I recorded this conversation for last year's Pride Month, but as a favor to my guest and former graduate student Ian Shen, I held off posting it until he was ready for his heartfelt journey to be shared around the world on my platform. He chose this year's Pride Month for me to release his episode. It was totally worth the wait.
In this latest edition of a collaborative episode between podcasters Fong and Kemp, we tackle the White Innocence problem, taking turns reading a recent Op Ed in the LA Times by UNC law professor Osamudia James, and then Kemp opens up about how he came to reject his own embrace of White Innocence.
Veteran actor Francis Jue stars in the Audible Original production of Good Enemy by the remarkable young playwright Yilong Liu. Jue plays Howard, the immigrant Chinese American father of a young adult daughter who has grown tired of trying to get him to share about his past. Why has he always been so secretive? What will it take for him to take his daughter into his confidence?
Unlike most of us, Al Nakatani knows for a fact that he only has months left to live. But rather than feeling sorry for himself as he now is in managed hospice care, Al is using his remaining time to identify and thank the various people that have helped him grow as a person. And to my surprise, that included me.
Back in 2006 Gene Luen Yang created the graphic novel "American Born Chinese," a 3-part story of a Chinese American teenager who's trying to gain acceptance at school while dealing with the mystical occurrences surrounding his life. His book has won many awards and has long been required reading in many schools. In this special episode, Gene and I reunite to hear how his now-seventeen-year-old book is about to launch May 24th on Disney+ starring two Academy Award-winning actors!
Jon Ido Warden didn't get married until he was 38. His wife knew she was marrying an athlete and someone who actively served others in the name of Christ. But after a year, he began to experience health problems which ultimately led to a grim diagnosis of a chronic disease tied to his auto immune system. The doctors forecast that he wouldn't live more than five years, but it's now been 27 years! Much like rust on metal, his disease has continued to slowly eat away at his remaining vigor, keeping him more and more at home. While Jon has yet to experience a divine healing of his body, he is quick to testify that God's Spirit has healed and transformed his soul.
In coming together to create On This Side of the World, Tirol and Shapiro connected deeply to the experiences of countless Filipino Americans who flew over 7,000 miles to start new lives in America. Produced by East West Players in partnership with FilAm ARTS, this wonderful new musical makes its world premiere at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, from May 11 - June 4. For show times and tickets please visit www.eastwestplayers.org.
Tyler Ransom is a young Black-Filipino American singer/songwriter and guitarist who's managed to compete in mixed martial arts and carve out a trajectory as a professional musician, despite being saddled with kidney disease. Check out the documentary about his journey at www.intheshedfilm.com and listen to his music on either www.tylerransom.com or any music streaming platform.
Tim Hwang just turned 31 this past February, and he's already the youngest Asian American founder and CEO on NYSE/NASDAQ! His experiences working on the first Obama campaign actually taught him many of the critical lessons for creating a business startup. By applying those lessons, he and his two long-time friends created Fiscal Note, a global technology and media company focused on delivering timely and relevant policy information in a complex and evolving world.
In Skull Water, Heinz Insu Fenkl has crafted a uniquely autobiographical novel based on his experiences growing up as a German/Korean child in postwar Korea. Incorporating his vast knowledge of Korean folktales, Buddhist karma, daoism, and the ancient Chinese I Ching Book of Changes, Fenkl has created an engaging, unpredictable storyline, and our conversation gave him a chance to reveal how Skull Water came to life.
In this latest edition of the collaborative Two Kens Podcast, Kemp and I focused on what we are thinking about the unprecedented indictment and arraignment of former POTUS Donald Trump. I also use this episode's Intro to share a few brief thoughts about the GOP's expulsion of members Justin Jones and Justin Pearson.
In his latest book "Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism and What Comes Next," Dr. Brad Onishi, who teaches at the University of San Francisco and co-hosts the hugely popular podcast "Straight White American Jesus," offers us a "...clear-eyed, compelling study of the road to Jan. 6 and the possible future of the politics-versus-religion battle in the U.S." (Kirkus Reviews). In this interview I asked him to focus on the powerful and increasingly pervasive myth that motivates White Christian Nationalists, as well as the sizable migration of WCNs from Blue States to heavily Red States.
Licensed clinical therapist Nat Vikitsreth is back so that we can finish talking through her lessons on how best to communicate with children, both when they're quite young all the way to when they're on their own. If you'd like to find the links that she's so graciously provided, please check out the shownotes from Part I. Here's the link to her extremely thoughtful and helpful podcast: www.comebacktocare.com/podcast INTRO: The End Is Near
Nat Vikitsreth is a recognized expert on how to teach young children to navigate their and your feelings. And when you learn how she came to fully embrace herself as a trans woman, you'll understand how she arrived at her core convictions about children. She has graciously and generously provided the following links that you might find quite helpful:
Intro: Heed the Experts in the Room
Just glancing at Rachelle Pastor Arizmendi's resume will immediately tell you that she is a gifted and capable leader who isn't afraid of getting involved to make a difference. In addition to all the works she does with non-profits and commissions, Rachelle was the first woman of color elected to the Sierra Madre City Council, and was chosen by her peers twice to serve as mayor. Introduction: More Than Just Bones
Attorney and author Shirley Ann Higuchi was puzzled when her dying mother asked that the koden money from her pending funeral be donated to a place called Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. After her mom died, Shirley was even more mystified when a committee claiming to represent HMRC asked a representative of her family to attend a ceremony at there as they dedicated a trail to the late Setsuko. Her reluctant decision to travel to this remote site that had unjustly imprisoned nearly 11,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry after the attack on Pearl Harbor, HI, not only started her on an in-depth journey into this dark chapter of America's racist past, but it slowly opened her eyes to the long-term, lingering effects that this traumatic experience had on her parents and on her and her sibling. Her book "Setsuko's Secret: Heart Mountain and the Legacy of the Japanese American Incarceration," not only chronicles the injustices and the in-fighting, but is also illustrated with little-known stories of the suffering that some of the Japanese Americans had to endure.
