceptable to slant their eyes and think it is cute. It isn’t! It is demeaning and racist. Eugene Cho rocks!

  13. gracerules says:

    I think it is always right to confront racism in any form. I notice that people do not want to confront it if people they support are doing it. I think we can confront it without calling someone a racist (as you have done here).

    Recently I pointed out that I thought the end of Rev. Lowry’s prayer during the inauguration contained racist speech. I was careful to explain that I wasn’t calling Rev. Lowry a racist (I know very little about him) but that I thought calling Native Americans “red”, Asians “yellow”, saying that “yellow needed to mellow” and saying white people, in general, are racist, was racist speech even if it was contained within a rhyme that has been around for a long time in black churches. I still stand by my original comments – that it was inappropriate.

    I often see racism lurking in people’s lives (no matter what race they are) even without their knowledge and believe that when we see or hear racism we should point it out and speak against it.

  14. Marcus Simmons says:

    I agree whole-heartedly with these sentiments. The fact is that people with high profiles and lots of experience have the responsibility to be aware of the messages they send. Stupidity and even ignorance is not a working excuse. It doesn’t even matter if you have good intentions – if you find out what you do is offensive to some then you have responsibility to seek understanding and reconciliation -out of context or not.

    I would also argue, if you would allow me to be completely honest, that it is an issue of white privilege. Their merchandise won’t come off the shelves because the white majority knows they can choose to ignore the repercussions of their actions. They don’t need to be angry about someone making fun of people of color because to them, it isn’t up to the entrenched institutionalized standard of white beauty anyway. Chris Brown, Michael Vick and celebrities of color weren’t looked at as being silly, innocent teenagers because there is an inherent belief that people of color are malicious and less-than, while Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, The Olson Twins, and the Jonas Brothers, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Heath Ledger and the like can wild out all over the place, set terrible examples of racist, sexist, stupid, dangerous, sinful behavior and people write it off as “one bad decisions” “out of context” or “good-intentioned.”

  15. Peter Ahn says:

    I’m telling my kids they can’t watch Hannah Montana anymore!

  16. Sovreign says:

    I’m really not sure what anyone is upset about. As a little girl we used to sing a rhyme with the line..” Chinese, Japanese, Indian Chief” and we pushed our eyes up and down and crossed our arms over our chest to represent the Indian Chief. I was innocent of any racial slur while doing so i simply didn’t comprehend, it was just a song we sang. I don’t think That Miley and The Jonas brother were being racist, i think malicious intent behind doing so would depict racism. Sometimes we are over sensitive to racism when we have dealt with it for extended periods of time. At Any rate, God Bless

  17. Marcus Simmons says:

    So let’s say a child and his brother play cowboys and Indians. It’s innocent and they are just mocking what they see on TV. Their father is a police officer. They love each other, but one day one of the children find their dad’s gun and shoots the other one during the game. Is it not murder if the other child dies?, even if it was an accident?, even if they didn’t know the gun was loaded?, even if they love each other and never meant to hurt anyone?, even if it was all just a game? Malicious intent does not constitute a crime – a crime constitutes a crime.

    And I for one, nor any of my siblings, sang any racist songs such as Chinese, Japanese, whatever…without getting our butts spanked and told that it was what?—offensive and inappropriate.

  18. Marcus Simmons says:

    And it’s easy to tell the “other” that they’re being overly-sensitive when you don’t have to deal with the injustices they have to deal with on a regular basis. That would be that “privilege” I was referring to earlier. It is a perfectly normal response to be sensitive to those things which you have been exposed to all your life and are a target for. In fact, that’s the reason why some of us AREN’T sensitive to those things. We are privileged to avoid them while others aren’t.
    -MS

  19. Pooba~ says:

    OHMYGAWD…. stop it already ! Haven’t you ever stuck out your tongue? So should all the snakes find THAT offensive? Haven’t you ever crossed your eyes? Should all the Siamese cats find THAT offensive?

    Stop finding things to get angry about and pointing fingers – where is the love?!

    It wasn’t done to be offensive to asian people – it was people making FREAKIN faces !

    Being silly !

    I think you need to check to see if your underwear is just a little too tight and making you cranky… opps perhaps some mechanic somewhere would find THAT offensive.

  20. DK says:

    Wow. I really respect you even more Eugene. Respect you for the fact that you have readers that very very different.

    @pooba: I was going to say something but never mind.

  21. Pooba~ says:

    What I was trying to say… that each day we find someone new to ‘hang’…

    What happened to honey to catch the flys instead of vinegar…

    AND the saying goes while counting your buttons on your shirt… Rich man, Poor man, Beggar man, Thief, Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief. (think of how many people could find THAT offensive).

    Lastly, my husband has an old saying… some people would complain about a new scratchy rope while they’re getting hanged…

    STOP the whinnnning and send in the clowns~

  22. Pooba~ says:

    OHHHH yeah,,, Eugene… you are making that face to be MEAN… whereas the kids in the photo were just being silly.

    INTENT… cruel & mean!

    Perhaps they said just before they snapped the photo to look silly… look drunk… look weird… NOT HEY LETS MAKE FUN OF THE ASIANS…

  23. Nourisha says:

    it’s the subtle signs of racism that people ignore while forgetting they still sting as well. people aren’t being sensitive. you are being offensive. own it! i agree with you 100% and to tolerate it only leads to greater instances of injustice. everything starts small. but unless you are a target, you tend to forget it exist.

  24. Nourisha says:

    and marcus simmons i like the way you think!!!! so very true.

  25. Marcus Simmons says:

    To All and Eugene:
    I have stuck out my tounge, I have crossed my eyes, I have made fun of women, white people, hispanic people, ministers – just like most typical Americans have been socialized to treat difference. What I am willing to admit about what I have done is that malicious or not – it was ignorant and either hurt or had the potential to hurt other’s feelings. That makes it wrong. So I committ to spending my life unlearning those terrible things.

    The Washington Post was just printing a cartoon, but I guess Obama should just get over it? The Wayans brothers were just trying to make people laugh with “white chicks” but I guess white women don’t have the right to be offended either? Who gets to decide when something offends me and when I can complain?

    Rather than telling me to just get over it and stop whining, I wish you respected me enough as a fellow human being (1) to realize you don’t know everything and neither do I (2) to first try and educate yourself on WHY a person might be hurt and how these events effect their lives.

    Understand that such a public forum as the media demands a certain level of accountability because as others have pointed out people have a way of internalizing those things. Anyone who has ever been insulted on the base of race, sex, class, gender, religion, etc. don’t ask questions like “Why can’t you just stop whining?”

    What exactly is illegitimate about the fact that we are offended by this photo?

  26. Ben C says:

    I’m not racist, but I do enjoy my ethnic jokes. I make fun of all ethnicities equally including my own. I don’t discriminate in this regard.🙂

    Given how globalized our economy is, you’d think the PR folks reppin the Jonas kids and Miley daughter of a flash in the pan US country rock act would know better since there is a machine shaping/planning every single move.

    I don’t mind it. Why? Cuz Tyson Beckford has slanted eyes. Cuz Song Seung Hun and your very own son Jedi is one good looking Korean brother. Cuz Obama has HUGE ears and so does Will Smith.

    Slanted eyes and that whole thing is a thing of the past. Dirt off the shoulder. Next.

  27. Joe says:

    Pooba, it seems that you are the one that is most offended by this thread. You should take your own advice!

  28. Rob says:

    It is clear that the spoiled rich kids in the photo are mimicking the stereo-typical asian. I’m not asian, and I’m offended. When will this insensitivity end? Racism is alive and well in our world and justifications of it will only help the embers glow, no matter how small or insignificant it may be.

  29. Maia says:

    PE-

    I think the biggest thing that is so wrong about these teens making racially charged and offensive jestures is like you said their influence on their fans.

    Adults can handle being made fun of like Ben C describes, but adults (minus PE.. lol) aren’t the ones who are being most affected, its their fans- middle and high schoolers.

    @Ben, try telling asian kids who go to school tomorrow morning and have the Miley Cyrus’ and the Jonas Bros of the school slanting their eyes and laughing like its no big deal, to just brush the dirt off their shoulders.

    No Way! Bad Behaviour shouldn’t be shrugged off, it should be reprimanded and lovingly rebuked. Thank you PE for dealing with this issue like so many others head on.

    BTW, adults shouldn’t have to shrug it off either. I wouldn’t want to and won’t be making any jokes that assume others do.

  30. eugenecho says:

    @Pooba: i’ll take your advice and not take your comments too seriously. xoxo.

  31. To the folks who are confused why Eugene is making a big deal of this please recognize that there three completely separate perspectives you need to consider:

    1) What is the intent of the person slanting their eyes?
    2) What has this symbol meant historically?
    3) What is the felt response by an asian when they see this symbol?

    You may have a very keen understanding of #1. Yeah, these kids weren’t trying to kill anyone. But they WHERE trying to group together a large and diverse category of people into one diminutive gesture.
    And “They didn’t mean anything by it” is not an excuse because there’s still a historical precedent and the very real pain felt by the observers. And that makes it a big deal.

    Racism isn’t trying to hurt or offend someone in a different race. It’s indifference about the ways that they’re hurt when you’re not paying attention.

  32. myclue says:

    I’m glad I never got into their pop-disney music. If I had children, I’m sure they would be offended. Likewise, I’m only slightly offended because I had no respect for their music, though I had thought better because aren’t the Jonas brothers supposed to be Christian? Well, Grace is extended to everyone, regardless of slant and curvature of our eye skin.

