Still the “Other”

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Following up on revealing survey results it released over eight years ago, this week, the Committee of 100 released a new report on the perceptions of Asian Americans. And it’s pretty much what you’d expect. Here’s the press release (PDF): SURVEY INDICATES THAT ASIAN AMERICANS ARE STILL THE “OTHER” DESPITE CONTRIBUTIONS TO U.S.

The report indicates that, despite a positive trend in attitudes toward Asian Americans, racial discrimination and suspicions still exist. Surprise, surprise. According to the survey — even in 2009 — the majority of the general population cannot make a distinction between Chinese Americans and Asian Americans in general, treating all as one generic, monolithic ethnic group.

Sure, we’ve made strides, and there has definitely been significant progress on a lot of levels. But no matter how you slice it, there are still just a lot of people out there who can’t seem to wrap their head around the fact that we are indeed Americans too. In the eyes of many, we’re still apparently outsiders. Most notable in the dat are the misperceptions around:

- Loyalty of Asian Americans: Despite the approximately 59,141 Asian Americans serving in active duty in the U.S. Armed Services, and the more than 300 Asian Americans who have been injured or died in Operation Iraqi Freedom, there are still suspicions about the loyalty of Asian Americans. Among the general population, 45 percent believe Asian Americans are more loyal to their countries of ancestry than to the United States, up from 37 percent in the 2001 survey. In contrast, approximately three in four of the Chinese Americans surveyed say Chinese Americans would support the United States in military or economic conflicts, compared to only approximately 56 percent of the general population who agrees.

Political Influence: While the Asian American community celebrated the cabinet appointments of members to the Obama administration – Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, and Veterans Affairs Secretary General Eric Shinseki – there is a significant lack of representation among other federal, state and local elected leadership. There are currently six Asian American members of the House of Representatives from continental U.S. states and two Senators from Hawaii (no Senator from a continental U.S. state), and only one Governor, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. C-100′s survey reports that 36 percent of the general population thinks that Asian Americans have the right amount of power and influence in Washington, while only 15 percent of Chinese Americans believe this to be true. However, 47 percent of the general population believes that Asian Americans have too little power in Washington, with 82 percent of Chinese Americans agreeing.

Leadership in Education Institutions & Corporate America: Although stereotypes around Asian Americans as the “model minority” continue to be perpetuated in educational institutions and in the workforce, the presence of Asian Americans is not matched with representation in leadership.

Education: The report shows that 65 percent of the general population believes Asian American students are adequately represented on college campuses, with 45 percent of Chinese Americans agreeing and 36 percent arguing that they are underrepresented. In reality, there are only 33 Asian American college presidents in the United States (out of about 3,200) and, while analysis shows that among the top sector of higher education institutions – as listed in U.S. News & World Report’s 2005 rankings – Asian Americans are well represented as students (6.4 percent) and faculty (6.2 percent), only about 2.4 percent are represented in the positions of president, provost or chancellor.

Corporate America: Similarly, while Asian Americans hold only about 1.5 percent of corporate board seats among Fortune 500 Companies, 3 C-100′s report found that 50 percent of the general population believes Asian Americans are adequately represented on corporate boards, while only 23 percent of Chinese Americans agree. Forty-six percent of the general population also believes Asian Americans are promoted at the same pace as Caucasian Americans, with only 29 percent of Chinese Americans saying the same.

The full report, available as a PDF, can be downloaded from the Committee of 100′s website here. Next week, C-100 will be conducting a panel discussion in Washington D.C. to address the report findings. It’s Thursday, April 30 at the Committee’s 18th Annual Conference. Panelists will include Congressman Mike Honda; Charles Cook, Cook Political Report; Antonia Hernandez, California Community Foundation; and Ralph Everett, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. For more information, go here.

The Racialicious Roundtable For Heroes 4.11

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

FunnyMo

One episode left in Heroes’ season, and the major players are coming together again in order to … uh, save the country from themselves. Or something. We’ve got villains riffing on the Obama campaign, a family pledging to work together for about two minutes, and one brave Roundtable willing to make sense of it all for you. So here we go!

