Like so many immigrants to Turtle Island, I have several names. I am Justin Choi to some, 최승민 (Choi Seung–Min) to others, and, according to my Scene card, T-Bone Choi (as far as Cineplex is concerned). Though I have come to see Vancouver as a home, I still witness injustice and oppression all around me in this city (which, let’s not forget, is situated on the unceded, traditional and ancestral territories of the Coast Salish peoples).
Racism, immigration, and language politics are all topics dear to my heart. It is not easy being Chinese-Canadian in Vancouver, especially since I am Korean. Jokes aside, I believe that there is a huge, ever-growing reservoir of young Asian-Canadian voices that are noticeably absent in the mainstream media. More often than not, we are talked about in media as if we cannot speak for ourselves. It is time for us to take back our identities, and I am excited to play my part in this undertaking through my work with The Talon.
Of course, I do not claim to speak for all Asian-Canadian youth. No single voice can capture the multiplicity of identities and lived experiences of such a varied group of people. However, personally, I am tired of being spoken for by privilege-laden voices who know so little of my culture, of the trials of being an immigrant person of colour, of the multivarious identities we must juggle as we navigate cultural divides at home and elsewhere. I am sick of having to defend myself every time an article claims that Asians are too nerdy, too obedient, too boring, too politically uninvolved, or simply exist in too high numbers in Vancouver. In short, I am fed up with being drawn as a panda. I am not a fucking panda. I am T-Bone.
I like Almond Oatmeal Crisps and pretending to be well-read.