August 23, 2012

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