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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

May 30, 2011

Written by C.N.

Academic Research: Articles & Dissertations on Asian Americans #2

To highlight the continuing growth and vitality of Asian American Studies, the following is a list of recent journal articles and doctoral dissertations from scholars in the social sciences and humanities that focus on Asian Americans. As you can see, the diversity of research topics is a direct reflection of the dynamic and multidimensional nature of the Asian American population.

The academic journal articles are generally available in the libraries of most colleges and universities and/or through online research databases. The dissertation records are compiled by Dissertation Abstracts International. Copies of the dissertations can be obtained through your college’s library or by addressing your request to ProQuest, 789 E. Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346. Telephone 800-521-3042, email: As always, works included in this list are for informational purposes only and do not imply an endorsement of their contents.

Farrell, Chad R. and Barrett A. Lee. 2011. “Racial Diversity and Change in Metropolitan Neighborhoods.” Social Science Research 40:1108-1123.

  • Abstract: This study investigates the changing racial diversity and structure of metropolitan neighborhoods. We consider three alternative perspectives about localized racial change: that neighborhoods are bifurcating along a white/nonwhite color line, fragmenting into homogeneous enclaves, or integrating white, black, Latino, and Asian residents into diverse residential environments. To assess hypotheses drawn from these perspectives, we develop a hybrid methodology (incorporating the entropy index and majority-rule criteria) that offers advantages over previous typological efforts.

    Our analysis of 1990–2000 census tract data for the 100 largest US metropolitan areas finds that most neighborhoods are becoming more diverse and that members of all groups have experienced increasing exposure to neighborhood diversity. However, white populations tend to diminish rapidly in the presence of multiple minority groups and there has been concomitant white growth in low-diversity neighborhoods. Latino population dynamics have emerged as a primary force driving neighborhood change in a multi-group context.

© Lisa Zador and

Reitz, Jeffrey G., Heather Zhang, and Naoko Hawkins. 2011. “Comparisons of the Success of Racial Minority Immigrant Offspring in the United States, Canada and Australia.” Social Science Research 40:1051-1066.

  • Abstract: The educational, occupational and income success of the racial minority immigrant offspring is very similar for many immigrant origins groups in the United States, Canada and Australia. An analysis based on merged files of Current Population Surveys for the United States for the period 1995–2007, and the 2001 Censuses of Canada and Australia, and taking account of urban areas of immigrant settlement, reveals common patterns of high achievement for the Chinese and South Asian second generation, less for other Asian origins, and still less for those of Afro-Caribbean black origins.

    Relatively lower entry statuses for these immigrant groups in the US are eliminated for the second generation, indicating they experience stronger upward inter-generational mobility. As well, ‘segmented assimilation’ suggesting downward assimilation of Afro-Caribbean immigrants into an urban underclass in the US, also receives little support.

Robnetta, Belinda and Cynthia Feliciano. 2011. “Patterns of Racial-Ethnic Exclusion by Internet Daters.” Social Forces 89:807-828.

  • Abstract: Using data from 6070 U.S. heterosexual internet dating profiles, this study examines how racial and gender exclusions are revealed in the preferences of black, Latino, Asian and white online daters. Consistent with social exchange and group positions theories, the study finds that whites are least open to out-dating and that, unlike blacks, Asians and Latinos have patterns of racial exclusion similar to those of whites.

    Like blacks, higher earning groups including Asian Indians, Middle Easterners and Asian men are highly excluded, suggesting that economic incorporation may not mirror acceptance in intimate settings. Finally, racial exclusion in dating is gendered; Asian males and black females are more highly excluded than their opposite-sex counterparts, suggesting that existing theories of race relations need to be expanded to account for gendered racial acceptance.

Haller, William, Alejandro Portes, and Scott M. Lynch. 2011. “Dreams Fulfilled, Dreams Shattered: Determinants of Segmented Assimilation in the Second Generation.” Social Forces 89:733-762.

  • Abstract: We summarize prior theories on the adaptation process of the contemporary immigrant second generation as a prelude to presenting additive and interactive models showing the impact of family variables, school contexts and academic outcomes on the process. For this purpose, we regress indicators of educational and occupational achievement in early adulthood on predictors measured three and six years earlier. The Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study, used for the analysis, allows us to establish a clear temporal order among exogenous predictors and the two dependent variables.

    We also construct a Downward Assimilation Index, based on six indicators and regress it on the same set of predictors. Results confirm a pattern of segmented assimilation in the second generation, with a significant proportion of the sample experiencing downward assimilation. Predictors of the latter are the obverse of those of educational and occupational achievement. Significant interaction effects emerge between these predictors and early school contexts, defined by different class and racial compositions. Implications of these results for theory and policy are examined.

Tran, Nellie and Dina Birman. 2010. “Questioning the Model Minority: Studies of Asian American Academic Performance.” Asian American Journal of Psychology 1:106-118.

  • Abstract: The current paper reviews literature on the academic performance of Asian Americans with a critical eye toward understanding the influence of discrimination on this process. Specifically, this study seeks to understand the extent to which researchers have gathered sufficient knowledge to dispel “conventional knowledge” of Asian Americans as model minorities. We questioned the extent to which studies explicitly measured student performance as a product of individual effort and Asian cultural influences, while simultaneously measuring the impact of exposure to discrimination.

