Daniel Lee

Daniel Lee

Unapologetically Hmong. Actor/Director/Writer/Producer with Good Zoo Studios. IG/Twitter: @mrdaniellee

  • White Proximity and Anti-Blackness

    From: Daniel LeeTo: Hmong-AmericansSubject: White proximity and Anti-BlacknessHey. Nyob zoo. I see you.I’m sure you’ve seen the videos and news articles about #GeorgeFloyd and his terrible murder at the hands of Officer Derek Chauvin. I’m sure you’ve seen the increased mention of Officer Tou Thao, who stood by with hands by his side as George Floyd’s life slipped away.“He was just doing his job”, “have you heard of the ‘blue wall of silence’”, “not all cops”. CUT THE BULLSHIT.I’ve heard it millions of times before. Hell, I probably used to peddle it too. But every day is an opportunity to learn. Hiding behind your privilege and white proximity will not protect you. While you may feel that you’re a better citizen than black people, understand that you are not. You’re a posterchild for white supremacy. You’re a model minority until you’re not. Then you become an example. Your inaction has clear consequences — if Officer Tou Thao had intervened, perhaps George Floyd would be alive. He made his choice and he’s going to pay the price.DO THE RIGHT THING AND BE JUDGED FOR YOUR ACTIONS.

  • Hmong Brothers, We Are The Problem: Domestic Abuse in Hmong Society

    When it comes to domestic abuse, we are the problem, but we can also be the solution if we’re willing to listen.Growing up a Hmong man, I never had to think about or consider many of the issues that my sisters and female cousins had to navigate every day of their lives. In the current atmosphere of rising Hmong feminism, it’s brought to light many topics of abuse and injustices that the women in my life have had to live with. For example, being a good nyab and adjusting to the scrutiny of living under your in-laws’ roof, being seen by our society as belonging to their husbands, and the amount of abuse that Hmong women are only now publicly talking about.I grew up with the set expectations that I should be a protector and provider for my family; however from my father’s time to mine, I feel that definition needs to evolve into something greater. In my father’s generation, gender roles were clearly defined. Men were hunter-gatherers, while women kept the home fire alive, prepared meals and cared for the children. Men made the critical decisions regarding the family unit and the clan as a whole, but now as genders are finding more equal footing outside of Hmong society, inside we struggle to balance these roles and the issues around them. Additionally, we find that what once happened behind closed doors can no longer stay hidden. Women’s voices and their struggles can not and should not be ignored by Hmong men.There is a lot of pride that Hmong men carry — and rightfully so — for the many things that we’ve accomplished. Hmong men were stealth fighters in the Secret War. Hmong men paved the way through jungles and across rivers. Hmong men held up Hmong society in the hills of Laos, within the refugee camps, and in the resettlement into American society. All these things we should be proud of, but we must also open ourselves to evolve with the times and to listen to our fellow tribeswomen.When women voice their issues such as domestic abuse, one of the common defenses of men is that “domestic violence is gender neutral...men can also be abused.” Simply saying that “men can also be abused” trivializes the issue. It’s the male-equivalent of “all lives matter.” Women aren’t saying that men don’t get abused, what they are saying is that women are getting abused at a disproportionately high rate. Full stop. This is not a fact that’s up for argument — women are literally being killed. We’re not trying to debate the numbers — we’re trying to put a face to the statistics. The truth is that when it comes to domestic abuse in the Hmong community, the majority of abusers are men and the majority of victims are women and children.If you add in all of the variables such as rape culture, toxic masculinity, patriarchal rule, and systemic misogyny, then the most visible victims are women. Don’t get me wrong — men are victims of this patriarchy as well, but we are in a privileged position and should not be stepping on the backs of abused women in order to bring light to an issue that affects just us, the privileged group.It’s important to listen to the other side. I agree that the final goal is to address domestic violence across the board. Women and men are victims of domestic violence, however let’s tackle the most immediate concern and push to save the lives of those who are the most oppressed: our fellow women. They’ve been subjugated to being second class people, and it is our duty as the warriors/protectors/leaders that we claim to be to hear them and protect them as well as to ensure that Hmong women’s voices have equal share at our tables.

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