Forget saving the country; with Tim Kring writing the closer, can the Heroes even salvage their season?
Mahsino: No. It’s like we aren’t jumpin’ sharks anymore, we’re jumping humpback whales. This show half-past ridiculous, how many times can we say “this changes everything” in one episode?
Jen*: I don’t see Kring saving anything. An hour’s not long enough, anyway. Something Arturo said was on my mind as well though – every series doesn’t have 10 sucky ep’s to have 2 good ones – why is Heroes like this?
Andrea: Ever since Kring went on his blame-the-fans campaign, I felt he lost interest in saving this show, and this season was another example of his neglect. I’m surprised NBC let him get away with this, considering how rough network TV’s having it these days.
Diana: There’s nothing to save. They didn’t even keep with the theme of this chapter. It’s just been a hodge-podge of crap all season.
Erica: The only possible salvation is that overused classic — it turns out it was all a dream and we can ignore it all!

dankoknifeLet’s talk terminal! Who do you see getting offed and why?
Mahsino: Nate’s getting offed. This show isn’t big enough for both Nathan and Sylar’s eyebrows.
Jen*: If wishes came true. I’ll take the obvious choice: Danko.
Mahsino: Somehow I manage to forget about his presence as soon as he’s not in the shot. I second that recommendation.
Diana: I’m with Jen on this one. Once Sylar pulled that knife out of his head, my thought was, “Danko the troll is gonna get it now.”
Erica: Yeah, Danko goes bye-bye. Sadly, much as I wish Nathan would finally give up the ghost, he’ll be sticking around to give Peter somebody to whine at.
Andrea: What? As much as we carry on about her, no one wants Claire offed? Or better yet, the show’s wigmaker? (The former ’cause she has to be about the most useless main character, and the latter…well, look at what zie’s been putting on the former’s head.)
Mahsino: Much as I might wish it to be so, I just don’t see her biting the bullet- that would just make too much sense. Continue reading

Comments That My Eyes Cross

by Latoya Peterson

Moderating comments is an interesting mixed bag of insight, rage, and strange ideas, sprinkled liberally throughout with WTF moments. And of course, there are people who think a multiracial site makes an awesome recruiting ground for their talk show/reality show/dating needs. While I generally let all these things slide right into deleted comment purgatory, one recent comment made me do a double take (emphasis mine):

Lee Anderson | Lifetimesecrets@aol.com |

We are producers working for an Emmy Award-winning production company is producing a pilot for a prime-time reality show on a well-known, respected cable network. We are seeking willing men and women who have kept a secret close to their heart and now would like to reveal the truth to someone who will be significantly impacted by your revelation.

The act of sharing your secret could help both you and others and it may allow you to find peace and closure. You and the person you are telling, will be supported through the process and will not feel alone in dealing with your revelation.

We are experienced in honoring sensitive and intimate stories. We are not interested in any revelation that would exploit or others.

Here are some examples of the types of stories that we are seeking:

. Do you have a secret crush on someone that you work with or have known for a long time? Are you ready to tell them?

. Are you a person of color who has passed as white and are ready to embrace your ethnic heritage?

We would love to talk to you if you are ready to tell your story. If you contact us we will tell you what broadcaster is involved.

Contact us at lifetimesecrets@aol.com or newscreenent@aol.com.

Please know that your response does not necessarily guarantee that your story will be chosen, nor does it obligate us in any way to use it once you have told it to us in confidence, because we may hear like or similar stories. If the secret you choose to reveal at this casting call involves a crime or is of a criminal nature, we, of course cannot offer you protection.

Apr 24, 5:17 PM — [ Edit | Delete ] — View post “From a Mixed Race Child: Tips for a White Parent”

How is racial passing on par with a crush? Can you imagine that scenario?

“James, I’ve loved you ever since I saw you 36 years ago on the school bus and we had the same tooth missing in our second grade school picture.”

“Hanan, for the last three years, I’ve been sneaking into your cubicle and sniffing your chair so I can inhale your scent after hours.”

“Yeah, honey, about that uh,monochromatic country club we were about to apply to…I think there’s something you may need to know in case they do a DNA test…”

WTF?

Oh yeah, and nothing says peace and closure like dropping a bomb on someone for a TV show.

City Councilman Promoted Violent Anti-Immigrant Video Game

by Guest Contributor Cara, originally published at The Curvature

comic 3

I just came across a post at Sociological Images about an outrageously racist flash video game called Border Patrol. They note that in the game, “you try to keep three types of Mexicans from crossing the border: drug dealers, Mexican nationalists, and ‘breeders.’” Video game site Kotaku — which thankfully also calls the video game racist — gives a highly similar description. As you’ll notice in the image above, which is of a heavily pregnant and barefoot caricatured woman crossing the border, she is also on her way to the welfare office.

But you may also notice something else. Looking at the image, there are bullet holes in the sign that says “Welcome to the United States” (with a picture of a flag that seems to indicate an anti-Semitic message that the country is run by Jews — am I missing something?). The woman in the game also looks like her head is in the cross hairs of a gun.

