Celebrating Asian American Skaters

lyndichee

Medalist
Joined
Sep 16, 2014
I honestly cannot believe the ignorance demonstrated in thread and the complicit nature of the moderation team to allow such comments where individuals continue to invalidate the experiences of others. This is incredibly disappointing to see.

Given the many instances in my life where I have been discriminated against due to my race despite being born and raised in Canada, I am happy to see Asians representing North American countries because they have gone on to achieve far more success than I have and likely have faced similar experiences. That is it simply; does this mean I define my success/the success of others based on race? No. Does this mean I believe that North American is a blackhole of discrimination? No. Does this mean I believe that different races should be treated differently? No. I find they are one of many sources of inspiration for me.

The amount of times people think it's alright to make "chink" jokes, ask if I eat dog or if I did plastic surgery to get my double eyelids is already appalling. If you believe that any race/colour/sexuality should be accepted and we should see each other as humans, good for you. But that also means being aware and cognizant of the fact that we all face different experiences.
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
Record Breaker
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
This really is something to acknowledge and celebrate, and it's a big deal because very young children can often make assumptions based on their observation only. Nobody told them it had to be so, and maybe no one even realized an assumption was being made.

Example, which is non-racial. My daughters were 3 and 1. A neighbor asked me to sub for an absent member of her bowling team. I hadn't bowled in years, but thought it would be fun. We took our kids with us and dropped them in the day-care room, but not before we'd walked through a huge bowling alley with 25 or 30 lanes filled with women's teams.

Fast forward several months. My parents watched my kids for a couple of hours. On our return, my 3 -1/2-year-old met me at the door. She couldn't wait to share a big joke with me. "Mommy, you'll never guess what we saw on TV, it was so funny!" Me: "What?" She answered: "MEN bowling!"

It had never occurred to me to tell her, before that moment, that men actually could bowl, too. She saw what she saw and made sense of it ... which is what children are doing all the time. So just the fact of seeing others who look like them achieving in areas they might aspire to can have a huge impact .... as Asian-Americans have attested to in this thread.
 

TontoK

Hot Tonto
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Country
United-States
I honestly cannot believe the ignorance demonstrated in thread and the complicit nature of the moderation team to allow such comments where individuals continue to invalidate the experiences of others. This is incredibly disappointing to see.

What do you mean by "complicit"? Do you think the job of the moderators is to police the forum and arbitrarily end discussion because you don't agree with other viewpoints?

I don't see where anyone has been rude or hostile. No one has called anyone "chink" or suggested any of the skaters (or other persons) eat dog. I am terribly and sincerely sorry that has happened to you, but it hasn't happened on this thread.

Not everyone agrees on every topic. That's just life. Listening to each other, especially when there is not immediate adherence to our own views, is essential in free societies. Shutting down other viewpoints is a temporary victory. The speech that is banned tomorrow may be on the topic you value the most.
 

VIETgrlTerifa

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
For me personally, it was Michelle Kwan who introduced me to this sport and made me the die-hard fan I am today. Back in the 1990s and 2000s, she really was the only Asian face I consistently saw on television. There was a show called Ally McBeal during the late 90s and mid-2000s and Lucy Liu was actually the ONLY Asian-American actor to be on network television during that time. Let that sink in for a moment. Seeing Kwan did a lot for me (I even quoted her in my college admissions essay). So representation matters.

Not to continue to show my Shibs uberdom, but they have been public about being cognizant and aware that not many top ice dancers look like them and one of their missions is to bring more awareness to ice dance to both Asian-Americans and in Asia and show that it is a viable discipline for Asians to join among the other disciplines in figure skating. I remember at 2016 4CC, hearing reports about what a big hit they were in Taiwan and how many of the audience (including many parents and children) were inspired from meeting them.
 

penguin

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Mao and Yuna got more coverages during their time than any other combine. Hanyu turns people around the globe to figure skate. I don't see the lack of Asian role models anywhere. Most of my American Expat friends know Mirai without watching figure skates.

