The views and opinions expressed on this site and blog posts (excluding comments on blog posts left by others) are entirely my own and do not represent those of any employer or organization with whom I am currently or previously have been associated.
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.
2009: Gary Locke and the Future of Asian American Identity As Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke prepares to become the U.S’s new Ambassador to China, I look at how he represents the forging of a new identity for Asian Americans as they contribute to strengthening American society in the 21st century.
Here are some more announcements and links out that have come my way relating to Asians or Asian Americans. As always, links to other sites are provided for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply an endorsement of their contents.
To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, APIAVote is kicking off the Norman Y. Mineta Leadership Institute (NYMLI) Speaker Series in Washington, D.C. This Speaker Series will bolster our NYM Leadership Institute, by bringing the dialogue about AAPI political involvement and political participation to a national stage. Chaired by the Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, NYMLI’s mission is to increase the leadership and organizing capacity of AAPI communities by training and equipping leaders with the skills to successfully engage AAPIs in electoral campaigns.
Join APIAVote on Monday, May 3, 2010, from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the National Education Association, as we kick off the Norman Y. Mineta Leadership Institute Speaker Series.
The Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, Chair of APIAVote’s Norman Y. Mineta Leadership Institute, will host a conversation with The New Faces of Leadership from our AAPI communities, Secretary Gary Locke, Department of Commerce (confirmed), Secretary Steven Chu, Department of Energy (invited), Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth, Department of Veterans Affairs (confirmed), and other policy leaders as they will discuss opportunities and challenges they encounter in their work in the Administration and with AAPI communities.
A prominent broadcast correspondent has been invited to moderate. Please visit apiavote.org/newfaces to register today.
Congressional Democratic Leadership & the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) cordially invite you to attend the 2010 Asian American and Pacific Islander Summit — Strengthening Our Economy: Job Creation in AAPI Communities.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
8:00 AM-12:30 PM
Congressional Visitors Center, HVC-215
This is a national program for Japanese Americans of high school or college age who have a strong interest in Japan and would like to participate in a 12-day expenses-paid trip to the country of their origin. The purpose of the trip is to give 8 Americans of Japanese heritage (including those of a multiracial background) the opportunity to learn about modern Japan and thereby promote mutual understanding and friendship between Japanese and Japanese Americans of the younger generation. The requirements are as follows:
Must be of high school or college age (with preference given to high school students)
Must hold U.S. citizenship, and must not have dual Japanese citizenship
Must attend the full program from July 2 –July 13, including a pre-departure orientation
Please note that Japanese language proficiency will not influence the selection process. The travel period is July 2-13, 2010 and includes a pre-departure orientation in San Francisco. Please note that the application must be submitted to the Consulate General of Japan in Boston by May 7, 2010. The application form is available on our website.
For further information please contact Ms. Mika Iga (617-972-9772 x141 firstname.lastname@example.org; or Richard Winslow (617-973-9772 x137, email@example.com).
“Consuming Asian America”: 2011 Association for Asian American Studies Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, May 18-21, 2011. Submissions due by Monday, November 1, 2010.
The theme for the 2011 AAAS conference “Consuming Asian America” is inspired, in part, by the site of the conference itself—New Orleans, the city that measures the success of its Mardi Gras celebration by weighing the garbage collected the morning after and whose shopping and nightclub district for locals is called “Fat City.” We invite proposals to engage with all aspects of consumption, such as excess (after all, New Orlean’s tradition of Mardi Gras suggests an excess of consumption), labor material culture, technology, marketing, identity, assimilation, gender, popular culture, religion, music, or tourism.
The title “Consuming Asian America” has a double sense, referring both to the consumption performed by Asian Americans and the consumption of objects, people, and practices that are marked as Asian American. We are interested in the material practices, actions, and cultures of different versions of the consumer, such as eating, buying, viewing, as well as the larger metaphor of consumption.
For example, proposals might examine the material reality of food and its cultivation, production, labor, and marketing: agribusiness, the restaurant industry, our current fascination with television food shows or “authentic” ethnic eating. Others might examine consumption, purchasing, and power by examining chains of production, from the unseen labor of overseas and domestic Asian workers to how the advertising of various products specifically employs or ignores Asian and Asian American bodies.
This topic also encompasses the widespread consumption of goods and services identified as Asian or Asian American. These might include religious iconography, such as Mehndi and the Buddha, artistic traditions such as haiku, martial arts, or manga), or language and writing, such as Chinese writing in keychains, home decor, and body art. Consumption also can be thought of as a means of absorbing, reformulating, or challenging culture through various technologies: how images of Asians, from the yellow peril to the model minority have been circulated and consumed by a multi-racial America, and how one might control or resist the consumption of Asian America.
