It’s been a while since I last wrote anything substantial in this blog. I have had to deal with many changes this past summer ranging from working in a new office due to a nice promotion to ending a volatile relationship. In between this time, I was getting involved in an Asian-American group before group politics and personality conflicts undermined the entire effort.
There was once this group I joined on facebook that talked about Asian stereotyping in the media. The group was a noble idea at first and it eventually became the leading facebook group for Asian-American issues. It was a place for people to discuss their issues with being stereotyped and how it affected their interactions with others and their self-perception.
At some point the group reached its zenith and people started clamouring for real life meetups. These meetups were held in the East and West Coasts with little support from the original leader. They were overall a success and people were able to meet and network for other projects.
At the same time, I realised that many of the people in our meetup were from very different backgrounds. Some people were actually far from the standard Asian-American background, others were free spirits, some were simply naive before they joined the group, a few were militant, some were socially awkward, and a few were “Model Minorities”. Despite these differing backgrounds we were all joined together by our common desire to improve Asian-American perceptions, discuss social issues, and make friends. To be honest, even though most of the people I met were good company and nice people, I felt like I could not relate to most of them and felt this would be an issue if the group fell apart.
At one of these meetups, I met someone who was recently awakened into Asian-American social issues and wanted to discuss these issues to a broad audience. I agreed with her and we flirted with the idea of doing an e-zine before deciding on the blog format. Fortunately though our meetups we were able to meet with an Asian-American professional who was actually working with some partners on developing a leading Asian-American Web 2.0 portal called Ningin.com. We later had some formal and online meetings which was the start of the Breaking Through project.
While this part of my Asian-American activism was happening, there were also changes in the facebook group. The original group creator had ceded control to a few group officers but decided to stay as a regular member for still-unclear reasons. The group was able to maintain momentum but issues started to arise when the new group moderators managed the group in a way that did not work for the original founder.
Group politics soon ensued to the point where the creator used low-handed and immature tactics to regain control of the group. Once regaining control, he started to name-drop some former active members to justify his actions and even erased several posts and writings that reference how he actually regained control.
His actions offended if not disgusted enough members that they either left the group, stopped posting or became disillusioned with Asian-American issues. Also, the group founder was supposedly hacked twice for his questionable actions by individuals who were disgusted with him.
Eventually the group creator again lost his moderator powers but he was able to influence the people who would replace him. Things have settled down but the group’s reputation has never fully recovered from the founder’s antics. It was about this time I started loosing interest in Asian-American social issues and even thought it was a good idea to troll in the Facebook group because that’s the extent it had been damaged by the founder.
With the group degenerating into internal politics and general disenchantment, it was safe to say there would no longer be any new large scale meetups. People who were of different backgrounds no longer had a real common cause to gather and it was only a matter of time before these differences would undo the bonds formed through the group.
Meanwhile, the Breaking Through project was gathering steam. We were able to recruit several enthusiatic individuals to be writers and Ningin.com was kind enough to devote some resources into drafting a design for our blog and even advising us on development. We had completed several deliverables and work was in progress to finalise the initial blog entries and writers before personal issues with my project partner came along.
During the development of the blog, my partner underwent surgery and is still recovering as I write this. In addition, she became a casualty of the unofficial recession along with other personal commitments. As a result the project schedule was delayed and the blog went on hiatus while we all focused on our lives in the interim.
Then the shocker came when she told me she also did not want to be bound by any corporate deadlines or commitments that would come from our affiliation with Ningin.com. I was a bit disappointed at how this project had died from a lack of commitment and from a fear of corporate control. At the same time, I didn’t feel right about continuing with the blog project with my partner since she had an equal stake in this project and I felt it would not be the same without her ideas.
With this in mind, I emailed the rest of the Breaking Through team and referred them to Ningin.com, if they still have an interest in blogging for them.
At this point, I really don’t know where I am with the Asian-American movement. I am disenchanted at the way the facebook group went down in flames because of one idiot when it was gaining momentum.
I am really not looking for fame through the Breaking Through project but just a way to share my thoughts and talk about issues with others, and I have been holding a lot of writings back when I could have posted them on this blog.
It looks like I will be using this part to occasionally explore Asian-America without the nonsense in facebook groups, without fear of corporate control, and with near-complete anonymity.