Pele, Maradona, DB, CR or Messi has been hero to young kids even before the internet. Moh Salah is newly African phenomenon due to his single-handled Egypt to WC final. If there is lack of idols in your country, look elsewhere!

This is exactly the kind of ignorant thinking that is problematic -- that someone can say, "Hey Asian-looking person! There are Asians in Asia being successful, that's enough for you!" That completely misses the point -- or worse, highlights the stereotyping that people of minority persuasions struggle to break: that the minority person only belongs with the group of their ethnic heritage. So you're telling me that Asian nationals like Yuna, Mao, and Hanyu are enough as "Asian role models" for Asian-Americans, and in so doing you imply that the Asian-American person counts as Asian but not American. Do you see how offensive that thinking is? It's "American beats Kwan" all over again.

The reason it's inspiring for an Asian-American person (or other person of color) to see Asian-Americans succeeding in America or the west is because those athletes rose up amidst the same challenges, stereotypes, and oppression that they face as an Asian face in an American society. The experience is nothing like an Asian-born athlete succeeding in Asia.
 

GGFan

Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 9, 2013
Mao and Yuna got more coverages during their time than any other combine. Hanyu turns people around the globe to figure skate. I don't see the lack of Asian role models anywhere. Most of my American Expat friends know Mirai without watching figure skates.

Pele, Maradona, DB, CR or Messi has been hero to young kids even before the internet. Moh Salah is newly African phenomenon due to his single-handled Egypt to WC final. If there is lack of idols in your country, look elsewhere!

This is tone deaf in that you seem to have missed the points that several Asian Americans have eloquently stated with personal examples to bolster their arguments. What's also troubling is that your examples are actually detracting from your argument.

Asian American poster: I was born in a country where I am viewed as foreign despite the fact that I'm every bit the citizen everyone else is. It is heartening to see so much representation in figure skating because there are still many areas where Asian Americans are not represented.

Response: Here are some other Asian (not even Asian Americans) skaters out there. Oh and by the way here are some people of other ethnicities out there. Stop complaining!

:scratch2::noshake: You completely missed the point: (a) they've already said that there are many Asian Americans in figure skating and they're really happy about that. But kudos for bringing up Mao and Yuna :confused: (b) telling everyone about Messi and Pele is still not helping to ameliorate the issue that Asian Americans are still not represented in many arenas of American life despite the fact that they've been here for centuries, endured much toil and labor, and supposedly are the model minority (another heinous myth). If this is how the model minority gets treated then you know we have a far way to go. :hopelessness::slink:
 

GGFan

Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 9, 2013
What do you mean by "complicit"? Do you think the job of the moderators is to police the forum and arbitrarily end discussion because you don't agree with other viewpoints?

I don't see where anyone has been rude or hostile. No one has called anyone "chink" or suggested any of the skaters (or other persons) eat dog. I am terribly and sincerely sorry that has happened to you, but it hasn't happened on this thread.

Not everyone agrees on every topic. That's just life. Listening to each other, especially when there is not immediate adherence to our own views, is essential in free societies. Shutting down other viewpoints is a temporary victory. The speech that is banned tomorrow may be on the topic you value the most.

I agree with lyndichee for calling out ignorance and see her point. I'll err on the side of free speech here however because we have folks debunking some of the hot mess arguments being made. Perhaps if this was a board where trolls ruled and unrigorous arguments left to stand I would be worried about complicity, but not in this case. Actually the mods have made compelling arguments and from my reading the anecdotal evidence of the importance of representation in sports has carried the day.

ETA: And by free I do not mean unrestricted! Also I do not mean it in the constitutional sense since the government is not restricting our speech on GS. That's a pet peeve of mine so I had to mention it. :biggrin:
 

klutzy

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 18, 2014
So I grew up in the Bay Area (I'm white) and I remember when figure skating was very much a white sport. Meanwhile, I was surrounded by AA kids who were well-coordinated mesomorphs on the short side. Even as a kid, I was wondering why there weren't Asian figure skaters because I knew so many kids who seemed like they'd be natural. Then Tiffany Chin showed up and she was wonderful--getting a fourth place at the Olympics. Then Midori Ito from Japan and then Kristi Yamaguchi. Then came Chen Lu from China and Michelle Kwan. It wasn't just in the United States, but the whole world kind of woke up and said--hey, what about looking beyond Europe and people from Europe?

