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Written by on July 20, 2012

The Teahouse

The Teahouse Comments Off on The Teahouse

Spent the morning with Linus Chao, renowned international artist and official “Living Legend of Hawaii,” at his home halfway up the volcano. My daughter Mango is taking art classes with him and his wife this summer. Four hours of Chinese art in the morning with Mrs. Chao, a little lunch, then four hours of western art in the afternoon with Professor Chao. All Mango needs, Professor Chao says, is a little formal instruction, and she will be on her way. The Chaos must be in their 80s. He is Shandong, she is Dongbei, their voices full of the old accents that I love. He is so warmly effusive, shows me everything, never lets me leave. I cannot believe my luck, and I want to soak in every word.

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Written by on July 12, 2012

The Obon Dance

The Obon Dance Comments Off on The Obon Dance

The bon odori is not a spectator sport, you really have to get in there and dance (after you have eaten of course, that is the other big part of it — tempura, teriyaki chicken, Spam musubi, cone sushi, shave ice, manju, mochi, corn on the cob, saimin — I always have to take a moment to peek in on the temple volunteers cooking madly in the kitchen, big clouds of mochiko billowing, the sounds of tempura hitting the oil … and inhale).

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Written by on July 5, 2012

Asian Pacific American Community Reflections Thirty Years after Beating Death of Vincent Chin

Asian Pacific American Community Reflections Thirty Years after Beating Death of Vincent Chin Comments Off on Asian Pacific American Community Reflections Thirty Years after Beating Death of Vincent Chin

The Vincent Chin case was a shocking wake-up call for Asian Americans of all ethnicities who suddenly realized the brutal consequences of the “all Asians look alike” stereotype and anti-Asian slurs. Coming to America, working hard, and keeping your head down per the model minority stereotype was not enough. This could have happened to anyone. However, thirty years later, the Vincent Chin case has become a staple of Asian American Studies courses; the community has grown, developed, and organized; legal changes have been made. Yet still there is much work to be done.

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Written by on June 27, 2012

Crossing boundaries and standing up for justice together. NoH8. Remembering Vincent Chin

Crossing boundaries and standing up for justice together. NoH8. Remembering Vincent Chin Comments Off on Crossing boundaries and standing up for justice together. NoH8. Remembering Vincent Chin

Such a diverse group of the folks participated in the walk—many races, many ages, many religions, many orientations. Some of the older people actually remembered Vincent Chin from when he was waiting tables at the Golden Star Restaurant. To them, he was a guy from the neighborhood, a guy they knew. The younger people were shocked that such a thing could happen, that a man could kill another man because of the way he looked and never spend a day in jail. As I told the story of the Vincent Chin case, I encouraged folks to see past differences and recognize that we all have a lot more in common than not. We cannot always afford the luxury of dividing down various lines, keeping in our separate groups. Rather, there is power in coalitions and alliances. We are all in this together.

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Written by on June 18, 2012

On Proms and Protocols–Figuring out the rules and creating new paths

On Proms and Protocols--Figuring out the rules and creating new paths Comments Off on On Proms and Protocols–Figuring out the rules and creating new paths

So I am always pleased to see young Asian Americans (who are so much cooler than I will ever be) figuring things out their own way, not being constrained by the way things have always been done, creatively constructing something new. Why depend on a school photographer when you could have a talented friend take your prom pictures for you? Then Photoshop an explosion into the background? Now that is a prom photo worthy of showing my friend, Angry Asian Man.

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Written by on June 10, 2012

Follow up on the Diane Tran case and mobilizing forward to other cases

Follow up on the Diane Tran case and mobilizing forward to other cases Comments Off on Follow up on the Diane Tran case and mobilizing forward to other cases

Amazing girl. Happy ending. Props. Still, this story bothers me. It bothers me because I know that this is only one case, that this sort of thing happens to people of color all the time. She was lucky that her story happened to go viral and she happened to get help, but there are so many other cases that do not happen to capture the attention of the public and the media. Part of the appeal of the Diane Tran story is how neatly the story fit into the Asian American model minority stereotype. If she had been a different ethnic minority or a teen mother or an average student, would she have gotten a second glance?

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Written by on June 4, 2012

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