Address: OC Heritage Museum, Santa Ana, CA
Address: OC Heritage Museum, Santa Ana, CA
This year, I noticed a lot more contestants of mixed heritage. Maybe I am more in tuned to it because of my Flippish kids and that I am in a mixed marriage? Nah, I have been married for 14 years and I would have noticed back then if the show had a diverse pool of contestants. FYI, I have been watching The Bachelor since Season 1. I don’t know if I should be admitting this, but there you have it. The cat is out of the bag. I have been watching 18 seasons of The Bachelor. It is my guilty pleasure and all you nay sayers can just get over it.
It took lawsuits and complaints against ABC Network that The Bachelor contestants are not very diverse. I agree. Throughout the years, a very small amount of African Americans, Asian, and Hispanic were picked for the show. I was very happy when Puerto Rican American Mary Delgado won the heart of Byron Velvick during Season 6. Unfortunately that union didn’t last. After Season 6 I thought there will be a more diverse group of contestants or contestants of mixed heritage. Or maybe they didn’t stand out or get any air time for me to notice. And believe me, I notice everything.
Last year, during The Bachelor 2013, we watched Flitalianish (Filipino, Italian, Scottish) Catherine Giudici win the heart of All American Sean Lowe. I noticed her immediately as soon as she got out of the limo. I knew she was of mixed heritage. Her looks or mixed ethnicity weren’t the only things that caught my eye, but her great personality, humor, and positive attitude made me root even harder for her from the beginning. It was pretty sad she didn’t get much air time. I guess the ones who creates the biggest drama gets the air time. She seemed to disappear in the background until later on in the season when Sean finally noticed her. Finally! When Sean visited Catherine’s hometown, my kids and I were excited to see that she is part Filipino. The viewers saw Sean gamely don an apron and learned to cook lumpia. He seemed to embrace Catherine’s family just like my husband did when he met my family. Now they are getting married. I know their kids are going to be multiculturally beautiful. They will have a lot of great cultures to pull from.
Now we come to Bachelor 2014. Juan Pablo claims to be the first Latino (he is from Venezuela) Bachelor, but complaints have been made that he doesn’t look it because of his fair coloring. OMG, no matter what, people will still complain that he is too white, too dark, too ethnic, too non-ethnic. Blah, blah, blah. My former nanny is from Peru and she has blonde hair and green eyes and considers herself a Latina. Just like the USA, Latin America comprises of immigrants of European, Asian, and African ancestries. Former president of Peru Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) was of Japanese ancestry. I rest my case.
On to the contestants:
Back to the list of multicultural women that diversify the contestant pool. They include 1 African American, 1 Latina from Brazil, no Asians, and 5 are of mixed heritage. I have linked their names to The Bachelor website so you can check out their bio.
Ashley was born in Hawaii and moved to Texas. She looks mixed doesn’t she?
Clare tells us she is part Mexican. I was shocked. Who would have thunk? She may not look it because she got more of her father’s European complexion. Just like in my kids, people are shocked to find out they are half Irish.
Chantel is the only African American on the show (aka ABC is being PC). Need I say more?
Danielle is a stunning woman of mixed heritage. She reminds me of a writer friend who calls herself Afro-Viking. I won’t hold it against her that she dislikes my favorite food in the world – sushi.
Lucy the cute free spirit claims she is part Latina – hence her last name Aragon. She is a little too free spirit for my taste, but as long as it makes her happy, who am I to judge?
Victoria hails from Brazil. By the looks of tonight’s preview she seems to be a bit of a mess. I will refrain from commenting further.
Finally, my favorite — but not everyone’s favorite…
Sharleen the reserved opera singer from Canada has a wonderfully mixed heritage. Her mom is Chinese and her dad is a mix of Irish, French, English, and Aboriginal. Thus her beautifully exotic look that captivated Juan Pablo. She is very classy and very reserved. Frankly, I don’t know why she signed up for a show like The Bachelor? However, I give her props for the gumption to do something so different from opera. She got flack for being standoffish and not screaming with joy when Juan Pablo gave her the first impression rose. Viewers, its called class.