  33. Heather says:

    It is unfortunate, and I totally hear you on this one. But the reality is Eugene, we’re called to turn the other cheek and to love. Sounds pretty cliche, I know…but seriously they know not what they do, we’re living in a fallen world you included. 😉

    But we see that there is more to life then even a racial identity, isn’t there? Yes, God created you just the way you are, and you have beatiful eyes, but people are people and they do dumb things.

    For example, I am 1/2 caucasian and 1/2 American Samoan. Do you know that ever person who I say that too, instantly says to me or a version of this “i knew a samoan guy once, he played football, or was in the army. really loyal people” or “you’re really skinny for a samoan person.” However, to be honest, i never met my dad, so my entire family looks like most of america…that’s a whole nother topic of its own.

    the reality is, my identity is buried in Christ. we shouldn’t cling to anything excep that. my 2 cents anyway.

    Peace,
    Heather

  34. gaius says:

    Turning the other cheek means not returning the insult. There’s nothing un-Christlike whatsoever about calling out this type of behavior. The perpetrators were young, that’s true, but this is just added justification to instruct them in the appropriate way to behave and treat others. Regardless of whether we self identify primarily with race, sexual preference, occupation,or as a child of God a hurtful action remains what it is.

  35. Maia says:

    Heather,

    Mee toooo!!! 1/2 Samoan, 1/2 Norwegian (Whoot, Whoot!)
    I also didn’t meet my father until I was 18… could we be related? Lol.

    Okay, back to the topic at hand, I have to disagree with you. Turning the other cheek is different than righteous anger.

    In this case, I think it is okay to be angry about their actions and reject those actions. Hopefully the truth will help everyone reflect on their own racist tendencies.

  36. Jennifer says:

    Eugene…

    As for the eye thing, I’m with you. I dont know how someone could think that is okay today.

    But…can I just ask a stupid question? You dont have to be the authority on this, but I’d love to hear your perspective….

    Today my son’s school (in a very white Seattle neighborhood) has multicultural day. His class will dress up in costumes from India and perform an Indian dance to Indian songs (one ancient and one modern.) Do you think there are undertones of racism in having very white QA kids pretend to be from India. Part of me thinks its great – learning about other cultures through music, dance,food and stories only helps with understanding. But part of me cringes and wonders if there is some subtle racism in there. Do you have any thoughts on this?

  37. mike says:

    can i offer an analogy? alcoholism and alcohol. if i see that one of my favorite artists is having a drink, i won’t assume they are an alcoholic (some of my favorite artists drink in their art). and i won’t think they are responsible for hurting me because alcoholism has caused tremendous suffering to myself and people very close to me. and i won’t look down on them because alcohol can cause them to look kinda stupid or set a bad example for their fans.

    i think with instances like this – a quote, a picture, etc – it’s important to separate the two. alcoholism is very sad, destructive, hidden, yet common and widely served. i, mike, know this personally. yet it’s also important to withhold judgment of individuals who are drinking. to see a person having a drink and then throw them into the painful tradition of alcoholics is not fair. they could be drinking to have a little fun or because they are an alcoholic. who knows? let’s just hope they’re not alcoholics.

    finally, given this situation, should we rebuke all people who drink? should we teach that all drinks are bad? probably not. there are plenty of great human beings who drink – whether they be comedians or friends or whatever. i think it’s dangerous to try to ban drinks because of alcoholism. the smart thing to do is to educate and raise awareness about alcoholism and the various effects of drinking, good and bad. what’s not helpful is a black / white discussion that ignores the greater complexities and diversity of human beings.

  38. bryan says:

    Wow. Several quick thoughts.

    1. I wonder what people would have done if Miley or Jonas painted their face black and took a picture? Is it not equivalent to the slanted eye?

    2. Remedy: I think we need to expose our kids to artists and entertaining from other countries. The world is getting smaller so let’s give our kids a little more culture. Perhaps cook K-pop music? Even though I can’t stand it myself. Basically show that millions are screaming and crying over slanted eye musicians and artists elsewhere and it’s just as cool to want to be like them…

    3. Like father Like…: Perhaps the root issue here is the fact that Hollywood and Nashville are all too mono-ethnic STILL. These celeb-kids are only emulating what they see in the corporate meetings with the big dawgs, I can almost guarantee that. If their bosses and agents were Asian, Black, etc, they would not dare do this. It starts with the leaders and parents of these stars… their ethno-centric worldviews are seeping through their children’s lives.

    4. Roots: Asian, and/or immigrant, families need to deal with something on a grander scale here. They need to face the fact that their homes internally are not what they portray it to be to the world (saving face syndrome). Asians especially need to admit that our homes are broken. Father to child relationships are a mess, hence the identity crisis that leads our kids to “beauty” through an Anglo-shaded glasses. We have not reviewed nor have we considered the Malachi 4: 6 factor. Our children are weak in their self awareness and are unable to distinguish proper life stages… or even now how, when, and who to differentiate from in order to safely navigate through their developmental years into adulthood. Our churches and homes have not taught how Christ redeems our roots and uses it to build our sense of self. (But this is a whole blog in itself isn’t it?)

    5. “We teach others how to treat us” – Forgot who said this. But in any case, no action or response to these stupid acts teaches our children that it’s okay for this to happen. By our silence and fear we inform others that it’s “okay” to treat us this way. Black people have taught us very well how they want to be treated… we would never say the “N” word to them. We need to teach the world that we too want to be treated as equals, with respect, etc.

    In any case, good blog Eugene. I hope I added some thoughts worth considering.

  39. Marcus Simmons says:

    God made all of us different ON PURPOSE, so to say that we should cling to only what is the same among us is like saying that the work he put into those other things doesn’t matter. It matters. We are supposed to be many DIFFERENT parts of the same body, NOT many of the SAME part.

    We are offending with and for Eugene because he is a fellow human being. We may not be offended personally or even culturally but that doesn’t mean he can’t be.

  40. bryan says:

    Wow. Several quick thoughts.

    1. I wonder what people would have done if Miley or Jonas painted their face black and took a picture? Is it not equivalent to the slanted eye?
    2. Remedy: I think we need to expose our kids to artists and entertaining from other countries. The world is getting smaller so let’s give our kids a little more culture. Perhaps cook K-pop music? Even though I can’t stand it myself. Basically show that millions are screaming and crying over slanted eye musicians and artists elsewhere and it’s just as cool to want to be like them…
    3. Root: Perhaps the root issue here is the fact that Hollywood and Nashville are all too mono-ethnic STILL. These celeb-kids are only emulating what they see in the corporate meetings with the big dawgs, I can almost guarantee that. If their bosses and agents were Asian, Black, etc, they would not dare do this. It starts with the leaders and parents of these stars… their ethno-centric worldviews are seeping through their children’s lives.
    4. Roots: Asian, and/or immigrant, families need to deal with something on a grander scale here. They need to face the fact that their homes internally are not what they portray it to be to the world (saving face syndrome). Asians especially need to admit that our homes are broken. Father to child relationships are a mess, hence the identity crisis that leads our kids to “beauty” through an Anglo-shaded glasses. We have not reviewed nor have we considered the Malachi 4: 6 factor. Our children are weak in their self awareness and are unable to distinguish proper life stages… or even now how, when, and who to differentiate from in order to safely navigate through their developmental years into adulthood. Our churches and homes have not taught how Christ redeems our roots and uses it to build our sense of self. (But this is a whole blog in itself isn’t it?)
    5. “We teach others how to treat us” – Forgot who said this. But in any case, no action or response to these stupid acts teaches our children that it’s okay for this to happen. By our silence and fear we inform others that it’s “okay” to treat us this way. Black people have taught us very well how they want to be treated… we would never say the “N” word to them. We need to teach the world that we too want to be treated as equals, with respect, etc.

    In any case, good blog Eugene. I hope I added some thoughts worth considering.

  41. Baron Miller says:

    Eugene, your rant is appropriate and righteous.

    Also, I’m concerned that you even had Miley Cirus and Jonas Brothers posters to begin with.

  42. beattieblog says:

    Why is this kind of behavior worth defending to some? It’s cheap humor at someone’s expense based on their ethnicity. I guess I’ve always wondered why anglos (like myself) can’t take people at their word? In this case, if a lot of Asian people are offended, tell you it’s racist and you should stop, then maybe you should simply believe them and stop. I’ve heard it said, “Just because someone says you’re racist doesn’t mean you’re racist.” Well, isn’t the inverse true as well? “Just because you say you AREN’T racist doesn’t mean that you aren’t.” I can’t name one Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus song – maybe that’s for the best.

  43. DK says:

    Another reason why I absolutely detest the Jonas Brothers. They are a disgrace to the musical stage Did you hear what they did to the Stevie Wonder tune at the Grammys? Their rendition was so bad and offensive, it was downright racist. I’m about to blog about this myself . . .

  44. Heather says:

    Gaius, i’m not saying that their actions are ok, i’m just saying, if we profess to be followers of Jesus, that’s what I’d stand up for, the word and for Christ’s sake, not my own of get offended (yes it hurts i’ve had all sorts of racial assumptions about me, but now that I follow Jesus, my approach is so much different, how could i get offended, many many worse things were done to Christ). Eugene?

    ~~~~~

    Lude 6:29 – 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.

    ~~~~

    Matthew 5:43-48

    But I tell you (JESUS):

    Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    Proverbs 18:19-21 -An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel. From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.

