"For Asian-American actors, there is a persistent fear of being left out of the conversation entirely, since “diversity” has often been conflated with black representation only. As Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. put it, “In America, things get boiled down into a black and white issue, but I want to see stories about Asian people, I want to see stories about trans people — diversity is not just a black and white issue. … We’ve still got some work to do when you talk about real diversity.” (Buzzfeed longform)
152 published authors of speculative fiction, of Asian descent. (includes links to stories by the authors, if available online.)
The Bears Who Came to Town and Would Not Go Away. "This is the story of a place at the edge of the world, where a black bear ventured into a Russian hamlet and attacked a human. One bear became two, two became dozens, and before long no one would leave their home, and no one had any idea what to do."
Time to celebrate Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America! You can start here, a joint venture by several agencies, and continue below the fold. [more inside]
A Conversation on Race. With Asians. With Latinos. With Black Women. With Police. With White People.
How do you quantify the effects of things that don't happen to you? "The whole point of living in a culture is that much of the labor of perception and judgment is done for you, spread through media, and absorbed through an imperceptible process that has no single author." (previously; via)
What It’s Really Like to Work in Hollywood* (*If you’re not a straight white man.) (SLNYTimes, Interactive)
One of the poets appearing in the anthology Best American Poetry 2015 is Yi-Fen Chou. In the anthology, the poet's bio states baldly that he has found greater success in the publication of his poetry since he adopted his pseudonym rather than using his real name, which is Michael Derrick Hudson. Naturally, this has been poorly received. Sherman Alexie, guest editor of the anthology, explains his decision to keep the poem in the anthology anyway, despite his anger at having been deceived. [more inside]
Beyond the Model Minority Myth : "Discussing certain Asian groups’ material advantages today as a type of transhistorical “privilege” or “complicity” with power — rather than the result of a specific set of immigration and domestic policies that have aligned with shifting national attitudes — mystifies the mechanisms of capitalism rather than elucidating them."
The Asians Art Museum is a parody site bringing a cirtical lens to orientalist tropes in art museums, prompted particularly by rhetorical choices of the San Francisco Art Museum's 2009 Lords of the Samurai exhibition [audio]. It highlights the tendency for museums showing Asian art to present their shows as a"a harmless trip to a fantasyland of romanticized premodern Otherness, a place where dreams of Manifest Destiny never have to die?" [more inside]
"[In] the face of a culture that would deny them, it becomes necessary for an artist of color in the west to defiantly announce to the world: I am a fact." In April 2014, at the first ever Yale Asian Alumni Reunion, Vijay Iyer delivered a powerful speech "on two intertwined issues: the role of Asian Americans as upwardly mobile minorities and the role of the artist as a potential transgressor within elite institutions."
"The cost of becoming white is hard to measure. It is ethical rather than material. By passively accepting the privileges of whiteness, Asian-Americans become complicit in America’s present system of hierarchy, a system in which the nation’s institutions inflict ongoing injustices on a racial underclass. Highly paid Asian-American Google employees do not bear more responsibility to combat racial injustice than similarly positioned white people, but they don’t bear less either. Silence and inaction on the part of those receiving privilege only makes it harder for those who are not so lucky to change the status quo." The Complicity Cost of Racial Inclusion.
Kat Chow, with NPR's Code Switch, put together a short piece on the history and the prevalence of the well-known nine note "stereotypical Asian theme." As described in a 2005 Straight Dope forum question: You know, the one that goes dee dee dee dee duh duh dee dee duh. Featured heavily in braindead Hollywood flicks made by clueless directors who want to give a scene an "oriental" feel. Also a variation of it can be heard in David Bowie's "China Girl." [more inside]
The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center presents an experiment in cultural democracy – the first crowdsourced photo gallery of the Asian Pacific American experience around the world as lived on one day: May 10, 2014. [more inside]
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for changing the admissions criteria of NYC's elite high schools, arguing that relying solely on a single exam (the SHSAT) "creates a “rich-get-richer” dynamic that benefits the wealthy, who can afford expensive test prep. However, the reality is just the opposite. It’s not affluent whites, but rather the city’s burgeoning population of Asian-American immigrants — a group that, despite its successes, remains disproportionately poor and working-class — whose children have aced the exam in overwhelming numbers." [more inside]
Angry Asian Man sets the scene: "The Bagley Wright Theatre in Seattle is currently staging Gilbert & Sullivan's 'classic' comic opera The Mikado, which has historically required actors to perform roles in yellowface, and a bunch of shitty made up stereotypes for comic effect. This version is no different, with all forty Japanese characters played by white actors.". The Seattle Times weighs in with a negative op-ed. The Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan society had a response to the Times Op Ed: "I get it because as a black woman I am often confronted by issues of racism and sexism, be it blatant, subtle, institutionalized, or perceived. I too have reacted in a knee-jerk fashion. I believe when confronted with these issues I have always dug a little deeper, checked other sources, and did some research on my own before taking action. Given what I, and the Society have been through in the last few days, I hope to God that my actions were indeed merited. The idea that I may have caused the kind of damage that we are experiencing to some other organization, individual or institution because I took a head long rush to judgment based on a headline, or an opinion piece, and regarded those things as fact sickens me to my soul."
A viral video series uses role reversal to humorously highlight casual insensitivities & stereotyping: If Asians Said The Stuff White People Say - If Black People Said The Stuff White People Say - If Latinos Said The Stuff White People Say (YouTube; each video ~2 min.) [more inside]
10 Examples of Asian American and Pacific Islander's Rich History of Resistance counters the notion that "there is a prevailing notion out there that, in contrast to other minorities, Asian Americans “lack a history of resistance” (or that we think we do), and that this invisibility and dearth of civil rights history actually confers upon the Asian American community a form of racial privilege."
