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The views and opinions expressed on this site and blog posts (excluding comments on blog posts left by others) are entirely my own and do not represent those of any employer or organization with whom I am currently or previously have been associated.

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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.

June 5, 2014

Written by C.N.

In Memory of Yuri Kochiyama

You may have heard that long-time civil rights activist and Asian American icon Yuri Kochiyama passed away earlier this week at the age of 93. Readers can learn more details about her amazing life through boted Asian American scholar Diana Fujino’s biography Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama. Prominent Asian American blog Reappropriate also has links to several other articles from major media outlets about her passing.

Yuri Kochiyama, © ColorLines magazine

The biography and articles highlight how she grew up in the Los Angeles area and had a seemingly normal middle-class life. All of that changed after the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. As history records, this eventually resulted in 120,000 Japanese Americans (two-thirds of them being U.S. citizens) having their constitutional rights revoked and incarcerated, just based on their Japanese ancestry, in dozens of prison camps across the U.S., without any due process whatsoever.

Among those imprisoned were Yuri and her family and this experience forever changed her perspective on the state of race relations, racism, and the overwhelming need for social justice in the U.S. She eventually married a Japanese American GI and moved to Harlem, New York City. There, she befriended a young Black nationalist named Malcolm X and in the course of her friendship, galvanized her determination to work toward social equality and justice on behalf of her community. She was there when Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965.

Thereafter, she became known for actively participating in the movements for ending the Viet Nam War, Puerto Rican independence (highlighted by being part of the group that occupied the Statue of Liberty in 1977), and for Japanese American reparations. In her later years in Oakland, CA, she kept up her activism and social justice work, particularly around the fight against racial profiling and rounding up of Arab and Muslim Americans in the aftermath of 9/11, as detailed in the excellent documentary “Lest We Forget” that highlighted the similarities between Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor and Arab & Muslim Americans after 9/11. Here at my institution, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, our Asian American student center is named the “Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center” on her behalf.

For me personally, Yuri Kochiyama was a hero and an inspiration. Like Yuri, I grew up in a predominantly White community and was entrenched in an assimilationist environment. I did not care about my roots as an Asian American, an immigrant, or a person of color — I just wanted to fit in and be like everybody else around me. In doing so, I was ignorant of all the racial injustices that had been perpetrated against people like me throughout U.S. and world history and that was still taking place all around me in different ways.

It wasn’t until my later years in college and after I started studying Sociology and Asian American Studies that I finally woke up, opened my eyes, reclaimed my identity, and pledged myself to do what I could to fight for racial equality and justice. That’s when I first learned about Yuri Kochiyama. She represented not just someone who was determined to draw on her personal experiences of racism to fight on behalf of others in similar situations, but as an Asian American woman, she stood in stark contrast to the stereotypical images of Asian American women as meek, submissive, exotic, and hypersexualized “geishas” and “China dolls.”

In other words, she gave all of us — men and women, Asian American or not — a different example of what Asian Americans, particularly women, are capable of. It is these examples and memories of Yuri Kochiyama as a strong, determined, committed, and inclusive activist and Asian American woman that I will carry forth with me.


October 12, 2012

Written by Calvin N. Ho

Leftover Women


Photo: anemoneprojectors (Peter O). Flickr/Creative Commons.

My colleague Leta Hong Fincher published an op-ed in the New York Times yesterday about China’s “leftover women,” or shengnü (剩女). “Leftover women” is a very direct translation–the character 剩 is the same as in shengcai, or leftover food.

The confluence of a traditional preference for boys over girls and a strict one-child policy for urban families has led to a surplus of men. Changing social norms and greater educational and career opportunities for women mean that many women are delaying marriage; when they partner up, they have higher standards than ever before.

Worried that a glut of unmarried men and women will be detrimental to social stability, the state has begun to promote the stigmatization of unmarried women in their late 20s and beyond. They are particularly targeting educated women, since those are the least likely to marry:

In 2005 fully 7 percent of 45-year-old Shanghai women with college degrees had never married, according to Wang’s research. [...] “It’s a sharp departure from before, from near-universal female marriage.” Indeed, there’s a common joke that there are three genders in China: men, women, and women with Ph.D.s. Men marry women, and women with Ph.D.s don’t marry.