    The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

    Mia-not sure, are you from Seattle? I am..born on broadway, swedish 1978. 😉

  45. @Heather,
    I appreciate what you’re saying about turning the other cheek. I think Eugene’s phrased this well though in that he’s talking about defending his kids. It’s one thing to be strong enough to love someone despite the ways they hurt you. It’s quite another to allow a trend to assault your children’s sense of identity and value.

    Eugene is perfectly capable of turning the other cheek here. In fact, I think the most difficult thing he could is what he’s doing: routinely pissing off his readership by bringing up the issue of race.

    @Everyone:
    It doesn’t matter if these artists are racist. It could even be some wildly unlikely accident that their hands got caught on their face in that position. They still need to apologize because many people have feel hated by that symbol.

  46. joanne says:

    **ALERT***pastor eugene…as long as the posters in your home are comming down, lol, i went on a kindergarden tour @ your kids school earlier this week and noticed a HUGE poster of miley cyrus in the lunch room. hahaha.

    but seriously..@marcus-great points. ALL of them. i do believe that there is such thing as white privilege in this country, but it didnt make my life much easier growing up (or still today as an adult) with a white mother and an asian father. maybe im touching on a whole different subject but i just wanted to remind people that we all have our own prejudices deep down inside rather we realize it or not. we need to be real with ourselves first and teach our children what our parents wernt comfortable with back then to teach us. its 2009 people!

    @jennifer-i have children in north end public schools as well and also find myself cringing on “multi-cultural” day, lol. im glad you spoke on that because i always felt guilty for maybe just being negative durring those times? i feel like they MEAN well…but dont REALLY mean it??? i also wish our beautiful city wasnt so segregated…

  47. gaius says:

    heather,

    if you are not offended anymore by these sorts of actions, then your faith and approach should be commended. assuming your approach is the right thing to do, the reality is that a lot of christians may not be in that place.

    there are probably a lot more serious issues to worry about in this world, but for a good number of people who would be very hurt, not just offended by these actions.

    finally, we call out these actions to prevent them from being done to others. i think that principle is biblically sound as we need to protect others, especially those who are in weaker positions (i.e. children). if an asian child encountered that type of behavior, i’m not sure that telling him or her that because christ endured so much, he or she should do the same.

  48. Jim says:

    Who is the Asian guy in the mileycyrus.jpg photo? why is he the only one not make the face?

  49. Heather says:

    Gaius,
    i am human, so yes sometimes when people say things that are insensitive or do things that are insensitive, it can hurt. The subject of children is close to home for us, as we also live in a multi-racial home if you will. I, for all intensive purposes, look like (no one can figure out what race), but my skin is brown, so yeah i’m asked the question constantly “what are you?”…so um yeah my race is always brought into the picture, whether i want it to be or not… But we do have children, so yeah, how do we demostrate and teach our children as we’re instructed to raise them up in the truth? Do i teach my children that I get offended and stand up to fight for some ethic of racial equality, or do I stand up for the hard truths of the gospel? That’s the question, how do my children understand how to treat people who are ignorant, or fallen even?

    Are we discussing the fact that obviously children (or teens…) say and do things that are rude and obnoxious, or are we approaching this topic more on a global scale? that’s what i seem to be hearing…that we’re more offended at the implications by these young famous rich kids that are covering the tv and magazines, (seems to be a whole separate topic, come on…every move and gesture that they do is done under the public eye..it’s a little over the top to get my pants all up in a bunch over. turn off the tv, we do, my daughter who is 6 knows who hanna montana is because of pictures and things that other kids watch, we don’t even have cable…)

    anyway, the point really for us is, we live in a world that is lost, we as believers know what can set them free, so should we stand in offense at their ‘rude’ actions or do we move on and focus on the hearts of men? that’s all i’m trying to say, let’s keep our eyes focused on the core issue, sin. that’s what Jesus came to free us from, right?

    Heather

  50. eugenecho says:

    hey folks,

    thanks for the good dialogue. i haven’t been able to read through all the comments. been in an intense mtg in chicago and just flew back to seattle.

    @heather: i don’t have any problems turning the cheek. well, it’s not easy but i understand what you’re saying but i will not turn the cheek for my children or for others that are being hurt.

    i will not turn my cheek for those who are victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, racism, genocide, or any unjust actions.

    while we’re called to follow christ as you mentioned, we also called to pursue all that which God intended for His humanity.

    racism is wrong. a racist act that can influence thousands and millions of kids are dangerous.

    i don’t condemn miley and joe. they seem like swell kids. but i condemn the act.

  51. Marcus Simmons says:

    I find it interesting that some of us want to pretend like turning the other cheek entails separating our feelings from an offense. I also find it interesting that SOME people always feel the need to try and pretend like fighting racism and injustice is not in the bible – not a “real Christian” concern – and something that is supposed to be done in a Christian’s spare time. We are all blogging because we care enough about God’s community to want to be reconciled – so if some of you are too uncomfortable for that, if you can’t see the good in constructive anger, legitimate offense- read the scriptures again because you’re missing it. Justice is and always has been a “hard” gospel truth. Again, people who experience these things regularly know better. No one is advocating any kind of wrongful attack on racists, accept to attack them with ethical truth and a love that won’t let them spread poison in society.
    You see often, “turn the other cheek” is taken to mean “stay out of the issue” – (almost always by those who are so attached to earthly comforts that they are really just afraid of being uncomfortable. They are really afraid of the true consequences of social justice.). Turn the other cheek means don’t return violence or hate with more violence and hate.
    Lastly, you cannot save people if you don’t serve them and that means understanding the social realities that effect their lives.By constantly telling them to “turn the other cheek” and focus on something else – you place them in the position of having to prove (to you, the Christian) why they even have a right to be offended in the first place – which isn’t healthy. It’s embarrassing and adds oppression on top of oppression. You also cannot lead people if you don’t love them. Those “rude actions” are manifestations of heart positions and mindsets – you simply can’t address one and not the other.
    In other words, racism IS a sin! Jesus can’t physically come down right now and right this for us. WE have to do some of the WORK in the meantime and that entails much more than just to pray the prayer and read the scriptures.

  52. no excuses says:

    @pooba – when the !@$% did you make slanted eyes when you made silly faces in life? you stick out your tongue or close one eye and contort your face.. you don’t stretch your eyes in that manner.. so i’ll pretend i didn’t hear such half-assed excuses. and for that matter, look at the second picture… the peace sign and the idiot covering his mouth is clearly making fun of the stereotypes associated with asian tourists, more specifically female asian tourists… all of us asians know what that means… so you can take your stupid justifications and shove it.

    there are just somethings you dont do.. you dont go into a room of full of african americans and justify slavery.. you WILL get killed. you don’t go into a room full of war veterans II with a swastika and picture of hitler.. you WILL get killed…

    i would never stick my middle finger up at you and say ‘YOU’RE #1’ and expect you to take it any other way than how i probably meant it as ‘F**k You’

    oh wait.. don’t take it personal… you’re #1! yay!

  53. […] what point are people going to realize it’s completely inappropriate to mock Asians by making slanted […]

  54. german lady says:

    Amy Carmichael: If I enjoy a joke at the expense of the other, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

    I love to laugh. But it hurts when I see others accept so-called jokes that are racist, and brush them aside.

    Jesus loved His enemies, but he strongly confronted hypocrites. We are becoming hypocritical when we give racism another name: just a joke.

    And by the way: Turning the other cheek does NOT mean turning (making) a grimace!

  55. KIRSTEN says:

    This discussion has reminded me of something from my childhood. It is only my experience, so I can speak for others but it may be worth tossing in the mix for another perspective.

    I am a caucasian, tall, blond-haired, green-eyed woman. I was tall, blond and green-eyed as a child. We had access to resources as a lower-middle class family in Denver.

    As a child I thought I was boring looking, plain, uninteresting, and lacking in a lot within myself. I remember looking in the mirror and pulling my eyes back to see how I would look. I remember wishing that I had more dramatic or interesting features, which is how I saw Asian eyes.

    Reading this conversation has reminded me of that. I am not saying this to minimize the pain that has been caused through racism, because I know that oppression exists and that the oppressed must find a voice and speak up.

    I do agree with some of the comments here however that suggest a less angry and attacking approach to using our voice. To remember that racism comes from a place of deep fear, ignorance and even shame. And as long as we attack the “source” of the racism, we end up only perpetuating the divide between us all.

    What if, rather than assassinating the character of those who are making hurtful choices we say: “That is not okay and THIS IS Why…” Has anyone sent a thoughtful letter to Miley or the Jonas Bros.?

    Something to ponder…maybe a more positive use of energy. To put some more love firmly into the ethers rather than negative discourse and slander.

    Just a thought.

  56. KIRSTEN says:

    oops…I mean’t to say “can’T speak for others…” Freudian slip????🙂

  57. Marcus Simmons says:

    Some people are only listening (or reading) selectively. There are plenty of places in this blog where very thoughtful advice and suggestions have been offered. The whole point of this blog is pretty much to declare the act wrong and explain why. It might help for Eugene to send a thoughtful letter to those kids but why is it that an obvious target of slander has to be the first, or in most cases in our society, the only one to react. Why can’t people who aren’t even targets stand up and say – “We don’t like it either! We’re not tolerating it either!”

    In addition, attacking the “source” of racism is in no way perpetuating the divide between us all. Especially when institutional, interpersonal, cultural, individual, structural, and systemic racism constitutes the actual divide. That’s like saying cutting out a tumor doesn’t really have anything to do with the cancer. Think about it, why would it make sense to engage the manifestations of any “ism” and not the actual root belief? Jesus always began his work by forgiving sins, even before he healed people because he was aware that the actual sicknesses were manifestations of something deeper, hidden, buried, and at times incomparable.

