Tag Archives: Asian American

K-Town Cowboys: Because You Make Your Own Gigs Asian American Actors!

K-Town Cowboys, KTown Cowboys, KTown movieDoes anyone remember that movie Diner with Kevin Bacon? I’d pitch this as a K-Town web series version of Diner. I found it trolling through YouTube searching for K-Town episode 3 and thought this was a reality show. It’s actually much better than a reality show. Written by talented stand up comedian Danny Cho, directed by Daniel “DPD” Park, and bringing together their posse of Korean American acting types, it’s a glimpse into the modern dating world of K-Town through the eyes of LA newbie John Kim, cast perfectly and played by Lanny Joon.

If you are hooked on K-Town, the reality show, this web series has similar themes like booking, Pok Tan Ju, and the multiple rounds of drinking known as il-cha, ee-cha, sam-cha, and sa-cha. Watch with caution. Very addicting. Make sure you have a free 90 minutes to view it all!

The Show

Ktown Cowboys came about in May 2009. Daniel “DPD” Park and Danny Cho were sitting and having a beer. They were reminiscing about their fun times in Koreatown (“Ktown”) Los Angeles when they were younger. Although both DPD and Danny had zero experience in making a movie, they set out to write a script about their glory days in Ktown. The idea was simple. Give the most realistic portrayal of Ktown ever done.

Once the writing process began, DPD and Danny quickly realized that instead of trying to go the traditional route (movie, theater distribution, etc.), they wanted as many people as possible to see their project. Hence, they decided to write a webisode series. By the end of October 2009, the writing for the webisode series was complete. However, writing the script was one thing but to actually go into production was another ordeal that DPD and Danny did not have any experience in. Fortunately, the Korean liquor company, Hite/Jinro agreed to give then $5000 to start production. With the money from Hite and one small fundraiser, DPD and Danny assembled the cast and crew and set off to finish Ktown Cowboys, which will eventually be re-cut into a feature length movie format.

Ktown Cowboys is a story about John Kim (Lanny Joon), a young Korean American from Richmond, Virginia, finds himself transplanted to Los Angeles’ Koreatown. Having been recently dumped by his girlfriend and with no immediate job prospects, Johnny is taken under the wing of his cousin Jason (Shane Yoon) and a motley crew of partyhoppers who are dedicated to having a good time. The cast includes Bobby Lee (MADtv), Justin Chon (Twilight), Danny Cho, Bobby Choy, Lanny Joon, Peter Jae, Sunn Wee and many more Asian Americans in the entertainment industry.

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Reviews & Buzz:
– Koream feature
– Rice Bomb
– Groove/Asia
– omgkpop.com
– examiner.com
– Angry Asian Man
– ‘Ktown Cowboys’ Episode 1 Hits the Web After a Sold-out World Premiere at LAAPFF
– Channel APA
– Angry Asian Man
– LAAPFF
– Peachies

When John Kim (Lanny Joon) relocates from the comforts of his picket-fence, WASP neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia to the alluring city of Ktown Los Angeles, the land of sultry women, Booking Clubs, and late night taco trucks, his arrival immediately sparks the most epic night of his life. His cousin, Jason (Shane Yoon) introduces John to his audacious crew (Peter Jae, Danny Cho, Sunn Wee, and Bobby Big Phony Choy) who teach John the basic yet inventive ways on how to survive the perfect Friday night in Ktown. Special appearances by Justin Chon (Twilight) and Bobby Lee (Mad TV).

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George Nakashima: Woodworker, MIT Grad, Icon.

“Furniture, we feel, is a development of mood besides being purely utilitarian. Basic forms with the reflection of the constancy of nature find satisfaction in times like ours.

A small poetic haven in an unsettled world where excitement seems so necessary.”

George Nakashima, from his 1962 Studio catalog

George Nakashima, Japanese American, furniture maker, artisan, George Nakashima coffee table

 

George Nakashima, Woodworker, is what his business card read. He’s that, and a whole lot more. “Today Nakashima is regarded as one the most important artisans of the American studio crafts movement.” from Primavera Gallery

“George Nakashima was born in Spokane, Washington in 1905 and grew up in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in architecture at the University of Washington (although he enrolled in the University to study forestry and switched majors after two years) and a Master’s from MIT in 1930, as well as the Prix Fontainebleau from L’Ecole Americaine des Beaux Arts in France.