How exactly does the government scare educated women into marrying? By making the state feminist organization tell educated women that they are in school because they are ugly, and that their expiration date is fast approaching! For her article, Fincher translated some excerpts from the All-China Women’s Federation website. Among them was this gem:

Pretty girls don’t need a lot of education to marry into a rich and powerful family, but girls with an average or ugly appearance will find it difficult. These kinds of girls hope to further their education in order to increase their competitiveness. The tragedy is, they don’t realize that as women age, they are worth less and less, so by the time they get their M.A. or Ph.D., they are already old, like yellowed pearls.

How are Asian American women dealing with pressures to marry? The government might not be comparing them to cold pizza, but many have families with “old country” ideas about marriage and relationships. To boot, some Asian American groups have higher levels of educational attainment than the national average, meaning more years in school–years in which all genders might feel like they are off the marriage market.

Asian American women: what do you think of this shengnü business? Are your families pressuring you to get married? How do you deal with that? Please tell us in the comments.


March 12, 2012

Written by C.N.

Links, Jobs, & Announcements #61

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.

Conference: Applied Research

© Tokyo/PoodlesRock/Corbis

AAPIPRC Organizes National Conference on Applied Research

Stakeholders from the non-profit sector, government, and higher education are coming together in the first national conference to focus on collaborative policy research for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). The conference is sponsored by the Asian American and Pacific Islander Policy Research Consortium (AAPIPRC) and will take place on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 from 1-6pm at the National Education Association in Washington, D.C.

“This conference is a first step towards a powerful collaboration that will help ensure that future national policies actually take our communities into consideration in a meaningful way,” says Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development.

Public policy impacts our daily lives, from immigration and health coverage, to neighborhood infrastructure and media institutions. Yet, there is currently no think tank focused specifically on how policy impacts AAPI communities. This conference fills that gap by promoting research that complements the existing work of advocacy, service and policy groups, while creating a pipeline for scholars interested in applied research.

“There is great need to elevate the local concerns of our growing and diverse AAPI populations to the national level,” says Tarry Hum, Associate Professor at City University of New York. “This is an opportunity to explore research collaborations that will address national policy issues from the perspectives of AAPI communities.”

There will be a special pre-conference at 10:30am for students and youth. “I’m hoping to connect my past work experience and current schooling to community-based policy and advocacy,” says Ami Patel, an Asian American Studies graduate student at UCLA, who previously organized and advocated for green jobs and tuition relief.

Co-sponsors include the National CAPACD, the White House Initiative on AAPIs, the National Education Association, and the Association for Asian American Studies.

Free registration is available at: http://www.aapiprc.com/

Founded in 2010, the Asian American and Pacific Islander Policy Research Consortium is dedicated to producing knowledge that advances the field of Policy and Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies in the United States. The consortium’s members are the CUNY Asian American / Asian Research Institute, UMass Boston Institute for Asian American Studies, UC AAPI Policy Multi-campus Research Program, and UCLA Asian American Studies Center.

Online Survey: Social Experiences of Asian American Women

Call for Asian American women (ages 18 or older) to participate in a survey and a chance to win an Amazon.com gift certificate

My name is Pauline Chan, a graduate student in the Counseling Psychology doctoral program. I am a second generation Chinese American and am working on my dissertation under the direction of Dr. Belle Liang. The study focuses on the social experiences of Asian American women. The study has been approved by the Boston College Office for Research Protections Institutional Review Board (Protocol #12.172.01A).

I am writing to ask Asian American women to participate in my online dissertation research survey and to offer an opportunity to be entered in a random drawing for an Amazon.com gift certificate for participation in the survey (5 $20 gift certificates and 2 $50 gift certificates available).

To participate in the study, participants must:

  • Be 18 years or older, and
  • Self-identify as a woman who is Asian American or a member of an Asian American subgroup

In this survey participants will be asked questions about social experiences in different contexts, social attitudes, culture and well-being. The survey will take approximately 35-45 minutes to complete and may be found at the following link:
https://bclynch.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5ovPhtb1hD7Ra0A

In exchange for their time, participants will be given an opportunity to enter a random drawing for an Amazon.com gift certificate when they have completed the survey. Participants who complete the survey will also be offered access to the results of the study once it is completed.

