rules: answer the questions in a new post and tag 20 blogs you would like to get to know better
nickname: Alli, Ali Baba, Applejacks starsign: Pisces height: about 170 cm// or in ‘merican terms~ 5′6 time right now: 11:12 am last thing I googled: Russian Czars favorite music artist: Many// Now~ Mickey Singh/Shreya Ghoshal song stuck in my head: Khaabon Ke Parinday last movie i watched: Spectre what are you wearing right now: Forever 21 black hoodie, mini daisy print leggings, white socks :D when did you create this blog: Back in 2011 what kind of stuff do you post: Anything I’m drawn to or relevant to my experience, art, synchs, Kpop (NCT/EXO/etc), Music do you have any other blogs: I have a small & humble raw vegan blog - just exploring it for health reasons ~ its-my-raw-quest do you get asks regularly: I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question here ^^; why did you choose your url: recent change to “honja” bc I’m all alone :( gender: female favorite color: BLACK LIKE MY SOUL HOODIE average hours of sleep: 7 lucky number: 42 because it’s my synchronicity + the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. favorite character: Seo In Guk’s role in Hello Monster, if I had to be reincarnated I would be him. Alter ego. how many blankets do you sleep with: 3-4 bc i’m a cold bitch dream job: Polyglot/Translator, stylist, curator, in charge of making movie soundtracks… idk. :)
The first thing people think when I introduce myself: Indian.
And the next thing they think when I show them my resume, a product of my 18 years of dedication, stress, tears, commitment and pride, is oh.
They say, with a little knowing smile on their face, “You’ve done so much.” But this isn’t uttered with a tone of praise, but with a tone of disdain, contempt even.
“You’ve done so much”, they say, but with those words they intend to deface my achievements with implications of: “you’ve done so much because you only care about getting into college”, “you’ve done so much for the sake of doing so much”, “you’ve done so much because you’re Asian.”
With each stab into my credibility, my accomplishments are belittled, attributed to my culture and ethnicity rather than myself as individual. I become not a person anymore, but a mindless, well-oiled robot who is programmed with goals of attending Ivy Leagues for their face-value- I become nothing but another face.
“Yes, I suppose I’ve done a lot”, I used to answer, naively thinking I was simply being acknowledged for the work I have done, but I soon learned, as an Asian, I would have to qualify it much more than with a genuine testament to my dedication and passion for education. “Yes, I’ve done a lot, but only because I value perspectives so much.” “Yes, I’ve done a lot, but only because I like being involved.” The answer becomes a plea to bestow value upon me, to acknowledge my existence as a person.
Friends, uncles, interviewers alike nod with amusement, as if to say, yes of course, that’s why, because they can understand me better than I understand myself it seems. They can understand the all-nighters I spent studying for one test, they can understand how I had to manage releasing a newspaper issue due the next day while studying for an exam worth 75% of my grade the next, they can understand how I looked up countless websites and bought countless prep-books to study for classes that had teachers that didn’t even know what they were teaching, they can understand how I flitted from to meeting after meeting after volunteer event in one day, just to come home exhausted and find mounds of work that I had left to do, and they can understand how I am aware that the only way for me to succeed in my goal of impacting others is through education. Of course they can. I’m Asian after all.
“Yes, of course. But tell me. Do your parents place a lot of pressure on you to do well?” The obvious implication here is that my parents are the common representation of Tiger Moms, helicopter parents. That my parents view my academic success as equal to my success as individual. And while there may be reasoning behind this, as every stereotype stems from at least some shallow understanding of truth, does the child not do the work? Even if parents placed this undue pressure upon a child’s shoulders, isn’t it the child who was burdened with it? And to the type of parents I am blessed to have- who not only support every endeavor I choose, but actively create opportunities for me to remove obstacles for me when they can, who chauffeur me to endless places sometimes 5 hours away for a single speech competition, who stay up with me until 3 a.m. while I study so they can give me words of encouragement presented in a cup of tea, who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and hours tutoring or finding someone to tutor me, and when that never worked, buying me prep books- are these people that are deserving of your disdain?
The problem with this belittling of accomplishments simply because of preconceived notions of culture and ethnicity that the speakers barely comprehend is not only that Asians have to work a hundred times harder to prove that their motives behind “doing so much” were genuine, but that hard work itself is belittled. It becomes custom in school, among friends, to sheepishly laugh and say “I only studied for like 40 minutes. I don’t know how I got an A. I don’t even read the book.” Getting things easily is preferable to working hard for it because it somehow emphasizes how genuine that A on your transcript really is.
