Meeting Asian American bloggers in L.A.

betty ming liu Travel, Writing how-to's 12 Comments

Ready to try something new? While I don’t think of myself as an Asian-American blogger, the intrepid Betty Ming Liu is flying to an Asian-American bloggers’ convention in Los Angeles. Even though I’m a little nervous, I’m sure it will be fun.

As you know, The Ethnic Identity Issue can get messy for me. After all, no one asked me if I wanted to be born into a dysfunctional Chinese immigrant family. But like I always say, it was my passport into this world. And thankfully, years of therapy have given me a better handle on dealing with the things that bug me about my race — along with a greater capacity to enjoy the good. But I still have those moments of wondering what I would’ve been like if I had been born a California blonde or a hot Latina.

It’s actually the therapy thing that got me interested in attending V3 Digital Media Conference, which begins on the evening of Friday, Aug. 23, and runs through the following evening. Here’s why…

Back on Jan. 8, 2011, the Wall Street Journal ran an article headlined, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.” It was an excerpt from an annoying new book. By the end of the day, I blogged a response that has gone kinda viral:  Parents like Amy Chua are the reason Asian-Americans like me are in therapy.

My website also brings in private emails from readers who are also wrestling with traumatic childhoods. Many of the writers are of Asian heritage but I also hear from a fair number of people of all races as well as people who’ve adopted Asian kids or are married into the race (and aren’t they lucky — haha!)

I love being embraced by multiple communities and now I’m about to explore one more. While I’m acquainted with a few of the V3 attendees, walking into a new room can get scary.  But this is where seven years of teaching journalism to college students will help. Nothing beats the terror of the 15 minutes of the first day of the semester, when all those unflinching eyeballs are staring at Prof. Betty, ready to judge me as pushover, goddess or jerk.

Whatever V3 holds, I am prepared to be surprised — and welcomed. For proof that there’s no script, I present Exhibit A below. The convention organizers recently emailed me, saying they were blogging about the first 10 people to register for this third annual event. How lovely! I dutifully replied to their Q&A questions and, as instructed, emailed back a very pretty photo of myself.

But being bloggers, they perused my blog and found a Betty picture that they preferred to post instead. Here’s what the blog post looks like:

Well, what can I say. Not flattering or glamorous compared to the other nine early registrants. Authentic, though. I am what I am, right? Attending this confab might pull in more missing pieces of who I am, in an honest environment filled with colleagues looking at me from angles that are new for me.   :)

In trying one more novel idea, I’ve decided to use the comments section below to post real-time convention updates. Of course, I will be doing my usual tweeting and Facebooking too. But the space here will be the go-to spot for my reflections, and would appreciate any encouragement you want to give me. I could use the support!  xo


Comments 12

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    It’s 4:30 a.m. and on my way to JFK for a 7 a.m. Jet Blue flight. I hate packing. You can tell because for this overnight trip, I’ve packed two outfits…and three pairs of shoes. No one who is a sensible travel does that. But let’s just go with the reality of me for now. Meantime, been tweeting and Facebooking with other bloggers who will be there, people I’ve never met in real life. I’m so excited.

  3. Betty, love your blog. Not sure why this particular one prompted me to post–maybe it was the always wonderful rekindling of your thoughts on identity/identities, and the humorous memory of your Amy Chua response. Anyway, hope you have a great time! The “kids” at the convention can learn a lot from you, and you will undoubtedly find inspiration. Eat some good food, too. Maybe checkout the Skirball Cultural Center? “Hailed by The New York Times as “a lesson on how to connect the eye to heart and mind,” it has 2 exhibits (among many) that might be a break from the blog scene: (1.) Project Mah Jongg–“Organized by the Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York City, highlights cross-cultural relationships between American Jews and Chinese Americans and explores the influence of mah jongg on cultural identity, fashion, and style. (2.) Jewish Homegrown History: Immigration, Identity, and Intermarriage–“Come watch vivid moments from the everyday lives of ordinary families and see how Jewish home movies enrich California’s multicultural story. An immersive gallery installation that projects Jewish homegrown movies on three giant screens, Jewish Homegrown History uses home movies to explore the dynamic interplay between personal memories and collective history. The vibrant films document diverse immigration trajectories and the identity issues they raise.” Anyway, have fun, & safe travel!

  4. so tired of hearing about the poor Asians and their “problems” (perhaps the men but certainly NOT THE FEMALES)– sorry that you are always assumed to be smart and capable, sorry that you are the only ones who seem to have men interested in you, sorry to walk down a new york street and see every asian woman with a man (serious about her not just using her, and deceiving her because he knows without a doubt he is not sticking around) and every black woman without one (even with a college education and wealth of work experience for top corporation) sorry you have men like rupert murdoch and mark zuckerberg MARRYING you, sorry that you have “thin” genes in a society that worships zero body fat, sorry canada was about to put an asian woman on dollar bill, sorry you guys have been heads of companies like avon and lifetime (when was last time an asian man was HEAD of american multinational company), sorry the media does not try its very best to put out the very worst your race has to offer at every opportunity. God bless you all(obviously) and the world is what it is but some honesty, please…

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      Justine, thank you for your comment, which clearly is not from an Asian woman! If you knew me, you would see that I do not have a man or a thin gene. My name isn’t Wendi Murdoch either. While every group has its high profile types and its stereotypes, my goal is to say that we all face universal issues related to being true to ourselves and making a difference in the world. You’ve started a new thread in the convo; let’s keep it going here and elsewhere as a launch point for a complex discussion. :)

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    I got here to L.A. in once piece and took a nice, long nap in my hotel room. Now that I’m dressed to party, it’s show time. Off to the awards reception at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. Don’t know how to cab there, not sure who I’ll meet. But I’m taking a deep breath and getting myself out there. Send me some good vibes!

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    The evening reception went fine but I didn’t stay for the whole thing. I was very happy to meet in person the half a dozen bloggers that I follow online. After a little more schmoozing, I could feel myself getting tired. Even the nap wasn’t enough!

    So I went back to Little Tokyo and had two fab dinners near the place I’m staying, the Miyako Hotel . First I went for donburi, which is a bowl of rice with a variety of toppings. Then I went to try a ramen place. Both totally delicious.

    Now I’m ready for bed. This Japanese hotel is very sweet. Not super-new or fancy. But comfortable. And the price is right. Good night!

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      Erika, thank you! I honestly feel that we all share a common language on this stuff. Although, I am well-versed in specific aspects of the Asian cultural dialect. We all have fascinating baggage to bring to the table!

  7. Betty,
    I’m confused, you say ” I don’t think of myself as an Asian-American blogger” Really? If this is the case then why does almost every blog you write talk about being Asian? This also includes recipies. Well good, drop the hyphen and consider yourself as just an American.

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    Hello, Confused…thanks for raising the perpetual question. It’s the problem I face — because of my face. Even though you feel like almost all my posts deal with being Asian, please scroll through the last 15 items on this website. Only four were about Asian identity! My last recipe was about making vegan mac-and-cheese, which is not from Asia. Yes, really!

    Even with the hypen, I feel totally American. There are many ways to be a 100% citizen of this country. And I honestly believe that the hyphens remind us all of the diversity. :)

    So anyways, I am home now. Took the red-eye and arrived at JFK at 5 a.m. In the end, I decided not to comment here about every single workshop I attended; there just wasn’t enough time, what with rushing from one thing to the next.

    But please check out my next post tomorrow. It will have some photos of my time meeting, greeting and eating in L.A. Right now, the priority is getting the laundry done and housecleaning. Need to get organize for a new week!

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