With his intersecting disciplines of Asian American studies, the medical humanities, and Christian theology, UC Irvine's Rev. Dr. James Kyung-Jin Lee is uniquely positioned to offer in-depth insights on the human problems of sickness, suffering, disability, and death, especially when seen through the filter of the Christian faith.
Nell Yukiye Murphy has been enthusiasticallyinvolved with the Girl Scouts since she was just five years old. She'd earned their Bronze and Silver Awards, but she waited until her senior year in high school to propose her Gold Award project to the committee. While she'd grown up making untold family pilgrimmages to Manzanar, where her late grandfather had been held unjustly, she decided that few people would be willing to make the four-hour-drive from LA to visit this remote and barren site. So she created "Journey to Manzanar," a virtual introduction to the camp, the prejudice that imprisoned over 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry there and in the other camps, and the hardships that her predecessors had been made to endure. Nell persevered in the face of obstacles like shocking ignorance and policies that prohibit launching drones above national parks. You can experience her remarkable achievement "Journey to Manzanar" by visiting www.sierraforever.org/journey-to-manzanar.
If you don't live in Southern California, it's quite possible that you have no idea of how central the San Gabrielf Valley (of the now-famous 626 Area Code) has become to a diverse array of AAPIs, and why Monterey Park has become such a symbol. In the immediate aftermath of the horrifc mass shooting there, I read a fascinating LA Times Op Ed by USF's Dr. James Zarsadiaz, who grew up in the SGV and has become one of the leading experts on this region of SoCal. In our conversation, you'll not only learn the history of Monterey Park and the rest of the 626, but also why the fact that this shooting happened there is so traumatizing to many AAPIs, even though the shooter was an Asian American.
Whenever I bring American comedic actor Kristina Wong on my show, there's never a dull moment, and never any uncomfortable silent gaps. She came on this time to promote her award-winning solo show, "Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord," a co-production of the Center Theater Group and East West Players at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City, CA, from February 12-March 12. You're going to love hearing her recount how she initially responded to a severe shortage of face masks at the start of the pandemic to her organizing and directing an army of 'aunties' who made and gave away well over 300,000 face masks to those needing them most.
In this first collaborative conversation between Ken Kemp (The Beached White Male podcast) and Ken Fong (AA:TKFP), after a fun and informative segment on Fong's recent Snowy Owl Prowl in Canada, the Two Kens share their perspectives on the recent appalling mass shooting in Monterey Park and the brutal death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of five Black police officers.
In retrospect, Eric Chen and his friend literally dodged a bullet when they decided to decline the invitation to attend the Lunar New Year's Eve dance party in Monterey Park. As a familiar, trusted, and trilingual member of the studio's private online community, Eric has been hearing from the victims, providing updates about resources, and working hard to coordinate and centralize the myriad lines of communication. I believe that our conversation will give concerned listeners a real-life look at the immediate aftermath of this horrific mass shooting.
University of Colorado's (Boulder) Dr. Jennifer Ho is able to connect America's culture of gun violence, toxic masculinity, and history of White supremacy to the fact that last week, two older Asian American men became mass murderers. What can all of us do to reduce the occurrence of these senseless tragedies?
Actor and writer J. Elijah Cho is performing his award-winning solo show "Mr. Yunioshi" from January 27-Feb 5 as part of the Solo Shows Festival of 2023 at the charming Sierra Madre Playhouse (Sierra Madre, CA). Cho portrays the late actor Mickey Rooney after he is cast to play a Japanese photographer in yellow face in the classic film "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in 1961. It is both hilarious and thought-provoking to have an Asian American actor playing the White Rooney as he works out exactly how to portray this Japanese character.
Recently rapper and filmmaker Kyle Jae Shin aka Son of Paper uncovered a painful experience of anti-Asian violence that he'd buried for years, unconsciously allowing this trauma to color his day to day outlook and attitude. One of the tracks on his just-released album "From a Rooftop in Chinatown" ties together how he's learned to process that attack with the epidemic of anti-Asian hatred and violence today. You'll have the opportunity to hear that track ("Overcame") in its entirety, as well as snippets of two other ones. You'll also come to appreciate why this young Asian American artist and his new music are so grounded in San Francisco's Chinatown.