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Would you like. I'm Kara Swisher, and you're listening to Sway. This week, yet another video went viral, a terrible one. It showed a man brutally knocking a Filipino woman to the ground and then stomping on her. This happened in broad daylight in the middle of Manhattan and no one intervened. It's become the latest in a wave of rising crimes against the Asian-American community, and it comes just a few weeks after six Asian women were killed in shootings in the Atlanta area.
So I wanted to talk to someone about the roots of anti Asian racism and how the myth of the model minority has delayed this national conversation.
Cathy Park Hong is a writer and poet. She's been capturing the Asian-American experience for years, first in her poetry and most recently in a collection of essays called Minor Feelings in Asian-American Reckoning. It's part memoir and part critique, but above all, minor feelings is a question what does it mean culturally and politically to be Asian-American? I wanted to understand Hongs approach to this question and why, as a poet, she chose to tackle it in essay form. Kathy Park Hong, welcome to the show.
Thank you. Thank you for having me. So when you you were in poetry and it is it's a different than what you what you do in your book of essays. Minor feelings, talk about the shift from poetry, which is a lot more economical and a lot of ways to essays.
I felt that I was as I was kind of getting older. The the lyric medium just seemed to small, like a shirt size, too small. For all the stories that I wanted to tell and the arguments that I wanted to make, I was starting to feel that discomfort more and more. And also, you know, I talk in the book, I talk about being inspired by Richard Pryor. And I really wanted to kind of directly, in a very confrontational manner, confront the question of race as an Asian-American.
And I realized that poetry. Was not a suitable medium for that, it wasn't a capacious enough form for me, and part of the reason why was because I was wanted to make an argument and want to ask questions that would lead to more questions. And it was it's hard to do that with poetry.
Can you talk more about how Richard Pryor standup routines helped you hone this idea of minor feelings? It was in 2011.
I was very depressed at the time. I was feeling very frustrated being a poet. And my husband turned on live in concert and I started watching it. I watched bits of prayer before. I've seen some of his movies. The bad ones. Like the toy.
Yeah, there's some bad ones. Yeah. And or Superman three. And it was the first time I've seen his routine in its full length and I was just blown away. You know, I had this sort of shock of recognition, as I say in the book. And I think after that I was trying to understand why he had that shock of recognition. What was Richard Pryor doing that even someone I was not black or a man or had the kind of tragic history that he did, felt this kind of connection to him.
And part of it was his brutal honesty, his rawness, his just brilliant way of cutting through the bullshit and telling it like it is, you know? And I was like, why haven't I read this or seen this for Asian-Americans? Why has there been an Asian-American story like this or an Asian-American polymer film like this and so forth, where there was this sort of honesty that really kind of got under my skin. And I was really attracted to this idea of stand up comedy used as a kind of Trojan horse or as a kind of trap door to these truths about America that people wouldn't necessarily want to face.
If you'd done this book as a stand up routine, what would it have looked like? What would you open with? I would open with a therapist.
This is the opening of the book where you where you try to convince a Korean American therapist to take you on as a patient.
Yeah, I would probably open with the therapist section. And then I mean, I think especially with the first essay United, I was thinking more. You know, I probably was unconsciously thinking of the stand up structure, just thinking of these sort of absurd moments, you know, that kind of ruptures whatever kind of Asian-American tropes that we're used to or tropes about therapy or, you know, or finding healing or catharsis or redemption. I think the Playboy shirt story would be devastating to people.
Yeah, yeah. And it's a it's an example that I use often when people ask me what my inner feelings is, I was like seven or eight and for whatever reason, we had a T-shirt that had the Playboy emblem, the bunny rabbit. It didn't say Playboy. It was just a bunny rabbit was red and the bunny rabbit was white.
My mom, she didn't know it was a Playboy shirt because she was a recent immigrant.
And so she thought it was a kid's shirt.