  58. gaius says:

    marcus – thanks for your insightful comments. well said.

  59. eugenecho said:
    “Folks will push back and say: ‘Asian dude, relax’…”

    Asian dude, don’t relax. Not ever.

    Racism is never good, whether it’s stereotyping Asians or Irishmen (I get soooo tired of people winking and making drinking gestures whenever St. Patrick’s Day is mentioned.) Sexism is never good. Religious intolerance is never good.

    Especially in our roles as fathers we must stand against even the smallest evil, because evil is what it is even if it’s tiny.

    My sons may (and do) roll their eyes when they hear me being critical of an anti-asian or anti-male or anti-female comment but they know clearly where I stand. Having seen them act when no one is watching, I believe the Lord has used me to teach them one of His most important truths, and they have learned it from Him.

    The truth is exactly as you express it: we are all made just as God intended.

    You honour Him by speaking out against what is not right…every time.

  60. gaius says:

    heather,

    we can teach our children to simultaneously treat people in a christlike manner and address sinful behavior, which includes racist behavior. christ, as i recall, did call out those who abused their power and hurt others; he also simultaneously loved the perpetrators at the same time.

    there are multiple other passages and examples in the bible that encourage christians to combat injustice, wherever and however it may be found. i would argue that the “ethic of racial equality” is actually a hard biblical truth – that we are all created and viewed equally in the eyes of God, as His children. as followers of christ, pursuing justice must be done in love and with great care and ethical concern. conversely, not speaking up and addressing issues is probably very unchristlike.

    it is true that many in society overreact at the failings of celebrities, especially those in the younger age range. but the example that eugene alludes to i’ve personally seen practiced by many people from all age ranges; this is a societal problem. and as asians, we may be actually getting the lesser brunt of these actions; i know some african american brothers and sisters who have experienced much worse.

    in closing, what do you think jesus would do with miley cyrus and her friends if he had seen this happen? my guess is that he would and should not have just simply kept quiet. i also don’t think he would have ignored the hurt feelings of any offended parties. i think this is the point that many of us who have commented are trying to make

    gaius

  61. anne says:

    phew.

    eugene, stay strong. you are a wise man, and have some wise friends who got your back.
    marcus simmons, keep it coming.

  62. Maia says:

    Heather,

    I was born in Arlington, WA 83′ but grew up in Mukilteo.

    Sorry to everyone else I know this is TMI…

    PE- could you forward my email address to Heather if possible?

    Heather do you go to Quest? Either way we should most definitely get together.

    Maia

  63. Erik H says:

    @Marcus

    Comparing Chris Brown to the others seems like a bad example to me. He beat up a woman. No excuse for that. Michael Vick killed innocent dogs. Both of those seem worse than anything Paris Hilton or the Olsen twins have done.

  64. Daniel says:

    Eugene – you said, “while we’re called to follow Christ as you mentioned, we’re also called to pursue all that which God intended for His humanity”….

    And what does God intend? To make the world a better place? To transform society? To teach people to be nicer to each other?

    You talk about standing up for the victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, racism, genocide, etc., and of course we should, but, we must view these things in the way God does, as symptoms of the underlying problem…

    Turning the other cheek does not mean sticking our heads in the sand, or sticking our fingers in our ears, being too afraid to engage the ugliness of sin. On the contrary! It means engaging it at it’s root. We can comfort those who’ve been wounded by insensitivity, protect those who’ve been made the brunt of jokes, but if we do not take that opportunity to address what is behind it all, we haven’t done much in the end…

    The apostles, and many, many people in the days of the early church, faced “inequality” on a scale we can barely comprehend today. But they did not set out to reform the societal norms of the Roman empire, nor did they seek to achieve equal rights as citizens through protest, legislation, or any political plan of action… They focused on how people WITHIN the Body of Christ should treat each other, because that is the only sphere in which anyone CAN be held to God’s standard! They sought change in the world around them simply by preaching the Good News of the Gospel, the only thing that can truly change people, from the inside out….

    Gaius – Pursuing justice…. This is an interesting topic, because when we really get to the root of things, pursuing JUSTICE means we’re all guilty in the eyes of God. “Social” justice is the way of looking at what is right and wrong with the world on a surface level, according to our own, instinctual measures… GOD’s Justice goes far beyond these things, down to the heart. On this level, we all stand condemned, and “justice” means judgement for us all. But mercy triumphs over judgement!

    So what would Jesus do with Miley & Co.? Like you said, He certainly wouldn’t remain silent, nor would He ignore the hurt feelings of others. But He puts His finger right on the core issue within all of us…

    To the eye-slanting mockers He would say, “You are ridiculing people that I love, who I created as wonderous and beautiful, and you do this because you do not know Me, nor do you understand that I created this world and everything in it. You do not know how to love, because you have not known My love. Come to Me, I will show you what love is…”

    To the hurt and offended he would say, “You are wounded inside because their words are attacking what I have made, and your pain is real. Come to me, and I will comfort you, and I will teach you to love those who persecute you. You will learn to love others who hurt you, because you will learn to love as I have loved you. You are no less in violation of God’s Law, you are as guilty as them, and yet I have paved the Way for you to come back to Me. Go and tell those who have hurt you what I have done for you, and will do for them as well…”

  65. lauren e says:

    @pooba- if there was a photo of a bunch of kids in black face would you justify it by saying—“maybe they all wanted to look tan?” Come On.

    @Eugene— keep on keepin on with this. It is unbelievably blatant racism.

  66. lauren e says:

    @pooba— ALSO— cause I’ve decided I’m not done— if they are all just “making a silly face” then why are they all making the SAME face—why are they all slanting their eyes??

  67. Maia says:

    PE- could u pls. forward my email to heather?

    Heather, I was born in Arlington, WA 83′ and grew up in Mukilteo. Sorry everyone this is off topic and probably TMI…

    Do u go to Quest? Regardless, we should most definitely get together🙂

  68. cat m. says:

    thank you for this, eugene. I’ll be posting a trackback to you soon.

  69. neu says:

    I’m not Asian, and I’m offended as heck. These kids don’t know what it means? It is not cute. It is not funny. It’s right up there with the “African booty scratcher” comments I’ve received.

    People make me sick.

  70. Marcus Simmons says:

    @ Erik K.
    You are absolutely right. There is no excuse for Chris Brown beating up a woman or Michael Vick killing animals, but there is also no excuse for Miley and the Jonas Brothers making racist gestures, Paris Hilton making and selling pornographic videos and breaking other laws, or the Olson twins using drugs and alcohol to the extreme, or Heath ledger killing himself by overdosing on drugs, or Lindsay Lohan showing her naked behind at an awards show….There is no excuse for any of it. I’m not going to engage in a conversation on who is the worst offender because it was all stupid and its all sin.

    Chris Brown and Michael Vick, even before they were actually convicted, had their endorsements pulled and society had already condemned them (rightfully so on at least some of the issues), But what did society do with the majority of the other white offenders? Nominated them for music awards and Oscars, gave them reality shows, gave them book deals and MTV specials and they didn’t lose all of their endorsements. I bring this up to make the point that because of institutionalized racism and bias. Most of society (the dominant class) will have no trouble understanding why people like Chris Brown and Michael Vick rightfully received swift judgment and punishment on various levels, while they will have a harder time demanding that same type of “justice” for those other folk I mentioned because there seems to be some underlying belief that, “Oh they couldn’t have really meant to do any harm.”

    Are slanty eyes not a form of overt, physical offense? At least on some level? The example may seem extreme but you can’t say it isn’t connected to this issue or that it is untrue.

  71. Heather says:

    Hi Maia-

    My e-mail is dhcosby@gmail.com.

    I’d definately be cool to get together!

    Heather

  72. gaius says:

    Daniel,

    No argument whatsoever with your logic and what you wrote. Those words are probably very close to what Jesus would say. I think what upsets people is when the concept of “turning the other cheek” is abused to the point where nothing is done whatsoever about addressing either or both the “root” and “symptomatic” issues of injustice under the guise of being “christlike.” But you’re right, the whole point of this is that we’re all broken and need a Savior.

    Peace,
    Gaius

  73. gaius says:

    i think i do need to add that addressing sin also means taking action. for example, a criminal can be treated mercifully and with grace, but he or she must still be stopped from hurting other people via sanctions. being a christian doesn’t mean that we throw away the idea of punishment.

  74. Dino Mapa says:

    Preach it, Bro!

  75. scott lyons says:

    Dear Sir;
    I am shocked that such seemingly intelligent young people (Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Bros. – both Disney “off-spring”) would publically display this sort of ignorance and bigotry.
    The Disney empire has clearly lost control of its young stars!
    I am nearly 60 years old and am a gay man. All my life I have been the butt of similar “affectionate” (sic) gestures and verbal harassment.
    As you rightly point out, there is nothing “affectionate” about such racist and bigoted gestures or the usual accompanying remarks.
    Such ignorance and overt racism needs to be publically and speedily brought to a halt and any apologies made need to be honest and from the heart – enough of the “half-assed,” as one of your other writers says!
    I am not sure Joe Jonas would like my ribbing him, in an “affectionate” manner, of course, for his wearing his “virginity/chastity” ring and making a fuss over such silliness.
    If that is his decision, good. I think, as an attractive young man, surrounded by many adoring, attractive young women, he will find his pledge difficult, if not impossible, to hold to…but let him try.
    Still, I have lived long enough, and was in monastery long enough, to know that: a)chastity is as much a frame of mind as a matter of bodily control; and b) in the last analysis, I cannot think Jesus would be happier over Joe Jonas’ decision to mock an honorable and ancient people than to make a fuss over trying to maintain a chaste body!
    Oughtn’t Christian chastity to lead to a Christ-likeness? A tolerance and love for all the Father’s Creation? What has the Gospel to say about such unworthy, foolish and short-sighted narrowness?