During the 1930’s Nakashima lived in Paris and from there he traveled to Japan to familiarize himself with his ancestral roots. It was in Tokyo that Nakashima joined Antonin Raymond’s firm which allowed him to work in Pondicherry, India, where he supervised the building of the dorms at the Sri Aurobindo ashram, a project which would have a profound impact on the designer. For this project Nakashima created his pieces of furniture.

At the start of World War II he headed back to the U.S. but not before returning to Japan where he met his future wife, Marion. Once back in the US, in 1941 (the same year that he married Marion), the couple settled in Seattle. In 1942, the year that his daughter Mira was born, Nakashima and his family were sent to the internment camps in Idaho. With Raymond’s help, Nakashima was able to get out but only after the architect promised that the designer would work for him on his farm in Bucks County, PA. It was here that Nakashima began his business and built his home and workshop, known as the Conoid studio. (“Conoid” is also the name of his very famous chairs from 1960).”  from Primavera Gallery

It was George Nakashima’s dream to provide “Altars of Peace” for each of the seven continents on earth. Constructed from a magnificent pair of matched Black walnut, the first “Peace Altar” was consecrated and installed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City in 1986.

George Nakashima, Alters of Peace, Peace Table

The second Sacred Table, built to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations in 1995, was made from the same monumental black walnut tree as the first and blessed at the same Cathedral. After serving its mission as a unifying presence at The Hague Appeal for Peace in May of 1999, it resides in the newly renovated Russian Academy of Art in Moscow to help inspire peace in the new millennium.” from NakashimaWoodworker.com Read More…

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Harvard/Princeton Targeted in U.S. Asian-American Discrimination Probe (Bloomberg)

Harvard Asian American discrimination Princeton JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

“The prevailing college admission policy artificially places highly qualified Asian-American applicants to compete against each other rather than against the general pool of all applicants, instilling such a fear that many Asian-Americans hide their own racial identity” on applications, the committee stated in December.” from Bloomberg

 

Finally, someone is willing to file a complaint with the Department of Education on the lopsided Affirmative Action policy for college and universities that now pits all Asian Americans against each other despite the fact that Asian Americans come from with vastly different socio-economic backgrounds. This is the latest article in a whole string of articles since this issue has been brewing for several decades. For all the articles on how Asian Americans face discrimination when applying to top colleges and universities, please go here.

Highlights from the Bloomberg article are below. The full article is here.

  •  The department’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating a complaint it received in August that Harvard rejected an Asian- American candidate for the current freshman class based on race or national origin, a department spokesman said.
  • The new complaints, along with a case appealed last September to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging preferences for blacks and Hispanics in college admissions, may stir up the longstanding debate about whether elite universities discriminate against Asian-Americans, the nation’s fastest- growing and most affluent racial category.
  • Asian-American applicants have to outperform their counterparts from other backgrounds on the SAT to gain entry to elite universities, recent studies show.
  • “Clearly, both whites and Asian-Americans are discriminated against vis a vis African-Americans and Latinos,” said Roger Clegg, the center’s president. “At some of the more selective schools, Asians are also discriminated against vis a vis whites.”
  • Because many Asian-Americans come from families that arrived in the U.S. relatively recently, they are less likely than whites to qualify for preference as alumni children, Clegg said. “Stereotyping takes place too” of Asian-Americans, he said.
  • If all other credentials are equal, Asian-Americans need to score 140 points more than whites, 270 points higher than Hispanics, and 450 points above African-Americans out of a maximum 1600 on the math and reading SAT to have the same chance of admission to a private college, according to “No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal,” a 2009 book co-written by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade.
  • There are 14.7 million Americans of Asian descent only, plus 2.6 million who are multiracial including Asian, according to the 2010 U.S. census. The combined 17.3 million comprises 5.6 percent of the population, up 46 percent from 2000. Median household income for single-race Asian-Americans exceeds $65,000, compared with a national average of $50,000. Half of those 25 and older hold college degrees, almost double the national average.
  • It also documented that Harvard admitted Asian-Americans at a lower rate than white applicants even though the Asian- Americans had slightly stronger SAT scores and grades. Nevertheless, the agency concluded in 1990 that Harvard didn’t violate civil rights laws because preferences for alumni children and recruited athletes, rather than racial discrimination, accounted for the gap.
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Sh** Asian Moms Say Video (Humor!)