She put me in that shirt and the next day I went to school wearing a Playboy T-shirt. And I don't remember any teacher approaching me or or saying that was inappropriate. But when I was at recess, I do remember an older kid coming up to me and saying. Do you know what your shirt means and you know, I said no and she didn't tell me she ran off and I saw her talking to her friends and they were probably pointing her laughing at me.
And I just had this like, very distinct, visceral sensation of feeling targeted, like I was stranded, like I was. I just felt very exposed. And the way I wrote it was I was trying to kind of allude to the Scarlet Letter where I felt like Hester Prynne with the letter A. But I didn't know what it meant. I had no understanding of what was wrong with me. I just knew that there was something wrong with me. But I didn't know what was wrong with me.
So you write a lot about shame and indignity, the markers of how you experienced racism as an Asian-American. But you know that it's political shame, not necessarily a cultural one. Had Tolentino in reviewing your book, which I thought was quite interesting to be Asian-American, she suggests, is to be tasked with making an injury inaccessible to the body that has been injured. It is to be pissed on at regular intervals while dutifully minimizing the odor of piss. I don't know if you agree with her, but I guess as well said.
Can you talk about this idea of minimization and sort of swallowing the the indignity? Yeah, of course.
I first of all, I do think it was perfectly apt what she had told you said the way she was able to kind of break that metaphor, the urinal puck. I think this is particular to racism that Asian-Americans face is that we have also been victims to systemic racism throughout history. But we have been conditioned to pretend that it doesn't exist, you know, to minimize it or you don't have it as bad as you called it, a vague, purgatorial status.
Yeah, it's a program that we don't have it as bad. And what I often say is that I think probably also because of the way social media is and everything, we kind of look at racist, you know, as oppression Olympics. Right, where like black people are the most oppressed, white people are the least oppressed and everyone else is somewhere in the middle. And so it's this kind of totem pole. And Asian-Americans are basically in the bottom of that totem pole right above white Americans.
So we've sort of internalized that.
I mean, I think that came from the white supremacist system that we live in. But I think a lot of Asians also internalize that that what we went through wasn't that bad. Claire Jane Kim is a scholar who talks about this a lot. The way race works in America is not oppression Olympics or it's not necessarily. We all have our own oppression, but it's very much interlinked in that it's sort of triangulated where Asian-Americans have been used. Basically, we're used as in a minority who's used as proof that American exceptionalism works or that American capitalism works, you know, because we are immigrating to this country.
And look, we're all doctors or we're going to Harvard, we're going to Yale and sort of and black and brown Americans are compared unfavorably to Asian-Americans. So what that does is that it isolates us from forming any kind of bond or bridge with other people of color or allies or any kind of allies or coalition building. But also that kind of model, minority myth is completely conditional to write it off, as we're seeing now. You know, it's like what Asian-Americans live under is this kind of contract where as long as we behave and keep quiet and so forth, we're fine.
The kind of the benefits of assimilation is that you're left alone. However, it's not the same as having any kind of power.
Right. And you talk about complicity. But one of the things I thought was more powerful was this apologetic space that you live in, this apologetic space as a group. This goes back to immigration policy with the Chinese Exclusion Act, where we were not allowed into the country until really 1965, is that we've always been treated as guests. You know, imagine inviting a dinner guest over there are treated well. They're tolerated. You're invited for a specific amount of time to do a specific thing, to do a specific thing, and then you leave.
But if you start getting drunk and acting boorishly, then you are unwelcome.
And that's sort of always been the experience of being Asian-American in this country. Is that. We were always treated us as guests and that we had to act accordingly and also a lot of the kind of grievances that we did experience were minimized by this country. But also we I think we internalized a lot of that minimization. And I think, you know, when you first come to a country, right, like my parents came to this country and as a guest, you're probably a bit more inhibited about expressing your rage.
Keep quiet, be visible and invisible at the same time. Yeah, it's also sort of the survivors mentality, like, for instance, my mother with all the anti Asian hate that's happening. And when she discovered that I was doing interviews, she's like, oh, don't talk about the racism. And I said, why? And she was like, well, you know, you might be a target. People might try to hurt you in some way.