  76. Katie says:

    a related blog post I wrote for the God’s Politics blog about President Obama’s slip-up on Leno, if you’re interested:

    http://blog.sojo.net/2009/03/20/you-cant-say-that-on-tv-mr-president/#disqus_thread

  77. Matthew says:

    What is unbelievable (and outrageous) to me is how this kind of behaviour and these kinds of offensive gestures are still considered acceptable. I keep thinking back to Michael Phelps’ drug-related backsliding a couple of months ago and the outraged and, in my opinion, excessive response (wrong though Phelps was) to that, and the comparative silence now with regard to Cyrus and Jonas. Both Phelps and now Cyrus and Jonas set bad examples, but I think the society’s response also sets a very bad example, to the effect that mocking and hurting people for their racial background is considered more acceptable than disappointing fans by doing marijuana.

    Anyway, thanks for posting this, Eugene.

    Best regards,
    Matthew

  78. pastoralan says:

    Eugene,

    This is a good post. I hope to meet you one day. I just stumbled on your blog, but have become a disciple. I’m in Texas so need some outside the Bible Belt views.

    I’m sorry this happened. It’s a sad thing and was/is not right. I am Anglo and want to apologize for their actions.

    I think we are too sensitive to racial issues in this country while we have not had the conversations we need to have. I think we should be outraged also that it takes times like this to get our blood pressure up. I’m for this post so don’t get me wrong.

    What I’ve noticed is we wait for Imus, or Sharpton, Dog the Bounty Hunter incidents to have the discussion on race. That’s sad isn’t it?

    I think President Obama can do two things to change to culture in America:
    1. He should lead a dialogue on race relations
    2. He should be authentically breaking down political barriers of partisanship.

    I have no hope he will do #2. I still think he will pull off #1, but it will be limited.

    Isn’t it funny how you never hear a sermon series on race relations?

    I will up my outrage. That’s what will bring transformation.

  79. Erik H says:

    @Marcus

    Just to make it clear, I’m NOT sticking up for the Jonas kid or Miley.

    Yes, all of those things you mentioned were sins, but I would definitely say what Brown and Vick did were worse. I guess, that’s where we’ll have to disagree.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t look at your examples of being white vs. black. I think that’s a big time reach on your part.

    Do you really think what Chris Brown did is on the same level as Paris Hilton making a Carl’s Junior ad in a bikini? I would say the same exact thing if the races were reversed.

    Oh, Michael Phelps did lose some big time endorsements for being caught in a photo with a bong.

  80. Marcus Simmons says:

    It sounds like a big time reach because it is probably something you don’t have to deal with on a regular basis. I am NOT saying that what Paris Hilton did was just as bad as what Chris Brown did (and I’m not saying it wasn’t). And she did a LOT more than just make risque ads, by the way. I am saying that trying to discuss which was worse is a waste of time in the first place. What I was pointing out with that example, maybe not so clearly, is that white privilege has led society to apply sanctions for offense on people of color a lot faster than is done for cases in which the offender is especially white, male, young to middle-aged, physically able, Christian, Protestant, heterosexual and middle class. In the context of this conversation, it was a response to those who kept saying that those kids should be excused because they “meant no harm.” I believe that is partially a reflection of using priviledge to deny the sociopolitical implications of racial realities and racial media messages in our country. Sorry if I wasn’t clear on that – but not to cop out of your question though. Even though I think it sidetracks the conversation a bit, (due to the possible ambiguities in my example) – I will offer an answer.

    In terms of society’s idea of justice, what Chris Brown did was worse than what Paris did on some levels and what she did was worse than what he did on some levels. Depends really on what state you’re in and what law you’re talking about and the implications of action. On the other hand, God respects no person, so I believe that in God’s eyes – it’s all equally retarded and equates to the same consequence in the end.

  81. Ben Lee says:

    What Does “Turn the Other Cheek” Really Mean? I would recommend everyone to read this article:

    http://voiceofrevolution.askdrbrown.org/2009/01/13/what-does-turn-the-other-cheek-really-mean/

  82. Ben Lee says:

    @Eugene, I appreciate the post for educating the blog community how we feel. Good intentions and ignorance do not justify the slanted eye action.

  83. kelly says:

    Aren’t the Jonas brothers slightly asain or ethic of some sort? so are you trying to say they were purposely making fun out of themselves and their ancestors?

  84. […] week Eugene Cho posted his thoughts on how it hurt him and his children when people, especially celebrities, do the slanty-eye thing […]

  85. Liz says:

    Please tell me that Marcus Simmons is not insinuating that Lindey Lohan, Paris Hilton and Michael Phelps are treated more softly than Michael VIck and Chris Brown because of race and not because of the nature of their acts…please just tell me I didn’t just read what I think I read…

    In my book allowing animals to be torn limb from limb for jollies and beating your wife/gf/whatever black and blue aren’t exactly on the same page as partying it up and making a public ass of yourself. Race has nothing to do with it.

    When people make ridiculous statements such as this one, it actually insensitises a lot of people to that which really is truly racist.

  86. 4 thoughts:

    1) Racism and prejudice aren’t the same thing. We all are prejudice — racism is institutionalized prejudice, thus issues of power come significantly into play.

    2) The Belhar Confession of faith out of South Africa is a brilliant, beautiful expression of why racism is a sin and how we can grow in community. The Presbyterian Church USA has a great study guide we used in worship last fall — a month of reflecting on racism as sin. The link is: http://www.pcusa.org/theologyandworship/confession.htm

    3) this vlog: http://www.illdoctrine.com/2008/07/how_to_tell_people_they_sound.html is a great couple of minutes on how to have the conversation about behavior that offends.

    4) “turning the other cheek” does not mean become a doormat. It means looking the one who has assaulted you in the eye or shaming the one who has taken your coat by giving them your tunic as well.

    peace

  87. Marcus Simmons says:

    “In the context of this conversation, it was a response to those who kept saying that those kids should be excused because they “meant no harm.” I believe that is partially a reflection of using priviledge to deny the sociopolitical implications of racial realities and racial media messages in our country. Sorry if I wasn’t clear on that – but not to cop out of your question though.”

    I’m not insinuating it. I’ll say it: Individually ,the nature of each crime and the “appropriate” punishment (aka Paris Hilton vs. Michael Vick) does not reflect a racial inequality. However, in a collective sense, people of color, especially black males, have not always received equal justice under the law. That is not what I’m insinuating, I’m saying it. It might seem racist, or ridiculous and untrue to you, but because I’ve seen it with my own eyes and LIVED it (along with so many other people of color and disparaged groups), I don’t need anyone else to validate that reality for me. For some people, race has a whole heck of a lot to do with it friend.

    In that same vein, Eugene doesn’t have to prove that the act of slanting one’s eyes has negative consequences. His hurt and his children’s pain is all the proof he needs. if I tell Eugen that he is over-reacting, I am denying the fact that he and those who share that feeling even have the right to be hurt. If I tell him that speaking to me about a racial reality he experiences as unfair in this society is only creating racism or his actual feelings are “the true racism,” I am refusing to admit that people of different ethnicities experience American society differently on at least some levels. If I call his blogging ridiculous simply because I don’t agree, I imply that he is a liar and is making things up. Thus, I privilege myself with the power to define what is true, what is fair, and what makes sense in the world ONLY according to the way that I have experienced it. I refuse to take into account other ways of knowing because I do not even recognize those OTHER experiences as valid in the first place.

    That’s what you just did to me with your comment and others have chosen to operate like you by telling Eugene some crap like, “Asian dude, relax. They’re teenagers.” “how could i get offended, many many worse things were done to Christ.””Sometimes we are over sensitive to racism.” “Stop finding things to get angry about and pointing fingers.”

    What that all equates to is this: YOU’RE NOT TELLING THE TRUTH. PROVE IT TO ME. YOU’RE MAKING THINGS UP. YOU’RE JUST AN ANGRY PERSON LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT. GET OVER IT. SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH YOU.

    I would suggest people like that get some more friends of color and walk for a long time in their shoes before telling them they simply have on the wrong pair.

    :}

  88. Heather says:

    Marcus –

    “how could i get offended, many many worse things were done to Christ” was my comment,

    and if you read anything else in my comments, you would know that i walk in these shoes everyday, except that i see both sides. caucasian and minority. 😉

    peace,
    heather

  89. Marcus Simmons says:

    I still disagree with the comment. I understand that you walk in those shoes everyday which is why it is so baffling that you would still imply that getting offended is somehow inappropriate because of Christ’s sacrifice. Could you explain to me again what you mean?

  90. Heather says:

    Hi Marcus,

    I’m not sure how you can disagree with my comment, did Jesus deserve any of the treatment He received?

    Are either you or I innocent? It baffles me how the core point that both my husband (Daniel) and I tried to explain in great detail is missed. There really isn’t much more to add. As a follower or Jesus, I understand that I will be hated, because they first hated Him, just as I am loved, because He first loved me. Only through that am I able to love others…

    He who is innocent, cast the first stone.