Just Kidding Films Shit Asian Moms Say JadeLuckClub Jade Luck ClubMy brother-in-law who is not Asian sent this to my husband after he sent him Sh** Surfers Say. My brother-in-law is a surfer so this was in retaliation but it’s hilarious! This is from Just Kidding  Films.

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Do Legacy Preferences Count More Than Race When Applying to Elite Colleges?

legacy college applicants huge advantage over sought after minorities JadeLuckClub jade luck clubWell, if you think that checking the box for Asian will help you get into elite private college,  you need to know about the SAT “tax” for Asians because we’re “over-represented” at top colleges. If you need to read up on this, click here. If you are Asian (or not) but a legacy, how does this factor into the admissions formula? Read on to find out… This is from The Chronicle on Higher Education. The full post is here.

Key quotes:

  • A new study by Harvard University researcher Michael Hurwitz finds that legacy preferences are larger than previously thought.
  • …“primary legacy” candidates (sons and daughters, as opposed to siblings, nephews, nieces, or grandchildren) see a whopping 45.1 percentage point increase in the chances of admission. What this means, as Ashburn explains, is that if a non-legacy applicant with a certain set of credentials has a 15 percent chance of admissions, a primary legacy applicant with identical credentials would have a 60 percent chance of getting in.
  • … being an under-represented minority increased one’s chances by 27.7 percentage points.
  • …  colleges gave no preference to low-income students.
  • To be clear, comparing Hurwitz’s findings on legacies with Bowen’s findings on race is imperfect, given the different methodologies. But further research is certainly warranted to find out whether the 45-percentage-point boost provided primary legacies is, in fact, larger than the boost provided to racial minorities.
  • Research finds, in short, that legacy preferences are more significant than previously believed, yet their fundamental rationale (raising money) is flawed.

Do Legacy Preferences Count More Than Race?

January 6, 2011, 4:08 pm

By Richard Kahlenberg

 

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AAPI Children’s and Young Adult Lit Winners and Honorees for 2012 Newbery, APALA, Sibert and More!

best teen tween picture book chapter books for asian americans JadeLuckClubI wanted to add my congratulations to these authors, illustrators, and publishers. This post is from PaperTigers.org, a wonderful website and blog for librarians, teachers, publishers, and all those interested in young readersÁ books from and about the Pacific Rim and South Asia. These are the winners from the APALA (Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association).

Winners

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang  – Children’s Literature Award

 To examine more closely at Amazon or purchase, please click on ANY image of book.

Orchards by Holly Thompson – Young Adult Literature Award

The House Baba Built: An Artist’s Childhood in China by Ed Young  –  Picture Book Award.

 

Honor Books

Vanished by Sheela Chari– Honor Book, Children’s Literature Category.

Level Up by Gene Luen Yang – Honor Book in the Young Adult Literature category.

Hot Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia, illustrated by Ken Min – Honor Book in the Picture Book category.

Other prestigious children’s and young adult honorees of Asian or Southeast Asian American or Pacific Islander descent  include:

Newbery Honor Winner

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor Award

Drawing from Memory by Allen Say

 2012 Pura Belpré Author Award and  Finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Stonewall Book Award

Money Boy by Paul Yee

William C. Morris Award Finalists

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

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The True Picture: Asian Americans Who Need Help But Don’t Get It!

Hmong girls Asian Americans at poverty line JadeLuckClubTiger Mom Amy Chua’s daugher, Tiger Sophia bragged on her blog that she checked “Asian” on her Harvard application because she knew that the standard was higher:

Q: There was a recent article that said Asians are less likely to check the “Asian” box when applying for colleges due to fear of discrimination. Some half-Asian/half-white applicants only indicate their white ethnicity. What are your thoughts on that, and how did you answer that question when applying to colleges?

A: I checked Asian. I had heard it was harder to apply as an Asian, so as a point of pride, I had to say I was Asian. Would you feel good about yourself knowing you lied to get in on lowered standards?

Well, I have two things to say about that:

1) Tiger Sophia, you may have checked Asian which does have a “tax,” however you also got big bonus points for being a legacy many times over. The upshot is that you had help getting in unlike these Asian Americans below who live at the poverty line and don’t have Ivy League parents with deep pockets.

2) By checking Asian when, actually, you are of mixed race, you have taken a spot away from those who don’t have the benefit of applying to a less competitive race slot. Thanks to you, someone who life could be completely changed did not get a spot.

