Safe spaces vs. dangerous spaces and why it’s sometimes hard to talk to extreme liberals

Illustration credit: Eleanor Taylor from the NY Times

Illustration credit: Eleanor Taylor from the NY Times

There’s a FANTASTIC article in the NY Times today about the notion of safe spaces: In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas. “Safe spaces” are places where people decide not to offend one another. They are conceived with the idea that dangerous ideas can be not only offensive but harmful. We’ve seen this concept on the internet where people issue “trigger warnings” before talking about ideas that supposedly could cause trauma to the reader.

Wesley So quits school to become a professional chess player

Wesley So and mother, pic from

Wesley So and mother, pic from

Apparently this is old news: Wesley So, the eighth strongest chess player on Planet Earth, abandoned his scholarship at Webster University to become a full-time professional chess player. He switched to the U.S. Chess Federation and dropped out in December; I just heard about it last week when I read the latest issue of Chess Life. Interview with his old coach Susan Polgar here. Interview with his mom over here. His Asian mom is not happy about his decision:

Q: So did you talk to Wesley about becoming a full time professional chess player?

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo (Review)


I just finished The Ghost Bride by Yangze Choo. It’s a historical novel that becomes a supernatural mystery. The story takes place in late nineteenth century Malaysia, and it blends the history of colonial Malaysia (“Malaya”) with traditional Chinese ideas of the afterlife. The story is about a young woman whose father offers to marry her off as a “ghost bride.” In her arrangement, she would marry the deceased son of a rich family who died prematurely, and she and her family would become wealthy from the marriage. There are many unexpected turns in this novel.

Oklahoma racist chant

CNN has a great video sequence on the latest news with the fraternity that had the racist chant. (I’m not sure why I can’t find the embed code.)

The basic story is that the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon got videotaped singing a song: “There will never be N** at SAE. There will never be a N*** at SAE. You can hang them from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me, there will never be a N** at SAE.” University President David Boren has come out full force in condemning this racist chant. He’s severed ties with the frat, and he’s ordered them to clear out all their stuff from the frat house. The national fraternity SAE has cut ties with the Oklahoma chapter. The football team protested yesterday by marching instead of practicing. There could also be some fallout from future recruits:

When Whitey Blames Chang, and how primary education is failing

We’ve had our share of liberal Kool-Aid commenters on this blog, people who are so liberal that their philosophy can be reduced into four words: “Blame Whitey and Chang.” So if a violent criminal who happens to be Black hassles an Asian shopkeeper and steals from him, you blame Chang. If the same violent criminal tries to go for a cop’s gun and ends up getting shot, you blame Whitey.

But what happens when there’s a conflict between Whitey and Chang? What do the White Liberals do then?

Fathers, children, and life

I first heard about Nan-Hui Jo at Reappropriate, followed by the announcement of Jo’s guilty verdict. Certain facts are clear: Nan-Hui Jo came to the U.S. from Korea, where she married an American dude who she says abused her. She left the first American dude and got involved with another American dude, with whom she had a daughter. She then fled back to South Korea with her child while the father of the child unsuccessfully fought to see his child. When she returned to look for educational opportunities for her child, she was arrested for kidnapping.

Consultants try to get around racism in college admissions

Thanks, King, for sending this: For Asian Americans, a changing landscape on college admissions.

“Let’s talk about Asians,” she says.

Lee’s next slide shows three columns of numbers from a Princeton University study that tried to measure how race and ethnicity affect admissions by using SAT scores as a benchmark. It uses the term “bonus” to describe how many extra SAT points an applicant’s race confers. She points to the first column.

African-Americans received a “bonus” of 230 points, Lee says.

She points to the second column.

“Hispanics received a bonus of 185 points.”

What Lela Lee confirms about Asian American feminism

This whole debate about the legal dispute between Angry Asian Man and Angry Little Asian Girl has been quite enlightening. They say that hardship teaches you who you are, and this case is no different–I think we’ve confirmed a lot about Asian American feminism, and to a lesser extent the Asian American media-sphere. Granted, I already knew most of this because I am often ahead of the curve, but as I get older, it always makes me happy to know I was correct.

The feminist issue came up when, according to Reappropriate, Lela Lee implied that she wasn’t a feminist:

Jerome Kersey dies at 52

Portland lost a hero today. Jerome Kersey has passed on at the age of 52, apparently from a blood clot.

I knew Jerome Kersey from when we worked at the same mortgage company years ago. He started as a mortgage broker at around the same time I did–it was the first job in mortgages that either of us had. (Of course he was retired by then and was doing it just to get out of the house, and he was there for about a year before moving on to a better and more enjoyable career, first as an exotic car salesman and then as an employee for the Blazers.). He was the friendliest guy one could ever meet. Outside of the fact that he was 6’7, you’d never know that he was one of the biggest stars that the Portland Trailblazers ever had. And since I wasn’t an NBA fan, I had no idea!