    Heather

  91. Heather says:

    sorry,

    he who is without sin, cast the first stone, don’t want any additional confusion.

  92. Marcus Simmons says:

    I don’t disagree with the fact that any kind of hurt I might experience doesn’t compare to what Jesus suffered. I also don’t disagree with the fact that no one is innocent. I think we are on the same page in the sense that no one should think themselves exempt from mistreatment. I won’t cast stones because then I judge and that is what that scripture is about. It doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to try and reason with someone who hurts me.

    I disagree with the way you express your statement because you aren’t telling the whole story. The very same thing was quoted to those kids my age when they marched in the 60s for school desegregation just before the dogs, hoses and rocks came at them. What are we supposed to actually do with that mistreatment? Yes, I’m not exempt from suffering because I’m not innocent of sin, but that still doesn’t give anyone the right to continue mistreating me and I don’t see anything wrong with letting them know that. Can you explain to me what you think Christians are supposed to DO (besides pray and remember that Christ experienced it so we will also)?

    You say that Christ didn’t deserve the mistreatment, but again I don’t even think that is valid reasoning in this conversation because no creature on earth EVER deserves to be mistreated. It doesn’t mean the statement itself isn’t valid, but it isn’t sufficient proof that we have no write express our offense. Again, I am baffled because you still seem to be implying by your choice of scripture and your questions that there is actually something illegitimate about reconciling an offense. It has to actually be spoken and conversed about before the parties can begin to heal doesn’t it? Do you honestly think Christ’s sacrifice excuses us from having to work through our racial and cultural differences?

  93. Marcus Simmons says:

    Heather,
    I struggle to agree with you wholeheartedly I think in part because my job here at North Park University is coordinator of the writing center so we work with student papers all the time. It is the school and seminary of the Evangelical Covenant Church which means we get a lot of what I call “Christianese” language when people try and prove their arguments. That is when someone quoates a scripture or references something like the crucifixion and think that merely stating the fact is proof for action. It just isn’t that easy to throw that stuff out there and not tell how it plays out pragmatically in a situation such as someone, or a whole group of people, exercising racist hate towards you through their actions. That’s why I ask, what do you propose Eugene does? I’m serious. Should he just forget about it? Should he just pray every time it happens and nothing else? How does what you suggest actually look like in public on a day to day basis?

  94. gaius says:

    Marcus,

    Thanks for eloquently and insightfully arguing your position. For every idea, action, or lack thereof, there is a practical consequence. Rigorous logic and analysis is a must in most fields, but absolutely in Christianity. There are many times where people hide behind or throw out Christianese or Scripture without really going through all the paths of thought. Sometimes, this very act adds salt to the original wound. For example, I am aware of situations where a parent would tell a child not to defend himself against a bully because that would be the Christlike thing to do. With this type of logic, current and potential victims should be shuddering everywhere. While it is true that bullies need to be loved as well and likely have prior damage that contribute to their behavior, they should also be stopped. I’m also going to venture out and guess something similar like this happened with the Catholic priest scandal, where priests hesitated to take action against their brother priests.

  95. Daniel says:

    Marcus – Maybe I could jump in and try to articulate an answer or two…

    You asked if Christ’s sacrifice excuses us from having to reconcile our racial and cultural differences…

    The answer is no, it does not excuse us, because the cross is actually the basis for ALL reconciliation, including racial and cultural divisions… After all, what are “racial and cultural differences”? What makes them divide people against each other? Is it not the sin within our hearts, which latches onto these kinds of things? Things like race, or culture, or gender, or economic status, or level of education, these are not what divide humanity, what set people against each other. They are only issues which sinful people turn to in order to justify the inner emnity towards others which is already present. If there was no sin in the world, and everyone loved perfectly, then there would be no division based on the color of skin or cultural heritage. Diversity would be embraced and celebrated. This is the utopia that World seeks to achieve through all kinds of means, such as education, “raising awareness”, political will, etc. But they will never succeed, because without the sacrifice of Christ, they will never get to the root of these ugly things, they can only hope to make things look equal and right on the surface…

    So what should Eugene, or any of us, do in these situations? Should we just lock ourselves in a room and pray? That’s always a good place to start, but from there, the answer is pretty straight-forward. Go out and share the good news of the Kingdom of God…

    Simply going to people (in this case people like Miley & friends, who are making these gestures) and pointing out that they are doing something hurtful and wrong, (and they are), doesn’t actually achieve true reconciliation. Even if you could call them up tomorrow, and have that conversation, and they said they were sorry, that would not really solve anything. It would only be a cosmetic fix.

    The real reconciliation needs to happen between fallen people and their creator. Anything less than that in the end falls short. Jesus said, “What good is it if a man gains the whole world, and yet loses his soul?” I think we could include achieving racial equality and respect in with “gaining the whole world”, they are good things, but not the bigger picture.

    So all in all, Heather’s comments were not to say “just forget about it”, and dismiss these actions as nothing, but she was saying “there is a bigger picture here”… As followers of Jesus, we need to understand what that “bigger picture” is, and have our priorities in line with His. The death and resurrection of Christ isn’t something that just deals with “spritual stuff”, while the rest of life we have to go about finding a solution for through our own efforts. What Jesus accomplished affects every aspect of humanity, it changed EVERYTHING. The question is, do we really believe what He says, entirely, or do we just take bits and pieces, and mix it with whatever approach appeals to us?

  96. Marcus Simmons says:

    Thanks for clarifying that. However, I would also argue that the fact that we feel the need to deem certain things part of a bigger picture and certain things part of a minor picture once again implies that some parts of Christianity are worth pursuing more so than others. The fact that we would use language and say that one type of reconciliation is the “real” reconciliation implies that another is not and when that other happens to constitute a major part of another human being’s reality. It is a slap in the face.

  97. Marcus Simmons says:

    Furthermore if I ever tried to go about the “rest of life” (as if there is a single part separate from God – at least for me) without biblical teachings informing and substantiating my actions, I wouldn’t stand a chance and if I ever believed that a heartfelt conversation and apology accomplishes nothing, then I wouldn’t have survived this long. All those minor things are actually what form that bigger picture. The difference is actually in the minor details.

  98. Heather says:

    Marcus,

    I was not born in the church, nor did I go to bible college, but I was made new at the age of 19. I didn’t know the scriptures at all, but was changed from the inside out. I grew up extremely poor, and in a home that was made up of violence, ignorance (my step father was in the Vietnam war and was a racist of every race except euro…) and tolerance of all kinds, EXCEPT for God. We moved often, and I saw and knew of things that others only watch on T.V. (example(s): prostitution, drugs, both dealers and users, incest victims (family)….. I saw sin at its ugliest)

    I first started going to school in downtown Seattle, in a predominantly black neighborhood, and was picked on constantly, in fact one of my first memories is being spit in the face by a little girl while her friend pulled my hair. Do you want to know why they were doing these things? Because I had straight hair & because I talked “white”. Later we moved to Auburn, which is or was predominantly a Caucasian area, rural farm town. This was exactly the opposite scenario, I was asked constantly if I was in a gang, and was only asked out 1 x during high school (I was 1 of 12 minorities, in a school of 2700). Even further, let me just say that the ½ of me that makes the color of my skin brown, (American Samoan), even mocked me, and wanted nothing to do with me, because I was a mixed breed. It was confusing to me as a child and even as an adult really.

    I kind of wish sometimes that my race was instantly identifiable, so that at least I had a group of people who understood how painful it is to be mocked or have assumptions made about what type of food you’d like, or music you’d like, or whatever. It may have been easier, or so I’ve thought.

    It took me a long time to understand why God would allow such things to happen to me, or even to fully grasp why He wove me together in such a way. From the age of 7 it was continually pointed out to me that I was different. Simply stated, “What are you?” are you Indian (red dot), are you native American? are you Latino, are you half black, are you Brazilian…you name it. I could not and still do not get to avoid this question, and it used to infuriate me. Why do we as American’s need to identify or categorize ourselves with race? Especially, if we’re supposed to be in the land of the free, where all come together and are branded as American. Now, instead of getting angry when someone asks this question (“what are you?”), I simple say, I am a human just like you.

    That’s what I think God has shown me through all of these years of suffering and enduring racial torment and confusion, is that in God’s eyes He sees us all as His children.

    If I got angry at each person that said something offensive to me, I would be angry every day and at thousands of people. Yeah, I’ve said things, I’ve pointed out things, but to a hardened heart, it does no good. Either you’re there or you aren’t, no amount of explanation can make someone seriously repent, that takes God.

    I bet even if I stood before you today, you’d cock your head and wonder, what the heck I am. Does it matter? Does what my skin color is, make me who I am? No, it’s my relationship with Christ that makes me who I am. A NEW CREATION…..a foreigner in this land a child of God, I was neither of these things before coming to know Christ. I was a product of the world, and all its freedoms and trappings, now that I am a new creation, I do not think the same way about any of these things.

    I’ve been brought from a life in darkness, living in death apart from God, and now have life, now I have been freed from the grasp of the enemy (is that theoretical to you), and I share this with people, I share His love with people, instead of making it about me… I have done things that are adverse to God, and He willingly forgives me, shouldn’t we do the same in thankfulness for what He’s done in us? This seems to me more important, than being offended at some racial remark…even if it’s globally seen.

    Maybe that’s christianese to you, Marcus and Gaius, but it’s a reality to me. One that I’d hope that you’ve experienced as well….(didn’t you lay down your old life, don’t you pick up your cross daily?)

