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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.

January 25, 2012

Written by C.N.

Links, Jobs, & Announcements #59

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

Asian American Conference: UC Irvine

The Asian Pacific Student Association (APSA) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) is hosting its 27th Annual Asian Pacific American Awareness Conference at the UCI Student Center on Saturday, January 28, 2012. For over 30 years, APSA has been a progressive voice for Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) students in Orange County and Southern California. Through a commitment to advocacy, education, community outreach, and active political participation, APSA strives toward the establishment of equality in a multicultural society.

The 27th Annual Asian Pacific-Islander American Awareness Conference (APAAC) is a day-long event devoted to addressing the issues and redressing the questions raised in the contemporary society of the United States. This year’s theme is “The Movement: Then and Now.” This year we explore cross-cultural activism, intersections of struggles faced by People of Color, and the need to bring back the foundations of the Asian Pacific-Islander American Movement to address the issues that pervade our communities today.

Information:
The 27th Annual Asian Pacific American Awareness Conference
January 28, 2012
UC Irvine Student Center – University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697
Check-In starts at 8:00AM

Highlights:

  • Keynote Speaker: Glenn Omatsu
  • Indoor Lunch and Performances
  • Workshop and Breakout Sessions
  • West Coast API Student Coalition Kick-It
  • Performances by Hoodini & KinG!, Beau Sia, Andrew Figueroa Chiang, forWORD, Nghiem Le, Victoria Lee, Jazzmine Farol, and more!

Registration:
Early Registration (until January 23, 2012) – $7
Late/On-site Registration – $10
Special Discounts for delegations of 10 people or more. Contact Elaine Won at apaacuci@gmail.com to arrange a delegation.
Lunch and concert are included in registration.
Register Online Here: registration.apaacuci.org

Social Media:

http://www.facebook.com/events/162734167157786/

apaacuci.org
@apsauci
#APAAC2012

Pre-Doctoral Fellowship: Ithaca College

The School of Humanities and Sciences at Ithaca College announces a Pre-Doctoral Diversity Fellowship for 2012-13. The fellowship supports promising scholars who are committed to diversity in the academy in order to better prepare them for tenure track appointments within liberal arts or comprehensive colleges/universities.

Applications are welcome in the following areas: Anthropology, Art History, Communication Studies, Environmental Studies and Sciences, History, Philosophy and Religion, Psychology, and Sociology. The Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity, which houses the African Diaspora Studies and the Latino/a studies minors, also welcomes applications. The School of Humanities and Sciences houses additional interdisciplinary minors that may be of interest to candidates: Jewish Studies, Latin American Studies, Muslim Cultures, Native American Studies, and Women’s Studies.

Fellows who successfully obtain the Ph.D. and show an exemplary record of teaching and scholarship and engagement in academic service throughout their fellowship, may be considered as candidates for tenure-eligible appointments anticipated to begin in the fall of 2013.
Position Responsibilities and Terms of Fellowship: Fellowship is anticipated for the academic year (August 16, 2012 to May 31, 2013) and is non-renewable. The fellow will receive a $30,000 stipend, $3,000 in travel/professional development support, office space, health benefits, and access to Ithaca College and Cornell University libraries. The fellow will teach one course in the fall semester and one course in the spring semester and be invited to speak about her/his dissertation research in relevant classes and at special events at Ithaca College.

Position/Job Responsibilities: Continued enrollment in an accredited program leading to a Ph.D. degree at a U.S. educational institution, evidence of superior academic achievement, and commitment to a career in teaching at the college or university level required. Candidates must also be authorized to work in the United States. Prior to August 15, 2012, the fellow must be advanced to candidacy at his or her home institution with an approved dissertation proposal. Preference will be given to those candidates in the final writing stages of their dissertation.

Position/Job Qualifications: Successful candidates will show evidence of superior academic achievement, a high degree of promise of continuing achievement as scholars and teachers, a capacity to respond in pedagogically productive ways to the learning needs of students from diverse backgrounds, sustained personal engagement with communities that are underrepresented in the academy and an ability to bring this asset to learning, teaching, and scholarship at the college and university level, and a likelihood of using the diversity of human experience as an educational resource in teaching and scholarship.

Instructions for submitting your application: Interested individuals should apply online at www.icjobs.org, and submit a C.V./Resume, a cover letter, two sample syllabi, a list of references and a transcript. Questions about the online application should be directed to the Office of Human Resources at (607)274-8000. Screening of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Quick Link apply.icjobs.org/applicants/Central?quickFind=177781

Call for Participants: HBO 2012 APA Heritage Month Documentary

As mentioned on AngryAsianMan, following up on HBO’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month documentary series East of Main Street last year, HBO is conducting another search for Asian American participants for their 2012 edition to commemorate APA Heritage Month. This year however, they are looking for children ages 4-10, to interviewed for the project:

Project Description
HBO is seeking Asian American children in the age range of 4-10 to be interviewed for their 2012 installment of their Asian Heritage documentary series, brought to you by the producers and director of HBO’s “East of Main Street” that began in 2010.

If you have ever been around small children, you will know that they have as uncensored a view of life. They are wide-eyed, open, curious, and completely unjaded by life and what is “appropriate.” They have not yet been exposed to the harsh realities of racism, sexism or discrimination.

HBO will interview a cross section of Asian American children ranging in age from 4-10 about everything from their heritage, what being Asian American means, how their grandparents differ, what sets them apart from other kids in their schools, religion, their foods, customs and what their hopes and dreams for the future are. The piece would be filled with humor, sweetness and poignancy and help highlight just how insightful and intelligent children really are.

Submission Info
This year, the production will hit the road and interview children in 3 different cities at the end of February. One city will be New York, while the second will either be Los Angeles or San Francisco. The third city is yet to be determined, and will ideally be less metropolitan, to see a cross section of the Asian American experience.

If you’d like to enter your child as a candidate for the series, please upload a short sample clip of your child to a YouTube or Vimeo link and send it to asianheritage2012@gmail.com with a description of your family’s background as well as the name of the city and state which you currently live.

Deadline for submission is January 31.

Postdoc: Korean Families, Univ. of Illinois

The 5-year Korean Family in Comparative Perspective (KFCP, 2010-present) Laboratory for the Globalization of Korean Studies at the University of Illinois, funded by the Academy of Korean Studies, and housed in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, is pleased to announce its second KFCP Postdoctoral Fellowship starting August 16, 2012. This one-year position, with the possibility of a one-year extension, is open to: (1) recent PhD recipients (within the last 5 years) and (2) those who will deposit their dissertation by August 15, 2012.

