Category Archives: News

Asian-American Heart Attack Care Now Similar to Whites

One of the greatest disparities that Asian Americans have been facing in this coutnry has been in the area of health care. API women tend to have the highest rates of breast and cervical cancer. API men don’t seem to fare better in other areas, such as Hepatitis. Some reasons stem from cultural differences, others from lack of access to quality care.

However, some research provides hope for Asian Americans who suffer from heart attacks.  Performance is improving in other areas. Let’s hope that everyone is able to enjoy the benefits of quality care, regardless of race.

Simon Tam is a Chinese/Taiwanese American, an activist, and musician. He is the founder and bassist for The Slants, the first all Asian American dance rock band in the world. His writing can be found at http://aslantedview.tumblr.com

Chink: an Asian American slasher movie

Here’s a great opportunity to help out some film-makers in the Asian American community.  A project called “Chink” produced by Koji Steven Sakai (of 8asians), Stanley Yung (of The People I’ve Slept With), and Quentin Lee is in need of funding assistance.  Read more about it over at Channel APA.

What’s most intriguing about this new project is not just the fact that it will star Asian Americans.  The plot is about Eddy Tsai, an Asian American who has been bullied his entire life.  Growing up without an Asian American community of support, Eddy develops some intense self-hatred that gets internalized into hate of all Asian Americans.  His solution to all this bullying?  Become a serial killer, of course.  His target?  Asian Americans.

This internalized racism is seen a lot throughout the Asian and Asian American community, but Sakai, Yung, and Lee take it to a new extreme.  Promoting this movie with phrases like, “It’s gory but it’s also sexy. It’s about identity but it doesn’t take itself too seriously,” makes this project something to talk about.  Hopefully it will facilitate discussion around serious issues of identity and the increase in bullying of Asian Americans at school, in the office, and online.  After all, the issues of self-hate among Asian Americans is one of the highest of any other group and that stands as a disability to our community.  We should be embracing one another, not fostering hate because we see reflected in our friends and family what society deems undesirable.  Surviving and moving forward from such internalized racial hate is the only way that we’ll be able to come out of those ideas.  Discussion will facilitate those actions, and this movie will hopefully be a great stepping stone for the API community to start the dialogue about these tough issues.

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Jillian Toda is an Oregonian from the Columbia River Gorge, where her great grandparents farmed upon arriving to America from Japan.   She is currently a student at Willamette University majoring in Rhetoric and Media Studies, with a minor in American Ethnic Studies.  In her spare time, she’s an MBA candidate at Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

UCLA Study Finds U.S. has more elected, appointed Asian American officials than ever

A new study released by UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center has been released, showing that the presence of Asian Americans are increasing in the political sphere. (Click here to read)

One of the major finds is that Asian Americans will make a signnificiant difference in the upcoming election, with over 4 million votes expected to be casted.

Glad to see people are finally paying attention!

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Simon Tam is a Chinese/Taiwanese American, an activist, and musician. He is the founder and bassist for The Slants, the first all Asian American dance rock band in the world.  His writing can be found at http://aslantedview.tumblr.com

Memorial of “Chinese Remembering” at Oregon’s Chinese Massacre Cove

 

Chinese Remembering

I came a cross a video and article on 8asians  today that stopped me.  A memorial will be put into “Chinese Massacre Cove” near Wallowa, Oregon in June 2012 to commemorate the 30+ Chinese victims of a heinous hate crime in 1887. These innocent Chinese miners were shot and hacked up by a group of white frontiersmen with axes.  The men stole all of the gold that the Chinese people had and threw the bodies in the Snake River, where they drifted downstream to Lewiston, Idaho.

Not only am I shocked to hear about such a horrible hate crime lurking in Oregon’s very own backyard, but appalled that I’ve never even heard of this.  If public schools can only provide us with textbooks that include a single paragraph of the contributions that Chinese and other Asian Americans and immigrants have provided our nation, couldn’t we at least have documentaries and books about such local histories?  APIs have had a great influence on history and society in the Northwest, yet I never have the opportunity to learn about my own local community because few seem to realize that impact.  I’ve even taken Asian American history courses in college and never have issues of hate crimes and experiences of Asian Americans specific to Oregon been largely touched on.

As a community, then, the task of historical preservation has been  given to us.  As stated in the “NW Profiles” video, the annual event to honor those Chinese victims of Chinese Massacre Cove draws mostly non-Chinese, non-Asian American participants.  While the gesture of creating such events by allies is appreciated, isn’t it time that we begin making our own histories and voices heard?  Perhaps it is time that Oregon understand its history is very intertwined with the API community.

 

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Jillian Toda is an Oregonian from the Columbia River Gorge, where her great grandparents farmed upon arriving to America from Japan.   She is currently a student at Willamette University majoring in Rhetoric and Media Studies, with a minor in American Ethnic Studies.  In her spare time, she’s an MBA candidate at Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

Halloween Campaign Sheds Light on Old Isssue

Since it’s Halloween weekend, I thought this was quite relevant.  I’m sure most people has seen this by now—the Ohio University students who created this Halloween costume campaign are now everywhere.   The images from the campaign have gone viral and have even caught mainstream media attention: http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/26/living/halloween-ethnic-costumes/?hpt=us_t4

There has been a lot of debate over the legitimacy of the campaign.  Some are very enthusiastic about the campaign, saying that this message is very fitting for Halloween, but should be a take-away for all 365 days of the year.  Others say that since the movement was generated by a very small number of students (a group of only about ten passionate students) that this cannot possibly represent the perspective of all students of color.  In essence, some people think that this means it is still okay to wear racist costumes that demean, simplify, mock, and misrepresent entire peoples.  Many still believe that these caricatured representations are just simply not racist at all.

