Episode 51: Stopping Hate with Yan Sham-Shackleton, Tanya Ko Hong, Atia Sattar, and Jen Sopchockchai Bankard

In Episode 51, we’re joined by past and future guests Yan Sham-Shackleton, Tanya (Hyonhye) Ko Hong, Atia Sattar, and Jen Sopchockchai Bankard to discuss the recent shootings in Atlanta, GA, and Boulder, CO, and the rising wave of anti-Asian racism and violence in the United States. This was a sobering conversation, and we’re very grateful to all of our guests for taking the time to discuss these painful events with us.

Here at Writing Remix we stand with the AAPI community and denounce all acts of anti-Asian racism. We must be aware of the language being used to speak about this event as well as the language not being used. We name the racially motivated shootings that occurred in Atlanta as an act of white supremacist terrorism. May the victims rest in power: 

Soon Chung Park, age 74
Hyun Jung Grant, age 51
Suncha Kim, age 69
Yong Yue, age 63
Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33
Paul Andre Michels, age 54
Xiaojie Tan, age 49
Daoyou Feng, age 44

Yan Sham-Shackleton is a Hong Kong writer who lives in Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in Chicago Quarterly Review, Litro, Great Weather for Media, Popmatters, and others. She is a columnist on Hong Kong Free Press. She has spoken on free speech issues and Hong Kong’s democratic development for Amnesty International, BBC, PBS, and others. In 2005, Reporters Without Borders nominated Yan Sham-Shackleton and her weblog Glutter for a free speech award. Some of Yan’s early works, film/theatre projects, and zines are archived in Glasglow Women’s Library and The Riot Grrrl Collection at the Fales Library in NYU. She is seeking an agent for her coming-of-age novel “Island of Lights” set during the 1997 regime change of Hong Kong. Learn more at her website: www.YanShamS.com

Tanya (Hyonhye) Ko Hong is a poet, translator, and cultural curator who champions bilingual poetry and poets. Born and raised in South Korea, she immigrated to the US at the age of eighteen. She is the author of four books, most recently The War Still Within: Poems of the Korean Diaspora (KYSO Flash Press, 2019), and is the recipient of the Yun Doon-ju Korean-American Literature Award. Tanya has an MFA from Antioch University and is a Ph.D. student in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She lives in southern California with her husband and three children. Learn more at her website, tanyakohong.com, and follow her on Twitter @tanyakohong.

Atia Sattar is Assistant Professor (Teaching) in the Writing Program and the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her interdisciplinary research areas include Medical Humanities; Science and Technology Studies; and Gender, Race, and Health. Atia has studied mindfulness since 2013 and leads the Mindful USC BIPOC Meditation Practice Group which she established in 2018. She has published articles on laboratory notebooks, public health campaigns, and cochlear implants in such scholarly publications as The Journal of Medical Humanities, Isis, and Configurations. Her writings on meditation and mindfulness have been published in the Cambridge Quarterly of Health Care Ethics and Tricycle: A Buddhist Review.

Jen Sopchockchai Bankard is an Associate Professor in the Writing Program at the University of Southern California. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English with honors in expository writing from Brown University and a PhD in English with a certificate in cinema studies at Northeastern University. Her dissertation, “Testing Reality’s Limits”: Mad Scientists, the Supernatural, and Realism in Late Victorian Popular Fiction, used contemporary film adaptations to recontextualize the Victorian novel. She has been teaching first year and advanced writing courses for over 15 years, and continues to refine an inclusive pop culture pedagogy while reflecting on the use of educational technologies. Most recently, she helped restructure the Norman Topping Student Aid Fund, a scholarship and academic support program that advocates for equity in higher education and serves a substantial first-generation college student population. When she’s not teaching, she writes film and television reviews, which you can find on Letterboxd.

This episode was recorded on March 22, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod. Content warning for discussion of racism, harassment, sexual violence, and mass shootings.

Resources/ Readings for Being an Ally

Please also see this longer list of resources compiled by the USC Writing Program’s Diversity Committee.

People, Texts, and Organizations Mentioned in the Episode

“[Hyun Jung Grant] raised two children by herself as a single mom, and I could feel the weight of her heart…I could see her proud face, her happy face, sparkling eyes. She’s so proud [of her sons]…It’s heartbreaking.” @TanyaKoHong

“I think we need to go deeper…It’s not just stop Asian hate. It’s stop hate.” @TanyaKoHong

“There’s so much pain around…the embodied experience of being a certain way and having been discriminated against in a certain way because you look a certain way.” -Atia Sattar

“I feel there’s a bigger conversation about gun control…Living in different countries where there are no guns, I’m never afraid to walk out in the street, and I am afraid to walk out in the street in America because of guns, regardless if I’m Asian or not.” @YanShamS

“There’s so many small incidents that were in and of themselves fairly benign but that really contributed to me always feeling like an outsider.” @Sopchockchai

“When the teacher was calling the names and he stopped, then I knew it was my name.” @TanyaKoHong

“I think it’s very important to connect the generations and communicate and speak out and listen.” @TanyaKoHong

“These conversations need to be had regardless of [the shooter’s] motivation.” @YanShamS

“It’s not about some bad eggs…It’s about a system that allows such things to happen. A culture where this is the way that we have thought about Asian women or this is the way that they can be perceived. You can’t separate the racism from the sexism and the sexualization.” -Atia Sattar

“This type of stuff is always wrapped in politeness and niceties.” @Sopchockchai

“We have to find a way from our personal healing to coming together and fighting for social justice and policy change.” -Atia Sattar

“I find myself being less pessimistic about the possibility for change because I have to be. Because I have to believe.” -Atia Sattar

“The way that racism plays out a lot of ways pits minorities against each other…and I think it’s a way that we are kept apart from each other so that we don’t fight together.” -Atia Sattar

“Something I’ve been trying to do…is just allowing for the students to talk more about their names and where they’re from and to normalize the pronunciations.” @Sopchockchai

“Whiteness is so strong here [in the U.S.].” @YanShamS

“Asians are seen as one group here, where we’re actually really diverse and disparate and all from different countries…and we all speak different languages and have different histories.” @YanShamS

“It really becomes personalized for me because I know the stories and I witness their lives.” @TanyaKoHong

“I would hope that people don’t just think of [racism] as something that’s overtly violent.” @Sopchockchai

“If you’re saying where are you from originally, the implication is you can’t be from here.” @Sopchockchai

“I really hope what comes out of it is a larger conversation about gender, race, and also sex work…There’s a lot to unpack in this story, and what I really hope is these conversations have been raised and will be continued. ” @YanShamS

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