Tuesday, June 19, 2007

SFGate.com: Father's Day, the Rice Daddy Way

So some of you may know that one of the multiple other hats I wear is that of "Asian Pop" columnist for SFGate, the web edition of the San Francisco Chronicle. Hey, a handful of you may even read the column, which hits the web every other Tuesday. (If you don't, here's some added inducement for us thrifty Asian American media consumers: It's free, yo.)

Anyway, to commemorate Father's Day—and to bring some welcome attention to our little blogging community—I used this week's column to explore some of the reasons why being an Asian American dad of our generation is a unique experience, distinct from that of our fathers and that of non-Asian pops...not to mention from that of our best-beloved spouses and partners. Which means that we often end up turning to one another for advice, camaraderie, and understanding. And that, in turn, is why Rice Daddies has been so important, to me and, I think, to a lot of you. It's where we can brag, vent, celebrate, and commiserate in a forum public enough for a diverse set of responses and perspectives to emerge, but private enough for most readers to, like, get what we're talking about.

A number of RDs responded to my call to contribute Father's Day thoughts to this column, including Newbie Dad, Henri, SoulSnax, Dr. Lo Siento, and Daddy in a Strange Land (who even got his pic with the Pumpkin posted to the front page of SFGate, though I suspect a lot of people are going to assume that that's me and that Hudson is going through gender confusion issues). Their touching, inspirational, and funny-ass words really enriched the piece, and I want to thank them for taking the time—and thank the entire community for, well, being there.

Which brings up the matter of putting one's money where one's mouth is. The prorated fee I get for this particular column will be donated to our Rice Daddy Empowerment in Diversity Challenge—as a way of kick-starting the next phase of our charitable efforts. That's $300 right there.

And to make this sweeter, I'm picking up SoulSnax's funds-matching torch: I'll up that to a full one-to-one match of whatever comes in between now and July 4. So if you guys kick up the fundage over $300, I'll match the difference as well. Donate $400, and I'll donate $400. We're currently at $1,191.55, with $2,005.00 remaining to hit our "project total." So all you guys need to do is kick in $1002.50 between now and the Fourth of July, and I'll absorb the rest (as well as, quite probably, a severe tongue-lashing from my wife, but honey, it's for a good cause...).

Let's get it on, Daddies and Mommies! There are kids to educate out there, minds to grow, worlds to change...and as we know from being parents, every little bit counts.

16 comments:

daddy in a strange land said...

That was an awesome article, Jeff, thank you for letting us be a part of it. And what a nice surprise to see our pic on the homepage of SFGate! Though really, everybody has to stop what they're doing right now to go over to the column and click on the pictures to see Jeff in full-on pirate regalia. (Dude, is that a Seinfeld-eque puffy shirt even?)

And your generous matching-gift challenge for our Donors Choose Challenge is awesome! I hope folks pick up the torch.

BTW, via AAM, I've read these two essays by AsAm guys about their dads from over the weekend:

Like Father by Sung J. Woo, NYT

Remembering Dad by Michael Ko, Seattle Times

InstantYang said...

You forgot to note the especially authentic touch: The eyepatch covering my forehead (because I couldn't get it to stay in place while wearing the glasses I need to, you know, actually see stuff)

Yes, I am a nerd

Anonymous said...

Why is this Rice Daddy blog flooded with Non-Asian dads? I have lost respect for this forum.

RakuMon said...

Great article, Jeff.

I regret not sending in anything to share about my first "Father-to-be Day." But reading the article reinforced why I'm proud to be a part of this community.

By the way, as of today, Nakko is technically full-term. Yippie!

Henri said...

Who you calling Non-Asian? The Irish Guy?

daddy in a strange land said...

Can't wait for your first posts as a dad, RakuMon! :)

daddy in a strange land said...

Dudes, there's some messed up comments on Jeff's piece (I've seen 4, the first one is great, but the rest...) They seem to miss the entire point of Jeff's regular "Asian Pop" column, this column about Asian American dads, Jeff's relationship to this blog... And so much more. You have to sign up for an sfgate.com account to comment, but, somebody's gotta say something...

SoulSnax said...

You know, D.I.S.L., I was just about to do as you said. But then, in the middle of responding to Christabella and Mistermr, I realized that people like them just cannot be reasoned with. I think if you re-read their comments, you'll see that they obviously have a lot to say about other things entirely and are just trying to find a way to shoehorn those things into comments related to InstantYang's piece. In doing so, they totally missed the spirit of his article.