There you go, folks. Out of 27 contestants, we have 7 women to diversify The Bachelor, Season 18. Wow! Maybe I have missed some? If so, please let me know. During Sean Lowe’s season there were 6 people of color. That is more than Season 16 (Ben Flajnik) who had zero. I am tempted to go through each season to see how many women of color were picked to diversify the pool of contestants, but rather not waste my time counting. I might get disappointed. So, Bachelor producers, you are heading in the right direction. It’s a great start but 7 women out of 27? You can do better than that.
I couldn’t help but cry after seeing the devastation in the Philippines. My heart shattered as I read each tragic story of families of the survivors finding the bodies of their loved ones, many of them had their arms tightly embracing the bodies of their children as if hoping their own bodies will protect them from the flood water and debris. Winds and current so strong they ripped children from the clutches of their parents. Heartbreaking stories of families having to abandon dying family members so they could save the ones that are still alive. Or stories of helplessly watching their loved ones slowly die from injuries sustained from the storm. Thousands of stories of survival and death… too many to fathom.
The aftermath is another nightmare, especially for the survivors. The hunger, thirst, and lack of medical supplies and facilities added another dimension to their tragedy. Not to mention the rampant looting and crime – the by product of the basic human instinct to survive. In cities and towns with no government or police, residents claim they are living in a state of “anarchy.” Help cannot come fast enough for those living in this nightmare.
It will take years to get over the devastation of this magnitude. The survivors will have to rebuild their lives with or without their loved ones. How can they go on with their lives?
I am very blessed and fortunate that my family and friends survived the storm. My heart goes out to the others here in the US whose families did not.
One thing I know is the strength and resilience of the Filipino people — my people. Filipinos fought and survived the suppression and tyranny of cruel colonizers of yesteryears. They came together as a community after every natural disaster, and political upheaval. That is where the strength in spirit of the Filipino people came from. I am confident the Philippines will get through this.
Please take a moment of silence and say a prayer for my people.
CNN has a list of ways to help the survivors.
I am so excited to bring “I am Flippish!” to Virginia! Sweet City Desserts is hosting my reading and signing for both days. Thank you to my cousin Manuel Tagle and Mitzi Pickard for inviting me and organizing this event. 20% of the sales proceeds will go to Caritas Manila Foundation to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan and the earthquake in the Philippines.
There is nothing like having a personally signed book to give to kids for the Holidays. So get some of your Holiday shopping done, and preorder your personally signed copies of “I am Flippish!” Please email me at LeslieVRyan@gmail.com to reserve your copies.
Please click image for Sweet City Website
131 A Maple Avenue West, Vienna VA 22180
What’s in a name? When you hear the name Leslie Ryan, how do you envision what she looks like? Close your eyes and try to say the name out loud. What do you see? You see a typical Irish lass, am I correct? Or when you hear the names Deborah Yamamoto or Lydia Bolts, what do you see? Would you think one is Asian and the other Caucasian?
Well, my friend Deborah Yamamoto is a fair skinned, red head of Scottish ancestry. She married a Japanese American named Andy Yamamoto. She told me that she always gets a look of surprise from people when they meet her for the first time.
What about my husband’s aunt, Lydia Bolts? She is a petite woman with dark olive skin and black hair, whose family immigrated from El Salvador. She told me that it wasn’t easy for her in the 1960’s when they got married. They thought she was the nanny or the housekeeper, and couldn’t be married to my uncle who is Caucasian. She has many stories to tell. (Stay tuned for my next blog.)
Leslie Ryan doesn’t have blonde hair or blue eyes nor white skin. She is a short Filipino American with tanned skin, brown eyes, and black hair – she is me. I married a blonde haired, blue eyed handsome Irish American, took his last name and became Leslie Ryan. It has been 13 years since we were married, and we still experience misconceptions and stereotyping based on my name.