    We present a review of studies on Asian American academic performance published 1990–2008. Our analysis suggests that social science research has continued to perpetuate the stereotype of Asian Americans as a “model minority.” The majority of the reviewed studies did not differentiate among Asian American ethnic and generational groups. These studies also tended to infer culture as an explanation for the high achievement of Asian Americans without examining the impact of sociopolitical factors, such as racial discrimination.

    In fact, many of the reviewed studies reported that Asian Americans were deficient relative to Whites on attributes thought to be related to culture (e.g., personality characteristics, parenting behaviors) while finding that they achieved academically at levels similar to or higher than Whites. Finally, the majority of these studies have not used culturally appropriate methods to test their hypotheses and research questions. Thus, we recommend that studies embrace emic/population-specific and sociopolitical (Sasao & Sue, 1993) approaches to understand and explore factors that contribute to academic achievement in this group.

Dissertation: Relation of Depression to Substance Use, Chronic Illnesses and Asian American and Pacific Islander Adults in Hawaii

Aczon-Armstrong, Marife Celebre (University of Hawai’i at Manoa)

  • Abstract: Asian Americans (AA) are often portrayed as the model minority but it is also known that both AA and Pacific Islanders (PI) are least likely to seek help for mental disorders. Few studies have focused on AAPI, and even fewer have reported findings for each AAPI subgroup separately despite the unique characteristics of each subgroup. Using the aggregate group makes identifying actual differences in health and mental health of these subgroups difficult. As a result, little is known about the specific characteristics of APPI subgroups.

    To fill this gap in knowledge, the purpose of this study was to (a) identify the prevalence of current depression, substance use (smoking and alcohol use) and chronic illnesses (diabetes, cardiovascular disease and asthma) among AAPI adults in Hawaii; (b) determine if there are significant differences in the prevalence of current depression, substance use, and chronic illnesses between AA and PI adults in Hawaii, and (c) determine if there is a relationship between current depression, substance use, chronic illnesses and individual characteristics (such as age, gender, employment status, educational level, frequency of emotional support, life satisfaction and healthcare access) among AAPI adults in Hawaii.

    Using the 2008 data from Hawaii Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (HBRFSS), significant differences in prevalence of current depression between AA and PI were found. PIs in Hawaii were two times more likely to have severe/moderately severe depression compared to AAs. The prevalence of moderate and mild depression, among AA and PI did not differ significantly. Several factors affect these prevalence rates. The results of the multiple logistic regression cumulative model indicated that smoking, chronic illness, gender, level of education completed, employment status, frequency of emotional support, life satisfaction, health care coverage and age were strongly associated with current depression.

Dissertation: Asian American Sexual Politics: The Construction of Race, Gender, and Sexuality

Chou, Rosalind Sue (Texas A&M University)

  • Abstract: Why study Asian American sexual politics? There is a major lack of critical analysis of Asian Americans and their issues surrounding their place in the United States as racialized, gendered, and sexualized bodies. There are three key elements to my methodological approach for this project: standpoint epistemology, extended case method, and narrative analysis. In my research, fifty-five Asian American respondents detail how Asian American masculinity and femininity are constructed and how they operate in a racial hierarchy. These accounts will explicitly illuminate the gendered and sexualized racism faced by Asian Americans.

    The male respondents share experiences that highlight how “racial castration” occurs in the socialization of Asian American men. Asian American women are met with an exotification and Orientalization as sexual bodies. This gendering and sexualizing process plays a specific role in maintaining the racial status quo. There are short and long term consequences from the gendered and sexualized racist treatment. The intersected racial and gender identities of the respondents affect their self-image and self-esteem. For the women, femininity has been shaped specifically by their racial identity. “Orientalization” as a colonial concept plays a role in these racialized and gendered stereotypes of Asian American Women. The gendered and sexualized racialization process and “racial castration” has impacted Asian American men in a different way than their female counterparts. Violence is a prevalent theme in their gendered and racial formation.

    Asian American men begin as targets of violence and sometimes become perpetrators. I also analyze how romantic and sexual partners are chosen and examine the dynamics of Asian American intraracial and interracial relationships. While Asian American “success” as “model minorities” is challenging white supremacy, gender and sexuality become “regulating” forces to maintain both the racial and gendered order. Finally, I offer and discuss the resistance strategies against gender and racial hierarchy utilized by my respondents. Asian Americans must be creative in measures that they take for group and individual survival. Respondents resist in intimately personal ways against ideologies.

Dissertation: The Warrior Women of Transnational Cinema Gender and Race in Hollywood and Hong Kong Action Films

Funnell, Lisa (Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada)

  • Abstract: In The Warrior Women of Transnational Cinema, I consider the significance of transnational Asian action women in the post-1997 Hong Kong cinema; more specifically, I explore how Pan-Asian (e.g. Michelle Yeoh, Pei Pei Cheng, Ziyi Zhang), Asian American (Lucy Liu, Maggie Q, Marsha Yuen), and Asian Canadian (e.g. Francoise Yip, Charlene Choi, Kristy Yang) warrior women function as a source of transnational female identity for local, Pan-Asian (Le. East and Southeast Asian), and diasporic Asian audiences. I argue that the post-1997 Hong Kong cinema — and not Hollywood — has offered space for the development of Pan-Asian and Asian North American screen identities which challenge the racial stereotypes historically associated with the Asian female body in the West.