The survey responses are completely anonymous. Any name or email information given will not be linked in any way to the responses and will only be used for the purposes of distributing the gift certificates. Any individual demographic information will also remain confidential and will not be linked to any names or email addresses. Participation is completely voluntary and participants may withdraw from the study at any time.

As there are limited studies about the Asian American experience, all participant responses will be helpful in contributing to our knowledge about Asian Americans. It is my hope that the results of the study will provide insights that will help to improve the life experiences of Asian American women.

If you have any questions, please contact me at chanpa@bc.edu or 617-966-4001. You can also reach my dissertation advisor, Belle Liang, at liangbe@bc.edu or 617-552-4079. Thank you in advance for your help and your time.

Conference: South Asian Youth Leaders

Apply Now for Rise Up!
SAALT Young Leaders Institute
May 5-8, 2012 | Washington, DC
Application deadline: March 23, 2012

Are you a South Asian American college student who wants to change your campus and community? Apply to participate in Rise Up! today!

What is Rise Up! and why should I apply?
Rise Up! is a great way to build your leadership skills, meet fellow students looking to positively impact their communities, and learn how to be an effective advocate and communicator on and off campus. There is no fee to participate and travel and lodging expenses are covered by SAALT!

Rise Up! is an opportunity for 15 South Asian American college students from around the country to come together for a four day convening in Washington, DC on May 5-8, 2012.

What can you expect?

  • Learn how federal policy is made and how you can impact it
  • Explore important issues such as civil rights, immigration, and political participation
  • Develop skills around documentation of community stories and advocacy
  • Gain insight from experienced community-based leaders who will offer their advice and guidance
  • Go back to your campus with an action plan to document community narratives and create policy change

Application deadline is March 23rd. Email info@saalt.org for more information.

Positions: Korean American Immigrant Rights

About NAKASEC
The National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) is a dynamic grassroots-based organization empowering the Korean American community through education, advocacy and community organizing. We seek to project a national progressive voice and build the movement for social change. Our current program areas include Immigrant Rights, Economic Security, Youth Organizing & Leadership Development, and Civic Engagement & Voter Empowerment.

NAKASEC Seeking a Qualified Applicants for Two Positions

Postion #1: Program Associate (Immigrant Rights, Civic Engagement)
Priority Deadline: March 23, 2012

Position Description
NAKASEC is looking for a hard-working individual to become part of its team as a Program Associate supporting its Immigrant Rights Project and 2012 Civic Engagement & Voter Empowerment program. This is a Full-Time Position based in Washington, DC. Major Responsibilities Include:

  • Be part of a team to develop and implement national grassroots mobilizing campaigns that includes community education, organizing, and media & online communications
  • Build and maintain relationships with organizations and community members in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast region
  • Assist in the coordination of a national, non-partisan voter education and mobilization campaign including educational materials development and voter research as well as supporting local field efforts for the 2012 Elections
  • Research, analyze, and produce materials on relevant policy issues
  • Represent NAKASEC at constituent and coalition partner meetings, events and conferences
  • Support the executive director in administrative activities as necessary including producing and maintaining relevant grant reports and other documentation

Required Qualifications

  • Commitment to immigrant rights, civil rights, and social justice issues
  • Experience working on community issues and/or civic participation initiatives
  • Results-oriented, organized and strong attention to detail
  • Works well in teams but can also take initiative and work independently
  • Strong written and verbal communications and interpersonal skills
  • Proficiency in Korean language strongly preferred

An ideal candidate will possess previous experience in community organizing, issue-based campaign development and/or a willingness to learn; be creative; demonstrated flexibility; and willing to work some evenings and weekends. Ability to drive is a plus. Reports to: Deputy Director

To Apply:
Please send a cover letter, resume, writing sample and salary history and requirement to Morna Ha, Executive Director, mha@nakasec.org. Please write “Program Associate Search” in the subject line. Please note that due to the volume of applications we receive, we are able to only respond to those applicants whom we are interested in interviewing. No phone calls please.

