Filipino American comic book creator Joshua Luna has made a name for himself in the comic book industry with brilliant titles such as “Ultra,” “Girls,” and “The Sword,” alongside his brother. and collaborator, Jonathan Luna.
In between creating his masterpieces, Joshua creates comic strips and other art as a means to engage with fans and followers on his social media accounts.
The 37-year-old artist usually makes art infused with social commentary mostly involving his identity and experiences as an Asian American. His most recent work, “ReconciliAsian,” tackles a very sensitive subject: the growing rift between genders in the Asian community.
Both Asian men & women have been hurt. Both Asian men & women have caused hurt, too. But instead of pointing fingers, let us ask how we can seek reconciliation, & dismantle patriarchal misogyny & white supremacy. Together.
(Please don’t repost my work. RTs are appreciated.) 1/ pic.twitter.com/AR6hBCERGJ
— Joshua Luna (@Joshua_Luna) April 10, 2018
The three-panel strip shows how both sides — Asian men and women — have been “hurt,” offering not only the root cause of the issue, but also a possible solution. After citing how each group participates in inflicting “pain” on each other, Luna suggests a reconciliatory approach in handling the problem instead of both sides being vindictive.
As caption on his Facebook post, Luna wrote, “Both Asian men and Asian women’s experience of racism is one in which their gender has been weaponized against them. But based on how much vitriol there is between both groups, it has been extremely difficult to discuss the oppression we all face as a result of white supremacy and the long campaign of anti-Asian racism propagated through media and government policy.
“Rather than repair the hurt we have both caused each other, we instead become fixated on the hurt we have received, saying things like ‘Asian women who partner with white men are race traitors and wh*res,’ or ‘Asian men have small d*cks and I don’t find them attractive because they remind me of my brothers/cousins.’ Too often, too many of us choose to point fingers.
“But it’s important that we put the fingers down, and engage in self-reflection instead. Rather than ask how we can punish each other, or how we can best lash out in our pain, let us ask how we can seek reconciliation, and dismantle patriarchal misogyny and white supremacy. Together.”
As straightforward as the message was in its intention to bridge together opposing viewpoints, Luna’s comic ignited further heated debate on social media.
It did not take long before shots were fired from both camps:
As the discussion heats up, Luna created a new Twitter thread to address some of the issues raised.
He wrote, “Since there seems to be confusion and/or willful manipulation of this comic’s content, let’s discuss. As I addressed in the thread (which many of you seemed to have missed or ignored), it’s about perpetuating & normalizing racist stereotypes against Asian men, not being entitled to or ‘wanting dates.’
“The thread also included an explicit criticism of abusive behavior/language (note: calling Asian women ‘AF’ falls under this category), & I disavow anyone who uses this language (which includes a lot of you in the replies).
“Regarding the ‘false equivalence’ criticism because misogyny is violent: Emasculation leads to dehumanization, which then leads to white supremacist violence against Asian men. AW experience violence at the hands of AM & WM, but AM also experience violence from WM.
“And while we can certainly discuss just how much violence that is, and how they may not be equal amounts, the point here is that emasculation (i.e. dehumanization) does, in fact, lead to violence, a reality which is often ignored.
“I think the term ’emasculation’ conjures up such immediate imagery of patriarchal & misogynistic oppression that it is easy to forget and/or deny that dehumanization is not about a lack of dating partners or flattering penis comments but a *theft of one’s humanity*
“I am in no way attempting to diminish or erase the violence experienced by Asian women or committed by Asian men, but to ignore the fact that white supremacy results in violence against Asian men too is to prevent us from discussing white supremacy effectively.
“I had hoped that this comic would serve as a way to encourage more moderate voices to come forward, and push away extremists of any kind to the fringes where they belong, but it seems that we are too accustomed to letting those extremists frame the discussion.”