Last Week Tonight: Asian Americans

John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight talked about Asian Americans. This 30 minutes of discourse is not enough.

After watching this video….

  • Can we all agree… White America has a history of pitting various ethnic groups against each other. Even John Oliver calls it out.
  • Asian Americans are come from 20+? countries in Asia ranging from India, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. We probably speak well over 20+ dialects/languages. We have different cultures, eat different foods, practice different religions, and have different customs. AND YET… the only thing that ties us together is this term. We should use this to our advantage.
    • As Asian Americans, we have to pursue positive change.
    • As Asian Americans, we absolutely need to leave America better for our grand kids.
    • As Asian Americans, we must demand for a country that doesn’t discriminate people of different skin color, heritage, sexual orientation, religion and socio economic status.
    • As Asian Americans, we have to help other minorities as much as possible.
  • The only thing White America fears is when we minorities call out the racism that exists. You know you’ve hit a sensitive topic when attempts to deflect the conversation involves “what about-ism”.
  • And finally… As Americans, can we strive to follow the Golden Rule? Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

Trump’s Facebook Ban

By now, the news of Trump’s 2 year ban from Facebook has been widely circulated. I actually disagree with Facebook’s decision of a 2 year ban. Trump should be allowed the opportunity to take back his Facebook (FB) profile. However, FB should strip his history of posts and interactions as if it were a new account. Then, Trump would be subjected to these “more stringent rules” in place for politicians and face the penalties of violating it.

One has to wonder what these new rules are and how many other rules are there. FB explicitly has said it will ban hate speech and abuse. What about lies and fake news? Does FB have an example of what FB considers as hate speech and abuse? What does FB consider as “newsworthy”? There’s so many questions that I think FB is just playing into the Republican’s hand of “censorship.” Let’s take the current Trump talking point about the “stolen” election. Where does it rank amongst FB’s new rules? FB… how about some transparency?

What about the other social media platforms like Twitter (another Trump favorite). Trump looks like it’s still banned from Twitter. But will Twitter also apply the same rules to other politicians as it did to Trump?

Theodores Coffee Roaster

Roasted in early May, Angels Cup (referral link) sent me beans from Theodore’s Coffee Roaster. The beans are from Nicaragua. With the recent selections of beans from Central America, I’m noticing differences in the taste of these beans relative to the African beans.

Opening the bag earlier this week, I smell fruity sweet aromas with a hint of peanut butter at the end. Making my latte, the fruity aroma morphs into this delicious peach-y/apple-y flavor. The nutty aroma also introduces now a nutty after taste that sits at the back of the throat. There’s also this pleasant caramel sweetness with each sip.

Metric Coffee

I received this bag of beans from Trade Coffee (referral link) about 4 weeks ago. The beans were roasted by Metric Coffee and are single origin beans from Honduras. The map coordinates N14° 54′ 40″ by W88° 05″ 32″ apparently point to Las Vegas, Honduras. According to the description, the beans originate from the farms outside of Las Vegas, Honduras. I admit adding map coordinates is a pretty neat way to tell people where beans come from.

The initial aroma of berries and dried fruit permeate the first deep inhale. Grinding the beans and then making my latte, I am greeted by a fruity, nutty taste. After the first sip, I start tasting this chocolate aftertaste that lingers at the back of the mouth. I find that these Honduras beans taste differently from the previous beans. Although both are single origin from Honduras, these beans have a different profile. Comparably, I preferred the previous beans over this one.

319 Coffee Roasters

These coffee beans came roughly 5 weeks ago. Interestingly enough, the front label doesn’t show that it’s from 319 Coffee Roaster, but the back label does (which I don’t have a picture of). The beans are still up for sale on their website that show the same sticker. I hypothesize that because the bag in the online store already has the roaster logo, the bag I received must have been part of a bulk packaged kind. Regardless I was excited to try beans from Honduras. I haven’t had too many beans from Honduras.

Opening the bag, I’m greeted with a subdued aromas of berries and chocolate. Making my latte, the first sip had this smoothy velvety chocolate milk flavor. There was also a slight nutty/toffee after taste with each sip. I also tasted a hint of sweetness with each subsequent taste.

Let’s start understanding each other…

With all the recent issues going on in the US from BLM to the current Anti-Asian sentiment, I stumbled across this short (too short in my opinion) YouTube video that brought three Asian-Americans and three Black Americans to discuss some statements regarding both racial identities in America. I think this type of discussion is needed more amongst the American minorities. I believe that EVERY PERSON has a degree of RACIAL BIAS that might not be readily apparent but it exists as a product of culture, family, “group expectations” or personal experience. The video posed 6 different question for discussions that I think tell a pretty good story for anyone who answers them honestly. In the video, the participants are asked whether or not they agree/disagree with the statement. Those that agree would first sit and speak their mind followed by the ones who disagree.

Questions asked:

  • I care about being accepted by white America.
  • I have stereotyped the other side (Black Americans or Asian Americans).
  • COVID-19 has hit my community harder.
  • I face more racism from the opposite side (Black Americans or Asian Americans) than I do from white people.
  • Asian Americans are more advantaged than Black Americans.
  • Black and Asian Americans co-exist peacefully.

Here are my answers:

I care about being accepted by white America. I agree. I’ve come to recognize that not being in power is the worst position to be in. A person is unable to establish any basic self survival when constantly bullied by the ones “in power.” Animal nature has shown that the most basic instinctive behavior is to survive. When constantly under threat of being pulled over/killed by cops, under threat of being homeless for not having enough money to rent, under threat of starvation… being “under threat” is not the best place to be at. Unfortunately the ones currently “in power” happen to be white, old America accustomed to the prejudicial era of the 1940s to the modern age. If you think about it, people who are now in their 70s were born in 1950s. Many witnessed the Civil Rights movements and were probably influenced by the parties promoting equality and racism. If you think about even more, there are still people alive who may have marched with Martin Luther King and even participated in the racial upheaval of the 50s and 60s! US hasn’t even gone through a full cycle of where people living today can only read about historical events instead of hearing stories from their grand parents. So yes… being accepted by white America is very important.

