Tag Archives: asian-american

Comprehensive new report on chinese americans

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

In November, the University of Maryland’s Asian American Studies Program, with support from OCA, released a major new study on Chinese Americans in the United States. Based on extensive U.S. Census data and independent interviews, A Portrait of Chinese Americans offers the most comprehensive and current portrait of the country’s diverse Chinese American population: Major Study of Chinese Americans Debunks ‘Model Minority’ Myth.

According to the study, Chinese Americans, one of the most highly educated groups in the nation, are confronted by a “glass ceiling,” unable to realize full occupational stature and success to match their efforts. The returns on Chinese Americans’ investment in education and “sweat equity” are “generally lower than those in the general and non-Hispanic White population.”

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On Race and YA Lit

by Guest Contributor Neesha Meminger

Young Adult (YA) literature has exploded in recent years with the phenomenal success of the Harry Potter books, the Chronicles of Narnia, Tuck Everlasting, Lord of the Rings, the Gossip Girl series, The Princess Diaries, and the more recent Twilight series to name a few right off the top of my head. There are some who look down their noses at YA lit and don’t consider it real literature. But, given the success of the aforementioned novels and series, I blow a big, fat raspberry in those people’s general direction.

Kidding. But, seriously. My guess is that the reason all those titles, and many, many others in the YA or MG (middle grade) categories have been so successful is that they reach across age barriers. If you look at the audiences for Harry Potter, Gossip Girl, Lord of the Rings and Twilight – books and movies – you’ll find fans ranging from nine-year-olds all the way through to the middle-aged, paunch set. The same cannot be said for high literary novels, or children’s books. YA and upper MG novels are right smack in the middle and appeal to that vast swath of almost-adult to inching-out-of-adulthood readers. There are often subtle, mature themes, and usually no gratuitous violence or sex.

I write YA because that is a time that ideals were still strong and fresh.

When I write, it is as if I was on the cusp of adulthood where things were still simple: good and bad were easy to define, as were right and wrong. It was a time when my inner life was more vivid than my outer and there were constant, brutal clashes between the two. It was a time where creativity was wild, unencumbered by the expectations and restrictions of adulthood. Anger, pain, joy – all were raw, enormous forces. It is still the place I go when I am seeking unrefined, unfiltered Truth.

My first novel, a YA release, comes out in March, 2009, and the road to getting it published has been full of surprises. I belong to a group of first time authors with Young Adult (YA) and Middle Grade (MG) novels coming out in 2009. We are all working together to promote our first novels. We share resources, commiserate about bumps and bruises along the way, and rejoice in one another’s accomplishments. It is completely voluntary, and no one is obligated to do anything they don’t want to, except participate in whatever capacity they can. The group is a wonderful social and networking space with some amazingly talented authors and many future stars.

And yet, something about the group caught my notice.

I don’t have any hard data or statistics in front of me, but several weeks ago as I was answering questions for my first online author interview, I was startled to realize that I was one of three YA authors of Color debuting in 2009. Continue reading

Mirror’s Edge: Pixilated Beauty, Race, and Stereotypes

by Latoya Peterson

I’ve been checking for the game Mirror’s Edge for a while, since the first stills dropped a few months ago. There are a lot of things that excite me about the game: tapping into the parkour experience, rolling through a first person landscape without it being a shooter, a provocative plot.

However, I would be lying if I didn’t say I was geeked about a woman of color protagonist – and one who has a character design which reflects the environment she works within.

However, I haven’t yet played Mirror’s Edge because of what I am calling the If You Give a Gamer a Cookie New Console conundrum.* So, I’ve been keeping my gaming excitement on a low simmer. Well, I was, until I clicked over to Feministe.

And as always, Hollyhas got the gaming goods.

Mirror’s Edge is at its heart a game about parkour, the athletic art of moving between two points as rapidly as possible, using nothing but your body and features of the environment. The game’s protagonist is Faith, an Asian-American courier with a knack for hurling herself into harm’s way. Like a lot of parkour enthusiasts, she spends a lot of time on rooftops, and Mirror’s Edge is largely about jumping, vaulting, climbing, pushing off of walls, rolling as Faith falls from great heights, and other almost-impossible seeming feats of gravity defiance.

I swear, I have to bite my finger from screaming at this gameplay. But Holly’s post also sheds some interesting light on a racial nuance in the conversation surrounding Mirror’s Edge:

Even when you do see her in ads, mirrors, and cutscenes, Faith has a wiry, androgynous form suited to someone who runs and climbs for a living. Her clothing is utilitarian, not decorative, and her style of movement is closer to the efficiency of parkour than the aesthetics of free running. Tom Farrer, the producer of the game, was recently quoted about her character design:

    We’ve spent time in developing Faith. And the important thing for us was that she was human, that she was more real.

    We really wanted to get away from the typical portrayal of women in games, that they’re all just kind of tits and ass in a steel bikini. We wanted her to look athletic and fit and strong [enough] that she could do the things that she’s doing.

    We wanted her to be attractive, but we didn’t want her to be a supermodel. We wanted her to be approachable and far more real. It was just kind of depressing that someone thinks it would be better if Faith was a 12-year-old with a boob job. That was kind of what that image looked to me. [...] To be honest, I found it kind of sad.