    What is the message of the gospel, can you tell me how you share your faith with those who do not know your (Christian) language?

    Can I ask you both a question: Why didn’t the one Asian person in the photo get offended? Why isn’t he horrified? Why aren’t you asking him what he thinks? or Why he hasn’t publically stood up in protest? You’d think you’d be just as offended by his silence, then the actions taken by the others? It’s baffling to me anyway…..

    We appreciate your hearts, and are open to continuing this conversation with you both. Hopefully, we’ll all be sharpened by it, instead of just kicking one another down. That is not our hope anyway.

    Heather

  99. eugenecho says:

    @everybody: great conversation and thread. one of the best imo.

    @daniel: you wrote:

    So what should Eugene, or any of us, do in these situations? Should we just lock ourselves in a room and pray? That’s always a good place to start, but from there, the answer is pretty straight-forward. Go out and share the good news of the Kingdom of God…

    i agree.
    but there are various and diverse ways we can and should be sharing the good news. writing this entry and thus, calling out what i perceive to be contrary to what God intended is one of my feeble attempts to share the good news. clearly, i don’t want it to end with my fingers and my laptop but this is me living out my faith – and my desire to love God and love people.

  100. A message in Sojourners email today:

    “Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”

    – Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C.

  101. Marcus Simmons says:

    Heather, I thank you for sharing your story. I am glad that you used your life experience as a way to learn to love. I think about people like you who go through so much crap during their lives a lot…you know the natural (and sinful, i guess) response to hate and prejudice is….more hate and prejudice so the fact that you are trying to respond differently is a miracle and a blessing.

    It wasn’t Christianese to me that you were trying to make a biblical argument. Christianese is when someone takes a familiar scripture, cliche, or christian cultural element – they quote it and don’t go into any great detail about how it applies to the particular conversation or situation they are engaged in at that moment. It is underlined by a belief that just by stating it, everyone who encounters it will understand and have some kind of aha moment. This happens sometimes, but not often.

    I glad you know you are a child of God. For me, that is my foundation also. Yet, I also know I am a man, African-American, music lover, writer, runner, talker, loud, etc. I believe that God put all of those things in me as well as a hunger for him. I would also say that who you are is also a reflection of all you say you experienced. You can never leave that out (the good and the bad), because it is your faith foundation that acts as a major lens in which you interpret all that and what it means for you now. It all makes up your worldview. All of it and it is a beautiful thing.

    I just can’t get with the fact that God wants me to neglect any part of myself – ever. So I stand proud in that because if I don’t, I can’t expect anyone else to. How can I tell someone else that God loves them, all of them, if I don’t even practice that belief myself? I will never be able to give what I don’t have. I am not saying that is what you do or imply in any of your responses – just trying to make the point that no one should ever feel the need to reduce any part of themselves to substantiate their faith, marriage, convictions, ethics, etc. because those things all play a part in the whole story of who you are and what God will do with your life.

  102. gaius says:

    Heather,

    Appreciate you sharing your story. It was insightful as well.

    I come from a different perspective from you, of course. I am an immigrant to this country and have experienced quite a bit of this behavior and much worse. I also have experience with the effects of sin as a former criminal prosecutor. I’ve seen drug dealers, users, rape victims, prostitutes etc. It is sad. I’ve also seen what happens when people do nothing out of fear, laziness, or selfishness. People suffer.

    You ask why the Asian in the picture isn’t offended. We cannot say for sure, but the possibility remains that he was under peer pressure to fit in with the majority or that he doesn’t understand the consequences of his actions. Your point about why he doesn’t appear “offended” is salient. In all likelihood, he should be “offended” and have asked his friends or “friends” to stop. The reality, though, is that in a group, that can be hard to do, especially if you want to fit in.

    That being said, I still hold that we can try to be like Christ and but also address these issues. Even Christ got angry – maybe not at racist remarks, but certainly at the Pharisees and those who exploited people. Does Christ still love and would forgive these Pharisees and exploiters? Certainly, but he did not mince his words when speaking to them.

    In the context of this discussion, how should we deal with Miley Cyrus and company? Your husband already commented and I’ve agreed with much of what he said. My take on this is to try not to be bitter or hold grudges towards people who insult us, not return evil for their evil, but also to call them out on their behavior with appropriate sanctions, and attempt reconciliation if possible. You may disagree with this approach in this context because in the big picture, this behavior may not appear to be as serious as other acts (i.e. sexual assault, murder, genocide, etc). But in more serious cases, the fact remains that sharing the message of Christ does not preempt other factors, such as protecting other people.

    Yes, love, grace, mercy – these are all major tenets of our faith. But so is justice (see Micah 6:8). We must pray for wisdom and discretion to somehow use and balance all these factors to effectively address any situation.

    If someone hurts you and you approach them with the gospel, but rejects that and continues to hurts you and others, what would be the appropriate action? I understand how some Christians will argue that we have no more rights and shouldn’t do anything. Assuming that viewpoint is correct, we still have the responsibility of protecting others.

  103. Marcus Simmons says:

    Man. Micah 6:8 has become so important to me in the last two years. Me and five friends biked across the country, living and sleeping wherever, and having conversations about what that means at churches and places all across America. Then I went to Zambia to work with one of the organizations we biked for. It changed my life. Micah 6:8 started a whole new chapter of my life! It taught me so much. ….DO justice. That is power.

  104. gaius & marcus thanks for sharing your perspectives as well, seriously refreshing to hear ‘real’ stuff…helps paint a clearer picture of where we’re all coming from, and that is awesome, because God had us all walk separate paths to get where we are today. Helps bring context. That being said, we were wondering what your definition for justice is?

    Does it mean keeping in check all of the behaviors that are seen to make others suffer, or does it go far beyond?

    Jesus says: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

    The world looks at suffering in the immidiate sense, and gauges it’s understanding of what is just based on what it observes. God’s understanding of suffering goes past just the temporal experience, and has dealt with the problem of suffering on it’s most foundational level.

    So, what if we are sharing the gospel with someone who’s hurting us, and they reject our message of love and continue to hurt us?

    Jesus again: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.”

    And lastly, what do we do when others are being hurt, are we called to protect the helpless? This is the point that is the source of so much controversy, and so many failed attempts at reforming and revolutionizing the world throughout history… Even today, the U.S. in involved in two wars, waged ultimately under the premise that they are protecting the lives of the helpless and innocent. Are they doing a good job? Is justice being preserved? How well has human history exemplified our ability to preserve “justice” in the world? But this is not God’s concept of justice, and this whole idea of sharing the gospel on the one hand and fighting for “justice” (the earthly kind) on the other, simply doesn’t line up with why the scripture says Jesus came…

    “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to preach good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,
    to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

    What good news to the poor, and what kind of “poor” does He mean? What kind of freedom is He talking about? What kind of sight? Who are the oppressed?

    “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.”

    and further on:

    To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

    Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

  105. The depth of this conversation is rich — thank you all. I recently read somewhere: “Justice is love lived in public.” Justice is certainly not war in my opinion. (I don’t even buy the argument that those advocating war did it for reasons of justice; financial gain, political power, yes, but not justice.)

    On another topic, but related sentiment, I recently wrote: “We have loved our perspectives and opinions more than we’ve loved each other. I serve a congregation of widely differing opinions on many topics of concern — very Presbyterian. It is necessary for me to listen closely enough to each that I love them more than my own ideas, my theology. When I love my sister, brother, friend, neighbor, antagonist, enemy, then I am drawn closer to God. It is simply impossible for me to love God without loving those around me (Thanks Dorotheus!)”

    I believe Jesus’ call in my life to be a disciple is a call to love others, even the ones I don’t like and even the ones of whom I’m afraid. This is why I think it is faithful for Eugene to be angry and say out loud that prejudice and racism is hurtful and sinful. Naming our pain offers others an opportunity to recognize for each to confess sin and repent of it, change our behaviors, be more loving.

    Anger need not always be our response, but it is not an unfaithful response, especially in the face of injustice.

    blessings

  106. Sojourners is speaking to me again today…and maybe you as well:

    “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends, you talk to your enemies.

    – Moshe Dayan
    Israeli military commander and politician turned peacemaker.”

  107. Marcus Simmons says:

    Well for a 23 year old, I only know so much. As the old women in my church say, I got a lot more living to do, but that was the question we discussed on the bike trip, the Zambia trip and it is the Campus theme of our university so I do have some thoughts.

    Justice entails mercy, compassion, restoration and judgment. It is a journey towards peace, predicated on a love that informs very public acts.

    Mercy in the sense that we must forgive ourselves and others. People can not be completely summed up by the things that they do. So we are not our problems, addictions, struggles, and past. We forgive and forget that at some point, on some level, we were at odds with someone or something but we do not forget what we learned from the experience. I love you enough to know that if given the chance and the resources and the education, you’ll do things better. So I discipline myself to value justice by trying to find ways in which I can extend that to all people.

    Compassion speaks to our attitudes that inform how we behave. If I see someone drowning, I’m going to help pull them out of the river. I will sometimes have to give up what I want so others can have what they need. I love you enough to know that I need you to survive so in the words of James Baldwin, “If they come for you tonight, they’ll come for me in the morning.” I discipline myself to value justice by doing it.

    Restoration is imagining, working towards, and building a reality in which everyone has access to realizing their full humanity. This is where I walk further up the river and find out how people keep falling in or who is throwing them in and try and do something about it.

