Asian American writer or Writer? True or untrue? Caf or decaf?

So many choices. This weekend’s show at the Kitchen Theatre had some interesting questions. One young Korean American woman asked whether I preferred to be considered an Asian American writer or just a writer? And as always, I come up with witty comebacks HOURS after it really matters.

Oh, I said something intelligible, but here’s what I would love to say: A good story is a good story. You can’t ignore the socioeconomic context of a character, and I do think it’s good to crank out work that describes people who do not get as much coverage as others. And I’m serious about always including a Korean American character in scripts and stories, so that someone who looks like me can play the person in the movies. I also believe how we represent people in art can impact how we treat each other in real life. I’m not interested in perpetuating stereotypes–that’s not real, they’re not human. We do need more Asian American characters who are not Chinese food delivery guys with accents, hookers, nerds, etc., but also, that idea alone doesn’t create the heart of a good story. You can’t write a story from a place of “I’m a Korean American.” It’s got to be how you feel about it — I feel alienated it, I love it, I feel ostracized from it, or SOMETHING. It’s got to be a feeling, not just a theory. And every story, swear to goodness, if it’s really good, is something anyone can all relate to.

Still, as long as we have the option of choosing which prism to see through, why not Asian American characters? It’s not like the market is flooded with them.

And to the one gentleman who requested where he could find my fiction, I will post publications on this site. I’m a little leery of sharing fiction, mostly b/c I think my fake stories are so much more revealing than my true ones. 


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