17 Apr 2016
Spring Kwok joins Peter Reitzes to discuss the power of struggle, the balance between acceptance and wanting to change and how being a first generation Chinese American woman impacts her experience of stuttering.
This is StutterTalk’s third episode in a series featuring New York City members of the National Stuttering Association (NSA). On Sunday, May 15th, the NYC Chapters of the NSA will hold their first local stuttering conference. It will be a day to support, educate, and empower stutterers as they explore The Past, Present, and Future of Stuttering. Event details here. Ms. Kwok is asked to discuss this workshop which is expected to draw 50-60 people who stutter.
Regarding identify, Ms. Kwok shares today on StutterTalk:
“We each own multiple intersecting identities that not only define who we are but also how we experience the world. These identifies not only conceptualize who we are, but they are also dynamic in that they are always changing. They can either confirm power or be marked by discrimination. For me, the largest identifies I see myself as are being Chinese, being a woman and of course being a stutterer. Those three have definitely molded my experience…As a child we lack an objective understanding of the shame that we feel for being different. We feel it, but we don’t necessarily understand it. The idea of being different for me growing up was not only in how I looked, but also in how I talked…Each of these three strong identities in me do have very powerful cultural and social implications…They have made me who I am. With being Chinese of course there are a whole slew of stereotypes. Being female there are a lot of things I need to live up to. And of course, being a person who stutters there are stigmas I have to avoid…I think stereotypes of any group is extremely harmful and they generalize billions of people into one model minority. And I think it is really dehumanizing and I think that is slows down self discovery…That has been my experience…These stereotypes have kind of simplified me into a broad spectrum and it has bread a lot of ignorance, not only in the people around me, but also in how I see how I am.”
Spring Kwok, 21 years old, hails from Houston, Texas and joins StutterTalk today from Manhattan where she is a senior at New York University studying Economics.