I have stereotyped the other side (Black Americans or Asian Americans). I probably have. I remember my parents saying something negative about Black Americans in response to the rioters breaking and taking items during the 1992 LA riots. It stuck with me for awhile to always have to be careful around Black Americans (lock the door, make sure you’re in a well lit place, don’t talk balk, be polite, be prepared for anything bad, etc…). As a kid, I barely interacted with blacks. I knew a few only by name because they were superstar athletes in high school (1 got a scholarship to play football in college) which also kind of matched the stereotype of blacks being better athletes. It wasn’t until the workplace environment did I have a black coworker. However by then, I had adopted a mantra “to strive to follow the golden rule” which meant that I treated the coworker like any other coworker.

COVID-19 has hit my community harder. I don’t think COVID-19 discriminates. One thing about Asians though… they are used to wearing a mask. So the community spread was much slower overall once it was known that this is as easily transmissible like the 2002 SAR outbreak in Hong Kong. The usage of masks slowed the outbreak significantly.

I face more racism from the opposite side (Black Americans or Asian Americans) than I do from white people. I think at a population level or community level, Asians are as racists as Whites are. I suspect most of the racism though comes from the media manipulation portraying Blacks in a negative light (ie lazy, welfare, thieves, gansters, etc). How many of the early Hollywood shows/movies depicted Blacks as respectable upper income families? I can recall at The Cosby Show portraying Black Americans as normal as possible where almost all the other shows/movies show Blacks as thugs, gangsters and other negative stereotypes. This media portrayal definitely brain-washed the older generational Asians and probably new Asian immigrants too. The irony of this is that Asians probably experienced the same racist behavior as Blacks did. But being Asian, they put their head down, bore the pain/humiliation, and moved on. This act of submission contributed to the “model minority myth.”

Asian Americans are more advantaged than Black Americans. I have mixed feelings about this statement. I think for the most part this is true. Collectively, Asian Americans tend to be more advantaged. However, I’ve noticed that Black Americans might actually be more advantaged than immigrants that are fleeing their Asian country due to war, political unrest, religious persecution, etc.

Black and Asian Americans co-exist peacefully. I agree with this statement. However it’s not because of mutual respect but more that each community prefers to mingle amongst their own people. They are peaceful because both groups prefer to not get involved in each other’s “business.” When they need to interact, they act with caution to minimize antagonizing the other group.

So… What are your thoughts to these questions?

Luminous Coffee

Slowly trying to catching up with the coffee subscription. Luminous Coffee sent beans from Kenya. According to the website, Gatuya Coffee Factory is a washing station where local farmers in the region bring in their coffee harvest for processing.

These beans had a subtle berry and chocolate aroma upon first opening the bag. Grinding the beans and making my latte, I taste a toffee, peachy and nutty flavor. I find it interesting that my second sip had a more blueberry flavor instead of peach. After making lattes on subsequent days, I find that peach flavor to be more pronounced usually on the first sip morphing into a blueberry flavor later. It should be noted though, I had a slight cough during this time so that could also be affecting my tastes too.

Verve Coffee Roaster

Verve Coffee Roaster is one of California’s coffee roasting companies based out of Santa Cruz. These are single origin beans from Ethiopia. Unlike other Ethiopian beans, there is a unique subtleness to this bag. I have had lattes made from Verve beans before at the small coffee shops.

Opening the bag, there’s a faint citrus and nutty aroma. Overall the aromas were very subdued and that gave me a slight concern that the beans might be too old. Pushing forward and making my latte, the taste of the latte wasn’t very impressive. The latte had a “normal” taste. Many of the strong flavors associated with coffee are not present in the latte. Instead, I get this consistent grain/wheat taste with every sip. Is this a result of the roast?

Novo Coffee

Apologies. I’ve been slow to post and I’m still trying to catch up. I don’t remember if these beans from Novo Coffee are from Angels Cup or Trade Coffee. According to the description, these are single origin peaberry from Papua New Guinea! I rarely get to taste peaberry coffee let alone something from Papua New Guinea.

Opening the bag, I only smell faint hints of berries and nuts. I’m not sure if this is a result of not being able to open and taste the beans shortly after receipt. I unfortunately don’t have any container for unopened bags. The aroma starts to open up as I stir the beans a bit in the bag. Grinding the beans, the full aroma of chocolate and berries hits me before transferring over to the Aeropress. After making my latte, I taste chocolate and berry flavors. I’m surprised at how subdued the flavors are. Sometimes, I also taste a hint of flowers as part of the after taste that lingers at the back of the tongue. I am a little surprised at how subtle the flavors are.

My past experiences with peaberry coffee were from Hawaii’s Kona Coffee region.

Little Waves Coffee Roaster

I am straight up backlogged with multiple bags of coffee. I’m finally finished with the sudden influx of beans from January and February. Going back to my subscriptions, February’s Angels Cup delivers a bag of beans from El Salvador roasted by Little Waves Coffee Roaster.

Opening the bag, I’m greeted with a sweet fruity aroma. Making my latte, I taste a sweet raisin, sweet berry, maple syrup flavor. There’s a subtle molasses after taste as well. Subsequent sips also reveal a chocolate flavor that kind of just lingers along with that molasses. I’m a little disappointed I wasn’t able to taste this when I first got it. I think this would have been much more aromatic and a deeper chocolate aftertaste.