Tag: asian-american

April 27, 2009 / / asian-american

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.

Read the Post Secret Identities: Parry Shen Unmasked

April 6, 2009 / / asian-american

by Guest Contributor Jen, originally published at Disgrasian

From time to time, we use satire to talk about race issues. Often we do so because life is so unfunny, it’s a joke. Or because the only way to get people to think about uncomfortable things is not to beat down the gates but to distract them with some kind of Trojan Horse. Other times, it’s simply the most expedient way to spit out the metallic taste of bile and blood that ignorance leaves in our mouth.

This week, Hipster Runoff, a satirical blog about all things “alt” and “authentic” (“What is the most authentic body part 2 do blow off of?”) that reveres hipsterdom while simultaneously underscoring how it’s just as full of mindless followers as the mainstream, published a post called “Should I h8 AZNs?” Here are a few excerpts:

Sad about the economic crisis, and how AZNs have been smarter than us about saving ‘money’ and only spending what they have. I think America is beautiful. We’ve had a good run, but maybe we’re not as special as we thought we were. Kinda sad. I still feel ‘cooler’ than a lot of foreigners, and like smarter…

Is it cool to ‘be better’ towards AZNs who live in America, or are they ‘one of us’? Or should we construct some ‘internment camps’ in the middle of the USA where we force all AZNs to live and do manual labor, even if they are respected within society? Not trying 2 be radical, just know that we have 2 hold some1 accountable for our crisis, and it might ‘unite’ our country if we single out a group of people who are responsible. Kinda like when they had 2 find communist actors in Hollywood.

I don’t really know much about China, except that they are ‘commie reds’, violate a lot of human rights, and pollute a lot. Learned that from the newspaper…

Should I h8 azns and hold them responsible for the destruction of my country? Or should I move out of the USA and move to an authentic city like Paris/Beijing/Tokyo/Cairo?

There are several Hipster Runoff posts that begin similarly with a question–“Should I Vote?” or “Is it ALT 2 watch the Super Bowl?”–where the answer is patently obvious, and “Should I h8 AZNs?” was probably intended to fall into that category.

Unfortunately, “Should I h8 AZNs?” is not satire. Read the Post DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Hipster Runoff

March 18, 2009 / / asian
March 17, 2009 / / asian

by Guest Contributor John Jihoon Chang

I often feel as though I’m two men living one life. Many of my peers and contemporaries from an immigrant background have learned how to blend their twin heritages, their cultures passed down from their parents and their cultures locally acquired and somehow become a coherent whole. In my case, an Asian American or more specifically, a Corean American. I won’t say this is true for everyone or even most people, but many have navigated this tricky path or perhaps have chosen one culture to adhere closely to in neglect or abandonment of the other.

Growing up, I was one who had never nurtured the Corean in me, rather concentrating on the present reality that I faced as a young person growing up with almost entirely white American peers. There was little value in my Coreanness, especially as it served to distance me from the only society I’d known. It was an inescapable part of my identity, as my genes had mapped my Asian roots upon my face, but it provided little to no advantages in my daily life, rather often distancing me as a “stranger”, though the life I’d known was, outside of food, language and minor household traditions, largely the same as my peers. Nevertheless, the appearance of difference combined with the few elements that my household practiced always seemed to divide, even as each white American household, I found, had different sets of cuisine, traditions and even occasionally the use of language.

As such, I was an all-American type, as it proved the path of least resistance. My sister naively would label me as “whitewashed” or a “banana”, claiming my abandonment of my Corean heritage while she, all the same adopted the similarly American “AZN” identity, one of the Asian American subcultures defined by heavy adoption of urban mainstream American media tied together with that of a mainstream Asian media as well.
Such a moment left me defensive at the time, but to some extent, she was correct.

Back to that later.

After high school, I’d move on to college and discover my Asian American identity. I found myself socializing a lot more with other Asian Americans, built upon the shared experiences of being differentiated from mainstream white America and often (but not always) upon the shared upbringing by immigrant parents. It’s certainly a comfortable place, where those around you don’t expect you to be different and share the same racial angst as you. And it also created a space for a new part of me to grow: the Corean me. Read the Post Binary Soul

February 9, 2009 / / activism

Excerpted by Latoya Peterson


During a one month period in Autumn 2000, the predators abducted five Japanese exchange students, ranging from age 18 to 20. Motivated by their sexual biases about Asian women, all three used both their bodies and objects to repeatedly rape – vaginally, anally and orally — two of the young women over a seven hour ordeal.

In Spokane, one of the attackers immediately confessed to searching only for Japanese women to torture and rape — and eventually all pled guilty and were convicted. It clearly was a racially-motivated criminal case. The victims also believed they were attacked because of their race, the prosecutor told me.

What is astonishing, however, is that the district attorney failed to bring an additional charge that would have tagged the crimes as motivated by racial bias. The police also neglected to report the crime as a “hate crime,” as demanded by the Justice Department to keep accurate statistics of all bias-driven crimes. Although the attackers all received long sentences, an important opportunity to raise the nation’s consciousness was lost. We, as a society, were told that it’s not a hate crime to rape an Asian woman because of her race. Read the Post Quoted: Jaemin Kim on Stereotypes, Asian Women, and Hate Crimes

February 5, 2009 / / asian

by Latoya Peterson

Now, what did the Spanish Olympic basketball team say when they did it?

Oh, right, it was a “wink.” A sign of “affection.”

Here’s what other bloggers are saying – I don’t really have any words on this one.

Angry Asian Man:

For those who don’t know who the most popular teenager in America is, Miley’s third from the left. Is this how kids are posing for photos these days? Hey! Look at us spoiled punkass hipster kids making racist gestures! Because it’s fun, and we just don’t care. And it’s, like, totally ironic or something, you know? Our friend here is Asian and the rest of us are white! Get it? Watch us all do the silly squint-eye!

Who is the Asian guy, anyway? Sitting there like a tool and letting his “friends” getting away with racist gestures. Not funny. And is it me, or is he actually trying to make his eyes look wider? Couldn’t resist getting to hang out with the cool kids, I guess. Even if it means having to deal with this idiocy. Or maybe he’s forgotten what it feels like when some jerk on the street does that out of real-ass hate.

Read the Post Miley Cyrus Thinks It’s Cool to Mock Asians

February 5, 2009 / / asian

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally Angry Asian Man

A reader named Gloria sends in this juicy little scan… She informs me that actress/author/comedienne Amy Sedaris did a show last week at Haverford College. Gloria’s brother (who happens to be Chinese American) got a copy of Sedaris’ book I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence signed for her.

The above scan is what she apparently inscribed on the inside of the book. Yes, you’re reading that right. As if “Ching Chong” wasn’t enough, the rudimentary buck-toothed chink-eyed caricature is sort of icing on the racist cake. Read the Post To Gloria: Ching Chong. Love, Amy Sedaris

February 2, 2009 / / asian