"In fact, the implication is that if we weren’t Asian, there wouldn’t be any problems because people wouldn’t associate our name with an obscure racial slur. And while it’s true that the people in the band can be identified by a band’s name, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the members literally embody the name of the band. No one thinks ’The Rolling Stones’ are literal masses of undulating rock or that ’Led Zeppelin’ is a metallic reincarnation of the Hindenburg blimp.” [more inside]
Why I Stay Closeted In Asia (SLBF)
I denied it, as my father and sister begged me to.
I couldn't exaggerate to you how much my mother's face lit up, or how much I wanted, for a shameful second, for my lie to be true. I began to tell her a story, got into the groove, told it with what could be called pizzazz, or maybe just mercy. A monthlong fling with a Korean girl became a year ("I liked her; she had a cocaine problem"). Immediately she laughed with relief.
"I wouldn't know how to deal if you were, you know, that" she said.
As Harvey Weinstein decides American audiences aren't smart enough for Snowpiercer, Daily Grindhouse writer Ric Meyers takes a poke at The Weinstein Company's troubled history with Asian Cinema.
Tireless eaters Jenne and Miko set out to try every restaurant along San Diego's Convoy Street. (via Projects) [more inside]
Want preservative-free sriracha but don't have time to make your own? Jolene Collins makes (and sells) her own high-end artisanal sriracha. Would you like to watch?
The Bank of Canada has changed the design of its new $100 bill after receiving numerous comments from focus groups that the woman pictured looked like she was of Asian descent. [more inside]
We Japanese Americans must not forget our wartime internment - George Takei on the the treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII and Allegiance, his new musical. Previously.
Each bite brought a delicate balance between pleasure and pain—deliciously peppery flavor, bought at the price of having your mouth feel like you’d swallowed fire. But the pain was a good pain, somehow. It forced you to slow down and experience each bite, and that’s a rare experience these days. No one mindlessly gobbles Sichuan hot pot, simply because it’s physically impossible to do so without powerful anesthetic.
Eugene Ahn, AKA Adam Warrock, on quitting being a lawyer to become a full time rapper.
Is the internet rewriting history? Teaching the difference between truth and propaganda online via BBC [more inside]
Yellowface: A Story In Pictures - A chronicle of Asian/Middle Eastern characters as performed by white actors. (Previously on MeFi)
Carp Attack! SLYT, 1.13.
"A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it's like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I've done it." [more inside]
Jayaben Desai passes away. Ms. Desai came to national prominence in the UK for her leading role in the 1976-78 strike at Grunwick Processing's photo processing labs in North London, a dispute that shattered stereotypes about south Asian women workers in Britain, in the face of police violence, the antics of the McWhirter brothers and ambiguous support from the official trade union movement. [more inside]
'I couldn't find one black woman working in ballet and that stunned me. I decided to do something about it myself.' What she achieved was ballet company Ballet Black and its associated school.
Maclean’s Magazine ('Canada’s only national weekly current affairs magazine') publishes an annual edition ranking Canadian universities. In this year’s issue, with strong showings of Asian student populations at the top schools, an article asks, whether Canadian universities are “Too Asian”? [more inside]
Friday food sites for your weekend feast. eatingRD — from a registered dietician · A Conscious Feast — features cooking for company · Steamy Kitchen — focusing on fast, fresh, and simple Asian · Veggie Belly — something for the vegetarians. If that isn't enough, try Project Foodie, a one-stop, independent recipe search site with over 100,000 recipes all in one place. All found because of this cute trailer for Baked Explorations.
The New York Times reports that anime-style "Circle" (or "Big Eye") lenses are currently gaining in popularity, thanks to Lady Gaga's Bad Romance video. [more inside]
The Rise and Fall of Frank Ma, Last of New York's Asian Godfathers: How a Chinese immigrant became a crime lord, ordered a hit that left the wrong men dead, sparked a 16-year international investigation and finally landed in prison for the rest of his life.
Where do you wanna meet, Fahey's Bar or the Dragon Lounge? How an ordinary San Francisco bar adapted to shifting demographics by developing a dual personality.
Appetite for China - a food blog whose motto is "1.3 billion people must be eating something right". Today: Dried Fugu and Durian Pudding
Asian Horror Movies.com. 100's of free, streaming video, full movies, which have English subtitles. Index of titles updated regularly. Japanese, Korean, Thai. Includes a wide variety of films from an eccentric fantasy like 100% Wool to a psychological thriller like Angel Dust. [more inside]
M. Night Shyamalan has decided to cast white actors in the main roles of the upcoming motion picture based on the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender. The problem: Avatar featured an Asian world with Asian characters, including Aang, the titular character, and his friends Sokka and Katara. [more inside]
David Brooks, Social Psychologist, Mark Liberman at Language Log looks at the science behind David Brook's latest column in which he claims there is a fundamental differences between the thought processes of individuals in Asian "collectivist" societies and Western "individualist" ones. (via)
Why do Asian-American students achieve higher grades than Latino-American students? Despite the fact that the students come from the same socioeconomic background (median annual household incomes below $50,000 in working-class Los Angeles neighborhoods), Asian-American students disproportionately get better grades, attend AP courses, and go to college than their Latino-American counterparts. Students at Lincoln High School sit down for a frank discussion of why that is.
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