On a similar note, I'm really interested in seeing how Pooja does--she's the only Indian-American (or Indian period) skater I can recall. There's a whole subcontinent of untapped athletic talent in India, outside of cricket, soccer and polo.
 

Spinning

On the Ice
Joined
Dec 10, 2015
I don't think I miss the point at all. I'm also Asian who grew up in whiter-than-white neighborhood just across the pond. A few of my cousins are American. They share the same sentiment with some famous people who don't want to be labelled Asians American. The whole fan war right now in the social medias started with hey our Asian skaters beat your all American sweetheart. So yeah I don't like using race cards in any circumstances. I think different so what! All the tone regarding Asian American team are not exactly came out as prouding fellow Asian either to be honest.

I'm signing off from this thread permanently. Good luck.
 

ice coverage

avatar credit: @miyan5605
Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
... On a similar note, I'm really interested in seeing how Pooja does--she's the only Indian-American (or Indian period) skater I can recall. ....

Another Indian-American skater is Zack Sidhu (senior pairs).


(And India does have skaters who have competed at the international level. JGP and Asian Winter Games, for example.)
 

TontoK

Hot Tonto
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Country
United-States
I agree with lyndichee for calling out ignorance and see her point. I'll err on the side of free speech here however because we have folks debunking some of the hot mess arguments being made. Perhaps if this was a board where trolls ruled and unrigorous arguments left to stand I would be worried about complicity, but not in this case. Actually the mods have made compelling arguments and from my reading the anecdotal evidence of the importance of representation in sports has carried the day.

ETA: And by free I do not mean unrestricted! Also I do not mean it in the constitutional sense since the government is not restricting our speech on GS. That's a pet peeve of mine so I had to mention it. :biggrin:

Two excellent points.

You believe that the one argument has carried the day. That's good, because it implies that having weighed both sides on an argument, you've come to your own conclusions. You would never have had that chance if either side had been shouted down or not been allowed to express their viewpoint. In fact, my own views have been challenged - I haven't changed my mind, but I'm more empathetic to those who disagree. And that came from reading different points of view, and that only happens in societies where free to exchange ideas.

I totally agree with the free speech argument. The First Amendment says the government will not shut down speech. That does NOT mean the owner of GS cannot establish their own rules for participation on the website. I'm glad GS doesn't tolerate bullies of any stripe.
 

lyndichee

Medalist
Joined
Sep 16, 2014
Please don't cherry pick what I say and choose to respond to it. You have missed the point multiple times.

What do you mean by "complicit"? Do you think the job of the moderators is to police the forum and arbitrarily end discussion because you don't agree with other viewpoints?

The job of the moderation is to ensure that we have rational and intelligent conversation. Those who are purposely attempting to dismiss the experiences of others and tell them they should not celebrate the diversity of the team because "American is American" should not be tolerated as we are literally attesting to how that is not our experience.

You must realize there is a distinction between accusing those who are not Asian American of being prejudiced and speaking to experience as why, in practice, not everybody is treated the same. To attempt to discredit the experiences of others based on a position of ignorance and privilege is a poor behaviour that should be moderated. In fact, allowing it to continue enables this sort of poor behaviour.

I don't see where anyone has been rude or hostile. No one has called anyone "chink" or suggested any of the skaters (or other persons) eat dog. I am terribly and sincerely sorry that has happened to you, but it hasn't happened on this thread.

I never accused anybody of saying this in the thread. Please reread my post. I said that I have had these experiences due to the fact that I have a noticeably different skin tone despite being born and raised in a country that is known for it's diversity. That means, despite many individuals holding the sentiment that "Human is Human", "American is American whether purple, pink etc.", the reality is, that sentiment is not shared with people that I am surrounded by. It is important to be aware that these experiences affect other individuals and influence some of the people I look up to.

Does this mean I only see Michelle Kwan and other Asian-American/Asian-Canadian athletes as role models in the sport? Certainly not! They are one of many. This issue is not meant to be mutually exclusive.

There is a sentiment that is being implied when telling one that their experiences with discrimination shouldn't influence their role models. It implies that we should deny that these issues affect us when in reality, they do. Speaking to others, it has also affected their mobility in corporate hierarchies as well.

I am a business professional and many of my parents' immigrant friends have told me "You're very lucky to be born here because you don't have an accent, therefore less people will make fun of you at work." It is great that many individuals on this forum believe that we should colourblind, but we cannot dismiss the fact that others are not and these affect people's everyday lives.

Not everyone agrees on every topic. That's just life. Listening to each other, especially when there is not immediate adherence to our own views, is essential in free societies. Shutting down other viewpoints is a temporary victory. The speech that is banned tomorrow may be on the topic you value the most.

This is not a matter of disagreement of opinion. In fact, I never denied the sentiment that "Human is human" and we should look up to people because they are good people/good skaters. What many individuals in this thread has attempted to explain away why our experiences matter and influence our decisions, and why representation in North America is important is being dismissed and that should not be tolerated.

I am happy to listen and reply in detail to those who believe that race shouldn't influence our role models. However, many individuals have been given explanations and opportunities to educate themselves and clearly are not open to correcting themselves.
 

Skater Boy

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
It is a "nice" notice that there are a lot of Asian Americans on the Olympic skating team but in a time where we are celebrating respect for all I think it is an interesting fact but so what. these individual skaters are human who have shown wonderful skill and talent at their sport and are going to the Olympics. Their heritage is part of who they are going to the Olympics and that is nice but they represent themselves and their nation - in this case the USA. Their color/background is jus maybe a point of interest. Role models should come not because of race, gender, age but because of great integrity, skill and human compassion. I would be remiss or naïve to not say some cultures or pockets of American have found it harder to have their voice heard in various life aspects including skating for a variety of reasons - not necessarily the blame game here. Let's celebrate these individual humans for their individuality as unique humans regardless of background:) Go good skating Go!
 

Barb

Record Breaker
Joined
Oct 13, 2009
It is also nice to see how they support each other. Arden Cho https://www.instagram.com/arden_cho/ is a friend with the Shibs and now I see that she has liked photos on Instagram of Mirai and Karen. She strongly supports the representation of Asian-Americans, especially because she is an actress and we all know how Asian-American are neglected in the Hollywood industry.
 

Mrs. P

Uno, Dos, twizzle!
Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 27, 2009
Love Arden. Of course her friendship with the Shibs drew me to her, but her YouTube videos are hilarious. I think she might be in Pyeongchang, so I hope for some cool skater/Arden interactions.
 

Ice Dance

Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
We have role models from all walks of life.

Breaking through racial barriers is a very real challenge, and admiring people for doing so is :rock:. Many skaters have role models from other countries, but that does not cancel out the need for role models at home. The need to know that path of success is feasible within one's own country. Many skaters have role models from other races within their own country. That does not cancel out the need to know the same path to success is feasible for oneself.

Asian American athletes like Tiffany Chin and Kristi Yamaguchi have helped break down barriers for athletes from Japan & China. And Asian athletes from outside the United States like Patrick Chan, Shen & Zhao, and Yuzuru Hanyu have helped break down barriers for athletes in the U.S.

And while we now look around and see dominant Chinese pairs and can make a list of Japanese men's champions and many Asian American & Japanese ladies champions, this was so NOT always the case. It has been a long journey getting there. And it is well worth celebrating!

It is also worth recognizing the challenges still being faced. No dance team representing Asia has ever medaled at the Olympics, the World Championships, or even Four Continents. Asian American athletes are leading the way. They are doing so by competing in a discipline/field absolutely dominated by European host nations and European judging panels. To the point at which we expect it. To the point at which a panel with three or more representatives from Asia & North America is considered "balanced." It's a huge, huge fight for athletes who have no guarantee that added difficulty will even be reflected within COP or GOE. They cannot add five quads to their programs. They cannot add two triple axels. Even if they perform twice as many twizzles as the world champions, they cannot be certain to receive more points for the element. It's a fierce fight for all the dancers and the coaches & athletes helping to break through. They have my full respect.
 

ice coverage

avatar credit: @miyan5605
Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Framing this discussion in another way:

I believe it will be a watershed moment in the U.S. when the country elects its first female President.

The U.S. already has had female candidates for President. One female in particular came very close to being elected. I believe that for many voters, her gender was *not* why they supported her. Her positions on policy issues and her experience were the basis of much of her support.

Some young girls in this country already aspire to become President. As they should aspire.
And the recent female candidate already has been a role model -- for many women and for many men. As she should be.

But I do think it will strike a chord with young American girls (among others) when a female takes office as U.S. President.

And when the first female U.S. President (regardless of party affiliation) is elected, would it make no sense (for anyone of any age) to acknowledge/celebrate that she will have broken a major glass ceiling for her gender? I myself would have no problem acknowledging that milestone (even if I had voted for a different candidate).​

Similarly, I do not think it is wrong to acknowledge/celebrate the achievements of athletes who collectively are breaking new ground in their sport.

Yes, we already have had Yamaguchi, Kwan, and other individuals. What is new in 2018 is the high proportion of Asian-American figure skaters on the Olympic team. Asian-Americans are a full 50% of the figure skaters on the U.S. team.
On the 2014 U.S. Olympic team: one-quarter of the pair skaters and one-half of the ice dancers were Asian-American.
On the 2018 U.S. Olympic team: two-thirds of the men; two-thirds of the ladies; and one-half of the ice dancers are Asian-American.
 

penguin

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
This thread is so interesting, fascinating, and disheartening.

The point of this thread was to celebrate the unprecedented high numbers of Olympic skaters who are Asian-American, recognizing that this achievement means something for some people. (Not all things for all people!)

And then people argue how it doesn't mean anything for them personally and thus shouldn't matter to anyone else. Or that it's pointless to celebrate the achievement because it's not that much of an achievement. Or suggest that people who feel inspired by such achievements are wrong in their thinking.

This thread is for celebrating an achievement. Can we just do that?
 

jf12

Final Flight
Joined
Dec 8, 2016
I think some people who are arguing 'against' this post miss the point. If someone made a post about how they love that for the first time, half the oly team plays the trumpet, and I don't care about trumpets, I'm not going to post and reply that we shouldn't care or give extra value to people because of their trumpet playing abilities.

The reaction when we replace trumpets with race is strong because a lot of people feel strongly that we shouldn't talk about race and representation at all. I think that they are consciously or subconsciously trying to avoid talking about discrimination that occurs every day, to many groups, sometimes including discrimination against themselves. I think it is a coping mechanism, and a way to get through life with your ideals intact and without having to think of these unpleasant things.

I'm Asian-American myself, and I am lucky, I wouldn't say I experience a lot of discrimination in my daily life at all. However, my personal opinion is that people of every race should not just keep their head in the sand, and hope that if we don't discriminate ourselves, and pretend other people don't, discrimination will end. For example, applying to Harvard, Asian-American applicants need a SAT score 100 points higher than a white applicant. My parents didn't say, you can achieve anything, it doesn't matter what race you are! They put me in extra SAT courses and I got the score up to almost perfect. If I had a black son you'd better believe I would try to prepare him for how to speak with the police when he is getting pulled over all the time if he's driving a nice car in the wrong neighborhood. The point of talking about discrimination is not to get bitter about it or use it to 'divide' us as a nation, it's to deal with things that are reality and put the facts out there, which in my view will do more to end racial divides.
 
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