    In the new millennium, Hollywood has redefined its representation of transnational Asian action women by incorporating Hong Kong choreographers, action aesthetics, and/or female stars into its blockbusters. In these films, however, the representation of Pan-Asian and Asian North American action women caters to the tastes of American/Western audiences and relates American/Western ideals of gender, race, and heroism. Furthermore, I argue that Hollywood’s recent investment in Hong Kong and/or Mainland Chinese co-productions reflects America’s attempt to tap into the burgeoning Asian film market and wield significant political, economic, and social power particularly in Mainland China.

Dissertation: Performance of Japanese Americans on Selected Cognitive Instruments

Kemmotsu, Nobuko (University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University)

  • Abstract: There is ample evidence that African Americans and Hispanic Americans demonstrate lower scores on widely used neurocognitive tests, compared to non-Hispanic Caucasians. However, there is a scarcity of empirical data for Asian Americans. This study aimed to examine cognitive test performance of one of the Asian American subgroups: Japanese Americans. Seventy-one Japanese Americans (JAs) and 71 Caucasian Americans (CAs), ages between 45-91, participated in the study. The Boston Naming Test-2 (BNT), San Diego Odor Identification Test (SDOIT), Controlled Oral Word Association test (COWA-FAS), category fluency test (Animal Fluency), California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT), California Odor Learning Test (COLT), and Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R) were administered. We collected data on levels of acculturation, quality of educational attainment (Wide Range Achievement Test-4 Reading and Math Computation subtests), bilingual status, and generation status in the U.S.

    There were no significant differences between the two ethnic groups on the battery of neuropsychological tests. However, the two groups showed somewhat different patterns in the associations between the test performance, and age and gender. JAs tended to show a stronger age-score relationship on the BNT, SDOIT, BVMT-R total recall, and COLT total recall. With regard to gender, JA men tended to score lower than JA women and than CA men on CVLT Trial 5. Additionally JA men tended to score lower than JA women on the CVLT Long Delay Cued Recall. When the raw scores of the JAs were converted into demographically corrected scores using the Caucasian norm, JAs had more measures that yielded larger “impairment” rate compared to theoretically driven rate (15.6%) compared to Caucasian Americans. The second-generation JAs showed a much larger proportion of “impaired” compared to the third-generations, on the BVMT-R Total Recall and BVMT-R Delayed Recall.

    The results indicated that some neuropsychological test results need to be interpreted with caution in the older JAs, at least until culturally appropriate norms become available. Future studies are needed to investigate if this pattern would persist in the succeeding generations, and in the descendants of the post-war immigrants from Japan.

May 11, 2011

Written by C.N.

Recent Books, Articles & Infographic on China & Chinese Americans

A number of recently-published books, media articles, and an infographic provide some interesting and useful information about China and Chinese Americans, summarized below:

China’s One Child Policy

Throughout the last couple of decades, there has been much discussion about China’s One Child Policy that was implemented back in the 1970s to “encourage” Chinese families from having, as the name suggests, just a single child as a way to slow China’s population growth. However, most Americans know little about the details, especially as there are increasing calls for China to change the policy. Fortunately, Good Transparencies has created an infographic that visually illustrates the main highlights of the One Child Policy (click on the thumbnail below for a larger version):

Click for full-size graphic

West Get Ready, Here Comes China 2.0

Over the past 30 years, China’s red-hot economic growth has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, reshaped the global economy and given rise to a new power on the global stage. But that breakneck growth has also created an expanding wealth gap, major environmental problems, widespread corruption, a growing imperative to innovate and popular pressure for political reforms. . . .

But as this phase of China’s economic development draws to an end, a new phase has begun. Call it China 2.0. . . . China’s leaders worry about growing too fast. Premier Wen Jiabao said in March the expansion is “unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable.” To address that, the next five-year plan incorporates reforms already under way and charts a roadmap designed to keep the economy from veering off the track. . . .

The goal is to keep the economy growing, spread wealth from the industrial coastal cities to inland provinces and rural areas, encourage more domestic spending, spur innovation and deliver expanded social services to sparsely populated areas that lack them.

China to Ban Eating Cats and Dogs

Eating dogs and cats–which is an age-old delicacy in China–could soon be against the law. Currently, dog and cat meat is viewed as promoting bodily warmth. But if the law passes, people who eat either animal could face fines of up to $730 or 15 days in jail. Organizations involved the practice would face fines up to 100-times as much.

“I support this proposal. Whether you judge this as a question of food security or emotions, there is absolutely no necessity in China for people to eat dogs and cats,” said Zeng Li, the founder of the Lucky Cats shelter in Beijing. . . . The law has been in the draft stage for over a year and will be submitted to higher authorities come April. But draft legislation can take years to approve. . . .

The economic impact of this law would be small as China’s affluent don’t partake in the delicacy. In fact, such traditions have received much scrutiny from affluent, pet-loving, urban middle class. And online petitions against dog and cat consumption have attracted tens of thousands of signatures.