I am not berating you Tiger Sophia; you are a cub, after all. But I wanted to highlight the complexity of the Asian American and Pacific Islander conundrum when it comes to high stakes college admissions. And, as it is diligently spelled out and heavily researched, “Disaggregated data by AANHPI subgroups are urgently needed.” In normal English, this means 2nd/3rd/4th generation Asian American from wealthy suburbs who are mostly of Japanese/Chinese/Korean/Southeast Asian heritage should not be in the same category as those Asians (Hmongs/Cambodians/Vietnamese/Laotians) who live in poverty. These two groups should not be competing for the same resources, namely jobs and spots at highly competitive colleges. Yes, this is obvious but it’s exactly what is happening RIGHT NOW!

Read on more more details. And please chime in!

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Summary of “The State of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Education in California” Report
OVERVIEW

California has the largest and most diverse Asian American (AA) and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) population in the nation. This report on the state of AANHPI education in California highlights the achievements and challenges in public K-12 and public postsecondary education (especially the limitations in available education data on AANHPI subgroups), and provides recommendations for policymakers and community advocates

SUMMARY OF MAJOR FINDINGS

1. Particular AANHPI* subgroups have disproportionately high rates of dropping out of high school and do not have high school diplomas.

  • Hmong have the largest proportion (45%) in the state (25 yrs and older) with less than a high school diploma among all racial/ethnic groups.
  • About 40% of Cambodians and Laotians (25 yrs and older) have less than a high school diploma, which is double the state rate.
  • Pacific Islander students in grades 9-12 have high dropout rates, with about one-fifth estimated to drop out over a four-year period.

2. Poverty and/or limited English proficiency heighten the risk for dropping out of high school and college/university. Most Asian American subgroups are limited English proficient, and specific AANHPI subgroups have very high poverty rates

  • Over 40% of Vietnamese, Koreans, Hmong, Cambodians, Taiwanese, Chinese, and Laotians report limited English proficiency, which is double the state rate.
  • A quarter of Hmong and Cambodians live in poverty, about double the state rate, and about one fifth of Tongans live in poverty, more than one and a half times the state rate.

3. The proportion of AANHPI professional educators is less, and in some cases, far less than the proportion of AANHPI enrolled students in the public K-12 system and postsecondary institutions.

  • Asians, Filipinos, and Pacific Islanders are 5%-7% of all K-12 personnel in the state, but Asians, Filipinos, and Pacific Islanders are 12% of K-12 student enrollment.

4. Financial aid is vital but not sufficient for student retention and success for AANHPI college students. Data on financial aid were not available by AANHPI subgroup or for the California State Universities, making comparisons difficult if not impossible.

  • At the University of California, Asian students are the largest group among all racial/ethnic groups with parent income less than $45,000, but though they receive similar dollar amounts in grants as other students, smaller proportions of Asian students receive scholarships compared to other racial/ethnic groups.

RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Disaggregated data by AANHPI subgroups are urgently needed.
2. More data and analysis are needed to determine the obstacles to retention, success, and graduation for AANHPI subgroups.
3. Pipeline programs to higher education need to target AANHPIs.

* Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI)

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Asian American Writers’ Workshop Winners, Scholarships for Adopted Korean Kids

Marie Myung-Ok Lee Asian American author writer JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

From Marie Myung-Ok Lee, A founder of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop

If you’re like most Asian Americans, you grew up in an immigrant family. Your mother and father struggled to make ends meet. They raised you. They relied on you for English. Maybe you were a reader, but it never occurred to you that you should be able to recognize them and yourself in the movies you watch and the novels you read. Maybe you thought you could become a writer and tell that story. You thought that studying in school and working hard on your manuscript were enough to get you published, but you didn’t realize that writing is the easy part of being a writer.

  • Did you know that than only 5% of the reviewers and the authors reviewed in The New York Times Book Review and C-SPAN’s After Words are writers of color?
  • You could turn to local arts groups for support, but these organizations get their financial support and programmatic priorities from foundations, grantmakers and large donors. Did you know that three-fourths of the top 100 foundations have zero Asian Americans board members? In fact, none of the top 100 foundations employ an Asian American executive director, president, or CEO.
  • Did you know that less than half of 1% of philanthropic dollars goes to Asian Americans—even though Asian Americans comprise one in 20 Americans and more than one in ten New Yorkers? Those that do fund Asian American groups almost entirely focus on direct service organizations. Almost no philanthropic dollars are invested in the infrastructure of Asian American arts.