This is the first time AAAS will meet in New Orleans. Accordingly, we are interested in the ways in which New Orleans (and the Gulf Coast more broadly) has been the object of consumption post-Katrina, as well as the relative invisibility of Asian Americans in the public attention following the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. How might this conference steer us away from being unthinking consumers of New Orleans culture and instead engage us with the possibilities of critical
All paper and panel applicants must be members of AAAS in order to submit conference proposals. AAAS membership
number or confirmation of membership from JHUP will be required with all proposals. AV equipment will be available on request but on a limited, first-come-first-served basis due to budget restrictions. Please make your requests when sending in your proposals.
The AFL-CIO is very excited to announce that Union Summer will return for 2010! Since 1996, Union Summer has graduated over 3000 activists, many of whom continue to work in the labor movement. Union Summer will be looking to recruit and place student activists from colleges and universities across the country to take the fight for justice into the streets in support of our campaign to win good jobs!
Union Summer is a ten week educational internship in which participants are introduced to the labor movement. The Union Summer Internship will run from June 7th through August 13th. It will begin with a weeklong orientation and training, which will be held in Washington, D.C. June 7-June 13. After the training, interns will work in teams in support of the AFL-CIO’s Jobs Campaign in various parts of the country; there will also be classroom instruction on matters related to their activities.
Their activities could include assisting in organizing direct actions such as marches and rallies, talking with workers impacted by the jobs crisis, as well as assisting in building community, labor and religious support for the Campaign. Interns will play an important role in helping to build support for our top priority – making sure that everyone that wants a job can get one. Participation in Union Summer is also an ideal way for people to learn about unions and our work in the community.
Union Summer is looking to recruit students with a strong commitment to social and economic justice as and openness to working with people of various races, ethnicities, sexual and religious orientations. Participants should be enthusiastic, energetic and flexible to working long and irregular hours. We are accepting applications from rising juniors and seniors as well as graduating seniors. Women and People of Color are strongly encouraged to apply.
Participants will receive a stipend of $300 per week (minus taxes) to cover meals and other incidental expenses. Each intern will be responsible to getting to and from their orientation training. After the weeklong orientation, Union Summer will cover the costs of transportation to their internship site. Housing and local transportation costs will be provided by the host site.
Union Summer is a competitive internship and will have a limited number of available positions this year. Please encourage all interested students to apply soon.
Interested students should view and download the application on our website and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The application deadline is May 7, 2010. For more information, students should contact us at 1.888.835.8557.
Director, Voice@Work Campaign
Fred Azcarate, Director
815 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
The JACL is now accepting applications for its second annual JACL Collegiate Washington, D.C. Leadership Conference to be held on June 10-13, 2010. The program, which is patterned after the JACL/OCA Washington, DC Leadership Conference, is limited to Asian American college students who are in their freshman, sophomore or junior year in school.
The three-day program is designed to give Asian American student leaders an inside glimpse of national policy-making arena in Washington, DC. The conference is structured to provide a broad overview of the decision-making process at the federal level, including meetings with key policy-makers, agency officials and advocacy organizations. The conference will also offer leadership training and issues workshops.
“The intent of the program is to provide student leaders with information, training and networking opportunities,” said Bill Yoshino, JACL’s Midwest Director who is coordinating the program. “We hope this program provides the participants with additional motivation to be active and involved at their campus and in their communities,” Yoshino added.
The conference is being funded through a grant from the UPS Foundation, which will cover airfare, lodging and meals for 12 participants who will be selected through an application process. Applicants must be full-time Asian Pacific American undergraduate freshman, sophomore or junior class students attending an accredited college or university.
As we near the end of 2009, it’s fitting to review the major events, developments, and trends in U.S. racial/ethnic relations in 2009. Therefore, below is my look back at some of the positive highlights as well as the setbacks in terms of achieving racial/ethnic equality, with a particular focus on Asian Americans (my area of expertise). This list is not meant to be an exhaustive review of all racial/ethnic news in 2009, but rather the ones that I covered in this blog and ones that I believe have the most sociological significance.
King, Obama, Tet, and the Diversity of Change A new year brings new hope as we connect Martin Luther King, Barack Obama’s historic election, and Tet the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, around the theme of change, rebirth, and renewal.
