Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. We do this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media
California State Senator Ted Lieu called for Bob Beckel’s resignation earlier this week. Now you can join him.
During a recent broadcast of “The Five,” Fox News host Bob Beckel said that “Chinese are the single biggest threat to the national security of the U.S. … Do you know what we just did? As usual, we bring them over here and teach a bunch of Chinamen – err, Chinese people – how to do computers and then they go back to China and hack into us.”
We should all be alarmed by Mr. Beckel’s racist, xenophobic comments. His comments have no place in America and he must resign immediately.
This is at least the second time Mr. Beckel has used racial terms. Last year, he said that after he went swimming, his “eyes blew up, it made me look Oriental.”
I am one of those ‘Chinamen’ with ‘Oriental’ eyes that immigrated to America and majored in computer science. I also served on active duty in the United States Air Force and continue to serve my country in the Reserves. And today, as an American and as a California State Senator, I – and many others across this country – call for Mr. Beckel’s resignation.
America is great because anyone can be and American. Our country is strong because of our diversity. Unfortunately, Fox News host Bob Beckel does not understand what it means to be an American.
But Mr. Beckel’s comments are more than just racist and stupid. His ignorant views are dangerous because it is precisely those types of extreme xenophobic and racist views that caused our government to massively violate constitutional rights during World War II and force more than 100,000 Americans into internment camps.
“JOIN ME TODAY TO CALL FOR BOB BECKEL’S RESIGNATION FROM FOX NEWS.”
you're probably just those fucking stupid tumblr social justice police trying to justify yourself -- how can you even be already analyzing moana when you don't even know what polynesian culture is like.?ugh, gtfo.
Nobody’s trying to justify anything, I was merely stating my thoughts, or is that not allowed anymore?
By the way, this is me:
Fairly Polynesian if you ask me.
HEY-OH *spirit fingers*
As a minority whose race is going to be represented by a company who doesn’t have a shining track record in terms of POC representation, I think I have a right to be concerned and rather nit picky.
Is it a crime to make sure any of these cultures — whichever ones are showcased in this movie — aren’t being exploited in any manner? Because Polynesian refers to more than one culture, multiple really, whose differences people don’t see. I could not tell you the number of times I had to explain to someone what Samoan was and they reply with, “Oh, so you’re Hawaiian?”
Audiences need to know that Polynesians are way more than a group of people supposedly living in a “tropical Hawaiian paradise.” We are more than ukuleles, grass skirts, and coconut bras. We are more than the flower and kukui leis round our necks; the seis adorning our hair; our frickin sick tattoos.
As an Islander living in a place where I am constantly mistaken as Asian or Hispanic because nobody has ever heard of Samoan or Tongan or Tokelauan, Fijian, Niuean, and all the rest, you had better believe that when my people are given the chance to be represented, I am definitely gonna be there, making sure everything is done right.
Perhaps, since they’re talking mythology and whatnot, Disney’s gonna make Moana of the Lapita people, who are the ancestral Pacific Islanders. Who knows? I do know this: I can voice my own opinion with how Disney dishes out culture on this film, seeing as it’s my own.
traditional chinese is an actual written language used by millions of people, not symbols to be thrown around at the whim of set designers because they look cool and idk, serves to create a menacing asian atmosphere. this is so disrespectful, and made even worse by the fact that this film in set it taipei, taiwan where the official written language is traditional chinese.
it doesn’t matter that this film caters to a primarily “white” audience who won’t be able to read it, the language and culture of taiwan isn’t something for you to twist and use as you deem fit because it’s “exotic.”
lucy shoots a guy for not being able to speak english.
she l i t e r a l l y shoots this taiwanese taxi driver, in taiwan for not being able to speak english. she’s in taipei and she’s shooting people as they are of no use to her because they don’t speak english.
just think about the sort of message that’s sending out. she’s not being “bad-ass strong female character who takes no shit,” she’s saying that english is useful and better. this is the type of harmful ideology that stretches all the way back from when western countries were colonising and forcing their language and customs on other countries.
let me explain with a real life example. i was born in new zealand to two taiwanese parents. i am fluent in english, but mandarin is conversational at best. my friends in taiwan say that i am “so lucky” to speak fluent english, when they are fluent in mandarin and their english level is no worse than my mandarin. they tell me that they want to perfect their english but in the same breath tell me that mandarin isn’t worth perfecting because i have english and that’s “enough”. they also tell me how pretty my white friends are when they see pictures.
this is the type of neo imperialism ideology that they’ve grown up buying into. it honestly hurts and frustrates me that they belittle their own culture like this, honestly believing that the western world is superior. this is the type of neo imperialism ideology that this film (hopefully unintentionally) promotes: white people are better and will save the day.
if they wanted to film a movie about a white women getting back at those who had violated her, why not film it in a western country? if they wanted to film it in taiwan, why not find an asian lead actress?
i do agree that we need more women protagonists in action/superhero movies, but not like this. its not okay that the female lead needs to be kidnapped and have her body cut open without her consent in order to gain her powers, and those said those powers do not make any of this racist bullshit okay.
i am just so tired and angry of poc always being brushed off to the side as either props or villains in mainstream media.
as a poc, it’s so frustrating to see that the of the standard of beauty still white women when we live in multi-cultural societies and a diverse world.
feminism is about equality. a film in which poc are presented as evil and inferior before being killed off by a superior white woman does not promote equality.