Every Halloween costumes become an issue, yet there is also always an equal amount of resistance to social justice work trying to abolish such racist outfits.  Of course, ignorance in society makes it easy for some people to claim that Halloween is just one day out of the year where people can become whoever they want to be, that it’s what the holiday actually is all about.  Yet, beyond just this one day, don’t we see continuing appropriation of cultures, misrepresentation of races?  There may be small victories here and there, which feel very good, but what about the deeper sentiment that these fights allude to?  That our society doesn’t care about how people of color are represented because society gets to define those images for us?  This is especially true for our API community that is constantly defined by everything from our eyes, skin, hair to parenting styles, languages/accents, and even food.  Bottom line: we want to represent ourselves in society, so let’s tell others when we’re being misrepresented.  This Halloween, educate some geisha/chinaman-impersonating fool about why they shouldn’t wear racist costumes or clothing.  Ever.

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Jillian Toda is an Oregonian from the Columbia River Gorge, where her great grandparents farmed upon arriving to America from Japan.   She is currently a student at Willamette University majoring in Rhetoric and Media Studies, with a minor in American Ethnic Studies.  In her spare time, she’s an MBA candidate at Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

Virtual Youth Town Hall by White House AAPI

Attention all API youth: White House AAPI is hosting a Town Hall meeting at the University of Nevada Las Vegas today, October 14th, at 4pm-5:30pm PDT/7pm-8:30pm EST.  The event is intended to cover topics relevant to AAPI youth regarding politics, identity, and more.  More information can be found here.

The Initiative cordially invites students, youth, and community advocates across the country to attend its first ever Virtual Youth Town Hall. The online event will be available for viewing at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/whitehouseaapi.

During the Virtual Town Hall, the White House Initiative will explore increasingly important issues relevant to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth. YouTube personality Ryan Higa, singer and songwriter Clara Chung, and Singer songwriter Cathy Nguyen are among the prominent AAPI role models that will serve as Town Hall panelists and address issues such as bullying, access to education, and AAPI representation in the arts and media. The Town Hall will be moderated by Sefa Aina, Vice Chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs.

Apologies for the late notice, but hopefully many will be able to tune in.  I’m interested in hearing what they cover, and the best part? Viewers at home can submit questions that might be answered by the panel!  Submit questions over Twitter by adding in #WHIAAPITownHall.  You can start asking questions now, as well as during the live-stream meeting, so start tweeting!

Also, as a side note, White House AAPI is also the group that held the panel about education with singer-songwriter David Choi.  At the Ustream site, you can also find those past virtual meetings.  Enjoy!

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Jillian Toda is an Oregonian from the Columbia River Gorge, where her great grandparents farmed upon arriving to America from Japan.   She is currently a student at Willamette University majoring in Rhetoric and Media Studies, with a minor in American Ethnic Studies.  In her spare time, she’s an MBA candidate at Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

The Tension between Charity and Justice

 

Recently I read an article on Other Asians about an amazing and idealistic nonprofit called The Supply.  The stories these founders tell are touching and inspirational, and far be it from me to put down anyone with the drive to make dreams reality, especially for those with no access like the kids in the slums The Supply works with.  That said, I’m still going to be an asshole and bring up some points to complicate things.

One quote from John really resonates with me:

For me, going to Africa taught me what it means to live in the US. The American dream is not only given to you, it’s shoved down your throat. When I see Americans and even myself especially, I’m pissed off I don’t have the newest apple product. They constantly teach me how live.

I feel that when privileged Americans visit wherever it is in the world that teaches them how much better off they are than those living in the global south, they don’t go on to question how such enormous disparities in living conditions arose.  Yes, education can be a great equalizer, a pathway to gain access to privileges, to empower individuals and their communities to improve their conditions.  But how were these huge gaps of inequality created in the first place, making education a necessary and plausible step towards closing them?

It’s not so simple as blaming all the world’s problems on the U.S., but the U.S. is a huge influential global force.  But I think it’s really fucked up to visit a tiny village in Africa just to be reminded how materialistically wealthy and privileged we are in the U.S. and come home thinking “Damn, I’m so lucky not to be in their shoes!”.  At what costs did we gain our wealth?  If you’re curious, take a look at the native Americans, slavery, the Philippines, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guam, Puerto Rico, Micronesia, and Vietnam.  Just to scratch the surface in exploring how many of the U.S.’s actions, policies, and interference have been in the interest of our own economic, political, and military ideals.

Lately I’ve been exploring the tension between charity and justice, between what is necessary now and what will really transform the root causes of inequality.  I love the fierce passion and pursuit of idealism that shows through in these men’s words.  But without a deeper critique questioning how our own wealth and privileges were built, this is only a band aid solution, and not part of a longer journey to transformation and justice.

Yes it is my education that has enabled me to ask such critical questions of nonprofits, to draw connections between slums on another continent and the political and material reality around me in the U.S.  I’m not trying to invalidate the work of these men or any other nonprofits who work for good.  I’m saying yes do service, yes help others, AND always ask why there are so many people who need “help” in the first place.  And explore that.  I’ve been searching for the point of entry where my privileges as an American empower me to make a difference NOT in a slum across the world, but in my own community where agribusinesses exploit migrant labor to provide “fresh” produce year round, and my precious Forever 21 clothes are made by sweatshop labor… and when I see my move, I’ll make it.

Rosie Glade is an American Ethnic Studies major at Willamette University.  She is a second generation Filipina American and fully intends to spend her life organizing, challenging, and freedom dreaming.