If you tell me that when you hear those names I mentioned above you immediately thought Leslie Ryan is Filipina, Cindy Yamamoto is Caucasian, and Lydia Bolts is Hispanic, then you must be lying. Thirteen years since I changed my last name to Ryan, I have experienced several misconception on what a Mrs. Ryan should look like. Here are my top five moments:
5. Ten years ago, we moved into our home in a neighborhood that wasn’t very diverse. A salesman knocked on my door, and when I opened it, he asked to talk to the lady of the house. I turned around and yelled “Hey, is the lady of the house in?” Then I turned back to the guy, and I sweetly replied, “That would be me!” Then I closed the door in his face. I guess I didn’t look like a homeowner.
4. My husband and I were in the process of interviewing landscape contractors. One morning, we had an appointment with the contractor, but I had to drop off our kids to school and pick up my nanny. When we got home, my nanny went into the front door first, and I was right behind her. We were both in the entryway when I saw that the two male contractors stood up and walked over to greet her and shake her hand. My husband said, “That’s not my wife. That’s our nanny.” Whoops! Their red complexions weren’t from working outside all day. I took the high road and greeted them nicely. I think the guys tried to make up for their faux pas because they answered every question and concerns I had. Sometimes when it comes to construction talk men usually would look and address their answers to their fellow men even if the questions posed came from a woman. These guys knew how to get the contract because they looked at me and addressed me with their answers. I think they knew that even if my husband liked them, I got the last word on whether or not they got the contract. They had a lot of making up to do after the faux pas. They turned out to be the best contractors we ever hired. They have always been respectful and went above and beyond to accomplish all my requests.
3. Twelve years ago, I was on a flight home from Chicago. I was almost six months pregnant, large as a house, uncomfortable, and dreading the six hour flight home. With that in mind, my husband bought me a business class seat on United Airlines so that I was comfortable during the flight home. After I sat down and put my seatbelt on, the flight attendant came over to me, huffed, and asked me in an accusatory tone “Where is Mrs. Ryan?” By the tone of his voice, he probably thought I was from coach, snuck into Business Class and stole a seat. If he asked me for my ticket and driver’s license, I probably would have lost my temper. I politely replied that I was Mrs. Ryan, and the look on the flight attendant’s face was of surprise. The only thing he said was, “Ohhhh…” finally understanding how this short, dark, and pregnant woman could be named “Mrs. Ryan.” He then turned around and marched back into the galley. He was nicer afterwards. Or maybe because he looked at my husband’s airline mileage plus status and saw that it was Platinum? I couldn’t imagine how it was forty to fifty years ago when mixed marriages weren’t as prevalent.
2. Recently, I had several really large and heavy pots delivered, and when I opened the garage door to let the guy bring the pots in, he asked me where Mr. Ryan was and if I worked for him. Seriously? I was even dressed up that day. I was so annoyed, I made the poor guy move the heavy pots a couple of times. Then I felt bad and offered him some water.
1. This is the most recent and most ludicrous incident. I schedule a one on one tutorial at an Apple store, and when I arrived, I was seated with three other women who were Caucasian. The Apple tutor I was assigned to went to the first woman and asked if she was Leslie Ryan. She shook her head. I raised my hand and said, “I’m Leslie Ryan.” The guy ignored me and went to the second woman and asked if she was Leslie Ryan. Second woman said, “No.” He then went over to the third woman, who already shook her head before he asked her. I was the only one left at the table, and he finally looked at me. I gave him a look that says I’m the person he was looking for. I couldn’t resist and asked him, “What, I don’t look like a Leslie Ryan?” Awkward, right? The rest of the hour was a little disconcerting, to say the least. Even though this incident happened an hour ago, I still left the store shaking my head in disbelief.
Some of the above incidents happened twelve years ago to just recently. One would think there would have been progress where people no longer assume what a person looks like based on their name.