China is Not Taking Over the World

Every week a new book title announces an “irresistible” tilt east, the emergence of “Chimerica” and a not-too-distant future when China “rules” the planet. The mainstream media, and especially the business press, are gripped by the narrative of China taking over the world. . . .

But the coverage of China’s global inroads has been profoundly short on context, particularly when it comes to how China is—and is not—surpassing the U.S. as a global power. There are plenty of stories of a Chinese-sponsored infrastructure project or a Chinese company cutting a deal to feed its “insatiable thirst” for raw materials, while Western involvement of similar or greater magnitude is lucky to make a headline at all.

Meanwhile, a close look at the key economic metrics and the subtler shades of power, such as cultural influence and humanitarian aid, reveals that while China is indeed one of the great powers in the world now (late last month it officially overtook Japan as the world’s second-largest economy), its influence is mixed, and often undercut by America’s.

Not Much Progress in America’s Chinese Problem

Cutting-edge programs like those at the immersion charter school Yu Ying in Washington, D.C., and reports of Chinese-language courses popping up in heartland America would all seem to suggest that Americans are on the fast track to learning Chinese—and ultimately understanding China. . . . You’ll be hard-pressed, the reasoning goes, to find anyone who doesn’t think grasping the language of the world’s fastest-growing economy is a good idea.

But the sad fact is that Americans are not learning Mandarin, the main tongue spoken in mainland China, in droves. Just take a look at the numbers. According to the Center for Applied Linguistics, in 2008 only 4 percent of middle and high schools that offer foreign-language instruction included Mandarin. That’s up from 1 percent in 1997.

While that initially seems like respectable growth, the same survey reveals that 13 percent of schools still offer Latin and a full 10-fold more schools offer French than Mandarin. How is it that one a dead language and the other a language primarily used to impress your dinner companion can trounce one spoken by 1.3 billion natives and many millions more expats and immigrants abroad?

Stop Blaming China For America’s Woes

The US administration seems to be trying to convince its public of another untruth: that China is the true cause of America’s economic woes — and that China possesses “weapons of mass economic destruction.” What is that weapon of mass economic destruction? The humble yuan, which the US says has been manipulated to hurt the American economy. . . .

Economist Paul Krugman recently said China’s trade surplus with the US had grown in the past decade even without the yuan rising sufficiently against the dollar. Before America’s economic 9/11, however, its consumers seemed happy to get affordable Chinese goods year after year and its businesspeople were busy making profits from lucrative partnerships with Chinese companies. . . .

China’s stimulus for its economy has created opportunities for Western countries’ exports, too. . . . China would readily buy more advanced technologies from America, but Washington is reluctant to sell them. . . . . Hopefully, [Americans] will see through their politicians’ desperate attempt to shift the blame for the country’s problems to China in order to cover their own failures.

Bogus Chinese American Militia Marched in Parades

U.S. Army veteran Joaquin Lim sensed something was amiss with the troop that had popped up at civic events in Southern California’s Chinese-American communities. At a flag raising ceremony honoring a Chinese holiday, the Walnut city councilman stopped one of the recruits and asked to see his military ID. “There were actually typos on the ID card,” Lim said. “Right away, I knew something was wrong.”

Those suspicions came into the spotlight Tuesday when authorities arrested the so-called “supreme commander” of the U.S. Army/Military Special Forces Reserve unit and charged him with duping Chinese immigrants into thinking they had truly enlisted in the American armed forces.

Prosecutors say Yupeng Deng, 51, recruited 100 other Chinese immigrants . . . at the cost of several hundred dollars, to help improve their chances of obtaining green cards and U.S. citizenship. . . . The case — which was investigated by the FBI and Department of Defense — highlights the vulnerability of immigrants desperately seeking to belong in a new country and naive to the norms of a society in which, for example, military recruits don’t pay to enlist.

Why Indian and Chinese Entrepreneurs are Leaving America

skilled immigrants are leaving the U.S. in droves. This is because of economic opportunities in countries like India and China, a desire to be closer to family and friends, and a deeply flawed U.S immigration system. It doesn’t matter whether we call this “brain drain” or “brain circulation”– it is a loss for America. Innovation that would otherwise be happening here is going abroad. . . .

Surprisingly, 72% of Indian and 81% of Chinese returnees said that the opportunities to start their own businesses were better or much better in their home countries. Speed of professional growth was also better back home for the majority of Indian (54%) and Chinese (68 percent) entrepreneurs. And the quality of life was better or at least equal to what they’d enjoyed in the United States for 56% of Indian and 59% of Chinese returnees.

The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream, by Patrick Radden Keefe (Anchor Publishing)

'The Snakehead' by Keefe

In the 1980s, a wave of Chinese from Fujian province began arriving in America. Like other immigrant groups before them, they showed up with little money but with an intense work ethic and an unshakeable belief in the promise of the United States. Many of them lived in a world outside the law, working in a shadow economy overseen by the ruthless gangs that ruled the narrow streets of New York’s Chinatown.

The figure who came to dominate this Chinese underworld was a middle-aged grandmother known as Sister Ping. Her path to the American dream began with an unusual business run out of a tiny noodle store on Hester Street. From her perch above the shop, Sister Ping ran a full-service underground bank for illegal Chinese immigrants. But her real business—a business that earned an estimated $40 million—was smuggling people.

