Saturday, January 28, 2017

Khanh Le-Week 4

This weeks’ readings came from Judy Tzu-Chun Wu’s Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism During the Vietnam Era. Honestly, reading these chapters exposed me to phrases that I have never seen before like “oriental radicalism” or “Vietnamese women as female warriors.” Reading about Vietnamese women who were politicized in their thoughts and actions, which allowed them to connect with people in the Western world opened my eyes to the reality of third world alliances. I never even knew such organizations existed in Vietnam, and there was no way that I could ever imagine that Vietnamese women were so heavily involved in politics the way this chapter showed me. As third world people who are marginalized in so many axes of inequality, it was inspiring to read about the Viet Nam Women’s Unions (VWUs) and how they participated and “actively nurtured American women’s interest in the US foreign policy and military activity in Southeast Asia” (Wu, 194). Building this bridge between two worlds brought to me the idea of transnationalism and how these issues expand across boundaries.
For me personally, the “Aoki” documentary and reading excerpts were a good balance of showing a male activist and female activists in the Asian American movement. Richard Aoki is well-known for his everything that he has done for the Asian American and black community, from being a member of the Black Panther Party to aiding in the creation of the Ethnic studies department on the UC Berkeley campus. On the other hand, these women discussed in these chapters were complete strangers to me. It is important to acknowledge the important roles that Asian females played during the anti-war movements both on the West and the East. Too often we place the significance of males in our community and we fail to acknowledge the work that many females contribute. I think of the most amazing stories that Aoki told in the documentary was when Tarika Lewis became the first woman to join the Black Panther Party, and she was a sister of one of the members. Richard was at first opposed to having her because he thought self-defense was a man’s job, but he learned that day that gender was not a criterion for that type of work. We must remember his words and take it to heart because gender should never divide us especially when it comes to social justice.

Question: What are ways that we can promote gender inclusivity during current movements, such as the blacklivesmatter movement, in order to provide a safe space for us to all organize and play a role in our communities?
Richard Aoki Quote. Digital image. AZ Quotes. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2017. <>.

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