And I'm like, well, I'm already getting trolled, so that's too late about that. But I think that's also kind of it's not just like her being Asian American model, minority or whatever, whatever.
It's also just her experience was what she had and trying to just sort of get through her day and get through her life.
But someone who's born here, someone who's been here for three or four generations, and if they're still considered second class citizens, you're not going to want to keep quiet. Right.
So now seems an especially pressing time to understand miner families, because that's what that is. You're talking about this idea of pretending major feelings or minor feelings. So let's talk about the shootings in Atlanta, which happened on March 16th. The gunman went to three different stores and fatally shot eight people, six of whom were Asian women. Where were you in the news about Atlanta came out and what was going through your mind?
I actually had my vaccination shot. I had side effects. So I was actually feeling quite depleted. And I was also very burnt out by the pandemic. And, you know, yes, I have several children. It's. I know. Yeah. And my paperback came out and I was just so overwhelmed and burnt out and angry and. Really, actually, my first reaction was to look away. I didn't want to face it because I knew. How it was going to be spun, how people were going to react, how mainstream media was going to summarize the massacre when the first reports of the massacre was that a police officer who said that the killer was just having a bad day, it was just basically what I expected because the shooter insisted it wasn't.
And so they just took his denial. And this is the problem, of course, with the way Americans look at race and racial discrimination, is that it has to be explicitly outlined for for them to consider racism when a lot of racial acts are also unconscious bias.
And I just feel like I was like kind of unconsciously sort of predicting the script of what was going to happen. It was not going to be a hate crime. Media being ambulance chasers would pay attention to the massacre for like forty two hours and then move on to the next.
And then when the other shooting happened in Boulder, Colorado, less than a week after it was highlighted, a difference in the coverage on Instagram from both the Times and The Washington Post included bios of the Boulder victims, the victims and literally listed by their names. No accompanying descriptions.
Can you talk a little bit more about why this script seems to go out and the denial of the racial elements here, which is absurd as far as I'm concerned.
At least it's absurd. And I think there are a lot there was a huge pushback by a lot of activists, organizers, attorneys, Asian-American attorneys, and there has been a groundswell of support from other allies. But look, the first reports were not national media, national news. It was Korean language newspaper. It was chosen Ilbo and all these Asian language news reporters who actually went and talked to the witnesses, the families of the victims. So that's one you know, there's a language barrier, the cultural sensitivity barrier.
But I think it's also I think everyone has been very enraged about the fact that in the beginning or really not all throughout the stories of the victims were not centered, you know, at all. And instead it was, you know, like a lot of country. And so it was like sensationalized. What would you have liked to see?
I wish that there was a really sustained investigation. I would like to know more about the labor practices that are happening in those massage parlors and Asian-American low wage workers and also more advocacy to support these women. I would like to see more stories about the intersections of gender, sex, violence and Asian-American people.
You know, I think a lot of Americans barely grasp the basic building blocks of race. You know, as Kimberle Crenshaw put it, racist experience is within the intersections of gender and class. And that's what we are seeing with the Atlanta massacre. And we need to have that made legible for the American public. Right. And talk about how Asian-American women have been oppressed, exploited, fetishized in various ways. And also, I would like to know more about that community and the stories of this woman.
I think the greatest tragedy of this is that this is not the onus is not entirely on national news, but I don't think we'll ever get those stories, you know, except in the most superficial way or we put the links together. I think historical is very important to bring into this. We just don't do that in this country.
Don't do it, because when he murdered those women and when I found out it was a massage, these were massage parlors, I immediately thought of camptown, you know, during the Korean War, you know, you have to remember that because of these immigration policies, there are very few women. It was actually Chinese women were excluded from coming to America because they were considered prostitutes.