As a “snakehead,” she built a complex—and often vicious—global conglomerate, relying heavily on familial ties, and employing one of Chinatown’s most violent gangs to protect her power and profits. Based on hundreds of interviews, Patrick Radden Keefe’s sweeping narrative tells the story not only of Sister Ping, but of the gangland gunslingers who worked for her, the immigration and law enforcement officials who pursued her, and the generation of penniless immigrants who risked death and braved a 17,000 mile odyssey so that they could realize their own version of the American dream.

Mulan’s Legend and Legacy in China and the United States, by Lan Dong (Temple University Press)

'Mulan's Legacy' by Lan Dong

Mulan, the warrior maiden who performed heroic deeds in battle while dressed as a male soldier, has had many incarnations from her first appearance as a heroine in an ancient Chinese folk ballad. Mulan’s story was retold for centuries, extolling the filial virtue of the young woman who placed her father’s honor and well-being above her own. With the publication of Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior in the late 1970s, Mulan first became familiar to American audiences who were fascinated with the extraordinary Asian American character. Mulan’s story was recast yet again in the popular 1998 animated Disney film and its sequel.

In Mulan’s Legend and Legacy in China and the United States, Lan Dong traces the development of this popular icon and asks, “Who is the real Mulan?” and “What does authenticity mean for the critic looking at this story?” Dong charts this character’s literary voyage across historical and geographical borders, discussing the narratives and images of Mulan over a long time span—from premodern China to the contemporary United States to Mulan’s counter-migration back to her homeland.

As Dong shows, Mulan has been reinvented repeatedly in both China and the United States so that her character represents different agendas in each retelling—especially after she reached the western hemisphere. The dutiful and loyal daughter, the fierce, pregnant warrior, and the feisty teenaged heroine—each is Mulan representing an idea about female virtue at a particular time and place.

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, by John Soennichsen (Greenwood Publishing)

'Chinese Exclusion Act' by Soennichsen

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was a historic act of legislation that demonstrated how the federal government of the United States once openly condoned racial discrimination. Once the Exclusion Act passed, the door was opened to further limitation of Asians in America during the late 19th century, such as the Scott Act of 1888 and the Geary Act of 1892, and increased hatred towards and violence against Chinese people based on the misguided belief they were to blame for depressed wage levels and unemployment among Caucasians.

This title traces the complete evolution of the Exclusion Act, including the history of Chinese immigration to the United States, the factors that served to increase their populations here, and the subsequent efforts to limit further immigration and encourage the departure of the Chinese already in America.

May 5, 2011

Written by C.N.

Links, Jobs, & Announcements #44

Here are some more announcements, links, and job postings about academic-related jobs, fellowships, and other related opportunities for those interested in racial/ethnic/diversity issues. As always, the announcements and links are provided for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply an endorsement of the organization or college involved.

Speaker Contest: Campus Progress Conference

Hello, I have an exciting opportunity that you or your viewers might be interested in! I am from an organization called Campus Progress in Washington D.C., and in conjunction with, we have opened up a Keynote Speaker Contest for our upcoming National Conference in July.

To enter, contestants are asked to submit a 1-3 minute long video addressing the question: “In your own life, how are you changing the rules of our race conversation, and creating real solutions for racial and social justice?”

We are expecting over 1,000 young progressive in attendance, so this will be a great event for politically minded young people (18-30 yrs) who are specifically passionate about issues of racial justice. If you are interested in applying to the Keynote Speaker Contest, or if you would be interested in making a blog post about it on your site, then please check out this link.

The deadline for submissions is 12am EST May 13, 2011.

Thank you,
Erin Glinowiecki
Intern, Campus Progress

Position: Special Projects Coordinator, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) is seeking a bright, creative, highly qualified individual to serve as Special Projects Coordinator for our Legal Mobilization Project (LMP). In general, the Legal Mobilization Project works to address civil rights issues beyond a litigation only model, including the involvement of large scale pro bono lawyers, technology, advocacy, education, as well as a variety of enforcement options, while working with other Lawyers’ Committee expert lawyers on particular issues. This includes developing overall organizational plans, protocols, volunteer and client materials, management tools, and volunteer recruitment and training.

In the midst of the recent economic turmoil and associated foreclosure crisis, millions of distressed homeowners have become vulnerable targets for unscrupulous and sometimes criminal third party scams. Minorities and low income people are particularly targeted by bogus companies that seek fees and promise assistance in addressing mortgage arrears, only to refer homeowners to resources they could have accessed for free or, in far too many cases, to provide no services at all. The Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network (LMSPN) mobilizes a nationwide network to educate distressed homeowners on how to recognize and avoid mortgage scams and their individual rights, work with federal and state authorities on enforcement, and collect a large amount of data on mortgage fraud to put an end to the mortgage rescue scam problem.

The Special Projects Coordinator will work primarily, but not exclusively, on the Lawyers’ Committee’s Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network and Election Protection program. Additionally, a portion of the Special Projects Coordinator’s time will be spent providing support to the Lawyers’ Committee’s Chief Counsel.