NAKASEC offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience and full health & dental benefits. We are an equal opportunity employer. NAKASEC has offices in Washington DC and Los Angeles and local affiliates in Los Angeles (the Korean Resource Center) and Chicago (the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center) and works in partnership with community based organizations across the nation. Visit www.nakasec.org and/or our Facebook page for more information.

Priority deadline by March 23, 2012. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

= = = = = = = =

Position #2: Communications Intern – Spring and Summer 2012

Position Description
NAKASEC is looking for a Communications Intern for Spring and Summer 2012. He/She will assist the Deputy Director in communications and media activities and will play a critical role in the communications team implementing traditional and social media strategies. This is a full-time position, unpaid based in Washington, DC. College credit can be made available.

Major Responsibilities Include:

  • Monitoring national and regional news on issues that NAKASEC and affiliates work on, compiling daily news clips for internal staff distribution and bookmarking articles online
  • Updating and maintaining a database of mainstream, regional, ethnic and online journalists, producers and bloggers
  • Tracking press work, creating paste-ups of placements and updating monthly media reports
  • Creating and maintaining an editorial calendar for media strategies
  • Assisting with drafting materials such as press releases, media advisories, biographies, pitch letters and or other correspondence
  • Uploading relevant media articles and placements to Facebook, Twitter and website
  • Support Deputy Director and project teams to ensure timely progress of work
  • Providing general office support

Qualifications

  • Commitment to immigrant rights, civil rights, and social justice issues
  • Results-oriented, organized and has strong attention to detail
  • Willingness to learn, ability to follow instructions, take initiative, multi-task, work quickly and be flexible
  • Be a team player
  • Excellent written, oral and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to speak, write and understand intermediate Korean
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite (primarily Word and Excel) and Web 2.0 experience
  • Bachelor’s degree or current enrollment in an undergraduate or graduate program, preferably in communications

Reports to: Deputy Director

To apply:
Please send a cover letter, resume and two writing samples to Jane Yoo, Deputy Director, jyoo@nakasec.org. Write “Communications Intern Search” in the subject line. College credit can be made available – check with your school administration for details.

Writing samples should be no longer than three pages. An article, press release or similar type of communications writing sample is preferred. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please note that due to the volume of applications we receive, we are able to only respond to those applicants whom we are interested in interviewing. No phone calls please. We are an equal opportunity employer.

NAKASEC has offices in Washington DC and Los Angeles and local affiliates in Los Angeles (the Korean Resource Center) and Chicago (the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center) and works in partnership with community based organizations across the nation. Visit www.nakasec.org and/or our Facebook page for more information. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

Scholarships: Asian American Government Network

Asian American Government Executives Network (AAGEN)
Scholarship Program 2012

The mission of AAGEN is to promote, expand and support Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) leadership in Government. In accordance with AAGEN’s mission, the scholarship program has been designed for students in their continuing education to better prepare themselves for positions of leadership and trust in the Federal, State and Local governments.

Two (2) scholarships for $1,500.00 and two (2) scholarships for $1,000 will be awarded in 2012. The AAGEN scholarship is a one-time award; former AAGEN scholarship winners are not eligible.

POLICIES, PROCEDURES, AND RULES
The Scholarship Program is administered under the general direction of the Board of Directors (BoD), but its day-to-day management is the responsibility of AAGEN’s Chairperson or the latter’s designee.

The applications for the scholarship will be accepted until April 1, 2012. The application form can be found at the AAGEN website www.aagen.org. Notification of the awardees will be made prior to each year’s annual AAGEN Leadership Conference. Announcement and presentation of the awards will be made by the Scholarship Awards Committee at the annual AAGEN Leadership Conference.

Scholarship checks will be made out to the college or university the recipient will be attending. These checks will be directly deposited into the student’s account.

SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS COMMITTEE
The AAGEN Scholarship Awards Committee has the responsibility for receiving, reviewing and judging the applications. The Committee, comprised of three members, will have a period of four (4) weeks for its deliberations. It shall prepare and submit a written recommendation of its choices for scholarship awards to the Chair of AAGEN by May 1st of each year. It shall be the latter’s responsibility to relay promptly the recommendations to the Board of Directors. The BoD’s concurrence of the Awards Committee’s recommendations shall be binding. If there is a protest from any BoD member on a particular proposed ‘awardee’, the full BoD and the Scholarship Awards Committee must come to a resolution within 2 weeks, or the award will not be made.