Every year, Project by Project selects a non-profit partner based on a theme or issue that addresses current needs in the Asian American community. This year, Project by Project LA is partnering up with Pacific Asian Counseling Services (PACS), whose mission is to enrich the lives of children and families through counseling and caring. PACS provides culturally sensitive and language specific services with expertise in the immigrant Asian Pacific Islander populations.
We are featuring some of the most popular and renown restaurants and drink purveyors. You also may find a list of our participants here.
Project by Project (PbP) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in New York City in 1998 by a group of young Asian American professionals. The founders surveyed the non-profit landscape and noticed a recurring need in the Asian American community—organizations were spending so much time on fulfilling its missions and executing programs that they were unable to pay enough attention to the business of being a non-profit. The founders of PbP realized that what the community needed was social entrepreneurs, and that is what they sought out to build.
Comprised of a team of professionals with backgrounds in finance, consulting, technology, media, entertainment and law, PbP’s founding team felt it could play a strong role in assisting community groups in securing capital, reaching out to new groups of volunteers and bringing greater awareness to issues affecting the Asian American community. Based on those principals, PbP created its campaigns around a 3-pronged mission that is still in practice today: Volunteerism, Awareness, and Fundraising.
Building upon those principles and looking to impact as many causes as possible as it expands, PbP created a method of taking on a different local beneficiary community partner every year, touching on a different issue each year. This method of focusing on one issue at a time for a period of a year allows PbP to work in-depth with the partner and thoroughly educate its volunteers on the cause.
Our signature event is “Plate by Plate,” our annual tasting benefit, formerly the “Food & Wine Tasting.” We are the only Asian American non-profit organization in the country that produces a large-scale food tasting event with star chefs, top rated restaurants and celebrities who participate by serving dishes to our attendees.
This is sure to be an amazing event for an amazing cause, I hope to see you there! For more information and ticket purchase, click here. This is not only an opportunity to truly give back to the community, but also see talent like the hosts jennyyangjokes of Jenny Yang comedy and seanmiura, Mr. Hyphen 2013!
Today is my birthday, and as many of you know, immigration reform is one of the most important issues to me. My life and the lives of my family and community have been defined by US foreign policy and immigration laws. Instead of wishing me a happy birthday, you can wish me a happy birthday by calling President Obama at (202) 456-1111 during the weekday and requesting the following:
"Hi, my name is __, and I’m calling with the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance to urge President Obama to take immediate action on immigration. We support executive orders that ensure humane conditions at ICE facilities and in enforcement for all detainees, and specifically transgender detainees; considers the needs of lesbian, gay bisexual, and transgender immigrants; stops unjust deportations that tear families apart; expands the use of prosecutorial discretion; and expands Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals."
And thank you for your birthday wishes, please direct your wishes towards documented and undocumented immigrants that need our assistance. Also, please let us know if you call by emailing us and letting us know about your action at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a scene in And The Band Played On where Matthew Modine’s character explains the origins of the phrase “The Butchers’ Bill”: a phrase coined by British Admiral Lord Nelson when asking for the daily casualty reports of soldiers lost in the Napoleonic wars. In the film, Modine’s character creates his own Butchers’ Bill for the AIDS epidemic, and it remains one of pop culture’s most poignant visual reminders of the devastating cost of the disease in human lives.
This past months’ Butchers Bill in the Gaza Strip.
Too many of us are allowed by the comforts of distance to pretend that what is happening in the Gaza Strip right now does not affect us. That distance comes in many forms: geographic distance, cultural distance, religious distance, racial distance, and linguistic distance. That distance gives shelter to our assertion that what is happening to Gaza is not happening to us. It gives shelter to our rationalizations and our justifications. It gives shelter to our dehumanization of the Palestinian people. It gives shelter to our silence.
