ASIANS IN THE MIDWEST .
I grew up in a white neighborhood [near Detroit]. My parents stressed the fact that I'm an American and yet, others looked at me as a Jap. When I played army, I always played the enemy. Sometimes my friends would let me slide and play a "Nazi." One outlet for my frustrations was vandalism—just destroying without getting caught. All I can remember are the bad times. .
High School: I forgot about being called Jap, about being different, tried to survive by keeping up a good image of myself. Don't be aggressive, don't push your feelings onto other people, remain in good rapport with as many people as you can. .
College—same bullshit. I never found anyone who truly related to my feelings. I [dropped out] and split up north. Related to the so-called "hippie culture" and got some ego satisfaction in being a "hip" Asian. I ended up in Los Angeles, dug it, and felt like my life was about to begin. .
I came to realize [that] subtle racism is not something you can easily place your finger on, but a lot is based on "vibrations" with people. It's not something you can organize a demonstration around, but it exists everywhere. Living in a Japanese American community, you can see manifestations: Drug abuse, escapism, isolation, not digging on yourself as a person because you haven't got a he-man or "Miss America" physique, not digging on other Asians because Asians are somehow fucked up—you don't know why—all you know is that they aren't like those Black, Chicano, or white people that you look up to. .
Assimilation or isolation. Either choice is a matter of survival but there's not much pride in either one: a "model minority," or a "banana." Whether in the movement or not, we all face the same problem, creating something that relates to our experiences as Asians and our history as a people in this country. In order to survive, we must understand what our history and present reality are about. We could start by seeking out others who have similar ideas and share them, so we all might have a better picture of what our experience is all about, "feel" our reality, understand our enemy, and, eventually, take control of our own lives.