Talking About Asian Americans In Motorcycling With Joonil Park

We all know that motorcycles are rad. We wouldn’t spend so much time talking about them if they weren’t, right? Times may be tough on different levels for a lot of people right now, but bikes are one pretty positive thing in our lives. With that in mind, Joonil Park, senior brand manager of REV’IT! USA and David Chang, founder of @caferacersofinstagram are hosting a casual discussion via Clubhouse about Asian […]

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We all know that motorcycles are rad. We wouldn’t spend so much time talking about them if they weren’t, right? Times may be tough on different levels for a lot of people right now, but bikes are one pretty positive thing in our lives. With that in mind, Joonil Park, senior brand manager of REV’IT! USA and David Chang, founder of @caferacersofinstagram are hosting a casual discussion via Clubhouse about Asian American culture, representation, and shared experiences with awesome motorcycle people.  
The entire world is living through a global pandemic right now, but the uptick in hate crimes against Asian American people has made it even tougher on some of us. What if it was your beloved grandfather, or uncle, or auntie, or grandma who was getting punched in the face and shown on some terrible video played on every newscast? You’d have every reason to be extremely upset.  
At the end of the day, all of us—no matter what cultural differences we may have—are people with families whom we love, and don’t want to see hurt. If you’re reading this, you’re probably also interested in motorcycles. If we can all start with those two things in mind, then we can get somewhere as riders out doing cool things in the world. 
The Clubhouse discussion that Park and Chang are hosting is called AAPI In Motorcycling, and organizer Joonil Park was kind enough to answer a few questions ahead of the event.  
David Chang, founder of @caferacersofinstagram

It’s funny you bring that up, because my cohost David, as well as a few of the panelists, weren’t very familiar with the app. One or two didn’t even know what it was. Despite Clubhouse being limiting due to its iOS exclusivity, I felt it was the most accessible platform for this discussion. There are a few CH rooms I pop into for both motorcycle communities and AAPI hot topic discussions already, so it felt natural to hold it there. In addition to being a nerd for motorcycles, I’m a fan of easy-to-use technology so it was either Clubhouse or starting a Whatsapp Moto AAPI group chat (not a bad idea actually). Another reason is…  

…CH feels the most casual. I drive a desk 5 days a week, and while I’m sure plenty of folks use Zoom, Teams, Hangouts for fun programming, I’m honestly a bit burnt out on it. Don’t get me wrong, I want to do right by the topic and the community, so I’m still doing some research and prepping a handful of talking points ahead of time, but honestly part of my day job involves conducting webinars at work. I just want to have an informal discussion with my motorcycle peers and friends about an issue that’s important to us.  

At minimum, just get a dialogue going in the motorcycle community. Speak openly about the Asian American Pacific Islander community as it affects our little motorcycle bubble in the larger world. Talk about shared experiences, and improve representation and recognition, even a tiny bit, for a group that may not have had the loudest voice or presence in the past. I know this probably won’t have an impact on the larger issues of discrimination and hate we’re seeing right now, and our moto world is tiny in the grand scheme of things, but from my experience most of the community is comprised of smart, open-minded, empathetic people. I’d love to leverage these amazing people to somehow make motorcycling more inclusive for AAPI.
Mony Ty at DGR by Rahoul Ghose

I’m definitely open to it. It would be irresponsible to start a discussion without being prepared to keep the dialogue going. To be frank, I also want it to be fun. Light-hearted even. Hopefully it lands somewhere between a depressing 2hr group chat about being “woke” and a quick & dirty banter about who’s got the coolest custom bike or upcoming epic BDR ride. My girlfriend, Kirsten Midura, runs a non-profit called Engines For Change and we’ve been discussing continuing to use Clubhouse as a platform to help activate the motorcycle community to address other social and environmental issues.  

I don’t need to emphasize it’s a nutty world right now, we’re just trying to make sense of it and look out for each other. Also, this isn’t just for AAPI, it’s open to everyone. Non-AAPI allies come and listen. If you have insights, I’ll give you the stage, just bring your empathy and an iPhone. Also mute your damn mic if you’re not talking lol.  The AAPI In Motorcycling discussion will take place on Clubhouse on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific. Here’s the link if you want to join. 
Header photo of Joonil Park by Kirsten Midura



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