Anyway, this is what I was going to say:

"I totally agree with what you're trying to convey regarding the diversity among Asians. Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. did say, 'There are 35 million black people, and there are 35 million ways to be black,' Likewise, there are just as many ways to be Asian as there are Asians on the planet. Unfortunately most Americans cannot, and will not ever grasp that concept. Their problem, not mine.

"The truth is that in Asia, there is no such thing as a monolithic Asian identity. But in North America, the reality is that we all look the same to most people. Big deal. So what? Get over it. And if you think about it for a minute, it might even be a good thing.

"I've come to the point where I don't care if people think I'm Chinese, or Japanese, or Korean. My Filipino heritage really does nothing to separate me from other Asian-Americans. There was a time when I thought it did separate me, when I wanted to be seen as different from other Asians. But then I realized that the only reason I felt that way was because Hollywood lacks positive portrayals of Chinese, Japanese, and Asians in general. That's why you see so many Filipinos pretending to be Hawaiian or Spanish. They'd rather be anything but Asian. Why? Because of the way Asians are portrayed in Western media. I could go on ad infinitum on this topic...

"So ask yourself, do you really care if there's a monolithic Asian-American identity in this country? While we didn't plan it that way, there's no denying that such an identity exists. But it's nothing to be ashamed of. If anything, it can only help us in attaining the critical mass necessary to be taken seriously in matters concerning our respective communities, a force that could use a little more momentum these days."

Twizzle said...

I very much enjoyed reading your article -- and profiles of several of the Rice Daddies -- on SF Gate. Congratulations on the great coverage for this blog! Some of those commenters really pissed me off, though. Don't let those assholes get away with it!

thisislarry said...

Great article! Sorry i couldnt get off my sorry ass to contribute :)

Man, the misguided venom of some of them comments make me appreciate the more friendly nature of RiceDaddies.

maui49er said...

Jeff, very interesting article. I am a 39 year old Filipino father with a 7 year old daughter and another girl due in September. My issue is that my parents never emphasized the Filipino culture with me as I was growing up. What you mentioned in your article about immigrant parents working hard to make their children's lives easier was my parents driving force to succeed in a new world. As I got older I became more "Americanized" and lost touch with my culture. I am very proud of being Filipino, but I do not show it nor do I do anything besides show up at the Barrio Fiesta once a year. On the other hand my wife, who is Japanese and Okinawan is heavily involved with her culture and has been passing down quite a bit of information and traditions to our daughter. It doesn't bother me that my daughter knows more about one culture versus the other. Heck, I have been joked with that I am now more Japanese and Okinawan than I am Filipino. I am not ashamed of not knowing very much about my culture. My parents worked very hard to provide the resources so that I could become successful. What is important to me is that my daughter and my future daughter know that they are loved and will be taken care of for as long as they need to be by mom and dad.

Dr. Lo Siento said...

Awesome article and thanks so much for letting me be part of it. its nice to be able to share the experience with other Asian American fathers who may have come from similar upbringings.

InstantYang said...

This is the thing that bugs me the most about these "HOW DARE YOU CALL YOURSELVES ASIAN?" comments. No one interrogates other identities with the vitriol and defensiveness that they do the notion of "Asian Americans"--is it because we represent some kind of threat if we collaborate? I commented in the SFGate thread (yeah, I shouldn't encourage that crap, but whatever) that no one questions the notion of "women's magazines," but from my experience at aMagazine, we used to get a letter a day from people saying either something along the lines of "Stop being so damn isolationist and become American" or "Stop claiming some kind of common ground when you know all Asians hate each other." Etc.

Really bizarre. And nothing seems to have changed on that front, in a decade and a half.

thisislarry said...

LOL!

""HOW DARE YOU CALL YOURSELVES ASIAN (american)?""

because I fucking am?

Monster Daddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monster Daddy said...

Those comments only reinforce my belief that what we are doing is even more important. :)

I read on some Asian American site that people have forgotten that European ethnicities used to hate each other (probably more so than Asian ethnicities did) and as recently as the 19th century no one believed they would ever assimilate in America. And yet now they identify themselves more as white vs. English or French or Italian.