Our culture is losing the majority of the stories and ideas of the fastest growing ethnic group in America—Asian Americans. Here’s where you come in. Where foundations and publishing houses have failed, you can step in and make an investment that says that, like us, you believe that the Asian American story deserves to be told. Please donate.

They also have great Writing Workshops if you are in NYC.

These are the scholarships and contests listed on Marie Myung-Ok Lee‘s Facebook page. Follow her to get updates.

Scholarships for Adopted Korean Children.

Pen New England contest for children’s book writers.

Got the volunteer jones? http://OccupyWriters.com/ needs new volunteers. “Bookish, familiar w/ broad range of writers, able to devote some time. write occupywriters@gmail.”

p.s. Here are books by author Marie Myung-Ok Lee and other great and Award Winning Asian American Children’s and Young Adult authors:

 To examine or purchase ANY book, please click on image of book.

Here are winner from the Asian American Writer’s Workshop:

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

1998

 

 To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

List of Winners
2010
Paul Yoon Once the Shore Sarabande Books, 2009
Minal Hajratwala Leaving India: My Family’s Journey From Five Villages to Five Continents HoughtonMifflinHarcourt, 2009
Ronaldo V. Wilson Poems of the Black Object Futurepoem Books, 2009
Jason Koo * Man on Extremely Small Island C&R Press, 2009
2009
Jhumpa Lahiri Unaccustomed Earth Knopf, 2008
Sesshu Foster World Ball Notebook City Lights Books, 2008
Leslie T. Chang Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China Spiegel & Grau, 2009
2008
Mohsin Hamid The Reluctant Fundamentalist Harcourt, 2007
Vijay Prashad The Darker Nations New Press, 2007
Sun Yung Shin Skirt Full of Black Coffee House Press, 2007
Ed Lin * This Is a Bust Kaya Press, 2007
2007
Linh Dinh Borderless Bodies Factory School, 2006
Amitav Ghosh Incendiary Circumstances: A Chronicle of the Turmoil of Our Times Houghton Mifflin, 2006
Samrat Upadhyay The Royal Ghosts Houghton Mifflin, 2006
Gene Luen Yang* American Born Chinese First Second Books, 2006
2006
Jeff Chang Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation Picador USA, 2005
Rattawut Lapcharoensap Sightseeing Grove Press, 2005
Shanxing Wang Mad Science in Imperial City Futurepoem Books, 2005
Ed Bok Lee * Real Karaoke People New Rivers Press, 2005
2005
Brian Leung World Famous Love Acts Sarabande Books, 2004
Suketu Mehta Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found Alfred Knopf, 2004
Srikanth Reddy Facts for Visitors Univ of California Press, 2004
Ishle Yi Park * The Temperature of this Water Kaya Press, 2004
2004
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge Nest Kelsey St. Press, 2003
Monique Truong The Book of Salt Houghton Mifflin, 2003
Vijay Vaitheeswaran Power to the People Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2003
Patrick Rosal * Uprock, Headspin, Scramble and Dive Persea Books, 2003
2003
Walter Lew Treadwinds: Poems and Intermedia Texts Wesleyan University Press, 2002
Meera Nair Video: Stories Pantheon Books, 2002
Julie Otsuka When the Emporer Was Divine Alfred A. Knopf, 2002
Ed Lin * Waylaid Kaya Press, 2002
2002
Alexander Chee Edinburgh Welcome Rain Press, 2001
Luis H. Francia Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago Kaya Press, 2001
Christina Chiu Troublemaker and Other Saints Little, Brown and Company, 2001
Don Lee * Yellow W.W. Norton, 2001
2001
Ha Jin Bridegroom and Other Stories Pantheon, 2000
Eugene Gloria Drivers at the Short Time Motel: Poems Penguin, 2000
Akhil Sharma An Obedient Father Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2000
Nick Carbo * Secret Asian Man Tia Chucha Press, 2000
2000
Eric Gamalinda Zero Gravity Alice James Books, 1999
Chang-rae Lee A Gesture Life Riverhead Books, 1999
Bino Realuyo * Umbrella Country Ballantine, 1999
1999
Susan Choi The Foreign Student HarperCollins Publishers, 1998
Arthur Sze The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-98 Copper Canyon Press, 1998
1998
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge Endocrinology Kelsey Street Press, 1997
Lois-Ann Yamanaka Blu’s Hanging Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997

 

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Casual to Deadly: Anti-Asian American Racism from Racism Review

Private Danny Chen dead from anti-Asian racism military JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

Private Danny Chen

“Why are Asian Americans disproportionately targeted for abuse?