As November 2012 approaches, the Special Projects Coordinator will focus more and more of her or his time on the 2012 Election Protection program, which the Lawyers’ Committee leads. Election Protection – the nation’s largest non-partisan voter protection coalition – works throughout the year to break down barriers to the ballot box for traditionally disenfranchised voters. In 2008, Election Protection mobilized over 10,000 legal volunteers, received over 240,000 calls to the 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline, and organized Election Protection Legal Committees in 46 jurisdictions that worked on the ground throughout the election cycle and on Election Day to support traditionally disenfranchised voters. It is overseen by the Voting Rights Project.

The Special Projects Coordinator’s duties include:

  • Maintaining the Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network database, including: uploading data from our reporting partners, managing the paper intake system, running statistical reports and analysis, and site maintenance
  • Serving as a member of the Lawyers’ Committee’s Online Communication Team and will maintain Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts, and be involved in the organization’s eAdvocacy and fundraising programs
  • Maintaining Legal Mobilization project’s webpage and various campaign micro-sites by drafting and editing content, formatting text and images, and posting content using a Content Management System (CMS). No HTML or other programming experience is required, but applicants should have a strong affinity for this type of technology
  • Working with Project Directors, LMP Manager and vendors on the development, implementation and maintenance of all technological Project solutions
  • Serving as a technical lead for the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline and assist the LMP Manager in the development of hotline call centers and legal field programs
  • Working with LMP and other Project staff in the development, tracking and formatting of relevant materials
  • Utilizing computer software such as Excel, databases, Microsoft Project, PowerPoint, and Geographic Information System software to support the work of the project
  • Using organizing and logistical expertise to support process aspect of LMP’s, assist with other LMP priorities as identified by the Legal Mobilization and Public Policy Directors and the LMP Manager
  • Assisting with the recruitment, training, and deployment of legal volunteers, particularly for Election Protection
  • Administrative support for the Legal Mobilization Project and Chief Counsel as needed, including: managing project accounting forms with regard to third party vendors and travel vouchers, taking meeting minutes, mail retrieval, photocopying, arranging conference calls, reserving conference rooms, and providing support for work with the Lawyers’ Committee’s Board and Affiliates

The ideal candidate will have 1-3 years of related work experience, preferably at a non-profit organization or on a political, issue or candidate campaign. The applicant must be detail oriented, have strong personal organizational skills, be able to manage multiple projects at one time, and prioritize tasks effectively. Familiarity with web-based volunteer management and mass communications software and proficiency in MS Excel, PowerPoint, and Word strongly preferred. Familiarity with desktop publishing and graphic design skills are a plus.

The ideal candidate will be a fast-learner who does not shy away from hard work, has a passion for civil rights issues and progressive causes, and a strong head on his or her shoulders. Applicants must be outgoing, affable, have a good sense of humor and be able to work under the pressure of a campaign environment with tight deadlines. Because the position is critical to Election Protection, a commitment is asked through the 2012 elections (November). The Special Projects Coordinator will report directly to the Manager of Legal Mobilization.

To Apply: Please send a letter of interest, resume, and three references to or Kathy Coates, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, 1401 New York Avenue, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20005. If you are applying by email please include REF#SPC51311 in the subject line of the email. The Lawyers’ Committee is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We encourage applications from minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. The position will remain open until May 13, 2011, and applications will be reviewed as received.

Eric Marshall
Manager of Legal Mobilization
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
1401 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-662-8325

Position: Race/Ethnicity, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago

The Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) invites applications for a visiting faculty scholar position (with the title of Visiting Senior Associate) in Race/Ethnicity and Public Policy. The applicant must be a tenured faculty affiliated with an institute of higher education in the United States other than UIC, and who has made a significant contribution to their field.

IRRPP promotes, coordinates, and conducts innovative research at the intersection of race, ethnicity and public policy. IRRPP represents a major commitment on the part of UIC to better understand racial and ethnic diversity in Chicago, the nation, and the world. One of our central aims is to increase the quantity, quality and relevance of research on racial and ethnic groups facing persistent inequalities and inequities.

The Institute pursues a comprehensive multiracial, multiethnic and multicultural agenda that includes African Americans, Latinos, American Indians, Asian Americans and other groups confronted with systematic racial, ethnic, and class barriers, with the primary goal of improving both the understanding and conditions of these groups. In addition to working on broad issues of race and public policy, each year IRRPP organizes its activities around a theme. For the 2011-2012 academic year, the focus will be on issues of criminalization and mass incarceration as racial justice issues.

We are seeking applicants whose work addresses issues of race/ethnicity and injustice in the criminal legal system. The focus might include: the impact of law enforcement, immigration, and incarceration policies on communities of color, the criminalization of disadvantaged youth, the disproportionate impact of criminal sanctions, or state and other forms of structural violence as a means of social control. Work at the intersection of race/ethnicity and other markers of social disadvantage (such as class, sexuality, immigration status, age) is of particular interest to IRRPP. We are specifically seeking applicants whose work has an engaged social justice perspective and who have experience working with communities and in collaboration with community organizations. The applicant must be a tenured faculty affiliated with an institute of higher education in the United States other than UIC, and who has made a significant contribution to their field.