ELIGIBILITY FOR AWARDS
All persons submitting applications in the AAGEN Scholarship Program should be aware that the program is governed by the following requirements:

  1. The application, supported by documentation (transcripts from an accredited post-secondary school for current students or from high school for students starting at a college or university), must show a record of academic excellence, service at the local, state and/or federal government, and a seriousness of purpose in pursuing post-secondary education/training goals
  2. The applicant must provide information about courses which will be taken and how they will improve the applicant’s ability to serve at the local, state, and/or federal level
  3. The applicant must support the principles advanced by AAGEN
  4. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. permanent resident

SCORING CRITERIA
Applications will be evaluated based on five (5) criteria listed below.

  1. Relationship of courses to be taken (or field of study) with service at the local/state and/or federal government levels
  2. Demonstration of academic achievement and excellence with a copy of either standardized test scores (SAT, ACT, GRE) and/or a 3.3 or better grade point average
  3. School, employment or extra-employment activities that demonstrate a seriousness of purpose in serving at leadership positions in the local/state and/or federal government levels
  4. Letters of nomination and recommendation from a school counselor, teacher, public official or an AAGEN member, who knows the applicant well and is qualified to recommend the applicant. The letters should convey information about the applicant and his/her ability to serve in leadership positions at the local, state or federal government. These letters should not be written by a family member of the applicant
  5. Each applicant is required to respond to at least three of five questions listed below. Each essay must be typed or submitted on a disk or a flash drive or by e-mail; double-spaced, and contain no more than 500 words

FIVE ESSAY TOPICS
Please respond to any three of the five questions listed here. Each essay should contain no more than 500 words. Please submit these with your application.

  1. What does public service mean to you and how does it relate to your future goal of serving in leadership positions at the local, state and/or federal level?
  2. What experience from your own life has influenced your development into ethical leadership?
  3. What are the challenges to increasing APA/minority representation and diversity in public service leadership? What solutions would you propose?
  4. What are the two special attributes or capabilities that set you apart from other applicants in leadership situations?
  5. What leader at the local, state or federal level has inspired you to public service?

Please send the complete electronic application package to:
Scholarship Awards Committee
Chair: Dr. Glenda Nogami
Glenda.nogami@streufert.net

FURTHER INFORMATION
If you have any questions or for additional information, please leave a message at 717-215-9782.

Conference: Asian Americans and National Policy

Expanding the Asian American and Pacific Islander Voice in National Policy
Wed. April 11, 2012
1-6pm
Location: National Education Association
1201 16th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

Registration deadline is Monday April 2nd

Public policy impacts our everyday lives, from immigration and health coverage, to neighborhood infrastructure and media institutions. Stakeholders from the nonprofit sector, government and higher education are coming together to discuss opportunities, challenges and alternatives for collaborative applied research. Detailed schedule to come.

**Special pre-conference at 10:30AM for students and youth**
Register at: http://www.aapiprc.com/
FMI: aapipolicy@gmail.com

Sponsors:
Asian American and Pacific Islander Policy Research Consortium
CUNY Asian American / Asian Research Institute
UMass Boston Institute for Asian American Studies
UC AAPI Policy Multi-campus Research Program.
UCLA Asian American Studies Center

Co-Sponsors (as of March 2, 2012):
National CAPACD
White House Initiative on AAPIs
National Education Association
Association for Asian American Studies

Workshop: Southeast Asian Leadership & Advocacy

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
Now Accepting Applications for SEARAC’s Leadership & Advocacy Training!

SEARAC is now accepting applications for our 14th annual Leadership & Advocacy Training. This training is open to any applicants who are Southeast Asian American or who work with Southeast Asian American communities across the country. The training will be held from July 15-17 in Washington, D.C. The application is available online. Apply today!

Why should I attend? Learn about issues in education, health care, immigration, and aging that affect Southeast Asian Americans. Learn how to develop an advocacy ask. Visit Washington, D.C. and your member of Congress. Be part of an amazing nationwide network. Make friendships for life.

Who should attend? Southeast Asian Americans who want to learn more about policy and advocacy. The training is open to people of all ages. In the past, we’ve had professionals, young professionals, elders, staff of community-based organizations, and high school, undergraduate, and graduate students attend. The training is tailored to Southeast Asian Americans, but is also open to anyone working with the Southeast Asian American community.

How much advocacy and policy experience should I have? The SEARAC training is geared toward those who are starting out in their knowledge of advocacy and policy. No prior knowledge of advocacy and policy is required. Knowledge of the issue areas we cover (education, health care, immigration, and aging) is helpful but not required.

How much does it cost? SEARAC makes the training as affordable as possible for our participants. Our stipends cover most of the costs of travel, lodging, and food, but participants may need to cover a small portion of their own travel. If you are accepted, we ask for a $75 deposit to hold your place, and it will be refunded once you complete the training.

When is the application due? SEARAC will accept applications until Sunday, April 29 at midnight PDT.

For more information visit the SEARAC Leadership & Advocacy Training page here. Questions? Contact Riamsalio (Kao) at riamsalio@searac.org or by phone at (202) 667-4690.

Call for Supporters: Mixed-Race Bone Marrow Documentary

My name is Nelson Medina and I am the Producer of Marketing and Distribution of the documentary Mixed Match, which is being produced by Meditating Bunny Studio Inc., a Vancouver-based independent production company founded by filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns.

Mixed Match is a feature-length documentary that explores the need to find mixed ethnicity bone marrow and cord blood donors to donate to multiethnic patients suffering from life threatening blood diseases such as leukemia. This live action and animated film focuses on the main characters’ struggles to survive against incredible odds.

We are fundraising $25,000 through IngieGoGo, to cover expenses in the production and post-production stages. We would be most appreciative of your support in spreading awareness to this fundraising campaign.

We feel that Mixed Match might capture the interest of the audience of Asian Nation, as the film highlights the stories of many part-asian multiethnic patients. This is a film that will help spread awareness of the challenges faced by mixed people with blood diseases, as well as encourage people to join the bone marrow registry and donate core blood to increase the likelihood of finding multiethnic marrow matches.

The fundraising website can be found at www.indiegogo.com/mixed-match. For more information about the film, please visit www.mixedmatchmovie.com. The trailer can be seen at http://youtu.be/bI2gMNSUqKU. Electronic press kits are available by request.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Best regards,
Nelson Medina
Producer of Marketing and Distribution for Mixed Match
Meditating Bunny Studio Inc.


March 8, 2012

Written by C.N.

International Womens Day: 150 Women Who Shake the World

Today, March 8, is International Womens Day. To commemorate this event, The Daily Beast (an online magazine that is part of the Newsweek media corporation) has compiled a list of “150 Women Who Shake the World.”

'150 Women Who Shake the World' © The Daily Beast

Since this site focuses on Asians and Asian Americans, I am particularly glad to see that the list includes numerous women from Asia and a couple of Asian Americans as well, specifically Kamala Harris (Attorney General of California) and Ai-Jen Poo (community activist for immigrant domestic workers).

In reading their descriptions, it is clear that while many of their contributions may benefit women most immediately, their work uplifts us all as human beings. Keep up the good work and the good fight, ladies.


January 31, 2011

Written by C.N.

Best Immigration Documentaries: Part 2, Unauthorized Immigration

This is the second of my three-part list of the best documentaries that focus on immigration and are great choices for showing in high school and college immigration classes. This second part will focus specifically on the issue of unauthorized immigration. We all know that unauthorized immigration has become one of the most controversial, hotly-debated, and emotionally-charged issues in American society today. In that context, these documentaries highlight various sides of the debate and taken together, will hopefully provide a more comprehensive picture of this complicate and often contradictory issue.

Part 1 focused on the historical and global context of immigration and Part 3 will look at socioeconomic attainment, mobility, and assimilation. The following list is organized by topic and corresponds to the chronological order in which I discuss each topic in my “Sociology of Immigration” course. For each topic, I highlight the documentary that I tend to show the most often, followed by other videos that are good choices for that topic as well.

The Land of Opportunity © Dave Cutler, Images.com/Corbis

Unauthorized Immigration: The Basics

As the name implies, this section lays out the basic historical, political, and economic foundation and concepts that frame the contemporary nature of unauthorized immigration. I focus much of the discussion on such immigration from Mexico but also stress that much of the unauthorized immigrant population are people who had official permission to enter the U.S., and with that in mind, why we as a society focus such a disproportionate amount of attention on those from Mexico.

Nativism and Xenophobia

In this section, I describe historical and contemporary examples of how immigrants from various backgrounds and countries have encountered nativism, xenophobia, and racism upon their arrival. At the same time, I also focus on how such hostility and tensions have been magnified in recent years against unauthorized immigrants and the racial/ethnic connotations behind them.

Immigration Reform

This section explores the various proposals, programs, and laws that attempt to address the unauthorized immigration issue. I cover the pros and cons of both the “enforcement only” and “comprehensive reform” approaches, as well as examining the variety of costs and benefits that unauthorized immigration have on American society and its economy.

Women, Gender, & Family

This section highlights the immigration process and experiences of women, children, and families specifically. I examine the multi-level issues involved in transnational families where parents are separated from their children and the effects that workplace raids by Immigration Control and Enforcement agents have on unauthorized immigrant families.


October 6, 2010

Written by C.N.

Links & Announcements #31

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.

Mochi Magazine: Empowering Asian American Girls

Mochi Magazine is a new online magazine specifically for Asian American teen girls! . . . Society has come a long way in its representation of Asians, but we still have a ways to go. Even today, Asian representation in film mostly consists of martial arts flicks with the same actors, and the Asian American identity is completely overlooked.

However, coming to terms with “Asian American” – the convergence despite all odds of two or more vastly different cultures – can be more difficult than learning our parents’ mother tongues or Tae Kwon Do. “Asian American,” in fact, is an identity apart from the terms “Asian” and “American” – it is the space between the two words that we struggle with. . . . We envisioned Mochi as the older sister you never had, who could answer all of those simple but essential fashion and beauty questions. We imagined a supportive resource in the exploration of Asian American identities. At the very least, we hoped that Mochi would serve as a good conversation starter. . . .

What was once a mere idea is now a full-fledged publication with over forty talented and passionate staff members. In witnessing the growth of Mochi, we have learned a lot about you – ambitious, smart, multi-talented and curious girls – and, consequently, ourselves. And as Mochi continues to grow and reach out to more girls like you, we hope to keep learning.

Asian American Women in Leadership Conference

Asian Sister Participating in Reaching Excellence (ASPIRE) is pleased to present the 2010 Asian American Women In Leadership (AAWIL) Conference on October 16th, 2010 celebrating the theme of “Discovering the Leader Within.”

The 2010 AAWIL Conference aims to encourage attendees to explore, learn, and flourish. This conference will challenge and support Asian American women to take a leap. Speakers will share their experiences on how they were able to discover themselves through new inspirations and experiences which allowed for change in their lives.

The Asian American Women in Leadership (AAWIL) Conference was started to set forth strategic dialogue on the importance of leadership for Asian American girls and women. Specifically, the conference is designed to: explore various aspects of leadership, particularly as it relates to Asian American women, evaluate the effectiveness of different leadership skills and styles, energize and equip attendees to seek out future leadership opportunities, create cross-generational networks among attendees that will extend discussions and relationships beyond the scope of the conference, and raise awareness about ASPIRE, its missions and value to Asian American girls and women. It is also the only conference for Asian American women of all ages on the east coast. Historically, our audience has ranged from high school students to professionals in their mid 30s. So far, we have been able to attract 150-200 attendees every year.

This year, the conference theme is “Discovering the Leader Within.” It will build upon last year’s theme of “Fearless Leadership: Taking Charge with Confidence” and aims to encourage attendees to explore, learn, and flourish. The conference will be held on October 16th, 2010 at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. All the information can be found online.