The KFCP Laboratory aims to bring the Korean family to the center of comparative East Asian and general family studies, highlighting Korea as a productive comparative case of interest to non-Koreanists across a range of disciplines and scholarly locations. KFCP Fellows must be scholars interested in comparative work on the Korean family. Scholars with primary expertise in the family of other East Asian countries (e.g., China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan) are particularly welcome to apply. Scholars with primary research emphasis on the Koreas must have a concrete plan to conduct comparative research (i.e., with another country/region). The Postdoctoral Fellowship is open to scholars in any humanities or social science discipline.

The KFCP Laboratory is directed by anthropologist Nancy Abelmann and includes 3 KFCP Laboratory Fellows: Jungwon Kim (EALC and History, University of Illinois), Seung-Kyung Kim (Women’s Studies, University of Maryland), and Hyunjoon Park (Sociology, University of Pennsylvania). The 2011-13 current Postdoctoral Fellow is historian of China, Elizabeth LaCouture (History, Colby College)

The Postdoctoral Fellow will be welcomed to an active Koreanist community at the University of Illinois that includes a biweekly Korea Workshop (that will actively engage the themes of the Laboratory). The KFCP Fellow will be provided the opportunity to participate in organizing a Korean Family Colloquium Series which graduate students will be able to attend for partial credit. The KFCP Laboratory will be guided by a National Advisory Board (See list below). KFCP Laboratory Director, Fellows, and National Board Members will take an active role in nurturing the comparative scholarship of the Postdoctoral Fellow. The Postdoctoral Fellow will also have the opportunity to “workshop” his or her manuscript/s with experts from both on and off campus.

The KFCP Fellow will be paid $40,000 and benefits. To ensure full consideration, all required application materials must be submitted electronically by February 10, 2012 at http://go.illinois.edu/KFCP_Application Referees will be contacted electronically upon submission of the application. Only electronic applications will be accepted. Applications must include:

  1. A cover letter reviewing your research history, including your dissertation and other publications
  2. A statement of interest in the Korean family in comparative perspective, including a publication plan that includes the submission of one article for each postdoctoral year (OR a single- or co-authored book manuscript) (this can be integrated into the cover letter)
  3. A statement of commitment to active participation in KFCP Laboratory events, including the Korean Family Colloquium Series (this can be a simple statement in the cover letter)
  4. One writing sample, 25-40 pages
  5. Contact information for three referees who can speak to your scholarly work and abilities and to the feasibility of your research and publications plans for comparative work on the Korean family. Referees will be contacted electronically and asked to submit their letters

Please address inquires to slcl-hr@illinois.edu.

Call for Submissions: Mixed-Race Film & Literary Festival

The 5th Annual Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival takes place:

Sat. June 16, 2012 – Sun. 17, 2012
Japanese American
National Museum
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Now is your chance to submit your film, writing, workshop, or performance proposal.

There is NO submission fee if you submit your work by February 15, 2012! So don’t wait–send us your stories of the Mixed experience NOW! For complete submission information visit the Festival website. You’ll find the submission forms in the brown navigation bar on the home page.

Please tell your friends via tweets; like us on Facebook; post this call to Facebook; post this announcement on your blog; and forward this email to friends, family and coworkers!

Position: Immigration Policy Special Assistant

Special Assistant for Immigration Policy
Reports to: Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy
Department: Domestic Policy

The Center for American Progress has an immediate opening for an Immigration Assistant. The qualified applicant will be a self-starter and a fast learner with strong written and verbal communications, solid research skills, and the ability to juggle multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment. In addition to providing administrative support to the Immigration Team, she/he will help coordinate CAP’s work with key immigrants’ rights organizations and provide assistance in research projects that address gaps in information and data related to immigration.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Provide administrative support to the Immigration team
  • Help coordinate work with key partners
  • Use available research tools to identify important issues related to immigration
  • Assist with the development of immigration-related short reports

Requirements:

  • Excellent written communications skills
  • Ability to think strategically and to anticipate and orchestrate next steps
  • Ability to initiate, prioritize, and follow through on plans
  • Ability to work under pressure/tight deadlines in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to initiate projects and balance multiple projects at once
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work well on a team
  • Strong attention to detail

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in social sciences
  • Familiarity with the issue of immigration a plus
  • Excellent research and writing skills
  • Top-notch organizational skills
  • Commitment to organization’s mission and goals
  • Proficiency in MS Word, Excel
  • Nonprofit experience a plus
  • Familiarity with the Salesforce CRM system a plus
  • Experience working with 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations a plus

Additional Information
American Progress operates two separate nonprofit organizations to maximize our progressive agenda: The Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “American Progress.” The Center for American Progress is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) tax-exempt research and educational institute. It undertakes research, public education and a limited amount of lobbying.

The Center for American Progress Action Fund is a non-partisan 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization dedicated to achieving progress through action. It works to transform progressive ideas into policy through rapid response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing, political advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders. The organizations share office space and employees.

American Progress provides a competitive compensation and benefits package. American Progress is an equal opportunity employer; women, minorities, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. To apply, simply e-mail your Word resume and cover letter attachments to: jobs@americanprogress.org.

Or you may write to:
Center for American Progress
1333 H Street, NW, 10th Floor – Domestic Policy Search
Washington, DC 20005

In your correspondence, please reference the exact title of the job you are applying for in the subject line. This announcement will remain posted until the position is filled. No phone calls please. Please note that only those individuals whose qualifications match the current needs of this position will be considered applicants and will receive responses from American Progress.

Summer Service Abroad Program: Viet Nam

Are you planning for an exciting summer abroad? Join us to make an impact through our leadership service project.

Mission
Southeast Asian Service Leadership Network’s (SEALNet) mission is to bring service and to promote the spirit of service leadership among Southeast Asian communities in the US and abroad. We strive to accomplish this by building and nurturing a community of service leaders who are committed to serve, equipped to lead, enterprising in action, and plugged into a network of like hearted individuals who are passionate about social development.

Brief History
SEALNet was founded at Stanford University in 2004. In 2006, SEALNet became a 501(c)(3) organization with a board of directors which oversees the organization and chapters at various universities. In 2008, SEALNet registered a branch in Singapore as a Company Limited by Guarantee.

Project Vietnam 2012
SEALNet projects normally start recruiting during March. However, Project Vietnam 2012 will recruit early this year. The deadline for the application will be on March 10th.

Project Site: Long Hoa Orphanage, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Expected date: 2 – 3 weeks between August 11th and August 31st

We will cover all food, transportation and boarding. However, you are responsible for your airfares to and from Vietnam.

Project Vietnam 2012 seeks to collaborate with Gentle Fund Organization (GFO) in bringing in a sustainable source of local Vietnamese volunteers to support the development of an orphan-led Scout Club for Long Hoa Orphanage. Founded by GFO on the belief that improving self-esteem of orphaned youths will prove vital for their success in school, character development and career choices, the Scout Club is a place where orphaned youths feel safe, free of stigma, encouraged to serve others, and supported through skills workshops. The SEALNet team hopes to supplement and further support GFO’s endeavor at Long Hoa by training a group of local volunteers, committed and capable, to become the program assistants to the GFO administration of the Scout Club and building partnership between the orphanage with a local university.

Community Challenge: Orphans are a large under-served population in Vietnam. 1.4 million Vietnamese orphans (2009) under 18 years old often live in small unregistered institutions and on the streets. During adolescence, orphans’ need for adult guidance and high self-esteem are not met due to the lack of support programs for this special population and their quiet needs. In Long Hoa Orphanage, Ho Chi Minh City, there is currently a lack of support for adolescent orphans who need meaningful extra-curricular activities to develop themselves at the age of 12-16, when they begin to develop their self-worth, character, social skills and self-motivations. Gentle Fund Organization, which has been running a community Learning Center on the orphanage campus for three years, would like to extend their service to providing some psychosocial support for the orphans of this group age. However, challenges remain as their character development program faces a lack of high-quality manpower support from within the organization, the orphanage and external sources.

To apply, please submit your application at http://bit.ly/yLUhXf

For more information about SEALNet, please go to http://www.sealnetonline.org/
For more information about Gentle Fund Organization, please go to http://www.gentlefund.org/en/home.xhtml
For more information about Project Vietnam 2012, please email PV12 Co-Leaders:
Minh Vo: mvo1(at)swarthmore.edu
Phy Tran: tphyntran(at)gmail.com

Summer Internships: Organization of Chinese Americans

The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), a national organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), is now accepting applications for its 2012 Summer Internship Program.

Celebrating its 23rd year, the OCA Internship Program seeks to cultivate future leadership by providing students from all over the country an opportunity to be involved in the political process through one of the largest national advocacy organization for APAs. The program has successfully led past interns to become more actively involved in their college campuses and joined the growing movement of APA leadership at the cross section of government, nonprofits, and business.

“As one of OCA’s prestigious programs, the Summer Internship is truly a unique experience. It exposes students to issues affecting the APA community while gaining valuable working experience in the heart of Washington DC,” said Tom Hayashi, Interim Executive Director of OCA.

Participants of this program will be placed in a paid internship in a federal agency, nonprofit, congressional offices, and corporations that matches their backgrounds and interests—including some placements at the OCA National Center. In addition to their work assignments, summer interns will be heavily involved in variety of activities and programming including direct advocacy for critical issues faced by APAs on the Hill.

In addition to connecting interns with the APA community and developing their leadership skills, summer interns are invited to take part in the OCA National Convention. This year’s National Convention will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada from August 2 – 5 at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. The Convention will feature inspirational speakers, thrilling entertainment, numerous workshops, and our signature gala to celebrate the impactful and pioneering achievements of community leaders.

Interns are expected to commit to working full-time for ten weeks between the dates of May 28 – August 17, 2012. (Participation in the National Convention is mandatory and applicants are strongly encouraged to make sure they are able to attend.) Applications will be reviewed by the Internship Committee and a telephone interview will be scheduled for qualified applicants.

For more information on the OCA Summer Internship and to apply, go to OCA’s website and click “Internship” under “Programs.” You can also click here to go directly to the online application form. Applications and all materials need to be submitted by March 12, 2012.

Please contact the OCA National Center at 202.223.5500 or email Mary Dynne Montante at mmontante@ocanational.org if you have any questions. Your journey towards empowerment and fulfillment for your personal best starts with the OCA Summer Internship…apply today!

Annual Conference: Social Science History Assn., Vancouver

We serve as co-chairs of the Race/Ethnicity section for the Social Science History Association (SSHA). The meeting is scheduled to take place in Vancouver, Canada, November 1-4, 2012. Our theme this year is “Histories of Capitalism.”

Our main goal is to structure sessions so that they explicitly draw on an interdisciplinary group of scholars who hail from different institutions. The deadline for submission of abstracts is March 1 2011. Note, all SSHA requires at this point is an abstract. We are hoping to put together a number of sessions related to the conference site that were discussed at the planning meeting:

  • Indigenous Communities, Land Rights and Natural Resources
  • The Rise and Decline of Multiculturalism and/or Cosmopolitanism
  • Race and Collective Violence
  • Anti-Asian Discrimination and Asian Integration on the West Coast
  • The Underground Railroad
  • Racialized Immigration Policy
  • Bilingualism and Racialized Language Struggles
  • Conflicts and Contradictions in Anglo-French Conceptions of Race
  • Multiracial Identities and Racial Boundaries in Historical Perspective
  • Legacies of Slavery and Colonialism in Contemporary America
  • Race and Capitalism
  • Race and Eugenics

You are welcome to submit papers regarding any of these topics, or on a topic relating to your own research. If you are interested in putting together an entire session, let us know and we would be happy to provide you with details as to how to do this. Feel free to forward this call widely, particularly to graduate students (there is funding available for graduate students to travel to the conference).

We also had three wonderful Author Meets Critics panels at the 2011 session and are looking to “recreate the magic” this year in Vancouver. So if you have read any great books that you would like to seen discussed and meet the author, please let us know. Or if you would just like to volunteer to be a critic for books to be decided within the next month, please let us know.

Finally, please feel free to check our Facebook page, which you can find by searching for “Race/Ethnicity Network – Social Science History Association.” If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email: mfweiner@holycross.edu or e-onasch@u.northwestern.edu

Sincerely,

Melissa Weiner
Elizabeth Onasch

Call for Applicants: Poll Workers (Paid), Boston

Election Day Officers Needed Throughout Boston for 2012 Election Cycle

Have you ever gone to vote and thought that you might enjoy being an Election Officer “someday,” or have you thought that the poll workers at your precinct are a great group, and you would love to have the opportunity to work with them? The City of Boston Election Department is seeking to expand its pool of available election officers for the 2012 Election cycle, beginning with the March 6 Presidential Primary.

There are a number of openings for Election Day Officers throughout the City. Poll workers in particular are needed in East Boston, Charlestown, South Boston, the North End, and Allston-Brighton. While there is a particular need for bilingual workers, there are also available opportunities for other positions as well. From Wardens, who are responsible for the smooth operations of their polling locations, to Clerks, who oversee the checking in of voters, and keep written records of the day’s events, to Inspectors who direct and assist voters; the need for talented workers exists at all levels.

Requirements include the ability to follow directions precisely, attentiveness to detail, a strong commitment to fairness and impartiality, and a desire to serve. Election Officers must be registered voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and can come from any city or town. Ideally, potential candidates should have a strong voter history as well. Election Officers work from 6AM-9PM, which includes an hour before and an hour after the polls are open for voters. In some cases there is an allowance for part-time shifts, although a shift must be at least six (6) hours long. Attendance to one of our paid training sessions is mandatory.

For more information, or to download a poll worker application, please visit the Boston Election Department’s website www.cityofboston.gov/elections or call 617-635-4491.


February 10, 2011

Written by C.N.

Posts from Years Past: February

As I and my colleagues in New England continue to dig ourselves out of another snowstorm, here are some posts in this blog from February of years past:

  • 2010: Connecting Toyota and Asian Americans
    Looking at the larger sociological context surrounding Toyota’s recent troubles and its cultural connections to Asian Americans.
  • Winter cranes © Li Yu/Corbis
  • 2009: Using Immigrants to Stimulate the Economy
    To stimulate our economy, perhaps we should let in more Asian immigrants.
  • 2008: Another Example of East-West Convergence
    McDonalds restaurants incorporating feng shui — capitalism and natural harmony coexisting or just lipstick on a pig?
  • 2007: Controversy Over Childrens Book
    Cross-ethnic and nationalist tensions get reignited over the award-winning book So Far From the Bamboo Grove.
  • 2006: Toyota Joins NASCAR
    Toyota’s announcement that it will participate in NASCAR, the most popular form of motor racing in the U.S., poses a challenge to the sport’s all-White, American south-based culture.
  • 2005: Multiracial Commercial Images
    Images of racially-diverse and multiracial Americans are becoming more common, but how representative are they of the realities of the U.S. racial landscape?
  • 2003: in Defense of Ignorance
    Asian Americans react to Rep. Coble’s ignorant and misinformed defense of the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during WWII.

February 8, 2011

Written by C.N.

Links, Jobs, & Announcements #37

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.

Part-Time Lecturers: Claremont Colleges

The Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies at the Claremont Colleges invites applications for part-time, visiting lecturer positions to teach one or two courses in Asian American Studies during the Fall 2011 semester. We welcome applicants who can offer “Contemporary Issues” and/or special topics courses which complement our curriculum, especially courses on Muslim, Pacific Islander, Southeast Asian, mixed race, or mixed ethnicity Asian Americans. Applicants should have a Ph.D. or be ABD, and have some teaching experience.

The Claremont Colleges (Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Pomona, and Scripps) are liberal arts colleges located 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. We value diversity, and actively encourage applications from women and members of historically underrepresented groups. Please submit a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, proposed course syllabi, and contact information for three references via email to madeline.gosiaco@pomona.edu, followed by a hard copy of your application materials to:

Professor Kathy Yep
c/o Madeline Gosiaco
Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies
Claremont Colleges
Lincoln Building 1118
647 N College Way
Claremont, CA 91711

Review of applications will begin February 1, 2011. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Northeast Conference on Indonesian Studies

We invite you to join us for the 6th Biannual Northeast Conference on Indonesian Studies. NCIS is a one-day conference for the presentation of new research relating to religion, politics, economy, language, culture, and the environment in Indonesia.

February 19th, 2011
Luce Hall
Yale University
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. J. Joseph Errington
Professor of Anthropology, Yale University
“Other Indonesians: The National Language in Some Out-of-the Way Places”

Please visit the conference website or contact the organizers at YIFconference@gmail.com with any questions.

Position: Visiting Associate Director, Asian American Resource and Cultural Center

The Visiting Associate Director provides primary leadership for AARCC programs (University of Illinois, Chicago) that address Asian American students academic, personal, and vocational needs, including the Asian American Mentor Program; coordinates center and campus programs and activities with a focus on Asian American awareness such as Asian American Awareness Month; advises individual students as well as student groups; acts as AARCC liaison to campus units, especially student affairs units; provides consultative services to students, faculty and staff engaged in diversity initiatives in relation to relevant Asian American issues; supervises center staff; assists the Director with administrative oversight of center operations and staff. This position is partially funded by the Asian American Native American-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) grant administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

Duties:

  • Oversee and coordinate Asian American Mentor Program, including supervision of graduate assistants and undergraduate mentors.
  • Coordinate campus educational programming such as Asian American Awareness Month and year-round guest speakers, events, workshops that focus on Asian American issues.
  • Provide and/or supervise academic, organizational, social, and personal advising to Asian American students, including assistance with resource allocations for student-initiated programs.
  • Serve as primary liaison between AARCC and student services, acting as primary representative of AARCC to these offices.
  • Develop and present workshops and trainings for faculty, staff, and students on Asian American student needs and services.
  • Serve as an AARCC liaison to the university on policy and practices in order to ensure that the campus serves Asian American students and addresses Asian American needs effectively.
  • Assist with administrative oversight of AARCC, which may include human resources support, budget oversight, as well as facility management; responsible for following all University procedures and protocols in these and all other administrative areas. Authorizes expenditures (to assigned limits) in the Director’s absence.
  • Serve as center liaison to external and internal associates in the absence of, or as designated by the Director. May represent the Director and AARCC on committees and at meetings.

Qualifications:
Master’s degree in Student Affairs field, Psychology, Social Work or Education; Experience in higher education and student affairs with expertise on Asian American students, student development theory, and knowledge of Asian American Studies required. At least five years of demonstrated experience in areas related to student academic advising, student organizational advising, campus programming, facilitation of workshops, development of resource materials, coordinating and presenting educational trainings and workshops. Counseling background highly desired; strong interpersonal skills, excellent oral and written communication skills: ability to work effectively with diverse populations.

To apply, please submit an online application with your resume, cover letter, and names of three references. Review of applications starts Feb. 10th, but the search will remain open until the position is filled. This is a visiting position partially funded by a grant, renewable depending on funding.

Part-Time Lecturers: Cal State Fullerton

The Asian American Studies Program at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) is recruiting qualified candidates to teach courses on a part-time basis (Job Control Number 23582H-11-050). Proud of its diversity, Cal State Fullerton is currently ranked 5th nationally in the number of bachelor’s degrees it grants to members of underrepresented groups.

Asian American Studies Program Goals: CSUF’s Asian American Studies Program aims: 1) to inform students about the history, challenges and triumphs of Asians and Pacific Islanders in America, including their contributions to this country; 2) to build interracial and interethnic understanding and cooperation; 3) to promote study and research in the area; 4) to contribute to Asian American communities in southern California to develop critical thinking and communications skills; and 5) to prepare students in selected career paths where knowledge and understanding of the Asian American and Pacific Islander experience is important.

Among the courses to be staffed are:

  • Asian American Studies 101—Introduction to Ethnic Studies
  • Asian American Studies 300—Introduction to Asian Pacific American Studies
  • Asian American Studies 308—Asian American Women (face-to-face or online)Asian American Studies 320—Asian American Creative Expression (face-to-face or online)
  • Asian American Studies 325—Asian American Film and Video (face-to-face or online)
  • Courses focusing on specific Asian American ethnic groups

Faculty members will teach undergraduate courses and are expected to be available to their students for consultation one hour per week for each three units of classroom instruction. Most courses are three-units per semester, typically offered in a lecture-discussion or online mode (as indicated).

Qualifications:

  • ABD Doctoral Candidate or M.A. with substantial graduate course work in relevant field is required
  • Evidence of ability to work effectively with a wide and culturally diverse range of students and faculty
  • Evidence of prior teaching, mentoring, or tutoring experience

Academic Calendar: The fall term begins in mid-August and ends in mid-December; the spring term runs from mid-January through the end of May.

Rank & Salary: These are non-tenure-track, temporary appointments to the classification of Lecturer. Salaries vary depending upon qualifications and experience. Typical starting salaries for part-time faculty range from $4147 to approximately $4533 for a three-unit class. Eligibility for health benefits is governed by the collective bargaining agreement and based on a number of factors including unit load (wtu’s/timebase, etc).

Application Procedures: Please submit a letter of interest, a current curriculum vita, CSU-1 form, documentation of teaching effectiveness, sample course syllabi, and three current letters of recommendation. In your letter of interest, please indicate your availability for teaching throughout the week. Send all materials directly to:

Dr. Eliza Noh, Coordinator
Asian American Studies Program
Recruitment Control Number
California State University, Fullerton
800 North State College Blvd.
P.O. Box 6868
Fullerton, CA 92834

In addition, please complete an Applicant Data Flow Form and enter the Job Control Number listed above. Application materials are reviewed on an on-going basis.

Postdoc: Research on Korean Family

The 5-year Korean Family in Comparative Perspective (KFCP) Laboratory for the Globalization of Korean Studies at the University of Illinois, funded by the Academy of Korean Studies, and housed in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, is pleased to announce a KFCP Postdoctoral Fellowship starting August 16, 2011. This one-year position, with the possibility of a one-year extension, is open to: (1) recent PhD recipients (within the last 3 years) and (2) those who will deposit their dissertation by August 15, 2011.

The KFCP Laboratory aims to bring the Korean family to the center of comparative East Asian and general family studies, highlighting Korea as a productive comparative case of interest to non-Koreanists across a range of disciplines and scholarly locations. KFCP Fellows must be scholars interested in comparative work on the Korean family. Scholars with primary expertise in the family of other East Asian countries (e.g., China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan) are particularly welcomed to apply. Scholars with primary research emphasis on the Koreas must have a concrete plan to conduct comparative research (i.e., with another country/region). The postdoctoral fellowship is open to scholars in any humanities or social science discipline.

The KFCP Laboratory is directed by anthropologist Nancy Abelmann and includes 3 KFCP Laboratory Fellows: Jungwon Kim (EALC and History, University of Illinois), Seung-Kyung Kim (Women’s Studies, University of Maryland), and Hyunjoon Park (Sociology, University of Pennsylvania). The Postdoctoral Fellow will be welcomed to an active Koreanist community at the University of Illinois that includes a biweekly Korea Workshop (that will actively engage the themes of the Laboratory). The KFCP Fellow will be provided the opportunity to participate in organizing a Korean Family Colloquium Series which graduate students will be able to attend for partial credit.

KFCP Laboratory Director, Fellows, and National Board Members will take an active role in nurturing the comparative scholarship of the Postdoctoral Fellow. The Postdoctoral fellow will also have the opportunity to “workshop” his or her manuscript/s with experts from both on and off campus. The KFCP Fellow will be paid $40,000 including benefits and some funds for domestic research-related travel. Application deadline: February 25, 2011.

Please submit your application electronically. Applications must include:

  • A cover letter reviewing your research history, including your dissertation and other publications.
  • A statement of interest in the Korean family in comparative perspective, including a publication plan that includes the submission of one article for each postdoctoral year (OR a single- or co-authored book manuscript) (this can be integrated into the cover letter).
  • A statement of commitment to active participation in KFCP Laboratory events, including the Korean Family Colloquium Series (this can be a simple statement in the cover letter).
  • One writing sample, 25-40 pages.
  • Contact information for three referees who can speak to your scholarly work and abilities and to the feasibility of your research and publications plans for comparative work on the Korean family. Referees will be contacted electronically and asked to submit their letters.

Please address inquires to slcl-hr@illinois.edu.

Position: Sociology, Georgia State University

The Department of Sociology at Georgia State University invites applications for an anticipated tenure-track assistant professor position, beginning in August 2011, pending budgetary approval. We are looking for a scholar with substantive research interests in one of the three following specialty areas that complement our existing strengths: 1) family, health, and life course; 2) race and urban; or 3) gender and sexuality.

A successful candidate must have a demonstrated research agenda that can lead to external funding. Located in the heart of Atlanta, we are a Ph.D. granting department with a research-active faculty and a diverse graduate and undergraduate student body. We enthusiastically encourage applications from minority candidates. Applicants should submit: 1) a letter outlining their qualifications; 2) a curriculum vitae; 3) two samples of their scholarly work; 4) evidence of teaching effectiveness (e.g., course syllabi, student evaluations, and statement of teaching philosophy); and 5) three letters of recommendation. A Ph.D. is required at the time of appointment. An offer of employment will be
conditional on background verification. Send materials to: Recruitment Committee, Georgia State University, Department of Sociology, P.O. Box 5020, Atlanta, GA 30302-502. Deadline for application is February 28, 2011.

Summer Seminar: Rethinking International Migration

Applications are invited to “Rethinking International Migration,” a 2011 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers. To be directed by Roger Waldinger, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles, this five week summer seminar will be held at the UCLA campus from June 13 through July 15, 2011.

The seminar is open to 16 NEH summer scholars, from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds. Principally oriented to teachers of American undergraduate students, the seminar is open to qualified independent scholars, and will include two full-time graduate students. The seminar will be informed by a view that the study of migration resembles the process of migration itself: an activity that cuts across boundaries, in this case intellectual, not political, one best pursued by drawing insights and methods from a variety of disciplines.

Hence, this seminar will seek to expose NEH summer scholars to an interdisciplinary approach to migration studies, via focused discussions of three key areas at the core of migration debates: rights, citizenship, migration policy; the second generation; diasporas and transnationalism. Visit the program website for more information and the application form. The deadline is March 1, 2011.


September 6, 2010

Written by C.N.

Transracial Adoption from the Adoptee’s Point of View

The topic of international and transracial adoptions seems to be on many people’s minds these days. Last week, PBS began showing a series of documentaries about such adoptions and their trailer for the series is below. My fellow Asian American blogger Jeff Yang has also written an article summarizing these documentaries in his regular column for the San Francisco Chronicle.

The blogosphere has also been buzzing about National Public Radio host Scott Simon’s recent on-air interview and discussion and book Baby We Were Meant for Each Other about his family’s adoption of two girls from China. Some readers found Simon’s narrative inspiring while others criticized him for some ethnocentric assumptions. For example, Malinda at ChinaAdoptionTalk offers a very well-reasoned response to some of Simon’s comments about the adoption process.

To add more substance to this emerging discussion on international and transracial adoption, the following is a post (reprinted by permission) originally titled “NPR’s Scott Simon Discusses Adoption on Fresh Air” by my former student and now colleague Gang Shik at his blog The Transracial Korean Adoptee Nexus. In his post, Gang asks the question, Why is it that whenever the media talks about transracial adoption that the last person they seek to for their input are the adoptees themselves?

It came as no surprise to me that the person talking about adoption, was an adoptive parent. As always, it appears as though adoptive parents are the only “authorities” on adoption. I come back to this same problem every time I hear a program on adoption. Why aren’t adoptees being called on to discuss their experiences? There are professors, researchers, artists, musicians, and poets who all have incredibly interesting stories to tell and who are professionals with opinions on adoption that go beyond the merely personal.

There are three topics I’d like to address with this post. First, I will look at adoption, assimilation rhetoric, and the “magic” of the familial integration. Second, I want to discuss a few things related to how Mr. Simon and his wife have decided to parent their children. And third, I will discuss the politics of racial identity.

As with most of my posts, I want to first start by saying that this is not meant to be slander, nor is it meant to be malicious by any means. The point of posts such as these, and the point of all my posts on my blog, are to discuss representations of adoption in the media, and the often overlooked discussions of race and identity for transracial adoptees. Whether you are an adoptee, adoptive parent, member of the triad, or any other concerned individual, this post is meant to inspire dialogue.

For as long as I can remember, adoptive parents have talked about their child(ren)’s first moments with them as being instantaneous and almost magical. “That first moment was magical. We knew, that s(he) was ours.” In so many ways, adoptive parents want their child(ren) to feel as though they were meant for each other. I do believe that these sort of narratives can gloss over some of the more important details that are occurring to an adoptee that are invisible to adoptive parents.

Some parents recount their experiences saying how the transition was seamless, or minimal at most. The effects of adoption on the adoptee are often dismissed as children are perceived to be “fitting in” to their new environments. There is no discussion of trauma, since many who adopt children believe this to be the least traumatic experience for a child. I’m no expert on child psychology, so I can’t speak to this last point much. But I can say that, adoption can be very traumatic.

I’ve met many adoptees who were adopted later in their lives – some are four, five or even six years old when they are adopted. So many of them have completely lost all memories of their homelands. Most are completely devoid of any bilingual language capabilities that they once had. Think of it this way. What sort of moment in your life could be so traumatic that you push all memories of it out of your mind permanently? Adoption is no easy thing for an adoptee, regardless of age, I have to believe that even young children can sense these things in one way or another.

At one point Mr. Simon said “she immediately became our child.” No doubt, she became your daughter at that very moment. However, I would urge Mr. Simon to not forget that she will forever be not just your daughter, but her birth mother’s daughter too. Continue to celebrate her life in China as much as you do in the U.S. Too often, I hear about adoptive parents who celebrate the day they arrived in the U.S. with out any concept of the life they lived or lost before they were adopted.

I do want to point something out which I found encouraging in Mr. Simon’s interview. He stated that he and his wife wish to provide their daughters with as much of their heritage as possible so that they can make their own decisions for themselves later in life. These things may not necessarily be relevant to them now, but it is important to present these aspects of themselves as important parts of them that should be available to them early on.

Simon is referring to a Chinese school that both his daughter are enrolled in over the summer that teaches Mandarin, Chinese cooking and cultural celebrations. Now, I can’t speak to the quality of these things but I do think it is encouraging to hear that they have considered the importance of making these things available to their children at an early age. He and his wife even went as far as attempting to only hire Chinese babysitters for their daughters.

Finally, I wanted to comment on a particular comment I found confusing towards the end of the interview. Mr. Simon said that he does not believe it is healthy for one to confuse identity with ethnicity. I think that the word ‘ethnicity’ has become a code word for race more recently. Some folks balk at using the word ‘race’ when referring to their adoptee children, especially when they are Asian. However, I think it is incredibly important to acknowledge this.

He says that his daughters are aware of the fact that they are Chinese. They will be made VERY aware of what it means to be Chinese American and Asian American and how this collides with their identities as young women soon enough. And I believe that this can not and should not be left out of the conversation. Race, whether we like it or not, is part of the American subconsciousness. Children are exposed to this at a very young age through television, the media, the other children they are surrounded by as they grow up.

These conversations need to happen. I’m partially encouraged by some of the things Mr. Simon had to say. However, there is so much left to change. I would encourage Mr. Simon to consider helping change the all too common adoption narrative to one that encourages and embraces the opinions and perspectives of adult adoptees. For the most part, adoptive parents are the ones given the microphone to talk about their experiences and frame how adoption is talked about in the media.

Adult adoptees are an important part of the equation since your child won’t be a child forever. I would love for there to be an NPR program that includes adult adoptee scholars, writers, educators, bloggers etc. Our voices are out there, but for the most part, we’re not listened to or honored as much as yours. As adoptive parents, and as reporters and journalists I hope you’ll consider our voices as important as your own and give us opportunities to be a part of the dialogue.


August 17, 2009

Written by C.N.

Globalization and Golf: Y.E. Yang, Newest Major Champion

If you haven’t heard already, this past Sunday, South Korean Y.E. Yang won the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Championship by stunning heavy favorite Tiger Woods. This was Yang’s first ‘major’ PGA win (there are four tournaments each year that are considered “majors” — the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship) and only his second overall PGA victory, while Tiger had been undefeated when leading a major PGA tournament going into the final round. As Sports Illustrated points out, this was also the first major PGA victory by an Asian-born player:

Y.E. Yang celebrates at the PGA Championship © John Biever/Sports Illustrated

[Yang’s victory was] memorable as much for his clutch shots as the player he beat. Woods was 14-0 when he went into the final round of a major atop the leaderboard. He had not lost any tournament around the world in nine years when leading by two shots.

None of that mattered to Yang, a 37-year-old South Korean who hit the shots everyone expected from Woods. Leading by one on the final hole, Yang slayed golf’s giant with a hybrid 3-iron that cleared the bunker and settled 12 feet from the cup. Yang made the birdie putt and shouted with joy as he pumped his fist. That gave him a 2-under 70, and a three-shot victory. . . .

His victory is massive for Asia, the fastest-growing market in golf. Perhaps even more significant is that the way he stood up to Woods, the world’s No. 1 player whose heritage is half-Asian through his Thai-born mother. Yang and K.J. Choi are the only PGA Tour players who learned golf in South Korea before coming to America. South Koreans have had far more success on the LPGA Tour, with seven players combining to win 11 majors. . . .

Asian-born players had come close in the majors – Liang-Huan Lu of Taiwan finishing one shot behind Lee Trevino at the 1971 British Open, and T.C. Chen’s famous two-chip gaffe that cost him a chance at the 1985 U.S. Open, where he was runner-up to Andy North. This could be a big breakthrough for Asian players, especially with a World Golf Championship starting this year in China.

First, Yang’s victory is a significant individual achievement for him as a professional golfer. Not only is this victory his first major win, but it was just his second overall PGA win. Very few golfers are able to win a major with such a relatively short victory list. He was ranked just 110th in the world (with Tiger ranked at #1) and actually had to do well in supplemental tournaments in order to qualify to play in a major such as this PGA Championship. So a win like this is certainly significant for him personally.

Secondly, Yang’s victory is also representative of a larger emerging trend — how golf is increasingly become more Asian and Asian American. It was Tiger Woods (who is half Asian and half Black) who first started this trend when he burst on the scene 13 years ago. Then women’s professional golf (the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association, LPGA) saw an influx and emergence of several successful Asian and Asian American golfers (many from South Korea), with Se Ri Pak being the first. Then last year, Asian American Anthony Kim had his coming out party, helping the U.S. team beat the Europeans in dramatic fashion at the prestigious Ryder Cup.

The video clip from CNN discusses the recent emergence of golf in Asia:

I would not be surprised to see more Asian and Asian American golfers emerge and achieve consistent success in the next few years. In fact, in addition to Anthony Kim, another South Korean, K.C. Choi, has been making a name for himself recently as well. It remains to be seen whether such Asian and Asian American golfers can achieve the same level of success as their female counterparts in the LPGA and whether any of them can dethrone Tiger Woods as the number one golfer on the planet (no player has for any extended amount of time in the past 13 years).

Nonetheless, I’m confident we’ll be hearing names like Yang, Choi, Kim, and other Asian surnames more often in the years to come.


April 22, 2009

Written by C.N.

Kimchi Quesadillas and Korean BBQ Tacos

A common theme in many of my posts on this blog is how Asian American identities are evolving in the 21st century and how Asian Americans will fit into the American racial landscape as our society continues to become increasingly diverse, globalized, and transnational. I’ve also noted that alongside the evolution of the Asian American identity, a new and more inclusive “American” identity is inevitably taking place as well.

To illustrate one example of these emerging identities and racial dynamics, earlier this week, ABC News’s NightLine program had a segment on the fusion of Korean and Mexican food in Los Angeles, in the form of kimchi quesadillas and Korean barbecue tacos and burritos, served by a taco truck run by Korean Americans:

These particular menu items may or may not be a fad or temporary trend, but they nonetheless illustrate the inevitable fusion of different cultures and in this case, cuisine traditions. As such, represent another microcosm of what’s taking place in American society in general. And like the video shows, these new cultural combinations may be an acquired taste, but for those willing to be adventurous and who have the personal initiative, they can be quite satisfying.


April 13, 2009

Written by C.N.

Questioning the ‘American’ in Asian American

I previously wrote about the evolution of the American identity and how in the context of American society becoming more diverse and globalized, we as Asian Americans now have the opportunity to use our transnational cultural ties and networks to make meaningful contributions to moving American society and its economy forward into the 21st century. In other words, our “foreignness” may finally be seen as an asset, rather than a liability.

Having said that, I also recognize that there are still “traditional” beliefs about what it means to be an American that we need to overcome and persistent stereotypes about our Asian identity and loyalty to the U.S. that we still need to dispel once and for all. This week, we saw three examples on this kind of “traditional” assumptions about our community and questions about the validity of the “American” part of our identity as Asian Americans.

The first example involves Lori Phanachone, a Laotian American high school student in Des Moines Iowa, who refused to take an English fluency test, arguing that as an Honors student for several years and one who speaks perfect English, the test is insulting, demeaning, and discriminatory. She was initially suspended by her school district and her National Honor Society membership was revoked. Earlier this week, after a lawsuit threat by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), the Iowa school district finally relented, reclassified Lori as an English proficient student, will waive the test requirement, and reinstate her National Honor Society membership:

Lori Phanachone, a senior who ranks seventh in her class of about 119 and has a 3.9 grade point average, refused to take the English Language Development Assessment several times last month, saying the test was demeaning and racist. Previously, the school district’s curriculum coordinator, Lori Porsche, said taking the test was mandatory for Phanachone because she indicated on her school registration that English was not the first language spoken in her home.

Her parents are Laotian and still speak little English. Phanachone, who was born in California and lived in upstate New York before moving to Storm Lake with her family in 2006, said she has never been enrolled in any English Language Learning or English as a Second Language program.

In the second example in which Asian Americans were questioned on their American identity, as the Houston Chronicle reports, Texas state Republican representative Betty Brown recently urged Asian Americans to change their names to “simpler,” more Americanized names that would be “easier for Americans to deal with”:

A North Texas legislator during House testimony on voter identification legislation said Asian-descent voters should adopt names that are “easier for Americans to deal with.” The comments caused the Texas Democratic Party on Wednesday to demand an apology from state Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell. But a spokesman for Brown said her comments were only an attempt to overcome problems with identifying Asian names for voting purposes. . . .

“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” Brown said. Brown later told [Organization of Chinese Americans representative Ramsey] Ko: “Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”

Finally, the third example involved an incident that unfortunately, too many Asian Americans (especially students) are familiar with. As described in a newly-created Facebook group, this particular example occurred at Tufts University in Boston:

There was a bias incident involving members of the Korean Students Association (KSA) that took place in the early morning hours on Thursday, April 9, in Lewis Hall Lounge, while the club members were practicing for their culture show.

At approximately 1:45AM, a white freshman male living in Lewis Hall approached five male members who were practicing their dance. He had been drinking at a bar prior to arriving at Lewis Hall. He insisted several times that the KSA members teach him the moves to their dance and was repeatedly asked to stop. Despite this request, he continued to molest the dancers, imitating the dance moves and declaring, “This is the gayest shit I’ve ever done.”

The KSA members then asked him to leave, to which he responded, “Fuck you. Fuck you, I could take all of you. I’ll kill you all.” He then threatened to get his fraternity brothers to help him retaliate. At this point, he began to physically harass the dancers, spitting at one member and shoving another one of the guys. An altercation ensued during which the freshman ripped two shirts and inflicted minor cuts to a member’s forehead. In order to restrain him, the KSA members pinned him to the floor and put him into a headlock, at which point the freshman mentioned that he could not breathe and the person holding him down immediately let go.

At this moment, the freshman’s friend and his girlfriend, who watched from the side, stepped in to take him away. When he got up, he started cursing “Fuck you, fuck you” and spitting at the dancers again. As he was being dragged away, he shouted, “Fuck you all, you fucking chinks, go back to China! Go back to your fucking country, you don’t belong in this country.”

His friends took him to the bathroom, where he could be heard repeatedly shouting, “If I see them again, I will fuck them all.” The fight was reported to an RA, who wrote and sent in a bias incident report. According to the RA, submitted within the report was testimony from his girlfriend supporting the fact that her boyfriend initiated the altercation.

In all three incidents, the assumption is pretty clear — that because we may happen to speak a language other than English at home (even though we are still completely fluent in English), or because we don’t have Anglicized “American” names like Smith or Jones, or because we don’t want to indulge the whims of a drunken frat guy, that we as Asian Americans are not real or legitimate Americans. Instead, we’re considered foreigners, outsiders, and troublemakers who make unreasonable demands.

Beyond the sheer ignorance and ethnocentric beliefs fundamentally embedded in these assumptions, what the Iowa school district, Rep. Brown, and the drunken frat guy all fail to see is that contrary to the stereotype that we are intent from being separate from mainstream society, our history and experiences consistently show that we’ve been trying to integrate into mainstream American society all along. In these three cases, it involved using our bilingual skills to help ease our parents into American culture, trying to make sure voting records are correct so that we can participate in the American democratic process, and putting on a performance that bridges Asia and America.

But as with previous incidents and examples over the past 150 years or so since the first Asians immigrated to the U.S. in large numbers, even as we attempt to become Americans and integrate into mainstream American society, we are questioned, challenged, and prevented from doing so time and time again by those who consciously or unconsciously believe that only one group qualifies to be a “real” American — Whites.

Unfortunately, as these three recent incidents demonstrate, this kind of ignorant, narrow-minded, and short-sighted thinking is still with us today and still confronts us as Americans of Asian descent.


August 26, 2008

Written by C.N.

Professional Women’s Golf: English Only

I presume that most of you have heard about various campaigns aimed at making English the official language of the U.S., or a particular state, or some other entity or institution. In recent decades, such campaigns have had some successes. But as ESPN reports, the latest high-profile attempt at instituting English as the official language comes from the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA):

Players were told by LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens that by the end of 2009, all players who have been on the tour for two years must pass an oral evaluation of their English skills or face a membership suspension. A written explanation of the policy was not given to players, according to the report. . . .

Every Korean player who spoke with Golfweek about the meeting came away with the understanding she would lose her tour card if she failed the test rather than face suspension, according to the report. But Korean players who spoke about the policy supported the tour’s position, though some, including Se Ri Pak, felt fines would be better than suspensions. . . .

Players must be able to conduct interviews and give acceptance speeches without the help of a translator, [an LPGA official] said, according to the report. Galloway said the policy takes effect immediately, but that players’ English proficiency would not be measured until the end of 2009, according to the report. The LPGA’s membership includes 121 international players from 26 countries; 45 are South Koreans.

Those who follow professional women’s golf should know that in recent years, a large number of South Korean and Korean American players have become quite prominent and successful. For example, 14 of the top 24 LPGA money earners so far in the 2008 season are Asian or Asian American.

Based on the disproportionate presence and success of these Asian players, the question becomes, is the LPGA singling them out with this new “English only” rule? Is this the 21st century version of the Foreign Miner’s Tax that was levied only at Chinese immigrants back in the 1800s once they became “too successful?”

The ESPN article seems to suggest that many, perhaps even most, of these Asian and Asian American LPGA players do not object to the rule, presumably because they agree with the LPGA’s stated rationale that it is to attract more corporate sponsors who would be more apt to support the sport if its best players are able to converse in English on television.

I can’t speak for how these Asian and Asian American women golfers honestly feel about this new rule, but I can speak for myself in saying that it sounds discriminatory to me. Before I talk specifically about how this applies to the LPGA, I want to first relate it to the larger “Official English” efforts throughout American society.

I want to make it clear that I support LPGA players and all immigrants to the U.S. in general learning English and trying to integrate into the “mainstream.” I do not support immigrants — Asian or otherwise — isolating themselves into their own ethnic enclaves and not making any effort to assimilate to some degree into American society.

At the same time, we need to remember that the overwhelming majority of immigrants already know that for them to achieve meaningful mobility in American society, they need to learn English. With that in mind, English is already the de facto official language of the U.S.

Campaigns to mandate English as the official language only serve to cause more divisions, resentment on both sides, and will actually hurt immigrants’ attempts to learn English because they eliminate much-needed bilingual programs and resources, leading immigrants to give up on their efforts to learn English.

As applied to the LPGA, the fact that so many players from Asia are participating and doing well in their sport suggests to me that golf’s popularity is spreading all around the world and is becoming less U.S.-centric. This actually corresponds to the larger trends of globalization, as the world becomes more interconnected and American society becomes more culturally diverse.

With that in mind, I see the LPGA’s “English Only” mandate as a reactionary effort to keep the sport as “American” (i.e. White) as possible. Instead of embracing golf’s growing global appeal and perhaps attract more international sponsors, the LPGA apparently wants to stick its head in the sand and pretend that it’s 1958, rather than 2008.

My guess is that most if not all Asian LPGA players are trying to learn as much English as possible, just like the overwhelming majority of immigrants to the U.S. in general. But mandating that they do so is basically an ethnocentric slap in their face.

It also stands in opposition to what’s going on in the rest of the world and American society, as many Americans rush to learn languages such as Chinese. To me, it’s an example of a White-dominated institution desperately clinging to their old identity in the face of change all around them.

—————————————

Update: On September 5, 2008, in the face of widespread criticism, the LPGA announced that it would not suspend players who were not sufficiently fluent in English, although they still reserve the right to fine such players if their English does not improve.

It’s a step in the right direction but sorry LPGA, in my book, this does not go far enough. The LPGA’s plan to require English is still a bad policy and even though they now say they won’t suspend players who aren’t fluent enough, they would still fine them. To me, that is still discriminatory and unjust.

LPGA, you just need to wake up and smell what you’re shoveling — this is the 21st century, globalized and transnational, whether you like it not. Instead of trying to turn back the calendar to the 1950s, try to get with the times and realize that the sport is now a global, not exclusively American, game.