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Facebook VP Naomi Gleit explores what it’s like to grow up fully both Asian and Jewish in America

Naomi Gleit, her mom, brother, and grandmother in Paris

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Medium and reposted with permission.

Growing up in Brooklyn, I had a lot of friends from different backgrounds — many that were white, a few that were Asian, but none that were both, like me. I felt like I was the only one in the overlap of a Venn diagram, part of both circles but still different.

Two filmmakers spent 6 years studying Vincent Chin’s murder – Here’s why it’s so hard to prove a hate crime

Vincent Chin

The recent news of Robert Aaron Long’s plea deal in the murder of four Asian spa workers in Cherokee County, Georgia is a bittersweet triumph. He was given four life sentences without the possibility of parole, but the Cherokee County District Attorney explicitly stated, “Your honor, in discussing this case with Mr. Burns, the defense’s position is that this was not any type of hate crime,” saying that the defense found no racial bias in the case. The FBI came to the same conclusion. With the four remaining murders still to be tried in Fulton County, the District Attorney there stated she intends to continue to pursue the case as a hate crime, keeping the domestic terrorism charges, and seek the death penalty. This is yet another example of the difficulties of proving racial bias in a court of law, especially when it comes to Asian Americans.

When Robert Aaron Long killed eight people in Atlanta back in March, the Asian American community could see this for what it was: a hate crime. Six of the victims were Asian women who worked at spas. This was not a coincidence. Their race and occupation made them targets. Asian women are fetishized in our culture, which is linked to the stereotype of seeing them as sex workers, a relic from colonialism and imperialism, multiple American wars in Asia, and the portrayal of Asian women in Hollywood films and television. The killer, however, claimed that this had nothing to do with race. He is “deeply religious,” struggles with a “sex addiction” and felt he needed to kill these women to remove the temptation they presented. With the news of Long’s plea deal came the revelation that he did in fact frequent these spas. If this is true, it would follow, then, that he either chose these Asian spas based off the stereotype that Asian spas are fronts for sex work, or that he chose Asian spas specifically because he had an Asian fetish. It seems highly questionable that he frequented multiple spas to solicit sex acts, and it was only a coincidence that they were all explicitly staffed by Asian workers. We are unaware of any hard evidence making this connection. For now, we are left to sift through circumstantial evidence to determine what was in his head that day. We are all too familiar with such a journey.

Exclusive Excerpt: The Deadly ‘Pretty Boys’ Who Were Korea’s Warriors and Assassins

hwarang

K-pop’s biggest male stars may be beauty gods but they’re hardly a new trend. While Korean pop stars may wear porcelain foundations, colorful eyeshadows, and blood-stained lips, there were men who walked — and worked — the earth centuries before. They were called the hwarang – literally “flower boys” aka “pretty boys” of Korea’s Silla dynasty – who sported crimson eye shadows, powdered faces, and slicked-back hair as a spiritual practice. These warriors were chosen for their beauty, as Silla’s king, Jinheung, believed beauty was power. In the excerpt below, we understand Korea’s rich history of beautiful men and how cosmetics, makeup, skincare isn’t a new phenomenon — beauty is literally embedded in the very culture. Here’s a history of the pretty boy warriors who were precursors for K-pop stars to thrive in our modern era.

South Korea is now known as the beauty capital of the universe, and its men hold the title of world’s biggest cosmetics consumers. Korean men glisten and glow, their complexions plumped and hydrated, as if serums pump through their very veins. But to understand why Korean men today care so much about their aesthetics, we must look to Korea’s sixth-century Silla Dynasty, and to the hwarang. The hwarang—which roughly translates to “flower boys”—weren’t only some of the fiercest weapons-wielding, martial arts–practicing assassins in Asia. They would become legendary for their fight and their faces. Aesthetics, and the spirituality behind beautifying, were paramount to their ability to defend their kingdom for over two centuries . . . and to lead the way for generations of Korean beauty boys to come. 

Why I Became a Therapist: To Heal the Silent Pain Every One of Us Carries Within Our Hearts

therapist

When people ask me why I became a therapist, I never quite know what to say. Not because the question makes me uncomfortable, but because it’s something that’s unique to Asian Americans.

I grew up the child of two immigrant parents, who came to the United States with nothing. My mother lived in a two-bedroom trailer with six other people. My father left behind all but his twin brother in Vietnam to pursue the American dream. When they had me, they worked endlessly with my mom toiling through nursing school and my father working double shifts, often with no days off. I learned to entertain myself. I remember playing on the swings with no one to push me, having a kite but having no one to teach me and daydreaming about the kids who played catch in their front yards.

How I Came to Terms With Being Asian

vancouver

I wasn’t going to write this article.

Normally, I publish about virtual and augmented reality and how technology can enhance our lives, so going deep within my personal experience and being vulnerable is something I truly have avoided, and have rarely spoken out about in the past. Frankly, I’ve never looked at myself as a voice for Asian people as I’ve always felt detached and disconnected from that identity.

Sery Kim is a Lesson for Those Who Think Pandering to Whiteness Will Save Them from Anti-Asian Hate

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the authors.

During a Republican forum last Wednesday, Texas congressional candidate and former Trump official Sery Kim made racist remarks about Chinese immigrants. “I don’t want them here at all,” she said. “They steal our intellectual property, they give us coronavirus, they don’t hold themselves accountable.”