So when America started occupying these Asian countries, their exposure to Asian women were these sex workers who worked in these compounds and their perception of Asian women as fetishized, compliant, submissive dragon lady. What exotic, whatever was imported to this country, which Hollywood also underscore and Hollywood definitely replicated, perpetuated those stereotypes. The obvious iconic example of Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, where there's a Vietnamese prostitute, says Army so horny. Everyone knows that. Everyone knows that.
Oh, you know, and everyone just laughing about it. Yeah. So the Atlanta shootings haven't officially been designated as hate crimes. This is just one of the many recent attacks against Asian-Americans that's in a definition limbo for some reason. But the data shows there's. In a rise in Asian hate crimes across the country, which is related to racist rhetoric around the pandemic in New York City, for example, the number of NYPD classified hate crimes rose from three in 2000, 19 to 28 in 2020.
So what are your thoughts on this increase?
I think, like the Atlanta massacre was a different angle into the kind of discrimination that Asians face that's brought in issues of gender violence, the vulnerability of sex workers, as opposed to what is perhaps happening in Oakland, California, or Chinatown, New York, or Koreatown, Los Angeles, which is happening in these urban environments. I would say that what connects all of them, that they're mostly happening to women, 70 percent of the victims so far are women.
I think that we need to get some more coherent data of what's happening about these anti-abortion incidents. It's very spotty at this point and they're doing that. I think it's really happening right now. I mean, what has made me kind of hopeful about what's happening now is that it's really galvanized the Asian-American community in a way that I personally haven't witnessed before in my lifetime or I haven't noticed. And there's just this complete outpouring of rage and grief. And Asian-Americans are really kind of standing up to this racism.
And you see it a number of ways. You see, yes, there's the hashtag activism, but then there's also people on the streets, these organizations like Reckoner Song and KAV and a lot of these organizations who are on the ground raising money, raising awareness, bringing medical care to these vulnerable communities. And among leftists, there's this real attempt to kind of bridge alliance ships with black Americans and Latinos and so forth. So I think this like there is this kind of it's happening right now in real time where I believe that there is this mobilization happening and Asian-Americans are trying to find a way to define themselves as a coalition, as a kind of political alliance, as a way to kind of really finally assert themselves in this sort of black white dialectic in this country.
And that doesn't necessarily mean crying out and saying, oh, we are victims to pay attention to us. It's not that. It's more how are we also complicit in this white supremacist and capitalist structure? How do we also eradicate anti blackness in our culture as well? And how can we work as allies to bring social justice?
So one of the things you talked about, this idea of Alicia, we're approaching the 30th anniversary of the L.A. riots and those dynamics of that relationship were quite tense at the time. And then among American Officer Tuto is facing charges of aiding, abetting the second degree murder and second degree manslaughter charge in the death of George Floyd. There's been a lot of discussion about Antep, blackness in the Asian-American community, something you wrote about to. How do you get to real change in how people are talking about the issue?
And do you see real change in that discussion?
I don't see real change yet. I think people don't know how to talk about interracial conflicts and misunderstandings or misperceptions, we haven't quite developed a vocabulary for it. I tried I mean, I think partly another reason why I came up with the term minor feelings is that it's not a structure, a feeling that's limited to Asian-Americans. I think anyone who comes from a marginalized community understand this kind of cognitive dissonance you feel when you're stuck, when you are not able to lift yourself up by the bootstrap and when you're you cannot have attain that good life, no matter how hard you work and where your perception is, reality is drowned out by the dominant culture's reality.
I mean, Perjeta Sharma, an amazing poet, I also quote her and the way that Americans perceive race, which is that like grief, they at some point they expect you to get over it. You know, it's done. And I think that's what's going to happen with the Atlanta massacre and maybe already has people are like, OK, let's move on to the next.
And that this is what happened during the L.A. riots, right. L.A. riots was a collision of many deep rooted problems in this country, the kind of economic dispossession and segregation of black Americans, police brutality, and also Korean immigrants, most of them who are very poor, setting up shop in black neighborhoods and the inter racial violence and conflicts that came from there and the misunderstandings, the anti blackness and Korean communities, all of that.