Let me be clear: most of us do not know what it is like to live as a Palestinian in the Gaza Strip. As a Canadian-born (East) Asian American, I do not know what it is like to live as an occupied people in my own Holy Land. I do not know what it is like to live under constant threat of overwhelming military violence and death. I do not know what it is like to find myself staring down the barrel of an assault rifle, or be targeted by the sophisticated weapons mounted on a gunship or an F-16. I also do not know what it is like to be brown and Muslim, and to have these two simple facts of my being cast me as a villain and a terrorist.
But, what is happening in Gaza still touches me on a fundamental level.
In Gaza City, a Palestinian man stands amid debris after an Israeli airstrike. (Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)
For so many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the plight of colonized people is familiar and deeply personal. Most Asian and Pacific Islander countries still bear the scars of both military and cultural occupation, whether by Western powers and/or by other Asian nations; some of our lands still remain occupied to this day. Most of us in the AAPI diaspora share a blood memory of the violence that is wrought by occupying forces against indigenous peoples, and the political, cultural and militaristic tools that have been used in the exploitation of our lands and our people.
Most of us can still identify the after-shocks of colonialism on the course of our lives. Some of us share family memories of the atrocities of war that came with revolution against occupying forces. Some of us are in America as refugees fleeing the violence of war. As Americans and/or descendant of certain Asian nations, many of us are complicit as colonizers; some of us also still live as colonized peoples today, and for many of us that fight against the colonizers rages on.
It is true that I am not Muslim and I am not Palestinian. I also do not need to share in those identities to see the connection between their struggles and my own political narratives. I do not need to share in those identities to recognize the humanity of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, and to lament their devastating and senseless slaughter. I do not need to share in those identities to stand in solidarity.
I need only be human.
The mother of one of the children killed Wednesday on a Gaza beach by Israeli forces grieves the death of her child. (Photo credit: Daily Mail)
I do not know how to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All I know is that this bloodshed has got to end.
Millions of activists around the world — including protesters in many Asian countries — have taken up the cause of the Palestinian people fighting against occupying Israeli forces. It is time for Asian Americans to join our voices to this expanding international chorus of outrage.It is time for us — as AAPI and as moral humans — to take a vocal stand in solidarity with Palestinian people, and all our Muslim American brothers and sisters in the States. We can no longer allow others to pay the price for our silence; for now we are again reminded that the price of our silence is too high.
Acknowledgement: Many thanks to Tazila Ahmed (@tazzystar) for inspiring, and providing many resources, in the writing of this article.
Juliet Shen and Vanessa Teck are two of the OCA interns who were terminatedin 2013 for openly criticizing a major sponsor. Both identifying as activists and feminists in their early 20’s, they have shared experiences of isolation, pain, and fear. Since then, Juliet and Vanessa have begun a transformative journey to better understand how to root their movements in love.
It’s been a rough year of self-reflection and unexpected turns, but I like to think that I’ve grown as a person and an activist. After being fired, I was the brunt of jokes and anonymous emails about how irrational and stupid I was, how I’d never find a place in the APIA community again, and how my career in DC was over. My idealistic bubble was popped — everything was reduced to a form letter of termination read in an empty room. I was defeated, and isolated myself in my college campus determined to not return to a community that cut us out without remorse.
After OCA, it became second nature to avoid certain individuals and organizations. This was perhaps unnecessary, but my discomfort was real. It can be difficult navigating the circuits of Asian America when you’ve pissed off one of the biggest organizations. I linked up with Suey Park as a friend and collaborator over our shared experience of being booted from nonprofits in the APIA community. It felt good to be angry. I was powerful again after being stripped of my autonomy and dignity, and stepped up to the mantle of “Juliet Shen – Feminist, Blogger, and Activist”. I was excited to be relevant again as a web warrior fighting for representation and justice. Of course, you know how that story ends.
Sometimes it’s hard to love a movement when it never loves back. The expectations for feminists and activists often don’t leave room for being human. I’ve come to find that most people who meet me for the first time have this idea of me as a “militant, man-hating, white-man worshiper”. This year, I joined a sororityand I started dating again. Somehow, these choices — choices that I made for myself and choices that make me happy — have dissolved friendships and alliances in my life. It was easier to grow a thick skin and become as bitter and callous as people wanted to believe I was. But ultimately, we can’t let peoples expectations of us limit and harden our hearts; that is the opposite of what activism should do.
I did come close to quitting. I wanted to experience life as a “normal” 21 year old and go out, have fun, and not worry. I almost didn’t renew Fascinasians’ domain and toyed with the idea of letting it fade away peacefully. I chose a year of self-care and self-love because activism was tainted with reluctance and pain. I was never radical enough, but always too radical for someone. I wasn’t angry enough, but my anger intimidated and alienated others. I didn’t feel good enough for anyone and struggled to find motivation to do anything at all.