The specific duties of the visiting faculty scholar will include:

  • Completing a policy-oriented research project on a problem related to race/ethnicity, inequality and criminal legal policy as discussed above
  • Writing a policy paper on the results of the research project with policy recommendations
  • Presenting a public lecture .Collaborating with the IRRPP research team on projects related to their proposed research
  • Teaching a graduate seminar or Honors College class on their work
  • Serving as a resource to community groups in Chicago working on similar issues

The position runs from August 16, 2011 to May 15, 2012. The scholar must be in residence in Chicago during the entire length of the position. The salary ranges from $50,000 to $85,000 plus benefits, based on current salary. In addition, the scholar is eligible for $2,000 to fund research and conference travel, and up to $2,000 for allowable relocation expenses.

All application materials must be received by May 20, 2011. For questions about the position please contact Francesca Gaiba, Associate Director for Research at To apply, go to, find job ID number 7263 and submit: 1) a cover letter describing your proposed research project; your work in relation to the field; and your experience with community-engaged research and social justice projects; 2) a curriculum vitae; 3) a writing sample (either a chapter or an article).

Summer Institute: Redefining Asian Americans in Queens, NYC

Redefining Asian Americans: Youth, Culture, and Community in Multicultural Queens, NYC.

The Asian American Studies Center at Queens College CUNY is delighted to announce its 2011 Summer Institute: “Redefining Asian Americans: Youth, Culture and Community in Multicultural Queens, NYC.” This weeklong institute provides participants a unique opportunity to learn about the social and cultural experiences of Asian American youth in culturally diverse communities of Queens. Being home to immigrants from over 150 countries, Queens offers a fascinating setting to study intersections of individual, ethnic, and global identities, and to re-examine the changing nature of Asian American communities.

The program will include meeting scholars/leaders with expertise on various Asian American topics, discussions on related issues, and field trips to community-based organizations and neighborhoods with large Asian American concentrations.

The registration fee for the Summer Institute is $150. This non-refundable deposit is due upon admission to the program by cashier’s check or money order. Room and Board will be provided at the Queens College dormitory, The Summit, for the duration of the program. Expenses for air or ground travel will be reimbursed on approval of estimated cost with the submission of receipts. Students will receive a stipend of $500, which will be disbursed upon completion of the Summer Institute.

For more information, eligibility requirements, and to download the application form, go to and go to “Related Links.”

Application deadline: May 31, 2011.

Position: Policy Analyst, Natl. Korean Am. Service & Education Consortium

The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) seeks a hardworking, highly skilled, talented, and committed individual to serve as the Policy Analyst focusing on economic security and civic engagement of low-income seniors for its Washington D.C. office.

NAKASEC is a dynamic grassroots-based organization founded in 1994 by local community centers to project a progressive voice and promote the full participation of Korean Americans within the social justice movement. NAKASEC has offices in Los Angeles and Washington, DC. NAKASEC has affiliates in Los Angeles (The Korean Resource Center) and in Chicago (The Korean American Resource & Cultural Center) and works in partnership with local community based organizations across the nation. Major program areas: Civic Engagement (Redistricting, Elections and Census), Civil Rights (LGBTQ, Hate Crimes, Language Access, Voting Rights), Financial Empowerment, Immigrant Rights (Immigration Reform, Immigrant Integration, and Enforcement), Youth Organizing, and Technical Assistance.

Major Responsibilities

  • Be a part of a local-national team that implements a multi-pronged education, advocacy and organizing project to strengthen elder civic engagement in economic security issues
  • Develop and implement a policy agenda focused on economic security for low-income communities
  • Advocate for policies and measures to enhance and address the economic security needs of low-income seniors
  • Conduct research and analyze existing data and studies to identify priority concerns and economic status of low-income seniors
  • Produce relevant educational materials
  • Represent NAKASEC at constituent and coalition partner meetings, events, and conferences. Develop and maintain strong relationships with key national and local groups
  • Speak on behalf of NAKASEC at conferences and events. Help coordinate media relevant activities including the development of messaging points and spokespersons
  • Oversee project evaluation activities
  • Provide ongoing technical assistance and program support to NAKASEC affiliates and partners
  • Work with NAKASEC staff as a team to create a strategic plan for developing new programs and building organizational capacity that will advance the organization’s mission and objectives
  • Produce and maintain relevant work & grant reports and other documentation

Bachelor’s degree and 5 or more years experience working on Korean American, Asian American & Pacific Islander, or economic security/empowerment policy initiatives. Excellent writing, editing, and oral communication skills. Strong research and analytical capacity. Experience in policy and legislative advocacy desired. Ability to work independently, meet deadlines, think creatively, and prioritize multiple tasks. Ability to work collaboratively in local-national or multi sectoral/ethnic partnerships. Some experience in working with ethnic and/or mainstream media desirable. Experience in community organizing and electoral campaigns an asset. This position requires occasional travel and ability to work some weekends.

To apply: Send cover letter, resume, writing sample, and salary history and requirement to Yeon-Ok Suh, NAKASEC, 1628 16th Street, Suite 306, Washington D.C. 20009 or via email at Put “NAKASEC POLICY ANALYST SEARCH” in the subject line if applying via e-mail.