Volunteers Needed for Voting Rights Monitoring

Asian American Election Protection and Poll Monitoring: Defending Asian American Voting Rights

General Elections — Tuesday, November 2, 2010. In past elections, Asian Americans have faced a series of barriers in exercising their right to vote. For example, poll workers were hostile and made racist remarks, poll sites had too few interpreters to assist Asian American voters, translated voting materials were missing or hidden from voters, and ballots were mistranslated listing Democratic candidates as Republicans, and vice versa. When the news media reported on election returns and the vote by specific groups, Asian Americans were often overlooked.

In response, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund has conducted a non-partisan survey of Asian American voters to document Asian American voting patterns. AALDEF has also monitored the elections for compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act, which mandates bilingual ballots and forbids anti-Asian voter discrimination.

On November 2, 2010, AALDEF and several other Asian American groups will be monitoring the elections and conducting non-partisan voter surveys at polling sites in Asian American neighborhoods in at least ten states. We need your help.

In 2008, over 1,000 volunteers polled more than 16,000 Asian American voters in eleven states. Volunteers are needed to administer a multilingual voter survey in 3-hour shifts and document voting problems on Election Day. Polls are generally open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. There will be a one and a half hour training session for all volunteers. All volunteers must be non-partisan during the time that they help. To sign up, go to www.aaldef.net. Thank you!

For more information, contact:
Irene Jeon
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
99 Hudson Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10013
800-966-5946
info@aaldef.org

Call for Papers: Asian American Literature & Food

Asian American Literature: Discourses and Pedagogies
Special Issue on “Teaching Food and Foodways in Asian American Literature and Popular Culture”
Special Issue Guest Editor, Eileen Chia-Ching Fung

The topic of food has been a significant cultural icon for Asian American literature, films and other popular cultural venues and has gained increasing visibility in the mainstream publishing market and public media in recent years. This special issue invites scholars and writers to discuss how to approach teaching food and foodways within the contexts of Asian American literary, film, and cultural studies.

While the tropes of food and eating engage in complex sets of negotiations of individual, familial and communal definitions, they also invoke questions about Orientalism, internalized colonialism, commodification, and consumption. This issue aims to explore the social, political, and cultural paradigms generated by Asian American food narratives. We are especially interested in pedagogical works that explore ways to teach food writing, media representation, and popular culture about food.

These are some suggested questions and themes:

  • What are some characteristics and narrative strategies of Asian American food writings?
  • How does one teach analyses of eating and cooking as Asian American literary tropes?
  • How can one incorporate Asian American food memoirs, cookbooks or food shows as part of the Asian American Studies discourse and/or Asian American cultural studies curriculum?
  • What is the relationship between Asian American food texts and other American food narratives?
  • How do race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality shape food writing?
  • How can we explore themes of food tourism, food ethnography, food pornography, and food colonialism?
  • How does one offer critical readings and pedagogical strategies of teaching Asian/Asian American food writers, cooks, articles, or celebrities in multi-media including films, television, internet (i.e. blogs), and other public spaces?

All articles must be under 10,000 words, with a preference for shorter articles of 2,000-7,000 words. Please follow the most current MLA format. Inquiries for this Special Issue may be addressed to Dr. Eileen Chia-Ching Fung at fung@usfca.edu. Full final articles must be submitted by October 15, 2010 to http://onlinejournals.sjsu.edu/index.php/AALDP/index.


June 12, 2005

Written by C.N.

Asian Women Small Businesses

Fresh on the heels of stories proclaiming that college-educated Asian American women make more than White women, as reported by The Arizona Republic, the Center for Women’s Business Research notes that the number of Asian women-owned small businesses have surged in recent years:

Nationally, the number of Asian women-owned businesses surged 69 percent between 1997 and 2004. That’s about twice as fast as other minority groups. Sales and employment also have soared. Meanwhile, overall business numbers grew 9 percent.

Asian women become entrepreneurs for the reasons others do: to boost their earnings potential, to balance work and home life or to pursue an idea, experts say. But the top reason is that they desire independence.

The article notes, and as I’ve found out in my own research on Asian American self-employment, there are a variety of reasons why Asian American men and women go into business for themselves. Some of it is opportunism, while others are of a last resort. Whatever the motivation, it’s encouraging to see Asian American women taking the initiative to work toward their success.