Both OCA and Suey Park taught me the dangers of rooting my ideology in anger. And yet, this year has been cathartic. During theTwitter Clusterfuck of 2014,one particular hashtag appeared: #BuildDontBurn. That is where I learned what real community and humility meant. If OCA was the bad breakup it felt like, this was coming home to family. That’s what I always thought activism was supposed to be: individuals coming together and loving each other because they shared a dream that a better world was possible. The guidance and love from the people behind #BuildDontBurn reshaped my perspectives on ego, credibility, community, and organizing. I didn’t have to be “good enough” for anyone — I just had to act because there was injustice and discrimination in the world.
Ultimately, it is a privilege to not be political. Instead, I am reimagining activism in a positive, loving way. Tanzila Ahmed, an organizer and blogger, wrote about love as a radical tool. This year, I let myself be soft. I learned to love in more powerful and constructive ways. Love is transformative in all of its many forms, from platonic to romantic to revolutionary. The love and encouragement from OCA’s Class of 2013 Interns (shoutout to the McMansion!) and my mentors (have y’all read Reappropriate?) keeps me going today. And what of OCA? Well, I maintain that they were the spark that lit my fire…and Summer 2013 won’t be the thing that puts it out.
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After my termination from OCA last year, I lost myself. I began the summer as a fresh graduate with stars in my eyes, hoping that my experience in our nation’s Capitol would equip me with the tools to serve my community. Yet, after a harsh termination, the world scared me. I received anonymous messages telling me that it would be impossible for me to find a career within the APIA advocacy community, the space that I called my home for so long. I was told that I had made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. There was no room for dialogue, for I already felt the labels of a failed activist and student bearing huge weights on my shoulder. I loved the movement, but I felt as though it was no longer loving me back.
As a result, I entered my Masters program with angry eyes and a hardened soul. I knew that it would take a toll on me; my time, my health, and my overall well-being. Yet, despite multiple warnings from well-intentioned mentors about entering the ivory tower, I could have never prepared myself for the psychological train wreck that I experienced throughout this first year.I felt the need to prove myself, to prove that I belonged in a space deemed so illustrious by family members who have been taught that academia is the only road to success and by mentors who have equated academic achievement to overcoming institutional barriers. I constantly feared, with each new day in my program, that someone would call me out as a fraud. I worried that, despite my various involvements and successes, my work would never be seen as good enough, that I would never be seen as graduate material. That before I spoke in class, I had to spend precious time developing articulate statements, so that when I said them out loud, I was perceived as credible and qualified. I sat and stared at blank pages as I attempted to write my papers, worried that my inadequacies would appear the moment that I began typing. That opportunities to work with faculty members would come with risks of a larger and more public community discovering my incompetence and termination.
I never afforded myself the opportunity to fully deconstruct how the summer quaked my entire being. I went through a stage of coldness, focused solely on achieving and burying the pain that I felt each quarter, as if ignoring the pain would cause my questioning to go away. I was often told that my kindness and conscientiousness were weaknesses… that if I remained soft, I would not be able to shape others. I lost the power of my narrative and in doing so, I forgot how to love. It was not until I was invited to speak on a panel with Suey Parkthat I began to realize how much I was hurting… and how much of myself that I had lost. As an individual who identifies as an advocate and activist right down to my core, I spent more time resisting the system, rather than transforming it. I forgot that as a Cambodian American feminist and activist in Higher Education and Student Affairs… my presence in itself was already resistance.
What if instead… we transformed our idea of activism into being soft? If it were about loving deeper, instead of fighting harder? If it were about creating transformative change through soulful relationships, rather than tearing each other down? What if activism was less about expertise, but focused more on cultivating a space where mistakes could be considered a form of resistance? Imagine activism as a living room in which we can all feel welcomed and at home, hearts warmed and united by our common struggles, rather than a process of putting on armor and preparing for war.
That’s not to say that protest organizing is not needed, but despite many activists who claim to fight for justice, we forget to be inclusive and place one another on a pedestal. We have expectations of others that we cannot even achieve ourselves. Nothing about that is visionary; it’s just a remix of the oppressive systems we want to transform in the first place. By claiming to be an expert in anything, we remove the ability of ourselves and others to learn and grow together. We are our own gatekeepers. It was remarkably easy to disconnect myself from the reality and challenges of crafting an inclusive climate, excused by the overshadowing of my anger, but by recognizing that my lived experiences are only one of many that have the potential to create change, I begin to decolonize what I have learned and transformatively humanize myself and others.
Since then, I have found love within the stories I have had the privilege of hearing. I found love in the struggles from fellow womxn of color, the achievements from student activists, the frustrations from other graduate students drowning in debt, and the clarity from those who have been told that they matter. Although I end this piece still fearful, I am thankful for the family that I have gained along the way. From the cutest OCA intern class ever to an incredible partner who pushes me to be fierce and proudly introduces me as a feminist, I no longer feel lost or alone. I am embraced by those in my life who continue to love me, whether I am “radical” enough or not, “critical” enough or not, “activist” enough or not.
