Active Minds Blog » Tao Liu http://activemindsblog.org Changing the conversation about mental health Wed, 25 May 2016 12:46:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.11 Emerging Scholars Fellowship: Learning More about Asian American History http://activemindsblog.org/emerging-scholars-fellowship-learning-more-about-asian-american-history/ http://activemindsblog.org/emerging-scholars-fellowship-learning-more-about-asian-american-history/#comments Tue, 26 Apr 2016 16:49:41 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=4783 Tao is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Tao and her fellow scholars here.

angry asian man figureA couple of weeks ago, I attended the Asian Americans Conference at Indiana University. The keynote speaker was Phil Yu, the founder of one of the earliest and most popular Asian American blogs, Angry Asian Man.

I imagined many times how angry the blogger would be, but to my surprise, he is not an angry guy, and actually he is very calm and nice. In his speech, I learned how he started the blog as a way of voicing the issues that Asian Americans have to face in the U.S., and how he fights for the rights of Asian Americans, based on the privileges that previous Asian Americans have fought for him.

In a workshop at the conference, I participated in an activity, in which all members of the workshop were asked to list three American food that first came to our mind. Not surprisingly, the most nominated included burger, fries, fried chicken, and pie.

Even though Chinese take-out restaurants were three times more than McDonald’s in this country, and that Chinese American food was adapted to fit the American taste just like burgers and other “typical” American food, it is still not considered a common and typical American food.

food image

Although we cannot equal food to people, we can’t deny that just like Chinese food is not considered American enough, Asian Americans are also considered not American enough. No matter how fluent they speak English, they are still considered perpetual foreigner – a form of racism many Asian Americans experience. The following video shows exactly how this type of racism enacts. This is exactly why I want to study it, and use research to change the status quo.

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When Masculinity and Racism Collide: Meet Tao Liu’s Mentor Dr. Christopher Liang http://activemindsblog.org/when-masculinity-and-racism-collide-meet-tao-lius-mentor-dr-christopher-liang/ http://activemindsblog.org/when-masculinity-and-racism-collide-meet-tao-lius-mentor-dr-christopher-liang/#comments Fri, 25 Mar 2016 13:33:51 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=4566 Tao is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Tao and her fellow scholars here.

When I talk about racism against Asian American men with my friends, some reactions I got was “Seriously? This is U.S.” Among those who have awareness of racism, it is hard for them to connect racism and gender together. However, when they start talking about difficulties with finding dating partners, they know what I am talking about.

There are not many scholars researching the intersection of racism and masculinity, especially for Asian American men. Luckily, Dr. Chris Liang, one of the few scholars focusing on this research area, agreed to be my National Mentor.

tao mentorDr. Christopher Liang is a former President of the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity. His research interests center on how perceived racism and masculinity ideologies are associated with the academic, psychological, and physiological health, and health-related behaviors of ethnic minority boys and men. As he said in our conversations, he intends to use research to make positive impacts on communities. He is not a scholar who only lives in the ivory tower, rather, he regards research as a means for intervention on multiple levels.

With his rich experience working with community partners, Dr. Liang has helped to brainstorm how to collaborate with community agencies and offer my research skills as a way to return to them. We have set up regular meeting times through June.

During our conversations, research is not the only topic that we have talked about. In our phone meeting yesterday, we discussed my concerns of my future career directions. He not only helped me figured out all my possible choices, but also gave me very useful tips for job searching and maintaining a good work-life balance. In addition, he gave me recommendations for my research skills development for future academic positions.

He not only helped me figured out all my possible choices, but also gave me very useful tips for job searching and maintaining a good work-life balance. In addition, he gave me recommendations for my research skills development for future academic positions.

How can a mentor be so helpful to someone who he has even never met before? I am looking forward to meeting him in person in the next Active Minds conference!

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Emerging Scholars Fellowship: Meet Tao Liu http://activemindsblog.org/emerging-scholars-fellowship-meet-tao-liu/ http://activemindsblog.org/emerging-scholars-fellowship-meet-tao-liu/#comments Tue, 23 Feb 2016 13:59:33 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=4396 Tao is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Tao and her fellow scholars here.

tao 1_v2

Hello everyone! I am Tao Liu, a fourth year doctoral student in counseling psychology at Indiana University Bloomington. I was born and raised in a village in Hebei Province, China.

Growing up in a poor family in rural China, I was continuously exposed to inequalities related to poverty, mental disability, rural residency, and female status.  I questioned why women still had to do more house chores after a day of hard work than men, wondered why a homeless man with schizophrenia was only ridiculed but not cared for, and doubted the negative attitudes directed toward my parents when they went to the city in farm clothing.

I even doubted the right of teachers to spank students as a form of discipline.  Listening to my grandparents’ stories of being victimized in World War II, I often wondered how the wounds of collective and personal trauma can be healed.

All these experiences led me to counseling psychology. After I came to the United States, I encountered racial dynamics in a way that shook my identity of being Chinese.  I was afraid that my accumulated cultural heritage from China was worthless, and that I needed to redefine who I am.  Seeking support from my Asian and Asian American friends, I found that men and women experience stereotypes and discrimination differently.

One thing that struck me was related to Asian men and women’s attractiveness. While Asian and Asian American women are popular in the dating market, Asian and Asian American men face particular difficulties to be perceived attractive and find partners.

Reading the discrimination literature, I found that the current Asian American discrimination measures do not differentiate the distinct stereotypes experienced by men and women. From my personal interaction with my Asian male friends, I also learned that often times discrimination transforms into a threat to their masculinity: being perceived not attractive or masculine enough affects how they perceive themselves as men.

This is how my dissertation, as well as my Emerging Scholars project, came about.

tao 2

In my study, I am looking at how Asian American men experience discrimination in a distinct way that is different from Asian American women and other men of color.

In the pilot stage of my study, I have interviewed some Asian American men inquiring their personal experiences of discrimination. Based on these interviews and current literature, I and my research team developed a draft measure for Asian American men’s experience of gendered discrimination.

I also consulted scholars in the fields of Asian American psychology and revised the measure based on their suggestions. In my current project, I will examine the validity and reliability of the measure, and explore its relationships with psychological distress, somatic symptoms, individualism/collectivism orientation, and general discrimination. Currently I am in the stage of data collection. At the end of March, I will start analyze the data.

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