It was just a collision of all of these different problems. And there was an uprising. I mean, a lot of activists call it an uprising rather than a riot. And afterwards there were some attempts at rebuilding, an attempt at healing. It was because of what happened. But those attempts to rebuild were completely abandoned. Right. Which is part of it was this campaign to kind of funnel resources into South Central, where you would have built hospitals, schools after school programs never happened.
And the black population in L.A. just ended up shrinking to like something like eight percent Korean immigrants whose stores or looted or who were out of jobs and so forth. It was never fixed. And there was attempts at interracial community building that also never happened.
So that was forgotten. That wasn't actually addressed. That was not confronted. And now we're seeing it again. So there's still a lot of anger, a lot of distrust. And I think we need to work on this because the majority of Asian-Americans majority I say this konforti for majority of Asian-Americans want the same things that black Americans want. They want affirmative action. It is a misperception that Asian Americans don't want affirmative action. They want affirmative action and want criminal justice reform.
They want racial equity. But we need to build coalitions. We'll be back in a minute, if you like this interview and want to hear others, follow us on your favourite podcast app, you'll be able to catch up on Hsueh episodes you may have missed, like my conversation with journalist and historian Isabel Wilkerson, and you'll get new ones delivered directly to you. More with Kathy Park Hong after the break. I'm Jenna Wortham. I'm Wesley Morris. We are two culture writers at The New York Times and we host a podcast called Still Processing.
And every week we talk about the way popular culture connects to life.
And right now we're talking about the N-word, a word that my most rebellious, youthful self loved using, but recently just started to feel Courtauld coming out of my mouth. I've never used it. I still can't believe that. I mean, it's been used on me, but I have never used it. We're going deep into why in this episode and into our cultural relationship with this word, too. It's an awful word. And yet it's still with us after all this time.
And how we use it is still debated even in our friendship. So we talk about that, too. You can listen to still processing wherever you get your podcasts and you can listen to this episode right now.
You said that your daughter catalyzed your writing about race. How have you talked with her about these Antiochian hate crimes?
There have been reports of Asian-American kids being bullied in class with classmates over the past year related to Koven and discussions of having to deal with racism at a young age. Is that something you've been dealing with a lot? Can you talk about that? She's six years old, so she's a little. At this point, she's still. Protected, I think, from being exposed to the a lot of the anti Asian discrimination. Well, there's a Richard Pryor line about that.
I was eight. Yeah, yeah. And what was that line? I was a child until I was eight. Then I became a Negro. She personally hasn't witnessed it. I haven't really been talking about. The actual specific incidents because she's so young. Right, right, but you catalysed your writing wanting to write about it. Yeah, yeah.
I mean, like for me, it's like showing her positive role models, black, Asian, Latina, constantly.
But, yeah, I think that's also another reason why I started wrote this book and wrote prose instead of poetry. Just as a mother, I became a bit of a pragmatist and I didn't want my daughter to grow up the same way that I did. I wanted her to grow up in a different. World. A different kind of paradigm where she didn't take up apologetic space, where she didn't feel uncomfortable in the skin that she was in, where she felt that everything was within her reach, and also for her to be sensitive to the struggles of others.
So that was why I wrote this book, to kind of. Cut through all of the bullshit that I had to deal with when I was a kid, and I am and I really my heart really goes out to all the Asian kids who are being bullied because maybe it was naive of me.
But I don't know, I thought the bullying would I was bullied when I was a kid for being Asian. I know plenty of everyone else. Any other Asian kid that I know I know was also bullied when they were kids for being Asian. They faced explicit, not microaggression, explicit racist bullying. And I'm seeing it again now, and it definitely is deeply wounding. But I think the difference between back then and now is that there is a galvanizing movement, this uproar, right, from Asian-Americans.
Well, it's taking space and being angry and, yeah, taking up space. And I think more more space must be taken.
