Categories
Blog

The Messy House That Race Made

Visible divisions within the Chinese American community over NYPD Officer Peter Liang’s conviction in the death of Akai Gurley have created a news and social media spectacle, and deep anxiety for many Asian American racial justice activists. Personally I agree with Liang’s conviction, and strongly condemn the threats and intimidation that some Liang supporters are waging against CAAAV, which has stood staunchly by the Gurley family. But like others, I’m disturbed at how things have become so polarized, and wonder if, despite the optics, Asian Americans may find some room for agreement across the fault lines that have emerged.

First, …

Categories
Blog

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: What the Asian American Protests Over the Peter Liang Conviction May be Missing

A couple of editorials have appeared in the media recently concerning the Asian American-led protests of the second-degree manslaughter conviction of Chinese American NYPD officer, Peter Liang. Mr. Liang, in his role as an NYPD cop, shot and killed Akai Gurley, an innocent, unarmed African American man. The conviction is being celebrated by many racial justice advocates who have, for too long, seen police officers involved in similar shootings let off the hook in hundreds of other cases over recent years, but some Asian Americans claim justice has not been served. Predictably, the conflicting reactions have caused a minor furor …

Categories
Blog

On Solidarity, “Centering Anti-Blackness,” and Asian Americans

As a long-time racial justice worker – a grey head in a movement mainly made up of young people – earnest young Asian Americans, anxious to acknowledge the pivotal role anti-Black racism plays in the perpetuation of white supremacy, often ask me how to “center anti-Blackness” in Asian American racial justice activism. I am as often asked that question by white progressives who aspire to become allies in the Movement for Black Lives.

My answer is simple. Acknowledge the leadership of Black Lives Matter and use the political space and opportunity the movement has created – including the 24/7 media …

Categories
Blog

Bringing the Model Minority Mutiny Home

This fall, in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown, and in the face of the mounting Black body count at the hands of law enforcement, ChangeLab put out a call for a Model Minority Mutiny. We called on Asian Americans to stand up against the model minority myth as an act of self-liberation from a humiliating, trivializing, and dehumanizing stereotype that has, for too long, been used as a justification for labeling Black communities as “problem” minorities, and excluding and criminalizing Black people.

Many Asian Americans were already part of the mobilization. Many more are …

Categories
Blog

The Bamboo Ceiling in the Tech Sector Is a Story About Race

Recent reports indicating a lack of racial and gender diversity at major tech companies like Google, Apple, and Yahoo, among others, have rekindled discussion among Asian Americans about a phenomenon known as the bamboo ceiling. The bamboo ceiling is the Asian equivalent of the glass ceiling, that invisible yet all too consequential barrier that prevents women from rising to executive positions in public and private sector employment.

The reason for all the talk is that, while African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are underrepresented in tech sector employment, Asian Americans aren’t. In fact, we’re over-represented.

Asian Americans …

Categories
Blog

Calling for a Model Minority Mutiny: #fergusonoctober

Your silence will not protect you – Audre Lorde

The almost daily news reports of police brutality toward African Americans, and the #fergusonoctober mobilization had me thinking about my 18th birthday. I know that probably sounds pretty random, but bear with me.

My 18th birthday presents included a case of beer split among friends (18 was still the legal drinking age in Hawai’i in that year), and a beat down at the hands of police officers who stopped me on my walk home from the party. The beating I took was so brutal that I was physically unable to speak …

Categories
Blog

What Goes Down in Ferguson is an Asian American Concern – In Fact, It’s a 99% Issue

Precariat: A social class defined by the shared experience of precarity, a condition of existence without predictability or stability, particularly as pertains to employment and economic security

What the news media has euphemistically referred to as the “situation” in Ferguson, Missouri is driving home a point that too many of us have managed to miss before Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. The Black body count resulting from police actions against unarmed African Americans is mounting. To view the situation as merely tragic (if, indeed, one can rightly put “merely” and “tragic” together) is to downplay the broad scope of …

Categories
Blog

How The Asians Did Not Become White

In a May 29, 2014 Washington Post editorial “How the Asians Became White,” UCLA law professor, Eugene Volokh, argues that the claim that “Silicon Valley remains a white man’s world” resulting from a recent report on racial diversity in employment at Google overlooks the fact that 30 percent of Google employees are Asians, and in a manner he thinks is manipulative. To quote Volokh,

Google on Wednesday released statistics on the makeup of its work force, providing numbers that offer a stark glance at how Silicon Valley remains a white man’s world.
But wait — just a few paragraphs down, …

Categories
Blog

Those Asian American anti-Affirmative Action Ads

That’s a screen shot of the most popular video circulating on the internet on Monday of this week. The video is pretty cool, but ultimately not a big deal, just some footage of a cat protecting a little kid from a dog attack. Sweet. I want a cat like that, don’t you? But if you look on to the left of the video link, you will notice something that might just be about to become a really big deal.

When you’re done cringing, you might want to read Wanted: Disgruntled Asian-Americans to Attack Affirmative Action, by Julianne Hing, published …

Categories
Blog

MSNBC is Doing Asian Americans No Favors

When it comes to racial diversity among the Sunday political talk shows, MSNBC is the undisputed leader. In two studies conducted by ChangeLab (January-June 2012, and January-June 2013), MSNBC’s anchor weekend talk programs, Up with Chris Hayes/Steve Kornacki and Melissa Harris Perry included more guests of color and hosted more discussion of issues of race than all of the other networks offering similar programming combined. The difference is not just in quantity but in the depth and quality of the discourse. Now, mind you, the standard established by the major networks is set pretty low, but they do at least …