A harmonic convergence of factors. There’s the perception — and in some cases, the reality — of the “nerd” stereotype. The trinity of social awkwardness, physical frailty and academic overachievement has always served as a magnet for bullies.

There’s the rising tide of animosity toward immigrants, particularly those from predominantly countries that are seen as emerging rivals of the United States, like China and India.

There’s the plain old fact that those who are “different” in obvious ways — appearance, name, faith, accent — are often the focus of unwanted attention in environments where fitting in is prized, like high school. Or the military.

And especially among immigrants and the children of immigrants, there’s the reality that cultural and familial expectations push them to submit to bullying rather than being “disruptive” or succumbing to “distraction.” from CNN

 

My Twitter friend @CalvinHyj had retweeted this from Racism Review. I have to say that after I read it, I couldn’t stop thinking about Private Danny Chen all day, and reading the article put a knot in my stomach. My husband just sent me this link to CNN by Jeff Yang:  Opinion: What the deaths of two soldiers say about anti-Asian bullying which gives further insight into this incident and another suicide from bullying to  Lance Corporal Harry Lew.

I grew up in a beach town in Southern California, with about a 9% Asian American population. Now, I live in a suburb of Boston, and again — deliberately — with about a 9% Asian population. Yet, I still experienced a few incidences of racism — in 7th grade someone called me a Jap. This probably coincided with studying WWII but I can’t really remember.  When I came to Boston in the late 1980s, I remember going to the Boston Public Library and a black kid yelled racial slurs at me. My boyfriend at the time was with me. He is also Asian American but from Queens and commuted to NYC every day for school. This was child’s play for him and it didn’t even phase him. I was angry but passive.

These days, I do not experience racism, and so this article really stunned me.

How about you? What do you make of this article and how does this fit into your world? Would you discourage your child from entering the military in general? How about after reading this article. Please share.

———————-

By Jessie

From casual to pandering to deadly, there have been several disturbing reports about anti-Asian American racism in the news. In the more casual forms of racism, it seems that the whole using someone’s name as a way to retrieve an order at fast food places has gone horribly awry. About a month ago a Chick-Fil-A cashier at a store in Irvine, California assigned racist names to two customers and even typed them into the printed receipts (images here). And, just in the past few days, a woman went into a Papa John’s pizza chain in New York City and got called a racist name on her receipt (see that receipt here). Here’s an idea – maybe we could just go back to the “we’ll call your number when your order is ready?” system.

AngryAsianGrrlMN sums this up well when she writes:

This is the kind of casual racism that isn’t talked about, but that Asian people deal with on a regular basis.  We are the invisible minority, and we rarely get the kind of attention that other minorities do.

I’ll just state the obvious here and point out that these incidents didn’t happen in the distant past or some rural backwater, but in supposedly tolerant, cosmopolitan urban areas in the present, putatively post-racial era.

The pandering form of anti-Asian American racism is coming through, not surprisingly, the presidential campaign. John Huntsman, Republican candidate and former Ambassador to China, is fluent in Mandarin and, rather remarkably, spoke Chinese during the Republican presidential debate recently.  Huntsman and his wife have also adopted children from China and India.  All this “foreign-ness” has proven too tempting for some of his political opponents who are using these facts to pander to peoples’ racism and xenophobia.  As AngryAsianMan notes:

“It’s an election year, so you know what time it is. Racist campaign ads! This latest gem is from someone claiming to be a Ron Paul supporter, attacking Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman for his un-American” values. … Here we go with another round of equating China with all things evil. Complete with an extra Oriental soundtrack — never has Mandarin made to sound so sinister. [This video] is one of the most unabashedly racist attack ads we’ve seen in a while.

The ad asks whether Huntsman’s values are “American” values or Chinese?  And, then rather sinisterly photoshops Huntsman into a portrait of Chinese leader Mao Zedong while thoroughly mixing the fear-mongering metaphors and comparing him to the “Manchurian Candidate.” This kind of strategy is what some people refer to as “dog whistle racism,” in other words, political campaigning  that uses coded words and themes that appeal to conscious or unconscious racist concepts and frames. For example, the terms ‘welfare queen,’ ’states’ rights,’ ‘Islamic terrorist,’ ‘uppity,’ and ‘illegal alien’ all activate racist concepts that already exist within a broader white racial frame.