I continue to struggle and am hopeful that I will continue to struggle because it will mean that I am still attempting to create my own space founded upon love.
The Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s production of comic-opera “The Mikado” has caused controversy due to the nature of the show and the production’s use of White actors to play Japanese characters. LA-based community organizer Sean Miura (@seanmiura) reflects on his experience with the “The Mikado” and the society’s response to the backlash.
I hold a special place in my heart for the people of Seattle.
Seattle is not where I grew up, but Seattle was the closest I had to an Asian American community with the International District, Uwajimaya food court lunches, and the salmon my uncle Tike would catch fresh in the mornings. My mom drove me, 10 years old at the time, from our home in Vancouver to see David Henry Hwang’s “Golden Child” at the Seattle Reparatory Theater, the first time I saw Asian Americans telling our own stories live.
I saw The Mikado a couple years later.
Actors from the Seattle’s Gilbert & Sullivan Society revival of “The Mikado”, on-stage this month. Photo credit: Greg Wood / Getty Images.
My memory of the local production is fuzzy, but I remember not enjoying it. At that point, though not yet a teenager, I had grown accustomed to stereotypes and racism. When you look like I do it comes with the territory. But I remember feeling uneasy with the makeup, the hair, and those infamous names. I knew enough Japanese to understand that these names – Titipu, Yum-Yum, and Pish-Tosh among others — could not be actual Japanese names. But somehow this all still took place in Japan?
It would be years before I fully understood and was able to parse out why this production (not just the production, but the play itself) didn’t sit properly. As I built my vocabulary and saw more and more work like “The Mikado”, I was able to trace connections between what happened on-stage with larger systems of oppression that have fed off of cultural misrepresentation. The camps did not happen overnight. The camps did not end overnight.
“The Mikado” is a classic Gilbert & Sullivan opera which, true to much of their work, comments on Victorian British society. This particular piece uses Japanese iconography (only a few decades earlier the American military pulled Japan out of its self-imposed solitude by force, leading to a resurgence of Orientalism in Europe concurrent with newly global access to Japanese art) as a way to hide criticism of British institutions. At that time Japan was seen as exotic and almost imaginary, a trope that still survives today. A crude parallel would be the way JK Rowling utilizes the fictional world of her Harry Potter series to critique real life, contemporary government and social structures today.
The inherent problem approaches. Rowling creates a fantastical alternative universe to house her criticism, whereas G&S usurp a real place and repurpose it as fantasy. Rowlings’ tactic allows her to create an imaginary culture that fits and augments the agenda of her writing, whereas G&S’ use of an actual setting forces themselves to either conform to existing structures and derive forced metaphor, or to essentially commit literary colonization through subjugation of a people’s culture and country to suit their own end.
In a nutshell, Hogwarts can be a metaphor because it is an imaginary place. Japan is not an imaginary place.
Hogwarts is not a real place. You can tell because there, sometimes, it snows on the inside.
So when a play such as “The Mikado” is presented in America, not only are we forced to confront its antiquated/colonial approach to satire but we’re also forced to confront the history of East Asian people in America who have had to deal with its aftermath. On an academic level we can understand what Gilbert & Sullivan were attempting and we can understand why it worked and we can rationalize why its racial tropes were not unsettling to Victorian British society. But, as with most art, the piece evokes an emotional response along with the intellectual. In a different country and over a century and a half after the time of Gilbert & Sullivan, we can’t strip productions of “The Mikado” from the context in which they are presented or from the humans who live within and contribute to that context.
I am not a metaphor. My cultural heritage, the practices I was raised with, and my name come from generations and generations of connection to the ground our people have stood on, whether in Seattle, Los Angeles, Fukushima, or Fukuoka. Lampooning White aristocracy by using Japan as a vessel does not justify contributing to the constant belittlement of my ancestors, my family, and myself. It causes collateral damage.
I have not seen the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society performance of “The Mikado” so I cannot comment on the actual show, but I am extremely disappointed in the responses offered by the company. However, I have grown accustomed, if not more resistant to, stereotypes, racism, and the voices that will reinforce them to preserve the status quo.
When you look like we do it comes with the territory. There is much more work to be done.
____ This has been a guest-post by Sean Miura (@seanmiura). Sean is an LA-based community activist and organizer, curator of the long-running community art seriesTuesday Night Project, and the former Mr. Hyphen of 2013.
so I mentioned this in a previous post but I think this is something that actually we really need to consider and deserves its own post as a conversation.