Competition: 14th Annual Asian American Literary Awards

Since 1998, The Asian American Writers’ Workshop has presented the highest literary honor for writers of Asian American descent. We believe we are the only national organization that actively solicits entries, to ensure that a comprehensive list of the year’s Asian American books are entered into competition. Past winners of the award include Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri, National Book Award winner Ha Jin, Pulitzer Prize Finalist Susan Choi, Booker Prize Finalist Amitav Ghosh, American Book Award winner Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, and Guggenheim Fellow Arthur Sze, among many others. As these writers show, Asian American literature is not just a niche genre, but a central chapter in our nation’s literature.

The Annual Asian American Literary Awards honor Asian American writers for excellence in three categories: (1) fiction, (2) poetry, and (3) nonfiction. Literary awards recipients are determined by a national panel of judges who are selected on the basis of expertise in a literary genre and/or experience in academic environments relevant to Asian American literature; residence in the U.S. and ethnic background as to create a diverse committee.

To qualify for our next award, a work must have been written by an individual of Asian descent living in the United States and published originally in English during the calendar year preceding the award year (for example, works published in 2010 are eligible for the 2011 Literary Awards). No self-published works will be considered. Award submissions are accepted in spring, with award recipients announced in Fall, and publicly presented during our Winter awards ceremony and literary festival.

Applications for the upcoming Fourteenth Annual Asian American Literary Awards are due June 28, 2011. Please view the guidelines and fill out the online application to apply.

Call for Authors: Asian American History on the West Coast

Hello! I’m a Commissioning Editor for The History Press, and I’m looking for West Coast authors who have an interest in their community history. I would like to develop book projects on the history of Japanese Americans in West Coast communities — especially during World War II. I came across your website, and I’m writing to ask if you can recommend local authors who might be interested in this type of project.

To tell you a bit about The History Press, we are a traditional publisher that focuses exclusively on local and regional history. We publish a wide range of accessible, text-driven history books, from the story of a town or landmark, to local food and sports culture, to a city’s haunted or criminal past. We handle all stages of the publishing process—financing, editorial, design, production, sales, marketing, and distribution—and compensate in the form of royalties.

Can you recommend any authors who might be a match for our local history approach? I welcome your input. I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm Regards,
Aubrie Koenig
Commissioning Editor
The History Press
843.577.5971 ext. 117

May 2, 2011

Written by C.N.

The Racial Undertones of the Birther Movement

I’m sure you have all heard by now that last week, after dealing with increased media publicity about questions regarding his U.S. citizenship, President Obama felt compelled to petition the state of Hawai’i to publicly release his long form Certificate of Live Birth that verifies that he was in fact born in the U.S. and is therefore eligible to be President. Below is a news clip of the story from NBC News:

As many observers point out, this release of the long form Certificate of Live Birth should appease many Americans who may have had a slight doubt about President Obama’s birthplace. However, it is not likely to convince “hardcore” birthers who will undoubtedly continue to question Obama’s status as an American, no matter what the evidence.

So let’s just cut to the chase: this “birther” movement is not really about Obama’s eligibility to be President. Rather, it just another example of the White Backlash that I have been describing for a while now and illustrates the resistance and difficulty that a number of White Americans still have about having a person of color as President and the larger context of demographic and cultural changes taking place in U.S. society. To summarize some of my earlier posts, several institutional trends are fundamentally changing U.S. society:

© James Noble/Corbis
  • The changing demographics of the U.S. in which non-Whites increasingly make up a larger proportion of the population and the projection that in about 35 years, Whites will no longer be a majority in the U.S.
  • The political emergence of non-Whites, best represented by the election of President Obama, and also illustrated by the growing Latino population.
  • The continuing evolution and consequences of globalization, the growing interconnections between the economies of the U.S. with other countries, and the economic rise of China and India.
  • The “normalization” of economic instability and how, even after this current recession ends, Americans will likely still be vulnerable to economic fluctuations that affect the housing market, stock market, and overall unemployment.
  • The unease about the U.S.’s eroding influence and military vitality around the world.

In basic terms, these institutional trends have led many (as always, meaning a large number but not all) White Americans to feel destabilized as their implicit and taken-for-granted position at the top of the U.S. racial hierarchy is increasingly being threatened — politically, economically, and socially. They are also afraid that, as the U.S. is starting to lose its position of being the dominant political, economic, and military superpower in the world, their standard of living — and hence, their identity — are being threatened in the process.

As social scientists document, whenever anybody or any group feels threatened, they tend to get defensive, reactive, and attempt to cling on to their privileges as much as possible. One mechanism by which they do so is to assert a more rigid cultural boundary between them and “others” — insiders vs. outsiders, us vs. them. In the case of the birther movement, this attempt revolves around differentiating between “real” Americans (in the traditional image of U.S. society — White, middle class, and Protestant) and those perceived as “fake” Americans — immigrants, people of color, and specifically, President Obama.

The birthers usually counter with accusations that critics like me are just “playing the race card” and that their questions about Obama’s status as an American have nothing to do with his race. Unfortunately the evidence is not in their favor. As observers and critics like Tim Wise have argued elsewhere, the racial overtones of the birther movement and the larger White backlash movement are overwhelming.

At this point, it is almost exasperating to list and recount every single example of the racist aspects of the birther and White backlash movement. So for now, perhaps the best way to illustrate this further is to use humor and satire. For that, I will turn to Stephen Colbert and his recent observations about this issue below — make sure you view the video through to the end — punchline is well worth it: