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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.

August 11, 2014

Written by C.N.

Links, Jobs, & Announcements #78

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.

Adjunct Positions: Asian American Studies, CUNY Hunter

© Corbis

The Asian American Studies Program at Hunter College is currently seeking adjunct faculty for the fall 2014 semester, to teach the three courses listed below. We need to fill these courses ASAP, since the semester begins August 28. Please note that these courses are fully enrolled and scheduled, so days/times cannot be changed.

Candidates must have a graduate degree in a relevant field (M.A., M.F.A., PhD/ABD) and a stellar record of teaching at the undergraduate level. We are looking for faculty who are committed to public education and the critical teaching of Asian American Studies to a socioeconomically and racially diverse urban student population. The Asian American Studies Program at Hunter College offers a 12-credit minor and is a small but dynamic program, with extraordinarily dedicated faculty. For more information about the program, please visit our website at www.hunter.cuny.edu/aasp

Please submit CV, cover letter, and teaching statement via email to:

Jennifer Hayashida, Director
Asian American Studies Program
jennifer.hayashida@hunter.cuny.edu

ASIAN 210.00
Asians in the US
M/TH 11:10 – 12:25

There are today nearly 1.2 million Asian American New Yorkers, making up approximately 14% of the city’s population. Asians in the U.S. provides a critical introduction to Asian American history and contemporary experience, frequently omitted or marginalized in mainstream narratives about the origins and ongoing formation of the U.S. With a focus on intersectional analysis and attention to constructions of race, class, gender, and sexuality, students in this course engage in active reading and discussion to become closely familiar with historic and contemporary issues in Asian American communities; the social construction of race in the U.S.; and Asian American political, economic, and cultural contributions to the larger fabric of U.S. culture. Key topics include, but are not limited to: Orientalism; the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act; Japanese American Internment; pan-Asian and cross-racial political activism; post-9/11 detention and deportation; Asian American cultural production; postcolonial theory; critical race studies; media representations; U.S. wars in Asia; and transnational adoption.
ASIAN 340.01
Asian Pacific American Media
M/TH 1:10 – 2:25

This course will explore and critically analyze representations of Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIAs) in the media, including stereotypical images of APIA identity, culture, behavior, sexuality and history, as well as media that contests or subverts these dominant narratives. This course will examine how political, social, and cultural forces have affected Asian American participation in the media and how these forces have shaped APIA media representations. Through class readings and analyzing films and other media, we will utilize frameworks on immigration, nationalism and citizenship, race, ethnicity, gender, capitalism, class, sexuality and transnationalism, all within the social construction of race in the United States both historically and currently.

ASIAN 390.18
Asian American Poetics
Wed 10:10 – 1:00

This course will provide a broad survey of contemporary poetry by Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIAs). This course will examine how assumptions and dominant narratives about APIA identity, culture, behavior, sexuality and history—and our own values and belief systems about what poetry is—affect both the reading and availability of APIA poetry. We will also read critical essays and other texts to contextualize readings of poetry and class discussion. This course strives to equip students with a framework to both read and relate to poetry as an artistic discipline as well as a framework with which to use poetry as a means to connect individual and collective expression within a broader social, political, migratory, historical, colonial and/or neoliberal context. Works explored will include both Asian American canonical poetry, experimental and other schools of poetry, and poetry that contests or subverts the dominant narratives. Students will also be given the opportunity to participate directly in the creative process by writing their own poetry and other creative work.

Call for Papers: Race and Contention in 21st Century U.S. Media Book Proposal

In the 21st century, colorblind ideology permeates all structures and institutions of society, including the institution of media. While representations of minorities continue to reflect contentious stereotypes and ideologies, these characters reflect the racial
order in which they were produced. To date, much has been written on the topic of minority representation in the media. However, there have been fewer critical works on the ways in which increased minority characters are created within contemporary media structures, and the ways in which these representations reflect a normative racial ideology.

In Race and Contention in 21st Century U.S. Media, we strive to address the ways in which minority characters have broken the historical limitations of representation in 21st century mainstream/popular media. Through the works presented in this anthology, we will acknowledge the power of dominant values and ideologies in non-normative racial/gender representations, and the types of characterizations these representations reproduce. We contend that these representations have direct consequences on contemporary racial ideologies and hierarchies.

We seek both theoretical and empirical submissions that address minority representations in a variety of post-2000 media – including film, television, music, news media, and online/new media. Please submit your completed chapter (5000-7000 words), OR a chapter proposal (500-750 words, including your research question, key literature, and conclusions) to the editors by August 30, 2014. Authors will be notified by October 2014 if their proposals have been accepted for the book prospectus. For more information and to submit proposals, contact Jason Smith (jsm5@gmu.edu) and Bhoomi K. Thakore (bhoomi.thakore@northwestern.edu).

Position: Qualitative Methods/Citizenship, Syracuse

Application deadline: September 15

The Department of Sociology in the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position to begin Fall 2015. We seek a scholar with a strong background and interest in qualitative methods, and a research focus on the social problems of citizenship, including political, cultural, and legal structures of community. The department seeks candidates with teaching interests in political sociology, social movements, or ethnographic/ qualitative methods. Preference will be given to candidates who contribute to Maxwell School-wide priorities.

Candidates must have a Ph.D. in Sociology or a related discipline by the time of appointment and must show success in or a strong promise of scholarly achievement and productivity, as well as a commitment to graduate and undergraduate teaching. Faculty members have the opportunity to affiliate with one of the Maxwell School’s research institutes or a number of other interdisciplinary centers and We will begin reviewing applications on September 15 and continue until the position is For consideration, interested candidates must apply online at www.sujobopps.com

Candidates must attach a letter of interest, vita, and one publication or writing sample. Three letters of recommendation are required. Other materials may be requested if needed.

Position: Executive Director, Massachusetts Asian American Commission

The Asian American Commission represents the interests of Asian Americans throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is dedicated to advocacy on behalf of Asian Americans throughout Massachusetts. The Commission’s goal is to recognize and highlight the vital contributions of Asian Americans to the social, cultural, economic, and political life of the Commonwealth; to identify and address the needs and challenges facing residents of Asian ancestry; and topromote the well-being of this dynamic and diverse community, thereby advancing the interests of all persons who call Massachusetts home.

The 21 Commissioners of the Asian American Commission, appointed by the constitutional state officers, makeup this governing body. The ED is a commissioner-appointed position. The ED reports to the Commissioners and is responsiblefor the Commission’s financial stability and achievement of its mission. Some of the ED’s activities include, but are not limited to:

Organizational responsibilities:

  • Develop and execute current and long-term organizational goals and objectives as well as policies and procedures
  • Cultivate open and active communications between the Commission and state offices
  • Promote state officer support of Commission initiatives, activities, and events
  • Encourage an active Commission where all members will participate fully
  • Ensure the Commissioners’ terms are kept current and lead the recruitment process of new Commissioners
  • Convene regular meetings and prepare agenda items
  • Review and update internal policies to maintain compliance with state laws
  • Work closely with the Executive Officers of the Commission
  • Manage and oversee fundraising efforts
  • Other administrative duties as necessary

Financial Responsibilities:

  • Manage fundraising goals and activities, including the annual Unity Dinner
  • Develop and maintain sound financial practices
  • Explore alternative funding and grants from government and nonprofit sources

Community Responsibilities:

  • Provide quality programming that promotes the Commission’s identity
  • Establish working relationships with community organizations
  • Respond to and manage incoming and outgoing communications and be an effective voice for the Commission

Applicants must have a college degree. A successful candidate should be articulate, energetic, and enthusiastic about being an active participant in the Massachusetts Asian American community. Strong project leadership and interpersonal skills are essential. 3-5 years of experience, or the equivalent, in the management of a community non-profit and/or for-profit organization, government agency, or business, is preferred. A graduate degree in business management or government is a plus. Good working knowledge of Boston-based, regional, and state Asian American community organizations is optimal.

Salary is $40K with benefits. Time commitment is 0.75 Full Time Equivalent. Send your resume (3-page limit) and cover letter (1-page limit) to job@aacommission.org with subject “Job Opportunity.”

Position: Sociology, U.C. Riverside

University of California, Riverside. The Department of Sociology invites applications for an Assistant Professor position in medical sociology and/or population health beginning July 1, 2015. We seek a scholar with an emphasis in disparities of health and/or health care linked to gender, race, class, ethnicity and/or immigrant status, as well as candidates who can add to existing strengths within the Department of Sociology, while also offering the potential for collaboration with UCR’s new School of Medicine. Competitive candidates will demonstrate a strong record of publication, a commitment to extramural funding, and teaching excellence.

UC Riverside ranks among the top 5 PhD granting institutions nation-wide in racial and ethnic diversity. Thus, competitive candidates will possess a strong commitment to pedagogical excellence in a diverse context at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Successful candidates will be qualified to teach quantitative or qualitative methods at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Supervision of graduate students, curricular development and performance of Departmental and University service are also expected.

A PhD in Sociology is preferred prior to the appointment start date. Applications received by October 1, 2014, will receive full consideration. The position will remain open until filled. To apply, submit a letter of application, research and teaching statement, three letters of recommendations, and up to three writing samples to https://aprecruit.ucr.edu/apply/JPF00163. Address inquiries to the search committee chair, Matthew C. Mahutga, Department of Sociology, University of California, Riverside. matthew.mahutga@ucr.edu.

Conference: Southeast Asian American Studies, U. Minnesota

The States of Southeast Asian American Studies
Southeast Asians in Diaspora Conference | October 2 & 3, 2014

The fourth triennial Southeast Asians in the Diaspora Conference will take place at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities on October 2-3, 2014. The conditions that “brought the field into being” have shifted in light of recent events and new scholarship across various fields and communities. Hosting this event in Minnesota is significant given the vibrant Southeast Asian population in the state.

Minnesota has experienced dramatic demographic shifts over the past few decades, becoming an immigration hub for people from Southeast Asia and elsewhere. This timely event will bring together scholars, artists, activists, and other members of Southeast Asian American communities to consider the past, present, and future of these communities.

Please visit our website to view schedule, speaker, and registration information. We encourage you to register by September 15, 2014. The program has not yet been finalized so please visit the site for updates and changes. For those traveling from out of town, you will find accommodations information here. We encourage you to book your rooms soon to ensure you receive the conference rate.

Please email us with any questions: SEADconference2014@gmail.com.

Position: Sociology, American University

Department of Sociology Assistant Professor Multiple Fields/Theory

The Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences, at American University (Washington, D.C.), invites applications for a tenure line appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor to begin August 2015. The department seeks candidates with expertise in health, urban sociology, immigration and globalization or social inequality and with ability and interest to teach sociological theory. Responsibilities will include active scholarship in the area(s) of specialization and teaching two courses per semester, including theory and at least one graduate course each academic year. Preference will be given to candidates with the potential to contribute to the Department and University’s growing emphasis on externally funded research.

Please send application materials (curriculum vitae, letter describing research and teaching interests and experiences, statement of teaching philosophy, teaching evaluations, (p)reprints, and at least three letters of reference) to: socio@american.edu with the subject line, “Faculty Search”. Electronic submissions are preferred; applications may also be mailed to: Search Committee Chair, Department of Sociology, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016-8072. Review of applications will begin by October 6, 2014 and will continue until the position is filled.

American University is an Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected Veteran status. Women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. American University offers employee benefits to same-sex domestic partners of employees and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation/preference and gender identity/expression.

Community Campaign: “Who Killed Koreatown?”

We are emailing you to let you know about the current redistricting issue in Los Angeles Koreatown. The Korean American Coalition is organizing a campaign called “Who Killed Koreatown?” to raise awareness of how the city ignored thousands of requests to keep Koreatown whole and drew district lines to influence future elections, cutting Koreatown into two. As a result, Koreatown has no representative to advocate for the community, and residents still lack basic services like community centers and parks. Several Koreatown residents filed a lawsuit against the city to address the many injustices against their community.

The lawsuit is not only about Koreatown, but also about the disenfranchisement of a community and the need for Asian American representation. You can read up on the lawsuit in the KoreaAm article and our media page. We have also created a FAQ that summarizes the issues as well. We are currently working on a video and a crowdfunding campaign to fundraise for legal fees associated with the lawsuit.

Thank you,
Eric Kim
Miriam Cho

Post-Doc: Race & Ethnicity, Indiana Univ.

The Center for Research on Race & Ethnicity in Society (CRRES) at Indiana University, Bloomington is pleased to accept applications for two Postdoctoral Fellowships for scholars studying race and ethnicity from a broad range of social science fields, including (but not limited to) African American Studies, American Studies, Asian American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Native American Studies, Latino Studies, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.

The CRRES postdoctoral fellowship program aims to create a legacy of scholars who will be positioned to address issues related to race and ethnicity using a multidisciplinary lens. These fellowships are designed to nurture the academic careers of new scholars by providing opportunities to pursue research while gaining mentored experience as teachers, CRRES fellows, and members of the faculty in host departments. Strong applicants will demonstrate evidence of scholarship potentially competitive for tenure-track appointments at Indiana University and other research universities.

Terms of Agreement Fellows are expected to pursue research activities associated with their primary area, as demonstrated by conference presentations and published work. Fellows will also teach two courses in their home departments during each year of their residency, and are expected to participate in CRRES activities and in seminars in their home departments.

The positions are available for two years beginning August 1, 2015 through May 31, 2017, at a 10-month starting salary of $51,500. Each postdoctoral fellow will also receive $3,000 each year in research support and Indiana University health benefits. Fellows are allocated office space with basic office supplies, and a computer and printer.

Application Process We invite applications from qualified candidates who are at the beginning of their academic careers, having received the Ph.D. in 2013 or 2014 but who do not yet hold tenure-track academic positions. Candidates who do not hold a Ph.D. but expect to by June 30, 2015 must provide a letter from the chair of their dissertation committee, confirming the proposed timeline for completion. All applicants must file their dissertations no later than June 30, 2015.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, CV, personal statement (3,000 words describing dissertation project, work in progress, professional goals and plans for publication, and proposed major field[s] of teaching), writing sample, and three letters of reference. If available, applicants may also submit materials demonstrating their aptitude as teachers. Following review by the CRRES postdoctoral committee, strong applications will be circulated to relevant departments. We prefer that applications be submitted online at http://indiana.peopleadmin.com.

Materials sent by mail or any questions regarding the position or application process can be directed to: Dina Okamoto, Search Committee Chair, Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society, Indiana University – Schuessler Institute for Social Research 209, 1022 E. Third Street, Bloomington, IN 47405 or crres@indiana.edu. Applications received by November 10, 2014 will receive full consideration.


June 28, 2013

Written by C.N.

Links, Jobs, & Announcements #75

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.

Fellowship: Center for Asian American Media

© Corbis

Armed With a Camera Fellowship

In its twelfth season, the successful Armed With a Camera (AWC) Fellowship for Emerging Media Artists nurtures the next generation of Asian Pacific American media artists to capture their world, surroundings and outlook on life. Visual Communications works with the Fellows for seven months and provides special training, mentoring and networking opportunities, access to facilities and equipment, plus a cash and rental stipend to create four to five-minute digital shorts that premiere at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and other venues nationwide.

The 2013-2014 Armed With A Camera Fellowship is accepting submissions May 15 – August 2, 2013. Up to 10 artists will be selected for the Fellowship. We will announce the new class of Fellows in September.

Visual Communications (VC) seeks to cultivate a new generation of Asian Pacific American media artists committed to preserving the legacy and vision of VC. The Armed With A Camera Fellowship will award up to ten fellows $1,000 in cash and $1,000 in equipment rental to complete a four to five-minute digital video. Through the Armed With A Camera Fellowship, emerging media artists will capture their world, surroundings and outlook on life as a part of a new generation of Asian Pacific Americans.

Final projects must be shot in digital video format and completed by March 21, 2014. A special program will showcase all completed projects at various VC exhibitions across the city of Los Angeles, including the 2014 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and other venues nationwide. VC will co-own the productions and will also package and distribute completed works. Distribution income will aid in the continuation of the Armed with a Camera Fellowship.

Applicant Eligibility
Eligible applicants must be of Asian Pacific descent and residents of Southern California. If accepted, Fellows must be able to attend mandatory meetings and workshops in Los Angeles. Women, South Asian and Southeast Asian filmmakers are highly encouraged to apply to the AWC Fellowship. If you’re not sure of your eligibility, please contact Visual Communications.

For more details on how to apply for the Armed With A Camera Fellowship, visit the Visual Communications website.

Online Survey: Asian American LGB

My name is Brianna Werner, and I am a research assistant to Dr. Frances Shen, a faculty member at the University of Illinois Springfield. We are in need of university student participants to complete a survey on the impact of discrimination on Asian American LGB persons.

We are seeking individuals who (1) identify as Asian American, (2) identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, and (3) are at least 18 years of age to complete a confidential web-based survey that will ask you about the impact of discrimination on Asian American LGB persons.

The entire study should take approximately 30-40 minutes. The answers you provide will be kept completely confidential. You will not be asked to provide your name on the inventory. This research has been reviewed and approved by the UIS Human Subjects Review Officer, Dr. Lynn Pardie. Dr. Pardie can be reached at 217-206-7230 to answer any questions about your rights as a volunteer participant in this study.

As a thank you, participants who complete the survey can enter into a lottery drawing to win one of four $25 gift certificates or one of four $50 gift certificates.

For more information about the study, and to participate, please go to https://illinois.edu/sb/sec/4852751.

Sincerely,
Brianna Werner
Dr. Frances Shen

Online Survey: Interracial Relationships

You are invited to participate in a study exploring relationships among People of Color. The requirements are as follows: you must be 18 years of age or older; a Person of Color, and be involved in an interracial relationship for a minimum of one year. Participation in this study is voluntary and anonymous and you will not be compensated.

If you would like to participate or have any questions please contact Magie S. Maekawa at magiemaekawa@gmail.com or click on the following hyperlink: https://csulapsychology.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_ebQFLDRt1n30oHX.

Thank you very much,
Magie S. Maekawa

Call for Submissions: Race & Social Problems Journal

Call for Papers: Submit your manuscript for publication in Race and Social Problems.

We welcome manuscripts that explore, but are not limited to, such topics as criminal justice, economic conditions, education, the elderly, families, health disparities, mental health, race relations, and youth.

To submit a manuscript, please visit www.crsp.pitt.edu/publications/CallForPapers.pdf. Articles in the journal are available for free online at http://link.springer.com/journal/12552. In 2014, there will be a special issue on Asian Americans. You may submit your manuscript to www.crsp.pitt.edu/publications/SpecialIssueCallforPapers2013-2.pdf.

Expected future special issues of Race and Social Problems include the following:

  • Women of Color, 2015
    Race and Religiosity, 2016
    Race and Education, 2017
    Race and Aging, 2018

March 4, 2013

Written by C.N.

New Books: Race, Immigration, Integration, and History

The following new books look at the intersections and connections between race, ethnicity, immigration, and community and how different groups of color/immigrants negotiated the political, economic, and cultural landscape of U.S. society through the years, the impacts they’ve had on their new surroundings, and vice versa. As always, a book’s inclusion is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily mean a full endorsement of its contents.

Mexican Americans Across Generations: Immigrant Families, Racial Realities, by Jessica M. Vasquez (New York University Press)

'Mexican Americans Across Generations' by Vazquez

While newly arrived immigrants are often the focus of public concern and debate, many Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans have resided in the United States for generations. Latinos are the largest and fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, and their racial identities change with each generation. While the attainment of education and middle class occupations signals a decline in cultural attachment for some, socioeconomic mobility is not a cultural death-knell, as others are highly ethnically identified. There are a variety of ways that middle class Mexican Americans relate to their ethnic heritage, and racialization despite assimilation among a segment of the second and third generations reveals the continuing role of race even among the U.S.-born.

Mexican Americans Across Generations investigates racial identity and assimilation in three-generation Mexican American families living in California. Through rich interviews with three generations of middle class Mexican American families, Vasquez focuses on the family as a key site for racial and gender identity formation, knowledge transmission, and incorporation processes, exploring how the racial identities of Mexican Americans both change and persist generationally in families. She illustrates how gender, physical appearance, parental teaching, historical era and discrimination influence Mexican Americans’ racial identity and incorporation patterns, ultimately arguing that neither racial identity nor assimilation are straightforward progressions but, instead, develop unevenly and are influenced by family, society, and historical social movements.

News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media, by Juan González and Joseph Torres (Verso)

'News for All the People' by Gonzalez and Torres

From the earliest colonial newspapers to the Internet age, America’s racial divisions have played a central role in the creation of the country’s media system, just as the media has contributed to—and every so often, combated—racial oppression. News for All the People reveals how racial segregation distorted the information Americans received from the mainstream media. It unearths numerous examples of how publishers and broadcasters actually fomented racial violence and discrimination through their coverage. And it chronicles the influence federal media policies exerted in such conflicts. It depicts the struggle of Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American journalists who fought to create a vibrant yet little-known alternative, democratic press, and then, beginning in the 1970s, forced open the doors of the major media companies.

The writing is fast-paced, story-driven, and replete with memorable portraits of individual journalists and media executives, both famous and obscure, heroes and villains. It weaves back and forth between the corporate and government leaders who built our segregated media system—such as Herbert Hoover, whose Federal Radio Commission eagerly awarded a license to a notorious Ku Klux Klan organization in the nation’s capital—and those who rebelled against that system, like Pittsburgh Courier publisher Robert L. Vann, who led a remarkable national campaign to get the black-face comedy Amos ‘n’ Andy off the air.

Based on years of original archival research and up-to-the-minute reporting and written by two veteran journalists and leading advocates for a more inclusive and democratic media system, News for All the People should become the standard history of American media.

Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America, by Vivek Bald (Harvard University Press)

'Bengali Harlem' by Vivek Bald

In the final years of the nineteenth century, small groups of Muslim peddlers arrived at Ellis Island every summer, bags heavy with embroidered silks from their home villages in Bengal. The American demand for “Oriental goods” took these migrants on a curious path, from New Jersey’s beach boardwalks into the heart of the segregated South. Two decades later, hundreds of Indian Muslim seamen began jumping ship in New York and Baltimore, escaping the engine rooms of British steamers to find less brutal work onshore. As factory owners sought their labor and anti-Asian immigration laws closed in around them, these men built clandestine networks that stretched from the northeastern waterfront across the industrial Midwest.

The stories of these early working-class migrants vividly contrast with our typical understanding of immigration. Vivek Bald’s meticulous reconstruction reveals a lost history of South Asian sojourning and life-making in the United States. At a time when Asian immigrants were vilified and criminalized, Bengali Muslims quietly became part of some of America’s most iconic neighborhoods of color, from Tremé in New Orleans to Detroit’s Black Bottom, from West Baltimore to Harlem. Many started families with Creole, Puerto Rican, and African American women.

As steel and auto workers in the Midwest, as traders in the South, and as halal hot dog vendors on 125th Street, these immigrants created lives as remarkable as they are unknown. Their stories of ingenuity and intermixture challenge assumptions about assimilation and reveal cross-racial affinities beneath the surface of early twentieth-century America.

Whiteness and Racialized Ethnic Groups in the United States: The Politics of Remembering, by Sherrow O. Pinder (Lexington Books)

'Whiteness and Racialized Ethnic Groups in the U.S.' by Pinder

Whiteness and Racialized Ethnic Groups in the United States, in order to account for the never ending discrimination toward racialized ethnic groups including First Nations, blacks, Chinese, and Mexicans, revisits the history of whiteness in the United States. It shows the difference between remembering a history of human indignities and recreating one that composes its own textual memory. More specifically, it reformulates how the historically reliant positionality of whiteness, as a part of the everyday practice and discourse of white supremacy, would later become institutionalized.

Even though “whiteness studies,” with the intention of exposing white privilege, has entered the realm of academic research and is moving toward antiracist forms of whiteness or, at least, toward antiracist approaches for a different form of whiteness, it is not equipped to relinquish the privilege that comes with normalized whiteness. Hence, in order to construct a post white identity, whiteness would have to be denormalized and freed of it of its presumptive hegemony.

Hmong and American: From Refugees to Citizens, edited by Vincent K. Her and Mary Louise Buley-Meissner (Minnesota Historical Society Press)

'Hmong and American' ed. by Her and Buley-Meissner

Farmers in Laos, U.S. allies during the Vietnam War, refugees in Thailand, citizens of the Western world—the stories of the Hmong who now live in America have been told in detail through books and articles and oral histories over the past several decades. Like any immigrant group, members of the first generation may yearn for the past as they watch their children and grandchildren find their way in the dominant culture of their new home.

For Hmong people born and educated in the United States, a definition of self often includes traditional practices and tight-knit family groups but also a distinctly Americanized point of view. How do Hmong Americans negotiate the expectations of these two very different cultures?

In an engaging series of essays featuring a range of writing styles, leading scholars, educators, artists, and community activists explore themes of history, culture, gender, class, family, and sexual orientation, weaving their own stories into depictions of a Hmong American community where people continue to develop complex identities that are collectively shared but deeply personal as they help to redefine the multicultural America of today.

Bending with the Wind: Memoir of a Cambodian Couple’s Escape to America, by Bounchoeurn Sao, Diyana D. Sao, and Karline F. Bird (McFarland)

'Bending With the Wind' by Sao, Sao, and Bird

Before the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia in April 1975, Sao Bounchoeurn and San Bounriem grew up in idyllic, though vastly different, circumstances. After a secondary education, Bounchoeurn entered the army, joined the Special Forces, and worked for the Americans. He became a slave laborer after the fall of Phnom Penh and eventually escaped to Thailand. In another part of Cambodia, Bounriem lived happily spoiled and uneducated.

Fleeing from the advancing Khmer Rouge, she arrived at the same refugee camp as Bounchoeurn, where they met, married, and immigrated to America. This riveting memoir chronicles the couple’s childhoods, their lives under the Khmer Rouge, their journeys to Thailand and later the United States, and their efforts to forge a new life. This remarkable tale offers an intimate look inside the terrors of the Khmer Rouge and an inspiring portrait of the immigrant experience in America.


January 31, 2013

Written by Calvin N. Ho

Do Issues in Asia Fall Within the Scope of Asian American Media?

The Asian American blogosphere and print media, which in many ways set the terms of the discussion around Asian American issues, rarely touches on issues outside the United States. I don’t remember the last time I read an article in an English-language Asian American blog about political or social problems in Asia. English-medium Asian American bloggers have been silent on issues like the island disputes in Northeast and Southeast Asia, Burma and Thailand’s unacceptable treatment of Rohingya refugees, and the election of a dictator’s daughter to the presidency in South Korea.

Even the Delhi gang rape incident, a tragedy that caught the attention of people the world over, scarcely got mentioned in Asian American media. Hyphen Magazine’s blog published a post about it, but it originally came from the Asia Society’s Asia Blog.

Are events in Asia outside of the scope of “Asian American” media, and if so, why? Is it a reaction to the unending accusations of being foreign and un-American? Is it because organizing around the pan-ethnic “Asian” label makes people loath to make statements on sensitive ethnonational conflicts across the Pacific, lest the solidarity built up in the American context breaks down? Does our US-born population’s general lack of language skills and knowledge of non-American history make these issues inaccessible and incomprehensible?

Readers, what are your thoughts?


April 23, 2012

Written by C.N.

New Books: Asian Americans in Media, Literature, and Imagery

The following new books look at the historical, cultural, and political dimensions of how Asian Americans have been portrayed and imagined in media, literature, and popular culture. As always, a book’s inclusion is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily mean a full endorsement of its contents.

Black Power, Yellow Power, and the Making of Revolutionary Identities, by Rychetta Watkins (University Press of Mississippi)

'Black Power, Yellow Power' by Rychetta Watkins

Images of upraised fists, afros, and dashikis have long dominated the collective memory of Black Power and its proponents. The “guerilla” figure-taking the form of the black-leather-clad revolutionary within the Black Panther Party-has become an iconic trope in American popular culture. That politically radical figure, however, has been shaped as much by Asian American cultural discourse as by African American political ideology. From the Asian-African Conference held in April of 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia, onward to the present, Afro-Asian political collaboration has been active and influential.

In Black Power, Yellow Power, and the Making of Revolutionary Identities, author Rychetta Watkins uses the guerilla figure as a point of departure and shows how the trope’s rhetoric animates discourses of representation and identity in African American and Asian American literature and culture. In doing so, she examines the notion of “Power,” in terms of ethnic political identity, and explores collaborating-and sometimes competing-ethnic interests that have drawn ideas from the concept.

The project brings together a range of texts-editorial cartoons, newspaper articles, novels, visual propaganda, and essays-that illustrate the emergence of this subjectivity in Asian American and African American cultural productions during the Power period, roughly 1966 through 1981. After a case study of the cultural politics of academic anthologies and the cooperation between Frank Chin and Ishmael Reed, the volume culminates with analyses of this trope in Sam Greenlee’s The Spook Who Sat by the Door, Alice Walker’s Meridian, and John Okada’s No No Boy.

The Oriental Obscene: Violence and Racial Fantasies in the Vietnam Era, by Sylvia Shin Huey Chong (Duke University Press)

'The Oriental Obscene' by Sylvia Shin Huey Chon

The Oriental Obscene is a sophisticated analysis of Americans’ reactions to visual representations of the Vietnam War, such as the photograph of the “napalm girl,” news footage of the Tet Offensive, and feature films from The Deer Hunter to Rambo: First Blood Part II. Sylvia Shin Huey Chong combines psychoanalytic and film theories with U.S. cultural history to explain what she terms the oriental obscene: racialized fantasies that Americans derived largely from images of Asians as the perpetrators or victims of extreme violence.

Chong contends that these fantasies helped Americans to process the trauma of the Vietnam War, as well as the growth of the Asian American population after the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and the postwar immigration of Southeast Asian refugees. The oriental obscene animated a wide range of political narratives, not only the movements for and against the war, but causes as diverse as the Black Power movement, law-and-order conservatism, second-wave feminism, and the nascent Asian American movement. During the Vietnam era, pictures of Asian bodies were used to make sense of race, violence, and America’s identity at home and abroad.

Seven Contemporary Plays from the Korean Diaspora in the Americas, by Esther Kim Lee (Duke University Press)

'Plays from the Korean Diaspora' by Esther Kim Lee

Showcasing the dynamism of contemporary Korean diasporic theater, this anthology features seven plays by second-generation Korean diasporic writers from the United States, Canada, and Chile. By bringing the plays together in this collection, Esther Kim Lee highlights the range of themes and styles that have enlivened Korean diasporic theater in the Americas since the 1990s. Some of the plays are set in urban Koreatowns. One takes place in the middle of Texas, while another unfolds entirely in a character’s mind. Ethnic identity is not as central as it was in the work of previous generations of Asian diasporic playwrights.

In these plays, dramas of diaspora and displacement are likely to be part of broader stories, such as the difficulties faced by a young mother trying to balance family and career. Running through those stories are themes of assimilation, authenticity, family, memory, trauma, and gender-related expectations of success. Lee’s introduction includes a brief history of the Korean peninsula in the twentieth century and of South Korean immigration to the Americas, along with an overview of Asian American theater and the place of Korean American theater within it. Each play is preceded by a brief biography of the playwright and a summary of the play’s production history.

The Chinese Diaspora on American Screens: Race, Sex, and Cinema, by Gina Marchetti (Temple University Press)

'Chinese Diaspora on American Screens' by Gina Marchetti

The Chinese Diaspora on American Screens looks at the way in which issues of race and sexuality have become central concerns in cinema generated by and about Chinese communities in America after the mid-1990s. This companion volume to Marchetti’s From Tian’anmen to Times Square looks specifically at the Chinese diaspora in relation to ethnic, racial, gender, and sexual identity as depicted in the cinema.

Examining films from the United States and Canada, as well as transnational co-productions, The Chinese Diaspora on American Screens includes analyses of films such as The Wedding Banquet and Double Happiness in addition to interviews with celebrated filmmakers such as Wayne Wang. Marchetti also reflects on how Chinese identity is presented in a multitude of media forms, including commercial cinema, documentaries, experimental films, and hybrid digital media to offer a textured look at representations of the Chinese diasporic experience after Tian’anmen.

Straitjacket Sexualities: Unbinding Asian American Manhoods in the Movies, by Celine Shimizu (Stanford University Press)

'Straitjacket Sexualities' by Celine Shimizu

Depictions of Asian American men as effeminate or asexual pervade popular movies. Hollywood has made clear that Asian American men lack the qualities inherent to the heroic heterosexual male. This restricting, circumscribed vision of masculinity—a straitjacketing, according to author Celine Parreñas Shimizu—aggravates Asian American male sexual problems both on and off screen.

Straitjacket Sexualities: Unbinding Asian American Manhoods in the Movies looks to cinematic history to reveal the dynamic ways Asian American men, from Bruce Lee to Long Duk Dong, create and claim a variety of masculinities. Representations of love, romance, desire, and lovemaking show how Asian American men fashion manhoods that negotiate the dynamics of self and other, expanding our ideas of sexuality. The unique ways in which Asian American men express intimacy is powerfully represented onscreen, offering distinct portraits of individuals struggling with group identities. Rejecting “macho” men, these movies stake Asian American manhood on the notion of caring for, rather than dominating, others.

Straitjacket Sexualities identifies a number of moments in the movies wherein masculinity is figured anew. By looking at intimate relations on screen, power as sexual prowess and brute masculinity is redefined, giving primacy to the diverse ways Asian American men experience complex, ambiguous, and ambivalent genders and sexualities.


March 29, 2012

Written by C.N.

Vote in Time Magazine’s List of Top 100 Most Influential

Jeremy Lin © Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Time magazine is compiling their annual list of the Top 100 Most Influential People of 2012 and is giving people the opportunity to vote on whether each of their nominees should be included in the Top 100 list.

Think Jeremy Lin should be included? I certainly cast my vote for “definitely!” Among their list of nominees, there are several Asians and Asian Americans, so if you’re so inclined, cast your vote for those who you think should be included in Time’s list. The deadline for voting is Friday, April 6.


February 20, 2012

Written by C.N.

It Was Inevitable: Racial Ignorance Against Jeremy Lin

In my recent post titled, “Jeremy Lin Mania and How it Relates to Colorblindness,” among other things, I noted that Jeremy’s emergence as a media sensation and explosion onto the center stage of mainstream U.S. popular culture does represent a small step toward the eventual ideal of colorblindness. At the same time, I also argued that the reality is that unfortunately, we are still a long way from being a truly colorblind society.

This past week, several public incidents have solidified the sad fact that many Americans still think that we are already in a colorblind society and as such, they can basically say anything they want about Jeremy, including offensive references to him as a Chinese American. Unfortunately there have been several examples of racial insensitivity in the past couple of weeks, but in this post I will focus on two in particular.

First, after the Knicks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in which Jeremy scored 38 points, FoxSports.com columnist Jason Whitlock tweeted “Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight.” Whitlock later apologized for the remark, but you can’t unring that bell — clearly he thought it was perfectly acceptable to invoke the emasculating racial stereotype about Asian men having small penises.

But wait, there’s more.

A few days later, after Jeremy committed nine turnovers in a game that the Knicks eventually lost, thereby snapping their 7-game winning streak, the following headline made it onto ESPN’s mobile website (screenshot below): “Chinks in the Armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-Snapping Loss to Hornets.”

'Chink in the Armor' headline on ESPN mobile website

The headline was apparently taken down after being public for 35 minutes but again, the damage was done — the editors at ESPN apparently had no idea or did not care that the term “chink” is a blatantly racist term against all Asian Americans but particularly and deeply offensive to Chinese Americans. I might expect people outside the U.S., such as Spain’s national basketball team, not to know that the term “chink” is racist, but it is very disappointing to learn that many Americans still think it’s perfectly fine to use in reference to a Chinese American.

Disappointing, but unfortunately not really surprising.

That is because many Americans already believe, consciously or unconsciously, that we are already a colorblind society. As such, they have been taught, socialized, and desensitized to naively think that all racial groups are equal now, that no racial discrimination ever takes place nowadays, and therefore, it’s fine to casually use terms such as “chink” in everyday conversation.

These particular incidents may not be as blatantly offensive as the racial taunts Jeremy encountered back when he played for Harvard, but they nonetheless illustrate a woeful level of ignorance and lack of sensitivity about Asian Americans, our history, and our community.

Imagine what the public’s reaction would have been if Jason Whitlock was referring to a Black player and his remark invoked the racial stereotype about Black men having large penises. What would the public’s reaction had been if ESPN went public with some headline that referred to a Black player using the ‘N’ word? I think it would be safe to say that the American public would be shocked, outraged, and furious if these hypothetical examples occurred in reference to a Black player.

To Whitlock’s and ESPN’s credit, they both apologized and in ESPN’s case, fired the person responsible for the website headline and suspended one of their sportscasters, Max Bretos, who repeated the “chink in the armor” phrase on air. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and decisively ESPN acted in regard to these incidents. In the past, more than likely, ESPN would have taken days to issue a half-hearted apology and probably would not have disciplined any of their staff involved. I suppose ESPN’s actions in this matter do represent an encouraging sign of progress.

Fortunately, there are others in the mainstream media who “get it” — those who understand the contradiction and inequality that exist when such racial/ethnic stereotypes are in reference to, say Blacks, versus when they reference Asian Americans. Specifically, leave it the crew at Saturday Night Live to use comedy and satire to deftly illustrate this contradiction:

So I suppose that it does represent progress that when these types of racially ignorant incidents happen, the mainstream media nowadays does recognize it and take disciplinary action (or use satire to point out the absurdity of such ignorance) more quickly than in the past. Now if we can just get to the point where such incidents don’t happen in the first place.


February 13, 2012

Written by C.N.

Jeremy Lin Mania and How It Relates to Colorblindness

Back in 2010, I wrote about Jeremy Lin, who was leading Harvard University to a league title, a birth in the NCAA postseason tournament, and was poised to become one of the first Asian American players in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Back then, I pointed out how he represents an example of Asian Americans balancing both model minority expectations with an extracurricular passion, and in doing so, is expanding the definition of success for Asian Americans.

Jeremy Lin, point guard for the New York Knicks © Anthony Gruppuso/US Presswire

Since then, Jeremy went undrafted in the NBA after graduation but has now landed with the New York Knicks and is now exploding onto the basketball scene, as this New York Times article describes:

On Saturday night [Feb. 4, 2012], Lin came off the bench and powered the Knicks to a 99-92 victory over the Nets at Madison Square Garden, scoring a career-best 25 points with 7 assists. Two nights later, he made his first N.B.A. start and produced 28 points and 8 assists in a 99-88 win over the Utah Jazz.

Knicks fans now serenade Lin with chants of “Je-re-my!” and “M.V.P.!” while the franchise uses his likeness to sell tickets and teammates and coaches gush with praise. . . . Lin is raising expectations, altering the Knicks’ fate and redefining the word “unlikely.” On Twitter, fans and basketball pundits are using another term to describe the phenomenon: “Linsanity.”

[H]e became the first player in more than 30 years to record at least 28 points and 8 assists in his first N.B.A. start. . . . When the Knicks claimed Lin off waivers Dec. 27, he was fourth on the depth chart at point guard. Now he is No. 1, continuing a long pattern of low expectations and surprising results.

As another example of the accelerating Jeremy Lin bandwagon, ABC News just named Jeremy its “Person of the Week” and profiled him in the following news segment video:

Needless to say, Jeremy’s explosion into the U.S. cultural mainstream has inspired many Americans, and particularly Asian Americans. Beyond the mainstream media’s ever-increasing proclamations of him as “Linsanity,” “Lincredible,” “Going All Lin,” “Lin Your Face,” or “May the Best Man Lin,” Jeremy has also been described as Asian Americans’ version of Tim Tebow, both for embracing his Christian faith and for the media sensation and “Linspiration” that he has become for so many Asian Americans. For the record, Jeremy is the first monoracial (that is, both his parents are Asian) Asian American (either born or raised in the U.S.) to play in the NBA, and one of the few monoracial Asian Americans to play professional team sports in the U.S. at all.

In so many ways, Jeremy represents a big step forward for Asian Americans and U.S. society in general in terms of racial inclusion and being considered part of mainstream U.S. culture. Jeremy’s success actually follows a similar breakthrough moment for Asian Americans last year, as the hip-hop group Far East Movement became the first all-Asian American musical group to hit number one on the music charts with their single “Like a G6.” As another example of the “mainstreaming” of Asian Americans, the creators of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” are apparently in the process of creating a version that features an all-Asian American cast, to be called “K-Town.”

From a sociological point of view, the cultural emergence of Jeremy Lin, Far East Movement, and K-Town demonstrate that Asian Americans are indeed increasingly part of the U.S. mainstream. Up to this point, because of the relative scarcity of Asian Americans in the mainstream media and popular culture, it was usually a shock when we did see an Asian American on TV, in the movies, or on the music charts.

But as Asian Americans becoming increasingly common in these areas of U.S. popular culture, are we headed for a day when it is no longer a “big deal” when we see Asian American faces in the media, just like it’s taken for granted when we see White faces or Black faces? Ultimately, yes, that is the goal — for us as a society to no longer consider it “strange” or “unusual” to see Asian Americans in the media or in other prominent positions in U.S. social institutions.

If this idea sounds familiar, you might know it by its more common name — colorblindness.

In other words, part of being colorblind is what I just described — an ideal situation in which everyone in U.S. society is considered equal and when social, political, and economic distinctions based on race or ethnicity are no longer important or carry any sort of advantage or disadvantage. So in many respects, Jeremy Lin’s success gives us hope that, as a society, we are moving a little closer to the ideals of colorblindness.

Having said that, as I have written repeatedly in this blog, in order to eventually attain this ideal of true colorblindness, we first have to recognize that despite the progress that our nation has made in eradicating racism, the practical reality is that inequalities based on race and ethnicity unfortunately still exist and that groups such as Asian Americans still experience much ignorance, intolerance, and outright discrimination because of their identity and position as a racial minority group.

Therefore, much like the idea of Asian Americans as the “model minority,” I think we should definitely embrace and celebrate the emergence of Jeremy Lin, Far East Movement, and other examples in which Asian Americans are recognized for their success. Their accomplishments reflect how it is not a contradiction to recognize both their racial/ethnic uniqueness and their position as an integral part of mainstream society.

At the same time, we should also keep in mind that while we are getting closer to the ultimate ideal of colorblindness, there is still a lot of work to be done. Along with that, in order to keep working toward a time when true equality exists across all racial/ethnic groups, we need to understand that racial/ethnic distinctions still exist and still matter, and that the success of one person or a few people within that racial/ethnic minority group does not yet mean that members of that group no longer experience any injustice or discrimination.

In the meantime, despite my roots as a Los Angeles Lakers fan, I will definitely be rooting for Jeremy to keep lighting up the scoreboard and the “Lin-magination” of all Americans and beyond.


September 6, 2011

Written by C.N.

More Asian American Faces in Advertisements: The Double-Edged Sword

In recent years, it has become more common to see Asian American actors in mainstream U.S. advertisements and commercials. This trend is notable for a two reasons. First, it represents a significant change from decades past, in which Asian American faces were almost completely absent from such advertising campaigns. Alternatively, when they were included, more often than not, Asian Americans were depicted in racially offensive and stereotypical caricatures, many of which were based on Orientalist perceptions of Asians and Asian Americans as exotic, mysterious, dangerous, inferior, and/or hypersexual.

Second, this increased visibility of Asian Americans in mainstream advertising seems to reflect the growing political, economic, and cultural influence of Asian countries and of Asian Americans within the U.S. Within the current climate of increased globalization, economic instability, and demographic changes, Asian Americans, other racial/ethnic minorities, and immigrants are in a unique position to leverage their individual and community resources to make important contributions to help move the U.S. forward into the 21st century.

With this in mind, and with the recognition that the Asian American population has an estimated $452 billion in purchasing power, advertisers and their corporate clients are increasingly including Asian American actors in their ads and commercials. As summarized on Asian American-focused sites like 8Asians.com, recent examples of television commercials that feature Asian Americans include eSurance, Target, Verizon, Staples, Hewlett Packard, Subaru, and McDonalds, to name just a few.

Orientalist ad for Motorola Razr

However, even though the level of blatant Orientalist stereotypes has declined, there are still numerous examples in which perceptions of Asian culture and Asian Americans as exotic, mysterious, and slightly dangerous are used in the advertising industry. For example, to the right is a relatively recent advertisement for the Motorola Razr cellphone that appeared in mainstream U.S. magazines such as Newsweek. Unfortunately, its Orientalist depictions are clear, particularly as applied to Asian women in clearly sexualized terms.

Specifically, the ad uses a woman of Asian descent dressed in an outfit that suggests a ninja-like image and striking a subtly menacing pose in which, rather than a sword, she wields a “Sharper Than Ever” Razr cellphone in her right hand, implying that the user of it can become a dangerous weapon in the figurative sense. Further, the woman’s curvaceous figure, Cleopatra-like eye makeup, skin-tight outfit, and long flowing hair again builds on the Orientalist image of Asian woman as seductive and sexually alluring. The result of these historical and ongoing Orientalist images of Asian Americans is that they are seen only within a narrowly-confined box of popular images and racially-tinged caricatures, rather than as normal citizens or even as Americans.

Opportunities and Dangers Ahead

In more recent years, portrayals of Asian Americans in mainstream ads and commercials has generally been less prone to such Orientalist images. Nonetheless, even as more advertisers incorporate more Asian Americans into their marketing campaigns, there is still the danger of promoting stereotypes, as the above-discussed Motorola Razr advertisement exemplifies. Further, a recent article by journalist Paul Farhi in the Washington Post describes a recent television commercial in which a White customer learns about a few multipurpose cellphone from an Asian American Staples sales clerk:

When Asian Americans appear in advertising, they typically are presented as the technological experts — knowledgeable, savvy, perhaps mathematically adept or intellectually gifted. They’re most often shown in ads for business-oriented or technical products — smartphones, computers, pharmaceuticals, electronic gear of all kinds.

The stereotypical portrayal reinforces a marketing concept known as the “match up” theory, which states that consumers respond more favorably to products advertised by an actor or spokesperson who “fits” the product. Just as consumers expect cosmetics to be sold by a supermodel or athletic equipment by a professional athlete, in the minds of the U.S. public, Asian Americans are strongly associated with technical know-how. . . . Variations on the theme have appeared in numerous TV commercials in recent months:

  • Staples advertises its computer-repair service with images of laptops flying like gulls into one of its stores. When one of the laptops crash-lands, the fix-it technician who comes to its “rescue” is an Asian American.
  • CVS’s TV ads feature a lab-coated pharmacist of Asian descent dispensing advice about medication to a baffled Caucasian lady.
  • A mother and her teenage son shopping at Best Buy learn that the store offers “Geek Squad” techies, who are packaged and displayed like life-size action figures on the store’s shelves. One of the tech guys is an Asian American.
  • IBM’s commercials feature brainy IT consultants, including a young Asian American woman who talks up the company’s efforts to create “a smarter planet.”
  • The article goes on to note that recent advertisements (such as this one from Staples) that feature Asian American actors can be a double-edged sword. That is, on the one hand, it is encouraging to see more Asian American faces in the mainstream media and in positions of authority or knowledge, rather than in the kind of blatantly demeaning and offensive roles that Asian American are used to seeing about themselves. On the other hand, the predominance of such roles that cast Asian Americans as tech experts has the danger of creating another narrowly-defined, one-dimensional stereotype – of Asian Americans as technically proficient, but nothing more.

    In other words, to market to Asian Americans, advertisers and their corporate clients should remember that the history, culture, and socioeconomic characteristics of the Asian American population is complex, three-dimensional, and intricate. Like all other racial, ethnic, cultural, or religious groups, the Asian American experience cannot be reduced into a limited set of media and popular culture images, no matter how seemingly “positive” such portrayals may appear to be. Similar to model minority perceptions of Asian Americans, we need to both recognize the successes as well as the ongoing challenges and multiple levels of diversity within the Asian American community.

    Indeed, when it comes to this trend of incorporating more Asian Americans into mainstream ads and commercials, there needs to be a diversity and wide range of images and marketing approaches that highlight both the unique characteristics and contributions that are specific to the Asian American population but that no not rely on Orientalist stereotypes, in addition to “race-neutral” ones that illustrate that Asian Americans are just regular, normal citizens and reflect their identity and position in society – just another part of the American mainstream.

    Toward this goal, Asian Americans can have also a direct impact in facilitating positive change. Some time ago, I had with a student in which she mentioned that, as an advertising major, she also has a strong commitment to use her experiences and training to work toward greater racial equality and justice for Asian Americans and people of color. But she also expressed reservations about entering the advertising industry with its history of portraying people of color in very narrow and even stereotypical ways.

    One of the things that I told her was that if students like her self-select out of these kinds of industries, everything will just be perpetual status quo and no positive change would ever occur. Instead, I encouraged her to bring her determination toward activism and passion for social change with her into the advertising industry, build a critical mass with others who share similar goals, and to fight for the change that she wants to see happen.

    Hopefully, that time is now.


    April 27, 2011

    Written by C.N.

    Asians & Asian Americans in Time’s Top 100 Most Influential 2011

    Time magazine has released its annual Top 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2011. This year’s list includes a number of Asians and Asian Americans, some well-known while others not as well-known (until now I suppose):

    Feisal Abdul Rauf

    Muslim Imam, USA

    Feisal Abdul Rauf, 63, has moderate, colloquial eloquence, still relatively rare among American Muslim religious leaders. That didn’t stop the attacks on him and his wife Daisy Khan when they teamed with a developer to propose a community center near Ground Zero. They still hope to realize that vision, knowing it won’t come without further attacks. — Rev. William M. Tully

    © Tim Pannell/Corbis

    Mukesh Ambani

    Industrialist, India

    Ambani, 54, took the firm his father founded — Reliance Industries — and turned it into India’s largest private-sector company, a $45 billion petrochemicals giant. It’s a new kind of Indian company, built through adroit manipulation of governments and the stock market but also enriching millions of shareholders. “We have taken money from ordinary Indians, and we are their trustees,” he says. As long as the money keeps coming, they may forgive his excesses. — Suketu Mehta

    Charles Chao

    Entrepreneur, China

    In 2009 the chinese government, concerned about how information could spread rapidly among millions of people over microblogs, blocked Twitter and shuttered domestic equivalents. Amid those obstacles, Charles Chao saw an opportunity. A journalist turned accountant who rose through the executive ranks to head Sina, China’s largest Internet portal, he backed the company’s own microblog service [Sina Weibo] . . . [and] Beijing approved it. . . . It reached 100 million users in March, vs. 200 million for Twitter. . . . It is censored, Chao acknowledges, but it is also one of the freest online platforms in China. — Austin Ramzy

    Amy Chua

    Law Professor and Author, USA

    Amy’s book is a nuanced story of how her parenting had to evolve to take into account the differences between her children. Parenting is hard and humbling for all of us. If there were a right way to raise your kids, everyone would do it. Clearly that’s not the case. In China, this book is being marketed as a tale about the importance of giving children more Western freedom. Few have the guts to parent in public. Amy’s memoir is brutally honest, and her willingness to share her struggles is a gift. Whether or not you agree with her priorities and approach, she should be applauded for raising these issues with a thoughtful, humorous and authentic voice. — Sheryl Sandberg

    Dharma Master Cheng Yen

    Buddhist Leader, Taiwan

    As a spiritual guru, Cheng Yen, 73, has an ethereal quality. Yet the Buddhist nun is also the well-grounded, no-nonsense head of a non-profit humanitarian machine with divisions in 50 countries and nearly 10 million supporters and volunteers. The Tzu Chi Foundation (tzu chi means compassionate relief) is known for the astonishing speed and efficiency with which it brings aid to victims of natural disasters. Wherever calamities occur, Tzu Chi volunteers and experts arrive promptly, dispensing food, medicine, blankets and warm clothing (as they did recently in Japan) and, in the long term, rebuilding homes, clinics and schools. — Zoher Abdoolcarim

    Hu Shuli

    Journalist, China

    Hu founded Caijing [and] shook up China’s media landscape with courageous investigative pieces on corruption and fraud. After a dispute with her publisher, Hu left the magazine in 2009 and set up Caixin Century, now a paragon of reporting brilliance in China. In February it ran a commentary on Egypt that any savvy reader would link to China. “Autocracy creates turbulence,” it read, “democracy breeds peace.” — Adi Ignatius

    Hung Huang

    Fashion Designer, China

    Hung spent her teenage years going to school in New York City and college at Vassar. These days Hung, 49, is hugely influential in Chinese culture, tweeting with humor and intelligence to 2.5 million people. She runs a fashion magazine called iLook, owns a store featuring Chinese designers and recently became the director of the first design museum in China. What makes Hung unique is that she understands America, its pragmatism and practices, yet she remains a true Chinese patriot. She works hard to bring her country’s culture into the 21st century. — Diane Von Furstenberg

    Takeshi Kanno

    Doctor, Japan

    The 31-year-old doctor was on duty at the Shizugawa public hospital in the Japanese town of Minami Sanriku when he heard the tsunami alert. He immediately began moving patients to the highest floor. . . When the wall of water arrived, Kanno watched it swallow the street in three minutes, taking the patients he couldn’t move with it. . . . Over the next two days, Kanno refused to leave those he’d helped survive. When evacuation helicopters arrived, he waited until the last of his patients had gone before he too left. Three days after the quake, he at last made it back to his wife, just hours before the birth of their second child, a boy they named Rei. The name evokes two meanings: in English, a beam of light; in Chinese and Japanese, the wisdom to overcome hardship. — Krista Mahr

    Kim Jong Un

    Ruler in Waiting, North Korea

    Nobody’s sure if Kim Jong Un is 28 or 29. There are only a handful of photos of him in circulation. Until a couple of years ago, few North Koreans knew anything about him. But he’s been picked to succeed his dad and granddad as absolute ruler of his impoverished, nuclear-tipped nation, which means that though he may not be known, he will be feared.

    Liang Guanglie

    Defense Minister, China

    Few Americans have heard of Liang Guanglie, but his name comes up a great deal in discussions within the U.S. national-security establishment. Liang, 70, is a career military officer and since 2008 has been China’s Defense Minister . . . He is presiding over the rapid rise in Beijing’s defense spending, a subject of increasing concern in Washington. — Bill Powell

    Azim Premji

    Industrialist and Philanthropist, India

    A pioneer of India’s IT-outsourcing industry, Premji [is] inspired by his belief that a strong educational system is essential to sustaining the economic growth needed to pull millions of Indian citizens out of poverty, Premji, 65, is deeply involved in efforts to provide universal primary education in India. The Azim Premji Foundation supports programs that reach more than 2.5 million children. But it may be his pioneering leadership in India’s nascent field of philanthropy that will be Premji’s lasting legacy. His recent $2 billion donation to his foundation was the largest charitable contribution in the history of modern India. — Bill Gates

    Rain

    Singer and Actor, South Korea

    The South Korean pop star turned actor Rain, 28, took the top spot in the TIME 100 reader poll for the third year, trouncing competitors from Barack Obama to Lady Gaga. That’s pretty impressive online power for a guy whose main claim to Western fame is a role in the 2009 film Ninja Assassin.

    V.S. Ramachandran

    Neuroscientist, USA

    Ramachandran, 59, is best known for developing a therapy for phantom-limb pain in which a mirror is used to reflect the intact limb, creating the illusion that the missing one is still there. That persuades the brain that all is well, and the pain subsides. With his simple, creative and innovative ideas, V.S. Ramachandran is changing how our brains think about our minds. — Thomas Insel

    Michelle Rhee

    Educator, USA

    The former chancellor of the Washington, D.C., school system and the founder of the Students First advocacy group, Rhee . . . . set a goal to improve the lot of the nation’s students, and she has stuck to that. And she paid dearly for it, stepping down from her D.C. post in 2010 after Mayor Adrian Fenty lost his bid for re-election, a public rejection that some saw as a repudiation of the tough steps Rhee took to raise the standards of the city’s public schools. Subsequently, she shunned any high-salary job offers that resulted from her high-profile tenure and instead founded her organization. — Davis Guggenheim

    Aruna Roy

    Social Activist, India

    Starting from a tiny village in the deserts of Rajasthan in the 1980s, Aruna Roy began a long campaign to bring transparency to India’s notoriously corrupt bureaucracy. Its signal achievement is the 2005 Right to Information (RTI) Act, a law that has given the nation’s poor a powerful tool to fight for their rights and has influenced similar measures in other countries. It has also inspired thousands of RTI activists, who have exposed everything from land scams to bank embezzlement to the misuse of public funds meant for the poor. . . . Roy doesn’t just condemn a broken system; she changes it. — Jyoti Thottam

    Ahmed Shuja Pasha

    Intelligence Chief, Pakistan

    Within weeks of Lieut. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha’s becoming head of Pakistan’s top intelligence agency, ISI, in 2008, terrorist attacks in Mumbai seriously roiled already stressed U.S.-Pakistani relations. Pasha, 59, has grown progressively more suspicious of U.S. motives and staying power. . . . Pasha, a Pakistani patriot and American partner, now must find these two roles even more difficult to reconcile. — Michael Hayden

    Katsunobu Sakurai

    Mayor, Minami Soma, Japan

    [A]s radiation wafted from the earthquake- and tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant toward the city of Minami Soma, some 15 miles (25 km) away, Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai . . . posted an 11-min. video on YouTube two weeks after the March 11 natural disaster [and] lashed out at Japan’s political and economic establishment, which had ignored his frantic calls and, as a result, left thousands of local residents stuck in a nuclear no-go zone. “With the paltry information given by the government and [plant operator] TEPCO, we are left isolated … and are being forced into starvation,” Sakurai charged. “I beg you from my heart to help us.” His plea resonated across the world, leading many to ask how a country so celebrated for efficiency had failed its most vulnerable citizens. — Hannah Beech

    Aung San Suu Kyi

    Peace Activist, Burma

    As the leader of Burma’s democracy movement and winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, Aung San Suu Kyi, 65, is an Asian hero and global inspiration. . . Last November she was released from her latest stint of more than seven years under house arrest. In March her banned party, the National League for Democracy, called again for talks with Burma’s rulers. Even after spending most of the past two decades in detention, Suu Kyi is determined to return to the front lines of the battle for democracy. — Wang Dan

    Mahendra Singh Dhoni

    Cricket Team Captain, India

    Dhoni is now universally acknowledged as India’s best [cricket] captain ever. He’s also its most likable, exuding both cool confidence and down-to-earth humility. As astonishing as Dhoni’s talent is his background. Indian success stories are usually associated with pedigree, connections and power. Dhoni, from a small-town family of modest means, had none of these, but he’s shown India that you can make it with only one thing: excellence. Dhoni doesn’t just lead a cricket team; he’s also India’s captain of hope. — Chatan Bhagat

    Ai Weiwei

    Artist and Activist, China

    Ai Weiwei is the kind of visionary any nation should be proud to count among its creative class. He has drawn the world’s attention to the vibrancy of contemporary Chinese culture. More important, Ai, 53, has shown compassion for his fellow citizens and spoken out for victims of government abuses, calling for political reforms to better serve the people. It is very sad that the Chinese government has seen a need to silence one of its most innovative and illustrious citizens. For the world, Ai continues to represent the promise of China. — John Huntsman

    Xi Jinping

    Presumed Future President, China

    You can make the case that Xi has reformist impulses. His father, once a comrade of Mao Zedong’s, was purged three times. Xi is an engineer, like most of China’s leaders, but he also has a law degree and a breadth of knowledge that many of his colleagues lack. His wife is one of China’s most famous singers. His daughter is at Harvard. Who knows? Maybe he even likes jazz and scotch. — Fareed Zakaria


    December 31, 2010

    Written by C.N.

