Interview with Celeste Ng about “Everything I Never Told You” (Pub’d on Hippo Reads)

Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You (photo credit: Kevin Day Photography)
Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You (photo credit: Kevin Day Photography)

Hippo Reads just published my interview with Celeste Ng, author of the highly acclaimed novel Everything I Never Told You. This dark story centers on an AMWF family living in 1970s small town America grappling with an unimaginable tragedy, and it’s one of the best books I’ve read all year.

In particular, I loved the way that Celeste captured the true dynamics of discrimination in America in this book (incidentally, practically all the race-based discrimination she wrote about either happened to her or to someone she knew).

I’m excited to introduce you to Everything I Never Told You and Celeste Ng through this interview on Hippo Reads. Here’s a snippet explaining my own connection to the novel:

From interviewer Jocelyn Eikenburg: Everything I Never Told You touched me on a personal level. Naturally, I was drawn to the family at the heart of the story. I write about Asian interracial relationships and am married to a Chinese national, so it was refreshing to read a book featuring an Asian father and a white mother raising mixed-race children. More importantly, Everything I Never Told You perfectly captures the insidious nature of race-based discrimination in America and reminds us that Asian Americans are not in any way exempt (despite the pervasive “model minority” stereotype about Asians which I previously debunked on Hippo Reads). While Celeste Ng set her novel in the 1970s, my husband (who lived with me in the US for nearly eight years) also faced discrimination similar to what the novel’s father, James Lee, suffered in the story. When I was reading Everything I Never Told You, I felt as if the Lee family’s sorrows could easily have been my own. It was an incredibly cathartic experience.

Read the full interview at Hippo Reads to learn more about this fascinating novel. A big thanks to Kaitlin Solimine for suggesting this collaboration!

Debunking the “Model Asian” Myth: Five Ways Asian-Americans Still Face Discrimination (Pub’d on HIPPO Reads)

Debunking the “Model Asian” Myth on HIPPO Reads

Last week passed in a huge blur as July entered my life, along with a lot of new things that will keep this blogger SUPER busy through the entire month! That’s why I’ve been late to tell you about an article published in late June that I’m sure will resonate with many of you: Debunking the “Model Asian” Myth: Five Ways Asian-Americans Still Face Discrimination.

The accomplished Kaitlin Solimine (she’s also a contributor to the new anthology How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit) asked me a few months back about doing a piece for HIPPO Reads, a website known for “Real World Issues, Academic Insights.” Originally, it all started when I shared an article about the bias against Asian students in academia (one of the most shocking findings from a recent Wharton School study) and she brought up doing a guest post for HIPPO Reads. So I said, “Sure, I’ll do it.”

Well, the article soon morphed into something far beyond the problems that Asians face in higher education in America, and now offers a more comprehensive snapshot of the many ways Asians just aren’t getting ahead in America (despite the “model minority” label Americans love to attribute to Asians).

Here’s a snippet of the article:

In April 2014, the public was collectively shocked when University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School unveiled the results of a study examining racial gender biases in faculty mentoring. This finding particularly struck a chord: “We see tremendous bias against Asian students and that’s not something we expected. So a lot of people think of Asians as a model minority group. We expect them to be treated quite well in academia, and at least in the study and in this context we see more discrimination against Indian and Chinese students than against other groups.”

For most of the American public, such a finding was confounding. After all, for many Americans, it seems Asians reign at elite colleges and universities and go on to live the American dream. Eugene Volokh, for example, in this Washington Post piece, points to the overrepresentation of Asians at the Silicon Valley behemoth of Google as an example of “how the Asians became white.”

Statistics can be deceptive, just like our own stereotypes about Asians in America. If Americans think Asians have truly made it—or even have an unfair advantage—perhaps it’s time to think again:

Read the entire article right now. If you love it, by all means share it around! And as always, thanks for reading!