And because, well, I’ve had lots of success with the “POCinNeed” tag.
One of the biggest problems we have as bloggers is the fact that searching for actual discussions about asian fetishes, asian women, and asian culture is the fact that 99% of the posts that are tagged with that shit are from well…porn sites that do all of the above.
So our voices get drowned out in the enormous morass of bullshit.
That being said, I think it would be really helpful to have a good, easy tag for people to track if they want to look up shit that DISCUSSES these things, instead of participates in it.
And the tag needs to be something that can be used for a lot of things and be flexible. And also I think it should involve puns because who DOESN’T love puns? And also reclaiming?
So…what if we used the tag “RiceforThought” (one word, makes it less inclusive and thus less likely to come up with porn and other racist bullshit)?
THINK ABOUT IT
BECAUSE IT’S FOOD FOR THOUGHT
BUT IT’S MORE CODED FOR US
because like Asia, it’s an enormous continent, and like provides for literally 87% of the world’s rice crop.
But anyways. Think about it. We need a tag to distinguish ourselves from the bullshit.
And if you’re down with this idea and think it should be done, PLEASE REBLOG
“We cannot educate white women and take them by the hand. Most of us are willing to help but we can’t do the white woman’s homework for her. That’s an energy drain. More times than she cares to remember, Nellie Wong, Asian American feminist writer, has been called by white women wanting a list of Asian American women who can give readings or workshops. We are in danger of being reduced to purveyors of resource lists.”—
Feminism needs to be authentically intersectional, or nothing at all. This speaks volumes
“The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.”—Scott Woods (via newwavefeminism)
According to Asian Pride Project director, Aries Liao, the intention was to include Asian American parents in the coming out process, to address the stigmas they face in culturally conservative Asian-Pacific communities.
The PSAs are currently airing on local California stations serving large Asian-American communities.
Oh my god this is the first time I’ve ever heard the terms for gay, bi, and trans said in my parents’ native language…
There are more than 4,000 Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders who hold public office in nearly 40 states and U.S. territories. In California, they include five federal representatives, 15 state representatives, more than 90 council members and more than 100 judges, according to the National Asian Pacific American Political Almanac 2014-15 published by the UCLA Asian American Studies Center.
Asian-Americans have not only fared well at the local level in the San Gabriel Valley, where there is heavy concentration of Chinese-Americans, they’ve also been increasingly successful at winning state offices and congressional seats representing that area, the South Bay and Los Angeles, Sonenshein said.
Los Angeles County — the nation’s largest with about 10 million people — has never had an Asian-American member of the Board of Supervisors despite the community making up 15 percent of its population. The L.A.-Long Beach-Santa Ana region has about 1.8 million Asian-Americans, the highest concentration of any metro area, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
None of the candidates in the June 3 election who ran for two open L.A. supervisor seats were Asian-American. And the city of Los Angeles, which has an Asian population of about 13 percent, has had only one Asian-American serve on its City Council or in any city elected office. Michael Woo served on the council from 1985 to 1993 and lost a bid for mayor against Richard Riordan in 1993.
“It really stands out,” Sonenshein said. “Over 400,000 Asian Americans in L.A., no City Council members, no citywide elected officials and only one in the history of the entire city…. It’s phenomenal trying to figure out.”
The term “Chinaman” is an archaic racial slur dating back to the mid nineteenth century, with a heinous history of dehumanization and violence against Asian Americans (and Chinese Americans in particular). Yet, Fox News co-host Bob Beckel has used this slur on-air not once, but twice, in reference to Chinese and Chinese Americans. Most recently, he referred to Chinese people as “Chinamen” in a July 10, 2014 episode of “The Five”.
Fox News’ ongoing tolerance of Beckel’s anti-Asian racism, and their unapologetic airing of Beckel’s repeated use of anti-Asian slurs, is both unprofessional and an insult to Asian American viewers.
Sign this petition to call on Fox News to IMMEDIATELY issue a retraction and an apology to the Asian American community for their airing of Beckel’s usage of racist slurs, and to call upon the network to terminate Beckel’s position as Fox News co-host.
In a 1965 Life image, a petite Asian woman wearing cat-eye glasses was photographed holding Malcolm X’s head moments after he was shot. The young Asian woman was Yuri Kochiyama, who passed away recently at the age of 93.
Although Kochiyama was a long-time political activist, she had an idyllic upbringing in a largely Caucasian neighborhood of San Pedro, California. She played sports and went to Sunday school on weekends. Kochiyama also wrote a sports column for the San Pedro News-Pilot and was believed to be the first girl elected to student council at her high school. However, World War II disrupted her life when her family was sent to an internment camp. Although her father had ulcer surgery, he was denied treatment during internment and died the day after he was released.