    End-of-Year Stories and Lists About Asian Americans

    The end of the year naturally brings stories, articles, and lists from media organizations and bloggers that summarize noteworthy news events, topics, and issues from the past year. On this blog, you may have read my posts about “Racial/Ethnic Relations in 2010: The Best & Worst” and “The Most Significant Racial/Ethnic Issue of the Decade.

    Along the same lines, other writers and bloggers around the internet have also posted their own end-of-year stories, articles, and lists related to Asian Americans, so I list and summarize the ones that I have recently come across (thanks to 8Asians for taking the lead on mentioning these lists):


    Asian Pop’s 2010 Year in Review

    • My colleague and pop culture expert Jeff Yang reviews the most newsworthy stories about Asian and Asian American popular culture from this past year.


    Top 10 Asian Americans in Pop Culture

    • Columnist Keith Chow at Pop Culture Shock counts down the top 10 Asian Americans who made newsworthy achievements this past year in mainstream American pop culture.


    The Most Underreported Stories of the Decade

    • The good folks at New America Media compile their list of stories about people and communities of color that were largely ignored by the mainstream American media.


    20 Essential Works of Asian-American Literature

    • A blog that promotes graduate education opportunities compiles a list of the 20 most important literary works related to Asian Americans.


    Asia Pacific Arts’ Best of 2010

    • The writers of the online magazine Asia Pacific Arts (published by the University of Southern California U.S.-China Institute) select their favorite Asian and Asian American performers, film, music, TV dramas, choreography, video games, behind-the-scenes artists, etc. of 2010 (thanks to AngryAsianMan.com for mentioning this).


    Top 10 Asian American Bachelors of 2010

    • The folks at Asiance make their case for the 10 hottest Asian American bachelors of 2010.


    Best Asian American Songs of 2010

    • Over at Hyphen magazine, Los Angeles-based soul/R&B musician Dawen recounts his favorite songs from each month of 2010.


    Top 10 Amazing Asian American Achievers of 2010

    • Columnist Nina Huang at Northwest Asian Weekly recounts the stories of 10 Asian Americans who made remarkable achievements this past year.


    10 Best Asian Films of the Year

    • Again at Northwest Asian Weekly, Andrew Hamlin summarizes his list of the 10 best Asian films/movies of 2010.


    Top 10 Asian American Sports Figures of 2010

    • The crew at Northwest Asian Weekly have been quite busy apparently, turning out another top 10 list, this time of the most newsworthy Asian American athletes and sports personalities of 2010.


    Top 10 Asian American Cities

    • The best cities for Asian Americans to live in, as compiled by the blog Amped Asia.

    August 19, 2010

    Written by C.N.

    Links & Announcements #30

    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.

    Intern Position at White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

    The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is Seeking One Intern for Fall 2010.

    The Initiative is responsible for the implementation of the President’s Executive Order 13515 dated October 14, 2009. Its purpose is to develop, monitor, and coordinate executive branch efforts to improve the quality of life of AAPIs through increased participation in Federal programs. The Initiative is housed at the Department of Education but represents a collaboration among many Federal agencies.

    Intern duties may include:

    • Performing research on AAPI issue areas, including education, community and economic development, health, labor and employment, and civil rights
    • Writing policy memos and proposals to improve government programs for AAPIs
    • Conducting outreach to national and local API organizations, elected officials, and ethnic media outlets
    • Creating communication strategies around social media
    • Coordinating events

    Intern Qualifications

    • Currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate student (must be enrolled at least half-time)
    • Outstanding research and writing skills
    • Experience working with AAPI communities or familiarity with the issues
    • Detail-oriented
    • Team player
    • Advanced knowledge of various software applications to include but not limited to Microsoft Office

    Compensation:
    Interns are eligible for transit benefits, which cover the cost of commuting to and from work on public transportation. Interested applicants should send a resume, cover letter, and enrollment verification with the subject “FALL INTERNSHIP 2010″ to Shelly Coles at shelly.coles@ed.gov by August 23rd. Please be advised that if selected to work as an intern, you will have to undergo a security background check.

    APIA U: Leadership 101 Host Schools

    Hi everyone,

    I’m doing the call out for Spring 2011 host sites and would greatly appreciate your help in getting the word out. Please distribute this to the student organizations that you are connected with. I especially need help with reaching out to schools in the Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest, and Hawaii. Thank you!

    OCA Now Accepting Applications for Spring 2011 APIA U: Leadership 101 Host Schools

    OCA is seeking Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) student organizations from colleges, universities, and community colleges across the country to host a Spring 2011 (Jan-April) APIA U: Leadership 101 training. This interactive college leadership training program involves hands-on exercises, small group discussions, and presentations led by two qualified APIA facilitators. The one-day Saturday training assembles 60 APIA students from each region and focuses on understanding APIA history and identity, leadership development, and social justice and advocacy. Participants will be asked to challenge themselves, share their experiences, and develop leadership tools in order to effectively serve as catalysts for change.

    Help bring this exciting and FREE leadership training to your campus! Potential sites are considered from anywhere across the country, coast to coast. We especially encourage new schools to apply from the following regions: Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest, and Hawaii.

    Tasks Include:

    • Publicizing and recruiting students to attend (both from on campus and other colleges)
    • Securing a room that fits approximately 60 people (open area, no fixed desks)
    • Providing recommendations for local restaurants and hotels
    • Hosting students that cannot afford hotel expenses (optional)

    Again, these are only a sample of the tasks involved and OCA covers all expenses. To host a training in Spring 2011, apply online by August 30 at http://bit.ly/b5jJUD or complete the paper application and mail it to 1322 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20036 ATTN: APIA U Host Application. Please contact Iimay Ho at iho@ocanational.org with any questions.

    Best,
    Iimay Ho
    Program Manager
    Organization of Chinese Americans National Center
    1322 18th Street NW
    Washington, DC 20036
    202-223-5500 tel
    202-296-0540 fax
    iho@ocanational.org
    www.ocanational.org
    OCA: Embracing the Hopes and Aspirations of Asian Pacific Americans

    “Armed With a Camera” Film & Media Fellowship

    Visual Communications will begin accepting applications for our 2010/2011 “Armed With a Camera” Fellowship. This fellowship offers emerging Asian Pacific American film and media artists an opportunity to further their development and help them make connections that they will need to thrive within the film industry.

    The 10 fellows chosen will receive $500 each to be used for the purposes of making a 5-minute film within a 5-month time frame. The final movies will be shown at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival that has an attendance of over 16,000 people. The Fellowship application will be open until October 1, 2010 and we will announce the winners during the last week of October.

    Women, South Asian and Southeast Asian filmmakers are highly encouraged to apply to the Armed With A Camera Fellowship! More details and information on how to apply can found on our website.

    Latest Stats on Taiwanese Immigrants

    From the Migration Information Source: according to our analysis of 2008 federal government data (the most recent year available):

    • There were about 342,000 foreign born from Taiwan residing in the United States — 47 percent of them in California alone.
    • Seventy-six percent of Taiwanese immigrant adults owned the home they resided in compared to 57 percent of all immigrants and 73 percent of native-born adults.
    • Among the Taiwanese foreign born, 72 percent were naturalized US citizens while just 43 percent of all immigrants were naturalized.
    • Over 70 percent of Taiwanese-born adults had a bachelor’s degree or higher, more than double the rate among the foreign born overall (28 percent) and the native-born adult population (27 percent).
    • Management, business, and finance was the dominant occupation reported by Taiwanese immigrant men (23 percent) and Taiwanese immigrant women (28 percent).

    Kind Regards,
    Kirin Kalia

    Senior Editor, Migration Information Source
    www.migrationinformation.org
    Migration Policy Institute
    1400 16th Street, NW Suite 300
    Washington, DC 20036
    www.migrationpolicy.org
    phone: 202-266-1913
    fax: 202-266-1900

    Online Archives: Yellow Seeds Papers

    You can now find copies of the Yellow Seeds newspaper on-line. As many of you know, Yellow Seeds was an Asian American anti-imperialist organization focused on the Asian American community and Chinatown neighborhood in Philadelphia during the 1970s.

    From the organization’s description:

    Yellow Seeds aligns itself with the liberation struggles of all people all over the world against all forms of imperialism and colonialism. Here in America we actively participate in the struggle of the people against attacks on the livelihood of workers, against racism, against sexism and all other forms of exploitation. We recognize that Asian Americans are a part of this broad struggle against a common enemy and part of a movement to build a society free of exploitation for all people.

    They published a newspaper of the same name from 1972-1977 in English and Chinese; editions from 1972-1975 are available on line in pdf format and downloadable for free at: http://bandung1955.wordpress.com/yellow-seeds-newspaper-collection/