That’s right, in this game we’re not “stopping” Mexican immigrants from crossing the border without documentation by, oh, calling the police. Or by using another horrific and degrading option like catching them in a net to send them back over the border.

No, players are shooting them dead. Continue reading

Secret Identities: Parry Shen Unmasked

by Guest Contributor Jenn, originally published at Reappropriate

parryThe Backstory: This interview is the first in a series of interviews with the editors of Secret Identities, an anthology of comic short stories about Asian American superheroes from Asian American writers and artists. Secret Identities hit bookshelves last week, and in case you haven’t heard, it’s awesome.

In This Issue: I spoke with each of the editors one-on-one for about an hour, chatting about a variety of topics from the making of Secret Identities to their favourite comic books when they were a kid. These interviews are based on those conversations.

I thank each of the editors for taking time out of their busy schedules (and their jam-packed book tour) to chat with me.

I first met Parry Shen back in the spring of 2004, when he visited my undergraduate alma mater for a workshop on his experiences as lead actor in Justin Lin’s debut film, Better Luck Tomorrow. At his workshop, I learned a lot about Shen’s experiences as an Asian American actor in a predominantly non-Asian Hollywood. I learned about the difficulties for minority actors in the casting process and the sense of futility, cynicism, and defeat that many Asian American actors ultimately succumb to before leaving the industry altogether. And, I learned about the breath of fresh air that an independent film like Better Luck Tomorrow represented for a large community of struggling Asian American actors, directors and producers. Better Luck Tomorrow was a shot of pure adrenaline; it established to a disillusioned community of Asian American entertainers that a socially-conscious, Asian American-focused project could be made in a profit-driven mainstream Hollywood, and that our community would come out in full force to support it.

Six years later, Shen is hoping to do it again.

Although Shen is the first editor I interviewed for this series, he was the last editor to join the board of Secret Identities. A daily reader of Phil Yu’s Angry Asian Man blog, Shen was thrilled when Yu posted a call for submissions for a collected anthology of Asian American superhero comic stories written by Asian American comic book legends and fanboys alike. A long-time comic book fan, Shen immediately responded to the call for submissions (two of his pieces appear in the book: Hibakusha, a story about a group of young Hiroshima survivors who develop awesome powers, and 16 Miles, a story based on the death of real-life Asian American hero, James Kim). The anthology’s editors were so impressed with Shen’s creativity and enthusiasm, that they invited him to join the board as Managing Editor.

Continue reading

Links – 2009-04-24

Shashwati’s Blog – Manufacturing Outrage – Slumdog and Its Discontents (via DeafMuslim)

Piecing the story together, it seems that the tabloid entrapped the family by posing as an Arab couple (being Arab increases the pathology, get it?), and offered to adopt Rubina and pay $300,000 to the family. This exchange took place via a translator since Rubina’s father doesn’t actually speak English. Rubina’s parents are divorced and the relationship between her parents is far from cordial. The mother wants custody of her daughter, the papers say after the film came out, but it could be an ongoing conflict, we don’t know.

There are a couple of interesting things in this story, firstly everyone is outraged at the father for considering adoption. This is hardly unusual, poor people have often given up their kids up to foster care for a time (the example of filmmaker Stan Brakhage comes to mind, he was in an orphanage for a while), and in India, its not unusual for kids to grow up in places other than their parents house – I lived with my aunt for a while, and my brother grew up at my grandparents place. The ideal of the soccer mom based nuclear family is quite recent. Yes, I get it, the proposed exchange of money is what really bothers people and everyone is sickened by the avariciousness of the family. Now if most people look into their family histories, they’re sure to find that uncle who took everything the other siblings should have inherited a fair share of. Yes, its terrible that people are greedy and criminal, but its hardly the province of the poor. So I wish people would take their outrage to where it belongs – a grossly unjust world where some countries are far richer than they deserve to be, and some people have the luxury of taking the moral high ground without every having to interact with the poor.


Guanabee – Dallas Morning News

The problem is not that Woolley fails to use statistical date or examples beyond the existence of Spanish-language Wal-Marts in her rebuttal… it’s the fact that her column is a rebuttal, referring directly to Linda Chavez’s column:

    If, as Linda Chavez seems to think, the intent of those who come to America illegally is simply to raise a family, send the kids to college and assimilate into American society, then where’s the problem? The problem is – that’s just simply not the case.

This doesn’t create a conversation or dialogue about the topic, nor does it seem fair that the Dallas Morning News’ editors chose which columnist would have the privilege of getting the “last word.” So was the purpose of running both articles to present opposing views on the lives of illegal immigrants… or simply to refute Linda Chavez’s points?

Continue reading

Gentrification has Nothing to Do with White Hipsters

by Guest Contributor M. Dot, originally published at Model Minority

Last year, it took me roughly six weeks to earn $5,800. This is significant because during the late eighties and early nineties my mother received public assistance, subsequently she and I lived off of $5,800 for an entire year.

Yes, $5,800 per year.

Given these facts, last year, I thought a lot about the ways in which I could personally serve as a gentrifying factor in my hometown of Oakland, California. Often times, in popular media, there is very little talk of gentrification, or if there is, it is discussed in vague terms, such as”those hipsters are moving in” or “those white people are moving in” or “this area is becoming nicer.”

Gentrification has very little to do with white hipsters moving into the ‘hood and everything to do with process of people who earn higher incomes moving into neighborhoods where folks reside who are earning comparatively lower incomes.

If I am a Black women, in Bed-stuy, East Oakland or the South Side of Chicago, and I earn $60K per year and I am willing to
pay $1000 for an apartment that everyone else, who earns between $10-15K/year, pays $500 per month, then I am
serving as a force of gentrification in this neighborhood. It bears being stated that I in may ways I am a gentrifying force in the same way that a white person earning $60K who moves into the same community.

What becomes pivotal is my willingness to be engaged with the community that I have moved into.

A more sustainable, honest and comprehensive conversation about gentrification would involve a discussion of the income of the gentrifiers and not just the race of the gentrifiers. Continue reading

Quoted: Producer Will Packer on ‘Obsessed’ and overcoming Hollywood bias

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

obsessed1

In the wake of that disturbing article in Fade In magazine, there’s at least one black producer out there with a film opening this weekend, and some of the objections Will Packer says he faced early in his career parallel those we heard about in the Fade In piece: that films featuring African-Americans were “niche films” for “a niche audience.”

“It’s tough to get any film made – black, brown, it doesn’t matter. It’s definitely still tough as African-American film makers because they (traditional Hollywood studios) don’t make as many african-american themed films as they do other films, so you’ve got smaller windows of opportunity. But it’s certainly different than it was 20 years ago.”

obsessed2Packer’s latest film, Obsessed, features a relative host of “niche” story points: Not only are two of the three leads – Idris Elba and a non-singing Beyonce Knowles – POCs, but there’s an interracial aspect to the Fatal Attraction-ish scenario presented, involving Elba’s character and a temp played by Ali Larter. Packer says there was always an interracial factor in the story, but only as a backdrop.

“I think that audiences are a lot more sophisticated now,” Packer says. “You certainly can portray inter-racial relationships but you have to do it in a realistic way. In our film, it’s not about race – it’s interesting that the husband happens to be black, but it’s nothing that we feel the need to make any more provocative or to otherwise single out that fact.”

Packer says his successful film, 2007′s Stomp The Yard, also had to fight the “niche” argument.“Nobody saw Stomp The Yard coming,” Packer says. “But we tapped into an audience that was a cross-section of dance-movie fans and African-American audiences who knew about college life, and we managed not only to open No. 1 at the box office, but to hold the No. 1 spot for another week. Suddenly people in Hollywood were trying to call us, and asking, ‘What do you mean, they don’t have agents?’.”

The film went on to gross $75 million worldwide.Packer says the “nobody saw us coming” thing started as soon as he and director Rob Hardy founded Rainforest Productions and made their first film, Trois, in 2000.“We didn’t have a film school. We didn’t have money. We didn’t have connections. We didn’t have long-standing Hollywood relationships,” Packer says.

“I wanted to start a film production company. My partner wanted to be the next Spike Lee. We moved to Atlanta because we felt that was a market where we could be a big fish in a small pond. We made Trois, and nobody in Hollywood cared. We literally drove city-to-city and handed out flyers, shook hands, kissed babies and we convinced 19 theatre owners to run our movie for one weekend. Then we went out and hustled, got the word out. That film made over $1 million dollars.”

Despite the success he’s enjoyed in producing films geared toward audiences of color, Packer says things are still very difficult. “People don’t have any single viable studio catering to that audience,” he says. And how far off is that studio?

“Distribution is still kind of the final frontier, and that’s still very difficult,” Packer says. “If African-American audiences and mainstream audiences respond to that kind of material, then it’ll happen.”