It was in 1963 when Yuri Kochiyama met Malcolm X, and although they didn’t see eye-to-eye at first, Kochiyama soon joined his Organization of Afro-American Unity when he met with atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki at her apartment. In a 1972 KPFK radio interview, Kochiyama says of Malcolm X, “He certainly changed my life. I was heading in one direction, integration, and he was going in another, total liberation, and he opened my eyes.”
Kochiyama also campaigned against Vietnam War and it was during this time that Kochiyama became a mentor for the Asian American movement, guiding many young people who asked her to lead several Asian American protests. She, along with her husband, secured reparations and government apologies for the Japanese American internment.
In the decades that followed, Kochiyama dedicated herself to the rights of political prisoners, nuclear disarmament, as well as the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Kochiyama will always be remembered for her work with the Civil Rights Movement and the lasting impact she made on Asian Americans and the global community
Introducing Bati Tsogtsaikhan from Arlington, Virginia! Bati is one of our youth bloggers who is interning at NAKASEC in Annandale, VA. Check out the NAKASEC blog every Thursday starting July 17 to see his posts!
Name: Bati Tsogtsaikhan Location: Arlington, VA
1. Who are you? My name is Bati Tsogtsaikhan. Two years after my parents arrived in the United States, I left Mongolia at the age of 11 to live with them. That was when I saw my one-year-old brother for the first time. At the moment, I am a summer intern at NAKASEC in Annandale, Virginia. I am also studying finance at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
2. What does community mean to you? To me, a community is a powerful alliance of people who fight for a common cause. As a community, people can protect one another from unfair treatment and unite to better society as a whole.
3. A quote I live by: “One fool can ask more questions than ten wise men can answer.” -Mongolian proverb
4. You might be surprised to find out that I: When I came to the United States, I skipped a year and started school in 7th grade. I have never been a 6th grader.
5. A person who changed my life: I am not Buddhist, but Buddha’s teachings have changed the way I look at life and treat others in a positive way.
6. What do you want to change in your community? I want to bring Asian American youth together to make sure that their voices are heard. Too many of us go our separate ways and don’t have a sense of community. It would also be great to shed the stereotype of Asian Americans as being the “model minority” as it doesn’t reflect the experiences or real struggles of our community.
Official Summary: “In the comics boom of the 1940s, a legend was born: the Green Turtle. He solved crimes and fought injustice just like the other comics characters. But this mysterious masked crusader was hiding something more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity… The Green Turtle was the first Asian American super hero.
The comic had a short run before lapsing into obscurity, but the acclaimed author of American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang, has finally revived this character in Shadow Hero, a new graphic novel that creates an origin story for the Green Turtle.
With artwork by Sonny Liew, this gorgeous, funny comics adventure for teens is a new spin on the long, rich tradition of American comics lore.”
The Shadow Hero is the latest graphic novel from award-winning author Gene Luen Yang with illustrations by Sonny Liew. In this story, Yang speculates about the origin of a 1940’s comics character named the Green Turtle. With his face rarely shown and knowing that the artist who created him was an Asian American at a time when few minorities were able to become professional comics artists, rumors have long existed that the Green Turtle’s creator, Chu Hing, intended for the character to be an Asian immigrant. Yang uses this theory as a jumping off point for an origin story about a young man whose parents have come to America in the hopes of finding a better life. He succumbs to pressure from his mother to begin to protect Chinatown as a costumed superhero.
Fans of Yang’s previous works will likely see this as a departure from his usual work, but it is a fun opportunity to read Yang’s take on a more traditional super hero story. Hank is a great character who will be relatable to readers, particularly given the pressure he feels from his parents, which is something that many readers will likely understand. The story combines the action and humor together with the supernatural elements that are present in so many of Yang’s works. The artwork nicely complements the storytelling and conveys the time period very effectively throughout the entire book. I also appreciated that the book included additional information about the original Green Turtle at the end. This will give readers more context for the story and hopefully spark an interest in comics of that time period.
Overall, the story kept me entertained throughout and left me curious to know more about the Green Turtle’s exploits. It is a good option for both fans of Yang’s earlier works and those with an interest in superhero comics from the Golden Age.
If you or somebody you know is a POC creator at the show, drop us a line at email@example.com — use the subject line Racialicious SDCC — or in the comment thread here and let people know about your project. We’ll give you a signal boost in not only our two-part SDCC preview next week, but on social media, as well.
Comedian Kristina Wong recently gave a commencement address at UCLA’s Asian Pacific Islander graduation. In it, she talked about what life was like when she was an undergad at the school, navigating her way through tough classes, professional aspirations and the demands of being an Asian-American woman in higer ed.
