Writer Of The Week: Alex Lu

‘I get the chance to tell stories about my communities.’
“If your goal is to get people to see our humanity, why is it wrong for us to act human?”
“When the desire to cut corners supersedes the goal of fostering community, everyone suffers.”
“If you tie your treatment as a minority to your ability to excel and defy stereotypes, each time you experience discrimination, it becomes your failure to shoulder.”

Few writers can take complex ideas and distill them into potent statements better than Alex Lu. The topics Alex tackles — ableism, respectability politics, the intersecting forces of societal oppression — are so fraught with nuance, they can be labyrinthine to navigate. But Alex knows how to find his way through, every time.

More than educating readers, Alex inspires them to fight for progress. In “When Fan Conventions Fail Deaf People,” he examines not only accessibility failures, but the extraordinary efforts of the Deaf community to push for change; in “How The Deaf And Queer Communities Are Tackling Oppression Together,” he reveals how intersectionality in action can lead to powerful movements; in “As A Disabled Person On Color, I’m Done Trying To Be A Model Minority,” he provides a roadmap for others looking to defy damning stigmas.

One leaves Alex’s stories ready to take action, at once disheartened by what is and hopeful for what can be. And for that, we are all better off.

Below, Alex shares his thoughts on writing, computers, and his awesome grandma.

You can generally find me writing in my graduate research lab on a computer while my experiments run in the background.

The writers that have most influenced my life are Terry Pratchett and Wayson Choy.

I think “paying writers in exposure” is exploitative. I didn’t have a lot of experience prior to working with The Establishment, and I would have probably accepted the arrangement. But now that I’ve learned how much effort goes into writing, I realize I deserve to be paid!

The coolest thing I’ve bought from money made writing is registration for a workshop on how to build computer programs to analyze thousands of images.

If I could only have one type of food for the rest of my life it would be the braised tofu that my grandmother makes.

Braised tofu

My 18-year-old self would feel confused about where I am today. It’s shocking how fast values change!

I like writing for The Establishment because I get the chance to tell stories about my communities. These stories are important for everyone, because the experiences of the marginalized reflects on our society as a whole. The Establishment recognizes that!

Writing means this to me: Reclamation. I became good with words because of the pressure to be “articulate.” To use that skill as a tool that benefits the issues I care about is powerful.

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