I was particularly touched by Blake Ma‘s comment on Mark Oestreicher’s apology and I realize how much work there is to be done through the gospel towards Asian-Americans. I appreciated his honesty and vulnerability, and I can really sense the hurt that is in his words. Here is his comment, posted with his permission:

I am an Asian-American that grew up in B’ham, AL. For the longest time, one of my white female friends told me how great and awesome her church was – the people in her church. Growing up with blatant racism everywhere I turned, not being able to even walk down the hallways of my school without hearing the word chink, after years, I finally gathered enough courage to go with her. There was no blatant racism there, only silence. I was ignored as if I was a fly on the wall as if I was not good enough to fit into their body, their church, their “way of life”. Afterwards, my friend apologized profusely to me, because she saw a side of “her people” that she had never seen, because she had always been “one of them”. She scolded her peers many times, for she knew that would be the last time I would ever step foot into an all white church. Asian-American churches exist for a reason. Without them, those like me would be utterly lost and have no where to turn. The systematic racism against Asian-Americans comes all too naturally in our society. You have no idea what it is like. Even though I”m in Chicago, it’s still around us, but unless you are in our shoes, how can you experience it. When Pearl Harbor the movie came out, my brother went to school in Schaumburg (IL), and there were students that muttered under their breath, “I hate those damn Japs that bombed Pearl Harbor”. It didn’t matter what ethnicity my brother was. When I went to AL to visit, I go to a pizza parlor, and I order a pizza, and I give my first name, and the lady asked me for my last, and before I can say anything, she says, “Is it . Lee”. I feel anger, I feel sad, because the only Asian person this person has any idea of is Bruce Lee and automatically that’s what she thinks my last name must be. I got to Woodfield Mall with my wife, and there are a group of highschool kids who shout out “Ching, chong, chung, chong”. Where did those highschool kids learn this from? Here in our “diverse” city we call Chicago, we think we have escaped from one hell to a better place, only to discover that this hurt and pain is everywhere. You have no idea what it is like not to be white, to live in our shoes, to be only half accepted in a country that values only 1 color.

Again, I want to stress, I applaud you for the steps you’ve taken (Referring to the apology and commitments that Youth Specialties made). It’s more than what most people would have done. Perhaps there will come a time when all of God’s children can worship together.

Blake Ma

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