Recession Can Lead to Better Race Relations The current recession has certainly led to a lot of hostility and conflict, but can also help bring Americans together and bridge racial divides as they support one another.
How Immigrants Contribute to American Society Within the partisan an emotional debates on the cultural and economic effects of immigration, several new studies point out that immigrants ultimately make several important contributions to American society.
Asian Americans Celebrate Several Congressional Achievements The “End of Year Report” from the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus summarizes the major achievements by Asian Americans in the federal government, including renewing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the diversity of federal appointments by President Obama, and several significant legislative proposals.
Asian Americans and Workplace-Employment Discrimination New data describes employment and workplace discrimination against Asian Americans who work for the federal government and notes that while Asian Americans have the highest rates of experiencing discrimination, they are the least likely to formally report them and to file complaints.
As we turn the page on 2009 and the entire decade (one that many Americans would like to forget), let’s hope that 2010 and the new decade will lead to more prosperity, equality, and harmony for Americans from all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.
Nikki Randhawa Haley, 37, who is in the fray for the post of governor of South Carolina in the US, says she is in the race to win. If she gets elected, Nikki will be the first Indian American woman to become governor in the US, and the second Indian after Bobby Jindal of Louisiana state. A member of the South Carolina state assembly since 2004, Nikki is one of the three candidates to seek nomination from her Republican party for the 2010 elections. . . .
Asked whether her Indian background will matter in the race, she said: “What matters most in South Carolina — and I imagine elsewhere in the country — is not the personalities of the candidates but the message they carry.” . . . Reminded of her maiden campaign in 2004 when her opponents had raised the issue of her ethnic background, she said: “I imagine my opponents will throw everything they can and more at me over the course of the campaign.
“That said, those opponents will not be the focus of our campaign — we will keep our focus on reforming the backward way South Carolina’s government operates and bringing good government back to the people.” Nikki added: “I am very proud of my background and how I was raised. Just as in 2004 I will hold my head high and focus on what I can do for the people of this state.”
To be honest, this is the first that I’ve heard of Nikki Randhawa Haley. It is interesting to see that like Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, she is both Indian American and a Republican. As with Jindal, being a Republican makes her a minority within her own ethnic group, who strongly lean Democratic and with the overall political preferences of Asian Americans in general.
Nonetheless, as with Jindal, I think it’s great that more Asian Americans are participating in the political arenas on the state and federal levels and that they are increasingly vying for — and achieving — the highest political offices and positions available (as a reminder, in addition to Jindal, we have Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Joseph Cao (the first Vietnamese American elected to Congress), Michelle Rhee (high-profile Chancellor of Washington DC’s public schools), and most recently, Councilman Sam Yoon running for Mayor of Boston, Judy Chu, the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress), and Jacqueline Nguyen, recently nominated by President Obama to become our country’s only current Asian American federal judge.
I find it very encouraging that Asian Americans are becoming more fully integrated into mainstream American institutions such as politics. This actually leads me to the second news story that caught my eye: I was watching the CBS Evening News the other day and the following segment came on, profiling Edward Tom, Principal at the Bronx Center for Science and Math, a magnet school in New York City:
After watching the segment, I basically thought, “Hey, that’s pretty cool — a principal who gave up a cushy job to work with inner-city kids and to try to help them succeed in life and overcome the obstacles in front of them. Good for him.”
It only dawned on me a little bit later that he was Asian American.
I had to take a few minutes to reflect on this quick realization. Combined with the first part of this post about the emergence of new Asian American politicians, I struck me that perhaps I am now beginning to see what I hoped I would see one day in my lifetime: Asian Americans are so much an integral part of American society that it’s no longer a surprise when I see them in the news or in other media.
In other words, perhaps we are beginning to see that mainstream American society no longer thinks of Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners, as “the other,” or as completely invisible altogether. Instead, with the recent examples of Randhawa Haley, Jindal, Chu, Shinseki, Locke, Rhee, Cao, Yoon, Chu, Nguyen, Tom, and other Asian Americans increasingly attaining high-level and high-profile positions, maybe we as a community have turned the corner in our quest for true integration into American society.
Having said that, I am under no illusions that we no longer experience racial prejudice or outright discrimination or that our identities as “real” Americans will no longer be questioned (you only have to read my recent posts for examples of that). There is still plenty of statistical and anecdotal evidence that Asian Americans are still underrepresented and under-appreciated in many aspects and institutions of American society.
Nonetheless, I think these are very positive developments and it gives me hope that despite the struggles still to come, American society is moving in the right direction.