In a bit about the emasculation of Asian-American men, Wong re-defined what she considers sexy. From her speech:
Let’s address first of all, the emasculation of Asian men and how the media “doesn’t consider Asian men sexy.” Where the hell is the world getting these ideas that Asian men aren’t sexy?! I want to see the young Asian-American men of your generation model healthy masculinity that’s not being reflected in mainstream America. I want the future of Asian men to show that what’s sexy is respecting a woman’s boundaries, dismantling patriarchy, fighting for social justice, all while coding the heck out of a computer program! That’s what’s sexy! Asian-American men, are you going to be the new face of sexy?
“Here’s to the security guards who maybe had a degree in another land. Here’s to the manicurist who had to leave her family to come here, painting the nails, scrubbing the feet of strangers. Here’s to the janitors who don’t even fucking understand English yet work hard despite it all. Here’s to the fast food workers who work hard to see their family smile. Here’s to the laundry man at the Marriott who told me with the sparkle in his eyes how he was an engineer in Peru. Here’s to the bus driver, the Turkish Sufi who almost danced when I quoted Rumi. Here’s to the harvesters who live in fear of being deported for coming here to open the road for their future generation. Here’s to the taxi drivers from Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and India who gossip amongst themselves. Here is to them waking up at 4am, calling home to hear the voices of their loved ones. Here is to their children, to the children who despite it all become artists, writers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, activists and rebels. Here’s to Western Union and Money Gram. For never forgetting home. Here’s to their children who carry the heartbeats of their motherland and even in sleep, speak with pride about their fathers. Keep on.”—
Congressman Mike Honda will host a press conference to call on the Food and Drug Administration to end the discriminatory regulation that prohibits gay and bisexual men from donating blood.
“Despite tremendous advances in the medical and biotech fields, the Food and Drug Administration still bans blood donations from gay and bisexual men,” Congressman Honda said. “The American Medical Association now opposes this discriminatory and outdated restriction. Our society is increasingly supporting equality for LGBT people. I will fight this ban that only marginalizes, stigmatizes, and stereotypes healthy people across the country.”
“The ban on gay men donating blood is an archaic and discriminatory policy that precludes gay Americans from participating fully in our society,” added Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager. “Thanks to advances in testing science, overturning this ban would increase the donor blood supply and help save thousands of lives.”
"With the risk of man-made and natural disasters that could injure thousands of people, it’s inconceivable that we would be turning away gay donated blood that has been scientifically tested to be safe,” said Councilmember Evan Low. “I urge the FDA to join the U.K., Canada, and Australia in rescinding this lifetime discriminatory ban.”
Blood Drive: 12:00-4:00pm
Press Conference: 12:00-12:30pm
Speakers & Participants
District Attorney Jeff Rosen
Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese
Campbell Councilmember Evan Low
Former Santa Clara County Health Officer Marty Fenstersheib, M.D., M.P.H.
Members of National Gay Blood Drive, and
Local leaders and activists.
Press Conference & Blood Drive to End the LGBT-Discriminatory Blood Ban
We’d very much like to address the problem to save from future misunderstandings. We are very grateful for the feedback and continue to encourage feedback. We recognize that perhaps our questions were not properly phrased so we first apologize…
This translated, later, into collegiate culture school culture where “modern” teams (Kaba, Pac, etc) flourished and eventually duplicated across campuses, generating our particular subset of the SoCal dance community as it stands today. In fact two of the main SoCal competitions, Vibe (AsAm frat Lambda Theta Delta) & Fusion (UCSD Multi Asian Student Association) were built by the labor and money of Asian American organizations. Not only that, but many of the annual performance opportunities our teams get are the result of Asian American labor/money/people such as Friendship Games (SoCal Pilipino American Student Alliance) and All Cal (cross-campus Chinese American students alliance All Staff).
To remove the layer of ethnicity, community, race, and class from sociological discussion of urban dance culture ends the conversation. As an art that has traditionally and continues to serve as a form of resistance to the mainstream (though it, along with much of hip hop culture, has been greatly co-opted), it is inherently tied to ethnic, class, community, and political expression whether an individual personally acknowledges it or not.
Am I saying we can only talk about “Asianness”? No. Do I think only Asian Americans should be on dance teams? Of course not. I strongly believe in the power of art and music to bring people together from many walks of life.
However I also strongly believe that as Asian American dancers we need to examine our role in continuing the commodification/appropriation/misrepresentation of Black culture (I’ve danced with way too many AsAm folks who drop the N word like they own it, which is only one of many of other problems) while also being aware of *what we’re doing* when we dance on teams and in spaces (events, competitions, etc) that have been built on the backs of precious/limited Asian American community resources.
Please let me know if any of this seems historically inaccurate/problematic…