Among the most disturbing news are the details that are emerging surrounding the death of Private Danny Chen in October, 2011. Chen, 19, grew up in New York City’s Chinatown, and is thought to have committed suicide in Afghanistan after enduring racial taunts and bullying (although some now question whether it was suicide at all). A group of his superiors allegedly tormented Chen on an almost daily basis over the course of about six weeks in Afghanistan last fall. They singled him out, their only Chinese-American soldier, and spit racial slurs at him: “gook,” “chink,” “dragon lady.” They forced him to do sprints while carrying a sandbag. They ordered him to crawl along gravel-covered ground while they flung rocks at him. And one day, when his unit was assembling a tent, he was forced to wear a green hard-hat and shout out instructions to his fellow soldiers in Chinese.ethnic slurs. At other times, they forced him to do push-ups or hang upside down with his mouth full of water.

New York Magazine has an extensive piece about Chen’s experience, including his letters home from the military.  Here’s some of what he wrote to his parents:

“Everyone knows me because I just noticed, I’m the only chinese guy in the platoon,” he wrote home. His fellow recruits called him Chen Chen, Jackie Chan, and Ling Ling. But, he added, “Don’t worry, no one picks on me … I’m the skinniest guy and weigh the least here but … people respect me for not quitting.”

Four weeks later, the Asian jokes hadn’t stopped. “They ask if I’m from China like a few times day,” he wrote. “They also call out my name (chen) in a goat like voice sometimes for no reason. No idea how it started but now it’s just best to ignore it. I still respond though to amuse them. People crack jokes about Chinese people all the time, I’m running out of jokes to come back at them.”

The eight men later charged in connection with his death are all white and range in age from 24 to 35; they include one lieutenant, two staff sergeants, three sergeants, and two specialists. Danny’s parents, of course, are inconsolable at the loss of their only son.

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Kogi BBQ and Setting Up Your Own Neighborhood Hawker Food Court

Roy Choi Kogi BBQ The Daily Beast JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

Roy Choi, chef and owner of Chego restaurant and the Kogi Korean taco trucks in Los Angeles, Axel Koester / Redux

Before Kogi, most Los Angeles residents only had only glimpsed food trucks from afar, sitting in a parking lot or next to a construction site. 

This was in The Daily Beast about Roy Choi, the 41-year-old founder of Kogi BBQ food trucks. Now Choi, a 2010 Food & Wine Magazine Best New Chef recipient, has started his fifth food venture called Sunny Spot,  Choi’s take on a Caribbean roadside cookshop.

For the full article, click here.

Choi’s success begs several questions:

1) Where is my Kogi BBQ in Boston?!

2) Indeed, why not more major cities?

3) If he can do it, why can’t YOU? Food trucks can go upscale? Oh yeah! Choi laid the groundwork, now it’s up to you!

4) Is this how social media can spawn new food concepts?

 “It challenged a lot of people’s barriers and definitions of what is clean, what is dirty, what is right, what is wrong, without knowing it,” says Choi. “Before Kogi came out, we called them roach coaches. We called the stuff outside of clubs dirty dogs, danger dogs, death dogs. It’s that Western privileged mind-set: That’s dirty, that’s f—ing underground, that’s ghetto…We took away that ridiculous, passed-on, generational, privileged stereotype towards food that Latinos have been eating for a long time, or street food in general…We’ve stopped downgrading a certain segment of society. That’s pretty cool.” from The Daily Beast

and here’s his concept (that’s where YOU come in!):

The recognition from Food & Wine, the first time the magazine awarded Best New Chef to a food truck, helped legitimize the trend, and, Choi believes, street food is what can save our cities.

“We can take empty gas stations and empty parking lots, we can take under performing centers, we can turn those into little hawker centers like they have in Singapore,” he says. “Then we can encourage small business to come in and make a delicious dish with one thing, like this Cuban sandwich you’re eating. Just make one thing and then just transform our city into a city that’s filled with just small vendors serving the most delicious thing that they can.” from The Daily Beast

p.s. Please start one in Boston!

p.p.s. Thank you to Nathalie for sending this link my way!

p.p.p.s. Here are three recipes by Roy Choi by way of Food and Wine Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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