Even more dangerous is the consequence of arrogance. By viewing work and academic accomplishments with distaste, anyone who admits that they spent 11 hours studying is immediately characterized as arrogant. “Wow, thanks for rubbing it in”, they say. By lowering the standards for arrogance, true arrogance is perpetuated even more “Yeah I got into this college without working hard at all. Why are you trying so hard? Are you stupid?” In the end, Asians view each other with the same disdain that our interviewers, friends, uncles, view us with.
If we cannot view not only our own hard-won achievements with pride and respect, but our peers’, we will always be subject to that pitying, amused smile that becomes associated with the statement “You’ve done so much.”
How the American Civil War almost started a World War
The relations between Britain and the United States were tense during the American Civil War, and in the year 1863 the situation almost resulted in an international war between the US and the powers of Europe. While officially the British Empire was neutral in the war, unofficially Britain was pro-Confederate, as her industry depended heavily on cheap raw materials from the south. Throughout the war Britain supplied the Confederacy with weapons, ammunition, and ships. British ports built ships which would later be sold to the Confederate Navy, the most famous was a merchant raider called the CSS Alabama. The British made M1853 Enfield musket became the Confederate Army’s weapon of choice, and Britain would supply hundreds of thousands of such muskets during the war. Along with Britain, it seemed that France would join the Confederate band wagon as well. Like Britain, France also imported raw materials from the Confederacy. French Emperor Napoleon III was indifferent to the Confederacy, but many in his government were enthusiastically pro-Confederate. In 1862 France invaded Mexico, hoping to take advantage of the United State’s inability to enforce the Monroe Doctrine. France loaned the Confederacy $15 million and at the time were in the process of building a small fleet of ironclad warships for the Confederate Navy. Both acts brought Franco-US relations to a boiling point.
Between 1861 and 1863 a number of incidents would occur between the US and Britain which further strained relations between the two countries. The most notorious was the Trent Affair, in which a British mail steamship was seized by the US Navy to capture two Confederate envoys. In October of 1862 the British Government warned that it would take “resolute action” in the war, though it did not elaborate on what action would be taken. Finally in late 1862 the British government contracted with the Confederacy to produce two Laird Rams for the Confederate Navy. Also called Scorpion Class warships, they were heavily armed ironclad battleships, then the most powerful warships in the world, easily capable of breaking the Union blockade. The United States warned that if they delivered the Laird Rams to the Confederacy, there would be war.
By 1863 it was clear that Britain and France were going to intervene in the American Civil War. But the construction of the Laird Rams and threats of war set off a domino like procession of events that would make them think twice about intervention. First, the Prussian leader Otto von Bismarck warned that if Britain and France intervened, Prussia would side with the Union. Bismarck wanted a war with France in the hopes of unifying the German states with Prussia. (Bismarck would get his war in 1870, defeating France and accomplishing his goals). Next, the newly unified nation of Italy expressed support for the Union, with the Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi even offering his services to Abraham Lincoln. Then the Russian Czar Alexander II announced that if Britain and France went to war, he would side with the US. At the time Russia and the United States had close diplomatic relations, while Britain and France were despised enemies after the Crimean War. However, Alexander II did not merely announce his support, he upped the ante by sending the entire Russian Baltic fleet to New York City. The fleet arrived in September of 1863 with orders to support the Union Navy. Another Russian fleet was sent to San Francisco, chasing away the Confederate warship CSS Shenandoah, which was planning to bombard the city and harbor. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells shouted, “God bless the Russians!” upon hearing the news. Likewise Oliver Holmes hailed Czar Alexander “who was our friend while everyone else was our foe.”
The presence of the Russian fleet in New York upped the raised the bar for the British and French. Alexander’s placement of the fleet served a strategic purpose as well; preventing it from being bottled up in the Baltic if war did occur. With the powers of Europe lining up and choosing sides, it was time for the lead actor, Britain, to decide if the war was worth it. After the Union victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg, it became apparent that it was not. The British withdrew their plans to deliver the Laird Rams to the Confederacy, instead commissioning them in the Royal Navy. Once Britain backed down, France likewise withdrew from the war. A number of Russian warships remained on patrol along the Atlantic coast after the incident, just in case things heated up again. The Union of course, would win the American Civil War.