One of the things that's taken a lot of space is misinformation. And you wrote an op ed in The Times about how it's a growing problem in the Asian and Latino immigrant communities, where right wing messages and conspiracy theories like Kuhnen are spreading. So you wrote about it.
Your mom, my mom is also subject to this in a different way, more more Fox News than anything else.
But talk about what made you notice this issue, because one of the things you talked about is how dangerous it is in terms of radicalizing groups of immigrants more towards these ideas.
Well, this is the problems of sort of aggregating groups into ethnicities, you know, because they're real fractures in the Asian-American community as there are fractures and in the Latino community as well.
I first noticed it before Biden was elected, you know, actually late summer, where my mom, who is totally apolitical, she doesn't she never really cared who who was just not a Republican, not a Democrat, you know, and suddenly she started talking about how Biden was soft on China and how, you know, Trump was better at confronting China, you know, because they're worried.
A lot of older Asian immigrant communities are worried about changing things, expansionist policies, especially Taiwan. But all of them, a lot of a lot of countries not. And it's not just East Asian countries. It's also like Thailand, India and so forth. And so my mom started telling me all of this and I'm like, where are you getting this news from? Because my mom doesn't look she looks like Korean.
She doesn't look at Fox and she's just this is what friends tell me.
And then I also understood that she was getting it from YouTube and I discovered that right wing talking points have been infiltrating ethnic language media.
So and also the media, the social media tools, WeChat, WhatsApp, which had WhatsApp, face pack, all these like closed groups. Cachao is another one. It's everywhere. And social media disinformation was just growing like weeds, you know, and it was like a whack a mole carnival game. And it was really shocking because I thought the huge problem with the Democratic Party, I don't know what they're doing now to fix it was that they just pretty much completely neglected the Asian-American immigrants and Latino immigrants.
They just didn't bother with them at all because they're like they're just they there's a language barrier there on their side. We don't have to care about them. But so in that vacuum, the right wing kind of went in there and infiltrated these ethnic media sites and so on social media sites. And it just kept getting worse. You know, where my mother was, you know, even after Trump lost, she was saying, oh, I heard that Biden stole is stealing votes.
And at that point, she was just getting from everyone every all the other different immigrants, you know, and they were being radicalized in a way that I found is absolutely maddening and really troubling. So, I mean, I I always forget to call my mom, but I was calling her like, you know, three times a week, just arguing with her. And, you know, she voted for Biden. And I got her to stop listening to her friends and everyone else.
But this is a this disinformation is a huge problem, not just among white Americans.
What makes combating misinformation in Asian Latino communities even more challenging than your and my mother and Fox News on constantly. What is what is the unique challenges here?
Well, first of all, it's a language barrier, right?
I mean, you have to basically embed yourself in these communities to try to kind of clear up a lot of disinformation.
And it's also happening. It's happening everywhere. It's hard to know what the source is. So you could say, you know, there's one Falun Gong funded media site. There's also, you know, and Steve Bannon, you know, but then there's also kapok times. Yeah. At the time. So at this point, it's become global.
And a lot of that is also I believe, you know, not only have we not really dealt with the roots of racism, we haven't dealt with the repercussions and consequences of the Cold War and. A lot of the immigrants who ended up coming to America are very anti-communist and the right wing has weaponized that use that fear of communists and to turn them against their own interests. And this is an issue that Democrats really and leftists have to really address and confront.
So how how. I am not an actress. I've not or an organizer politician. So I can't really I don't really exactly know what the solutions are. But I will say that there has to be more of a grassroots effort. I think Atlanta's a good example of the organizations that really mobilized a lot of voters. But I think there needs to be a real grassroots effort to kind of communicate with a lot of these immigrant groups and also have other ethnic media news sites that tell the truth about what's happening.
But I think it really involves, like, people kind of. Talking to the community in their language, it certainly can't just involve people calling their mothers and yelling at them every week. This is what I did for months to begin. I know. I know. It's exhausting. It's also exhausting.
