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But I Don't See You as Asian: Curating Conversations About Race Paperback – June 8, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Reyes-Chow goes where few people can on the matter of race. He points out land mines, expresses the tension of living in the midst of them, and yet is able to teach us all how to dance, to move more freely with one another. He writes as a humble teacher, neither Black or White, but human and in color. 
-- David Park, nextgenerasianchurch.com


Bruce compels all of us who fancy ourselves activists and rabble rousers to think carefully and engage courageously our intentions, interactions, and personal and institutional behaviors regarding questions of diversity and race. Books like this ought to be required reading for boards, committees, organizations, and individuals working to bring about justice, peace, and reconciliation in a world deeply distrusting of the "other". 
-- Elizabeth Shannon, Associate Director of the Center for Spiritual Life and Associate Chaplain, Eckerd College, FL


Bruce has offered us a great gift: a jargon-free, accessible, guide on how to avoid some of the most common errors we make when engaging across color lines. Using both personal anecdotes and astute cultural references, Bruce gives us an entry point into needed conversations while exposing the fears and anxieties that often make these dialogues difficult and awkward. At times silly, other times insightful, this resource is the primer for thoughtful engagement on a subject many prefer to ignore. 
-- Derrick Weston, Director, Coretta Scott King Center, Antioch College, OH


We have spent far too long ignoring our privilege and acting as if racism will work itself out. Bruce's approach allows individuals and communities to tackle deep prejudice and ignorance in a way that will make change in our families, neighborhoods, and churches. 
-- Abby King-Kaiser, Assistant Director for Ecumenical and Multi-faith Ministry, Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice at Xavier University, OH

About the Author

Bruce Reyes-Chow is a native Northern Californian and 3rd generation Chinese/Filipino who writes and speaks extensively on faith, politics, race and technology. Bruce graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Philosophy, Sociology and Asian American studies, earned his masters degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary and was granted an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Austin College. The author of "The Definitive-ish Guide for Using Social Media in the Church," for the past 20 years he has worked with groups and individuals in areas of social justice, church planting, technology and diversity. Bruce lives in San Francisco, CA with his wife, Robin, his three daughters, Evelyn, Abby and Annie and one very cute canine.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: BRC Publishing; 1 edition (June 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0989498107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0989498104
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #593,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There were some good points made in this book. However by the time I finished the book I developed the impression that there was not any way I could not appear racist to this author. If I try to connect with him by commenting on what little I presume about his culture, I am using a stereotype and labeling him, but if I try to ignore his cultural and ethnic background then I am insensitively ignoring a large part of who he is.
I have traveled extensively and embrace learning of other cultures. I generally have to correct misconceptions about America when I travel, but I choose to not be offended by them. The author seemed to be offended by strangers or acquaintances confusing him with people that shared similar traits such as hair color and skin color--yet these are generally the first traits we analyze to distinguish who is who among people we know.
I appreciate being enlightened about how some comments can be hurtful. However, I think the author needs to remember that a jerk is a jerk no matter who the jerk is interacting with, and generally will try to insult or hurt a person by the method that requires the least amount of thought. Labeling the jerk as racist may be accurate, but eliminating racism would just mean jerks would have to think a little bit more to find a way to insult and be hurtful.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This highly accessible guide book is a gift to all the (mostly) white communities that have told each other, "We invited them, but they didn't come."

In each chapter, Reyes-Chow's offers a story gracefully addresses the specific phrases we use to distance ourselves from doing our own work to challenge invisible white privilege and opression in ourselves and our communities. Reyes-Chow gracefully unveils each wire in the birdcage of racism usually invisible to those of us in the dominant culture. Each wire on its own could be dismissed, but when we look at them together we see the way they hem in communities of color both individually and collectively.

This is not meant as an advanced guide to this conversation, but I highly recommend it as a primer to anyone who wants a starting point.
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Format: Paperback
Lately my twitter feed, and the theoblogosphere (embrace the monstrous portmanteau! portmanstrosity?) have been flailing around conversations about race and privilege. It has been ugly, and awkward, and full of hurt feelings and misunderstanding. Enter But I Don't See You As Asian, wherein we are guided to a gentler, more humanizing way of having these important conversations.

Bruce didn't need to be an oracle to time his book launch so well. Given how bad we are at talking about this subject there was about a 50% chance of a brouhaha almost anytime he tossed his words into the interwebs, but the need for this kind of book is self-evident.

Bruce is well situated to speak into this morass. A native northern-californian, and 3rd generation Filipino/Chinese Presbyterian minister he writes with wit and wisdom. His previous book was a guide to using social media for churchy-types and his years of experience reading comment-threads alone give him the expertise to talk about hate-speech. ;-)

This book is approachable and jargon-free. Race-theory is a deep academic field, but there is nothing here to intimidate any reader. His starting point is a series of insensitive sayings - the kinds of things that well-meaning people say without realizing the racism informing their words. He gently guides us to better ways of speaking and thinking without condemnation or finger-pointing. This is a book you could hand your racist grandpa and he would probably read the whole thing without throwing it in the fire.

A side-effect of Bruce's careful approach is that the first quarter of the book is slow. He feels the need to give you a lot of background before getting to the meat of his subject matter, and he qualifies everything he says very carefully to avoid unnecessary offense.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Bruce knows the academic world. He also knows the rest of the world through his time as pastor, blogger, podcaster, father, husband, band-o, and Moderator of the Presbyterian Church(USA).

In this book he takes complicated issues surrounding race, and breaks them into bite-sized pieces that the average person can understand. And does so without losing anything important. It's really amazing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wonderful advice on Do's/Don'ts in having conversations around race. I loved the conversational style writing. Thought provoking ideas, why we need to be discussing race, what to do when you are "called" on something you've said, what not to say to a PoC you've just met, and more.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy reading - format and vocabulary - but hard to take in many ways because it could have been directed at all the ways I've made a mess of things talking about race. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to join the conversation about race with a better attitude and a more useful perspective.
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I read this on my own. I liked the story/teaching/questioning format of the chapters, but felt most of them fell short. They setup good questions but didn't answer them. Of course, that's exactly what the author says he's going to do, so I guess it shouldn't have surprised me.

It was a fine read as an individual, but it did let me down.

I think it would be a great read for a group or community, especially if the chapters were used as launching points and not treated as the expert in the room. The chapters don't need to be read in order and it would be fine to pick the chapters that were important to the context and leave out the rest for another time or altogether.

If I was leading a group with this book, I wouldn't have people read at home. The chapters are short enough, I would read one as a group and then spend multiple sessions/meetings unpacking the book and our community, moving to the next chapter when we needed a new prompt, not when the clock/calendar told us to.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free when it was offered as a Kindle freebie and the author is a Facebook friend I've met once in person. Some of what I've shared is based on conversation with the author, but my rating or review is in no way influenced by the author.
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