What about multiracial children? My son’s name for example is Sean Patrick Ryan, but he looks more like me. My husband and I thought it would be cool to give him a full Irish name. Did we make a mistake by doing that? Should we have included a Filipino name and hope that they would see he is half? What is he going to experience when he grows up? How will he handle situations of misperception and stereotyping? I can only hope and pray that he doesn’t resent us for giving him that name. So far, he hasn’t experienced any of this.
How do I teach my children to deal with misperception and stereotyping? My husband and I discussed this matter, and we decided that the first thing is to make sure our kids have a strong sense of who they are. As long as they are confident about themselves, nothing can break them. Incidents like I have experienced will just roll off their backs and afterwards, they can laugh about how ignorant people can be. The next is to lead by example. If I get angry and throw a fit over every incident I have experienced, then that is exactly what they will do. I usually say something funny or use humor. It diffuses an awkward situation and makes the other party feel dumb. However, if the situation is not based on ignorance but malice, then I will fight and stand up for what is right. I pick my battles. Hopefully my children will learn this as they grow up. I feel that I can’t protect my children forever. Neither can I control what other people say and do. All I can do is teach my children to be confident about themselves and try to lead by example.
Our country is the most diverse than it has ever been. Mixed marriages are prevalent worldwide. More schools celebrate and teach multiculturalism and diversity. Parents seek to raise global children. Traditional and social media often talks about multiculturalism and diversity. Movies, television shows, and commercials are incorporating multicultural families to get with the times. At some point in this century, issues like this will be a thing of the past. One can only hope…
“I am Flippish!” is coming to San Francisco!
Filipino American authors and artists have come together to share their stories at the second Filipino American International Book Festival. Hosted by PAWA, a Northern CA based 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization and independent publisher of Filipino American lit. PAWA’s main goal is to create and encourage literature and arts for the preservation and enrichment of Filipino and Filipino American historical, cultural and spiritual values.
I am honored to be invited by Mrs. Linda Nietes of the Philippine Expressions Bookshop to participate in this wonderful event. Come to this free event and get your signed copies of “I am Flippish!” and other wonderful books written by my fellow Filipino American authors. You can find our books at the Philippine Expressions Bookshop’s booth.
This event will be held:
San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch
100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
My assigned schedule at the event is as follows:
Saturday, October 19, 2013
12:30 – 1:30 Fisher’s Children’s Center, 2nd Floor – Reading “I am Flippish!”
2:00 – 3:00 Book signing at Philippine Expressions Bookshop’s table – Table A
Sunday, October 20, 2013
1:00 – 2:00 Book signing at Philippine Expressions Bookshop’s table – Table A
#mondayblogs #hapa #multiculturalfamilies #biracial #mixeracefamily #filipino #irish #multicultural #kidlit #sanfrancisco
I was invited by Heidi Durrow, New York Times Best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky to be a featured author for the Target Free Family Saturday Event at the Japanese American National Museum.
After the reading “I am Flippish!” I gave a Keynote presentation on the stories behind my book, my illustrator, and other fun facts. My audience also got to pin on my map (pictured) their countries of ancestry. I will never take any of the pins off. I will be counting how many pins I get by the end of the year.
Thank you Heidi Durrow and JANM for inviting me to share my book to the families.
Here are more details:
Celebrate the exhibition Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History and share your story with your family and friends! You won’t want to miss out on this fun Target Free Family Saturday.
ALL DAY ACTIVITIES:
• Create a memory book to jot down stories about you and your family.
• Make a family portrait collage.
• Ruthie’s Origami Corner: Fold a fun origami camera.
11AM: Doors open.
11AM-2PM: Make a salad and salad dressing that will soon become a family favorite with Kidding Around the Kitchen.
12PM & 2PM: Bring your memories and prepare to write! Instructor Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo will help you write your own family stories.
1PM: Take a tour of our exhibit Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History with curator Dr. Duncan Williams.