It is exhausting. I mean, it can't be the family members. It has to be. Well, it has to be macro and micro. It has to be from it has to be policies that, you know, the Biden administration will manage and orchestrate. And it's also a lot of these organizations are already doing a lot of the labor anyways. So what are the stakes for addressing political misinformation? What are the why does it matter?
Well, I think it's like what happened with the white working class, right where they got radicalized and they've completely become brainwashed by the right wing and they're constantly voting against their own economic interests because there's this manufactured fear that immigrants and black people are taking away jobs. So right now, if you are a GOP, you're going to understand that your your your base is shrinking, you know, and you know that this country is diversifying and that the minorities will be the majority in 20 years.
So what are you going to do? Part of it, as we're seeing now, is voter disenfranchisement, where they're trying to prevent people from voting, black people from voting and so forth.
But there are also I'm assuming they're going to try recruiting these immigrants, using anti-communist and anti black rhetoric, using fear basically as a weapon to get them to vote against their own interests. And I'm afraid of that.
I'm scared of that. I'm also worried about I mean, this whole there's also anti Chinese xenophobia is also really complicated by the fact that, like, this is going to become a bigger and bigger issue, I think, because I believe that Biden administration is going to be more hawkish against China. And there's there's still going to be that kind of anti Chinese rhetoric coming from the White House. A lot of Americans will probably misinterpret that. And that's going to probably breed more hate crimes.
But also there are also Asians who support those hawkish policies. So it's complex and you can't have complex.
It's very complicated. It's part that's the thing. It's like it's so complex, it's so complicated. And it's this kind of mosaic of intersecting interests that you cannot say Asians are Republican or Asians or Democrat. Asians are left us or Asians are antiblack. We're just too there are too many of us, you know. Right.
While this idea of one is sort of ridiculous on many levels. So is your mom still calling you with fake news as she moves along?
No, she's fine. I mean, she's a. Occasionally she she'll say, I don't know, but it just looks really weak. Oh, yeah, yeah. That's that's a must she'll say about biting.
Yeah, my mom's keeping it up, though. Don't worry. You can start calling my mom if you like.
OK, so last question.
Minor feelin's was released at the beginning of the pandemic, which must be a joy for any writer. How does being in the lockdown affected your creativity? And what are you doing next? Comedy act?
You know, are some people are like, well, she was a poet, a standup comedian. I was like I was never a stand up comedian. I just I tried. Oh, you're young.
I'm not, you know, middle aged, but I am. It was not the pandemic has not I have not written King Lear about, uh, you know, I haven't produced prodigious amounts of work well under because I've been trying to take care of your daughter and teach and all that.
I think I want to work on another book, I don't hesitate to say what genre it is, but I think I think with minor feelings, I really kind of touched upon a lot of issues that I could have gone deeper into. It was just the tip of the iceberg, one of which is. My mother, I think about this question that this Popenoe couple talked about, who is responsible for the suffering of your mother, which is a very heavy question.
But, you know, I was thinking about. My own mother and other people and I've been interviewing other people and their relationships with their mothers and also and thinking about their personal lives, but also structurally what has caused the suffering of my own mother.
And I think that it'll be a book about also colonialism and the American occupation in Korea.
So, yeah, I hope you continue to write, but I would love to see you do comic stand up excuse me, and not that much of a masochist, but I would like to be pulled out of my skin in a I love. That's why I love comedy, because that's when the best comedy that I know. I love comedy for that reason too.
Yeah. Anyway, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. It's been a wonderful conversation. It's a wonderful book you've written and I really appreciate you taking so much time to talk to me. Thank you.
Thank you so much, Karen. Hsueh is a production of New York Times opinion, it's produced by name Arreaza, Blakeney, Shick, L Urbani, Matt Quong and Daphne Chen, edited by Naimah Rozz and Paula Schoeman with music by Isaac Jones, mixing by Eric Gomes and fact checking by Kate Sinclair.
Special thanks to Shannon Bastet and Leeville Higa.
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