    Judgement (as far as humans can actually engage in it without infringing upon the authority of God) is naming and deciding on a course of action that will allow healing to take place. We give people what they need. I love you so much, that I refuse to let you stay the way you are because I know if you know better, you will do better. I discipline myself to not just consider that someone needs to “pay” for what they have done but that the process must entail a way for them to learn new ways of doing things. Depending on what kind of healing might need to take place this can be painful.

    I believe that all of this can only be accomplished through love, relationship and seeing the world through the eyes of other people, especially the oppressed. It is hard stuff and not all of it is fun or at all comfortable. Yet that doesn’t excuse us from the pursuit. You are worth it because you are a part of the body of Christ, created in his image, so that means you are also a part of my body. So it is a form of waging reconciliation with truth. passion, and action.

  108. Marcus Simmons says:

    They are all really so interconnected for me because you can’t judge something unless you do it with compassion, mercy and the goal to restore. You also can’t restore unless you show compassion, mercy and judge the situation in a way that pursues dignity and healing for everyone involved. And so on…Whew! It just runs so deep…….

  109. Jenn says:

    Eugene, thanks for this post. I posted about the picture here, and gave you a hat-tip.

    http://www.reappropriate.com/?p=1300

  110. Heather says:

    Maybe I’m simplistic, but when I read the word of God, I tend to think of myself as a branch that’s been grafted in, as a Gentile.

    Also, I just wanted to ask, did Jesus come and die on the cross to bring peace (& social justice) on earth? (or does peace come THROUGH Jesus?)

    Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12:51-53

    Matthew 10:37-39 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

    What does it mean to lose your life do you think it could also mean our “identities”?

    Heather

  111. Lauren says:

    I hear and share your concern and anger about how this sort of imagery helps perpetuate behavior that mocks, offends, and degrades Asian(-American) people. For those who are still tempted to write that off as hurtful but mostly harmless, I want to call attention to a very material effect of denigrating stereotypes of Asian physical features: blepharoplasty (the cosmetic surgery that constructs a crease in the eyelids of people, usually girls and women, who were born without it) is the most common cosmetic surgery in Asia, and hundreds of thousands have been performed here in the U.S. Mocking stereotypically “Asian eyes” helps perpetuate conceptions of beauty that are so strongly internalized that they can have the very material effect of driving young women to pay thousands of dollars to undergo cosmetic surgery.

    Source: http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/1950/

  112. […] Eugene Cho. We need a meme wherein Asian American bloggers make the “big eye” photo and post it on our […]

  113. =D says:

    i dont think its a big deal.. everyone does this, not to make fun of asian people, he might have just been doing it to be silly,i really dont like hannah montana but i think its really dumb to be getting sued for that, the asian people in the picture didnt care that she did that obviously, so why would you. and if you did make fun of us for having big eyes i wouldnt give a care really,

  114. […] As for me, I’ve got no more words but simply ask what we can do to be peacemakers, justice seekers, and reconcilers. Because it doesn’t matter who you are – skin, gender, orientation, age, ethnicity – this is wrong and shouldn’t happen. And while you may disagree, it sometimes starts with talking about Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. […]

  115. […] As for me, I’ve got no more words but simply ask what we can do to be peacemakers, justice seekers, and reconcilers. Because it doesn’t matter who you are – skin, gender, orientation, age, ethnicity – this is wrong and shouldn’t happen. And while you may disagree, it sometimes starts with talking about Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. […]

  116. leanna says:

    you guys are making a big deal out of this. joe jonas is only trying to be funny if you knew anything at all you would know that he is a joker and he is always goofing off. i also know that he has one of the biggest hearts out there i know that he would never mean to actually hurt you people and that your making a big deal out of the smallest thing. try this, why dont you get over yourself and get a life. you say you dont like it because he was putting your kind down well if you think about it your doing the same. your talking smack about a young man and you think it was wrong about what he did to you and your kind but imagen what your doing to my kind. personally i do the slitting eye thing all the time you want to know why? because its fun and goofy and me and my friends love to do it. so if you have a problem with joe jonas and miley cyrus then you have a porblem with me. those two are great sweet caring people with very big hearts you guys are cold and stupid to pick on two kids for having a little fun. so i say suck it up, get a life, build a bridge and get the hell over it you guys cry way to much. maybe thats why your eyes slat because its waighed down with a bunch of freaking tears!!!!!!!!- your dissed

  117. Brian says:

    Get over it…call them white crackers and move on. Life is too short to get so upset at something like this and especially about people you will never personally know.

  118. Marcus Simmons says:

    NO.

  119. jodie says:

    ok i understand why your upset but the only reason i would think their just messing around is that there is a chinese or a japanese guy sitting with them trying to make big eyes soo idk but i cannot speak the same for joe jonas

  120. jodie says:

    ok leanna what the fuck is your problem ok so yeah maybe we dont know what there intentions were but i feel even if you deny it that if they were doing something racsist against us we would wanna say something too and you didnt have to say what you said about his eyes when he obviously is already upset about what they did and you slant your eyes all the time i mean thats like me as caucasian going and taking black paint and putting it all over me r u saying that a black should get over that well if so than you have issues with yourself and your probably fuckin ugly lowlife that has no respect for others and im not saying that miley and joe are bad people because first we dont know them and second we dont know what there intentions were but to me it looks bad on there part and also i dont think that they are cry babies and are blowing this out of proportion because again im almost positive if some chinese people went online and made fun of us it wouldnt be so funny and the chinese people would be telling us we were blowing it out of proportion step into there shoes for a little bit before you talk

  121. Brittany says:

    First of all that picture of Joe is from a long time ago. and secondly they were just having fun. and there is an asian guy in that picture just in case you didn’t see him there. everyone was making a big deal out of nothing!

  122. Fascist Saxon says:

    You DO realise that when one such as yourself becomes upset over a nothing like this, it strengthens our argument that you and your fellow Asian ilk are suffering from insecurity issues yes? That picture of an Asian attempting to ‘mock’ round eyes had me chortling with glee, rather than any anger. You see, an Asian mocking a White person about there round eyes cannot possibly elicit any negative response because we have no insecurity issues. We KNOW we are a beautiful people, and every other race knows it too. To scream bloody murder against successful White recording artists about something as inane as pulling their eyes into a slanted position is utterly moronic. Why would it bother you so much? Make your eyes round for all we care, we Whites wouldn’t flinch. Why, we would smirk with utter amusement. It is clear you are enraged because you feel inferior, insecure. There can be no greater proof than your rant as displayed above that you wish you were White. Please note that other races do not ‘mock’ Whites simply because they CANNOT. We do not suffer from any inferiority complex as do all the other races.
    As an addendum, if you do not like it, simply return from whence you came, yes?

  123. […] I could not believe how many folks were defending the Spanish Basketball Team or my fave, Miley Cyrus, when they were sporting the “chinky eye” look. Not […]

  124. […] that many Asians and Asian-Americans have had to live their lives with stereotypes and jokes (like chinky eyes) that get old and hurtful over time and can put them in a “box” professionally and […]

  125. […] I’m Taking down all my Posters of Miley Cyrus and Jonas Brothers […]

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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Father - daughters bonding (and freezing) time at the Seahawks game. Grateful to the Panthers organization for the tickets. Now, go Hawks. Pound the Panthers. The family that karaokes together stays together. #ChoFamilyKPopFamily Family time in one of my favorite cities in the world - especially when the exchange rate is so favorable. Thank you, Vancouver, for being such a great refuge for our souls for the past 20 years. #QuestVancouver It's the day after...that day.
Be grateful. Again.
We woke up. We're alive.
Breathing. Dreaming.
Pursuing. Embodying. Loving.

It's never that perfect or easy but that we get to try to do these things is reason enough to be grateful to the One who gives us life.

Yes. Be grateful.
That you, Jesus.
#PreachingToMyself This is what real life looks like after a crazy couple weeks. Grateful for this woman. I love her. She's gonna scream at me for posting this pic. #ThoseSocksThough Grateful for the opportunity to encourage 2500 youth leaders & pastors at the @youthspecialties conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Had prayed for wisdom to encourage leaders and courage to navigate a word for leaders post election about empathy and compassion for the unseen, marginalized, and those experiencing real fear.

Also, what a joy to have my church's youth pastor, @cobycagle, also here teaching. Some years ago, I was a youth pastor for several years in California, Korea, NY, and NJ. They were meaningful years but filled with challenges and loneliness. Sometimes, I felt unseen and insignificant - in comparison to "real" adult ministry. As a lead pastor now, I want to make sure I don't make those mistakes of overlooking our youth and children's ministry and their volunteers and staff. 
Pastor Coby, Pastor Katey, Pam, Jalle, and Jasmin: We see you. We appreciate you. We are grateful for your presence and leadership at Quest and beyond. Thank you and all of our amazing volunteers

my tweets

  • Father/daughters bonding time at the Seahawks game. Grateful to the Panthers organization for the tix. Now, go Hawk… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… || 22 hours ago
  • "Genuine hope is not blind optimism. It is hope with open eyes, which sees the suffering and yet believes in the future." ~ Jürgen Moltmann || 1 day ago
  • They play against my Seahawks tomorrow but who cares. What a privilege to preach the Gospel at the Carolina Panther… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… || 1 day ago
  • We wait for Christ to return to restore all things but while we wait, we join and partner with God to work towards that restoration. #advent || 2 days ago
  • Washington Huskies. 2016 PAC-12 Champs! #WOOF || 2 days ago
  • If the grass feels greener on the other side, it might be the Holy Spirit reminding you to water the grass you're standing on. || 3 days ago

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