Citizenship, Values

A Statement on Black Lives & A Note to Self

A Statement on Black Lives

I stand in solidarity with everyone fighting for Black lives now, and with Black activists who have been fighting for social justice for generations. I recognize the toll of systemic injustice on all Black people. I call for justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breanna Taylor, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and all those who’ve lost their lives to police brutality. I am grateful to Black people because I have benefitted from advancements in civil rights won through Black struggle. I acknowledge that my model minority status has been used to deny the reality of injustice experienced by Black Americans. I recognize the work I need to do as an Asian American to check my privilege, increase my cross-racial solidarity, and confront anti-blackness within the Asian Pacific American community. I recognize that this statement is just the beginning.

A Note to Self

Here are a few ideas I’ve been thinking about over the past two weeks. This has helped me feel more grounded, less reactionary, less needy for validation, more authentic, and more helpful.

Less is more.

Choose quality over quantity.

Contradictions exist.

You don’t have to resolve them. You don’t have to weigh in much of the time. Know your values. Feel secure in the actions that you are taking. It’s OK to hold multiple contradictions, and to care for multiple communities, issues, and concerns.

Things are complicated.

It’s normal to feel a lot of feelings right now. Different people will be on different pages. Everyone falls short sometimes. Don’t sweat the small stuff. In five years, what will you want to remember about this time?

It’s noisy out there.

Opinions are just that. Remember who’s been doing the work all along. Listen to people whose insights are grounded in practices that you respect. Turn down the volume on distractions.

One step at a time.

When problems feel overwhelming and abstract, identify small concrete steps. Start there.

It’s healthy to take breaks from social media.

Get off the hamster wheel of reacting, sharing, checking, scrolling (/feeling outraged, judgmental, exhausted, numb). There is plenty of information out there. Balance sharing with synthesizing new information and formulating deliberate action steps.

Know your spheres of agency, your voice, your platforms, and the differences between them.

Social media is just one tool. Turning off the firehose affords the mental focus to re-center and act in other spheres of agency. Within each sphere, find your lane. You don’t have to occupy every lane.

Don’t forget to balance the negative with the positive.

There are many reasons to feel and express rage, despair, grief, outrage, and sorrow. And… there are many reasons to feel connection, gratitude, love, joy, transformation, and hope.

When the negative feels personal, pervasive, and permanent, it is critical to our sense of hope—and to our resilience and sustainability—to affirm the realness of the positive.

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Meta-Practice

Social Media: More is not always better

Turning over a Facebook page.

Eleven months ago, I started a Facebook page. I thought I would use it to interact with the public (for unclear reasons, FB remains very popular with artists). It seemed like a good idea* after taking a workshop on social media for artists, but now there are reasons to re-consider having a page at all. 

Valleywag just confirmed that Facebook suppresses page visibility to drive up ad revenue:

the social network is “in the process of” slashing “organic page reach” down to 1 or 2 percent.

It’s enough for me to discontinue using the page. 

Thanks to folks who had been kind enough to like or follow my page.

Please continue to find me here, or check out my website or tweets

*The following is not news, but being able to control one’s attention is crucial to both creativity and happiness, so I’ll share it at the risk of stating the obvious: I was also hoping to target and limit my Facebook usage. I detest the addictive, pleasureless compulsion its usage always fosters; the composing of updates in my mind instead of being in the moment; and the rage-y, poisonous aftermath from dealing with trolls and disagreements. For these reasons, I try to limit my time on FB, and therefore keep my personal profile very private, and my circle of friends extremely intimate. Ironically, my relationship to FB might be best explained by FB-speak: it’s complicated.

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