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Human Parts
A publication about humanity from Medium: yours, mine, and ours.


In Human Parts. More on Medium.

This Is Us

Reckoning with anti-Asian hate in a country my grandparents loved

“Lucky to be here.”

It’s a phrase I hear all the time about being an American — more specifically, being an American whose family came from someplace else. We live in a powerful, prosperous country full of opportunity and abundance, and there is no better place to be, which is why so many people risk their lives and leave behind their belongings to live here. At least, that’s the way the story goes.

But in the aftermath of the Atlanta shooting spree, I tell my therapist I have misgivings with this phrase. That I’m not sure how to balance feeling…

Humans 101

Your curiosity does not take precedence over another person’s comfort

Painting of many colors.
Painting of many colors.

Recently, a friend of mine asked me why people of color often get defensive when White people ask where they are from. She had a new friend whose heritage she was unsure of. She genuinely wanted to learn more about him and asked where he was from. Her question led to a disagreement, hurt feelings, and offense on both sides.

For people who don’t fit the stereotypical social expectations of an American identity—whether because of their skin color, accent, or any number of factors—this question can come up a lot.

And it’s almost always a White person who asks.


Lived Through This

Why does an industry designed around becoming a better person ignore my struggle?

Young Black woman touching her eyelid in stress.
Young Black woman touching her eyelid in stress.

I love self-help books. I’m a glutton for overpriced internet seminars promising enlightenment and business smarts. I unironically listen to podcasts that introduce people as “thought leaders” and “game-changers.” I know this makes me a wet dream for every halfway believable woman selling a course on Instagram, but it’s hard to let go of the fantasy: This could be the six-week program that changes my life.

Back in 2017 — the year that Charlottesville became synonymous with the tiki torch bros — I was enamored with a bubbly, white, blond-haired life coach. At the time, she’d just started a private…

Internet Time Machine

Keep your whitewashed filters

This story is part of the Internet Time Machine, a collection about life online in the 2010s.

Snapchat is a prime example of what happens when you don’t have enough people of color building a product.

Yesterday, in the Audacity of Whiteness: Snapchat released a blatantly racist yellowface filter, which excessively slants your eyes, rounds your cheeks, and adds buckteeth for good measure. The company maintains this filter is “anime-inspired.”

Buuuullshit. Anime characters are known for their angled faces, spiky and colorful hair, large eyes, and vivid facial expressions.

This is quite literally yellowface, a derogatory and offensive caricature of…

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