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Message to the Candidates: “Black White Whatever” and “That One Bigot”

by Latoya Peterson

I recently had the pleasure of watching two amazing videos that really cut to the heart of the racial issues at play in this election cycle.

The first is “Black, White, Whatever” by Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, a ridiculously talented spoken word artist who has appeared on Def Poetry. Her work and bio are found on her website, Yellowgurl.com.

In “Black, White, Whatever,” Tsai critiques the missing elements from the candidate’s political speeches – the fact that race in America goes way beyond black and white – and those who fall outside of the binary certainly aren’t just “whatever.” And as she says in the video, “Whatever doesn’t represent me.”

Also of note, from the Ill-literacy site comes a new(ish) YouTube video that really digs into McCain’s infamous “that one” comment from the debates. Unfortunately for McCain, vlogger Adriel Luis provides a hip-hop themed juxtaposition of clips and events detailing what “that one” really means – in the context of remarks and actions taken over the last eight or so years.

(Thanks to Joanna, Kai, and Nezua for the tips!)

Asian hair for halloween!

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

Well, it’s October, and that means Halloween is coming. It also means we can expect to see the unending variety of typically racist Halloween costumes that pop up every year. You too can be Oriental, just for one night. Here a few ridiculous ones, with a hair-centric theme…

The above costume item was recently spotted at a Party City. Want to be a “China Man” this Halloween? Apparently, all it takes is a crappy-looking moustache. It’s easy. Just affix this nasty piece of hair on your upper lip, and there you go, instant China Man! Adding some fu to your manchu. (Thanks, Brandon.)

But hey, why stop there? There are other fun and easy ways to be Chinese. Just try on the Chinese Man wig, “an ancient style with bald front and long pigtail in the back.” But even at the low sale price of $41.48, the Chinese Man wig might just be a little outside your budget. That’s okay, because the Bargain Chinese Man wig is also available for just $22.05. Because nobody should miss out on the racist mockery. Continue reading

Bobby Lee as John McCain

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

I really don’t know what to make of this. It’s crazy… but I like it! In a weird twist of racial casting, comedian Bobby Lee will play Senator John McCain on the season premiere of MADtv this Saturday night: Bobby Lee to Play McCain on MADtv.

I kid you not. The proof is in the picture. The segment, “So You Think You Can Dance: President’s Edition,” features Bobby and Arden Myrin as Cindy McCain and Keegan-Michael Key and Erica Ash as Barack and Michelle Obama.

I don’t think Bobby makes a very convincing McCain. More like a John McKang. But I honestly don’t care. I look at that photo, and I laugh. It’s such a weird image. Whiteface, I know. I know. But when was the last time the tables were turned?


UPDATE:
Oh snap. Here’s the video of Bobby Lee as John McCain in MADtv‘s “So You Think You Can Dance: President’s Edition” sketch. Not a very good impression of McCain, but does anyone really care?

Samurai Girl premieres

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

Samurai Girl, which we’ve been anticipating for the better part of a year, finally premieres tonight on ABC Family, and runs through the weekend as a three-night “original event.” The network has been hyping the hell out of this thing, with nonstop commercials, a panel at last month’s Comic-Con, and all sorts of crazy stuff on the show’s website (“samurai-ize your desktop”). If the premiere goes well, it’s likely that Samurai Girl will be picked up as a full series.

Well, I have seen the first two hours of the show… and it’s not very good. Okay, everything we’ve seen and heard about the show so far hasn’t been very promising. But I’ll admit, I was secretly hoping the show would pull out some pleasant surprises, rather than falling back on the usual stereotypes. That’s not happening. Samurai Girl is bad, and then really bad.

Based on a series of popular young adult novels, the show stars Jamie Chung as a 19-year-old Japanese girl named Heaven who discovers that the wealthy businessman who adopted her as an infant is really the head of the Yakuza(!) and responsible for murdering her beloved brother. She breaks from her family and begins training to become a samurai, and with the help of a group of new American friends, sets out to take down her father’s evil empire.

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s worthing asking again: why must every other Asian-related Hollywood project involve secret samurais and ninjas and yakuza clans? Not that there’s anything wrong with a good samurai/ninja/yakuza story… but this ain’t it. Continue reading

Racist Mother Goose and Grimm Cartoon

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

Kimchi Mamas first blogged about this a couple of weeks ago… What kind of messed up nonsense is this? This Mother Goose and Grimm comic strip is a couple of weeks old, but dude, what the hell? Come on! Really? They really had to go there with the idiotic Korean dog-eating joke? And then take it one step further with the Kim Jong Il caricature?

I’m no fan of Kim Jong Il, and honestly, I welcome any kind of intelligent lampooning of his evil dictator craziness. Because the man is nuts. But this is a one-note jab, a cheap laugh that squarely aims for Kim Jong Il’s ethnicity. And then seen by millions of Americans, in newspapers nationwide. That’s racist!

(Thanks, Toni.)

Edited to Add:

Reader Katie points out that the Kimichi Mama’s post also shows how to take action:

OKAY KIMCHI MAMAS…
A protest unspoken is never heard. There is a contact for feedback on the Mother Goose & Grimm comic site. I don’t know if mike peters actually sees the comments, but it’s worth a try. There is power in numbers; speak from a position of power!

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