1:30PM: Join us for a ‘mixed’ reading with! Leslie Ryan will read her book I Am Flippish and Heidi Cole will read her book Am I A Color?
2PM: Join us for a screening of the documentary Searchlight Serenade. Searchlight Serenadeexplores the big bands that were formed by Japanese Americans while incarcerated during World War II.
2:30PM: We Tell Stories will perform multicultural tales in Proud To Be Me!
3PM: Allen Say will read his new book The Favorite Daughter. This tale, dedicated with love to Say’s daughter, is one for all parents who want their children to feel pride in their heritage, and to know their own greatest sources of strength and inspiration.
4PM: Doors close.
Generously sponsored by Target, these special Saturdays are filled with fun activities giving families unique ways to learn, play, and grow together.
On behalf of our nation’s multicultural families, I would like for you to start evolving into the twenty-first century.
A while ago you called our home and asked to speak to my children about the types of movies they like to watch. I was kind enough to let you speak to them instead of telling you to take us off your list. The survey was going very well until the end when your surveyor asked my children what ethnic demographics they fall in. Are they Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, Black, Pacific Islander? They both answered that they are Flippish. Long pause. The surveyor asked what Flippish meant and I told her they are half Filipino and half Irish. Another long pause. I repeated that they are fifty percent Filipino and fifty percent Caucasian. I thought that a well regarded survey company such as Nielsen would have thought of the growing number of multiracial families all over America and changed their survey. I never expected the answer we got.
“Ma’am, you can only choose one ethnicity,” replied the surveyor.
Really, Nielsen? My children had to choose one ethnicity. So if they are an even 50/50 why do they have to make a choice? I told her again, that they are half, biracial, and it is unfair to make them choose an ethnicity.
“Ma’am, I don’t make the rules. Your children have to choose one ethnicity,” replied the exasperated surveyor.
During this time my children were looking at me, amused at what was taking place. I don’t think they understood the significance of this situation. However, they didn’t look upset as I was.
I could have done one of two things: I could have delivered some expletives to the poor surveyor who was only doing her job or hang up. I chose neither. I let my children answer the surveyor.
Both of my children answered at the same time, “Filipino!”
The surveyor was satisfied, and put them down as Asian. After we hung up the phone, my eleven year old son mischievously told me that the next time Nielsen calls, he will say he is Caucasian just to be fair with the Irish side of the family.
I explained to the kids that by calling themselves Caucasian the next time you guys call us, it will screw up your statistic. Then my son told me that it is their fault and they should have let him put down he was both Caucasian and Asian. My eight year old daughter asked me why did they have to choose? They are Flippish!
So Nielsen, why did you make my children choose one ethnic background when you were told they have two? Is this what you do when you call up multicultural families and make them choose one category? Your website states “Nielsen Knows People” — do you really? Don’t you know that there are millions of multicultural families in the US? A company like Nielsen should be aware of this and change with the times. Before you call my home again to ask to speak to my children, make sure you change the way your survey is set up and allow your surveyors to check all that applies. Please get with the program or don’t ever call us again.
Leslie V. Ryan
It was a great fun filled event and cultural pride.
The Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) and the PHILIPPINE CONSULATE GENERAL OF LOS ANGELES PRESENTS:
The First ( 115th ) Philippine Independence Day Grand Parade in Historic Filipinotown Los ANGELES
I am very excited to participate in the Philippines Independence Day Celebration on Saturday, June 8th 2013. Come and support the First Grand PH Independence Parade in Historic Filipinotown. Philippine Expressions Book Shop is participating in the exhibit and kindly invited Filipino American authors to showcase their books. I will be signing my book “I am Flippish!” with other Fil Am authors: Myrna de la Paz, Sumi Haru, Marvin Gapultos, Albert Mortiz, Giovanni Ortega, Ludy Ongkeko, Lorenzo Paran, and Jay Wertz.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
I had a wonderful day at the LA Times Festival of Books. The Philippine Expressions tent had a great line up of authors from different genres: