Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning
As the daughter of Korean immigrants, Cathy Park Hong grew up steeped in shame, suspicion, and melancholy. She would later understand that these "minor feelings" occu ...more
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There are so many moments ...more
1) There might not be any book quite like this one.
2) That's a sad thing.
Asian Americans have been underrepresented in both the increase in societal discussion of race, and in my literary attempts to respond to it. I've been attempting to remedy that this year in picking up more works by Asian authors, and I found this - half-memoir, half-antiracist manifesto with an acerbic, compulsively readable voice - to be an excellent way to start.
Sometimes our n ...more
Can I write honestly? Not only about how much I’ve been hurt but how I have hurt others? And can I do it without steeping myself in guilt, since guilt demands absolution and is therefore self-serving? In other words, can I apologize without demanding your forgiveness? Where do I begin?
Minor Feelings marks my 150th book of 2020, and it’s a good one for a milestone! These essays, conveyed through discursive fragments, are written with such clever, powerful eloquence. I adored its intersectiona ...more
Upon finishing Cathy Park Hong’s book of essays entitled Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning , I have to admit that I feel a bit conflicted. As an Asian American woman who is close in age to Hong and also grew up in the Los Angeles area like she did, there were many experiences she described in her essays that were absolutely familiar to me – for example, struggling with identity and belonging, being discriminated against due to my race, feeling like I oftentimes have to expl ...more
"Asians lack presence. Asians take up apologetic space."
I have SO many things I want to say here and there are SO MANY quotes within this book. I remember in a literature class in college, we were reading a book that had an Asi ...more
In the first essay of this collection, Cathy Park Hong describes searching for a Korean therapist, falsely believing that their shared Koreanness will lead to a kinship that will make therapy more productive for her. Hong does find a Korean therapist, but the therapist turns her down without saying why, and Hong begins a jilted lover routine before finally realizing she needs a non-Korean therapist so her depression can get examined objectively, and so she can stop thinking her depressi ...more
She reckons with her identity as an Asian American while exploring larger themes of unity, art, friendship, mental health and m ...more
These minor feelings in response to micro-aggressions are easily d ...more
There was no reason for me to be depressed. But anytime I was happy, the fear of an awful catastrophe would follow, so I made myself feel awful to preempt the catastrophe from hitting.
For as long as I could remember, I have struggled to prove myself into existence.
In the popular imagination, Asian Americans inhabit a vague purgatorial status: not white enough nor black enough; distrusted by African Americans, ignored by whites, unless we're being used by whites to keep the black man down. ...more
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This is one of the most clear-eyed and insightful discussions about being Asian American and about race in America. (No, never a hyphen in "Asian American" when talking about the people! Hong doesn't use a hyphen either! The NYT "style" is wrong.)
She is straight-forward and vulnerable in equal measure. Hong conveys insights and analyses that are sharp and provocative. And it is extremely personal, unapologetically personal.
As import ...more
it is the typical antagonization of dark asians by a neoliberal east-asian who is striving desperately to uphold the model minority myth and her proximity to whiteness (while discussing the model minority myth, which is truly confounding.)
"But the status of our model minority can change. Currently, Indian Americans are one of the highest-earning groups among Asian Americans, b ...more
This is about Park Hong wrestling with her lived experience as an Asian American and what that label and identity even means. She's Korean, but what context does -- or doesn't -- that add to the label she's been given? How does it play out in what she writes? In what ways has she or hasn't she been able to truly and authentically express herself, given how limited and colonial the ...more
"[M]inor feelings: the racialized range of emotions that are negative, dysphoric, and therefore untelegenic, built from the sediments of everyday racial experience and the irritant of having one's perception of reality constantly questioned or dismissed."
Hands vibrating with excitement, I rushed to buy this essay collection after reading an essay that appeared last month in the New York Times, "The Slur I Never Expected to Hear in 2020." That essay, while not included in this book, nevertheless ...more
This was nearly a five star read for me, and will likely be a five star book for many. My reasons for not giving it the full five are purely personal preference, and I'll get int ...more
My term “minor feelings” is deeply indebted to theorist Sianne Ngai, who wrote extensively on the affective qualities of ugly feelings, negative emotions—like envy, irritation, and boredom—symptomatic of today’s late-capitalist gig economy. Like ugly feelings, minor feelings are “non-cathartic states of emotion” with “a remarkable capacity for duration."
Cathy Park Hong has written a rich exploration of race from the perspective of Asians - acknowledging the pervasive racism both within the ...more