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A Letter to My Chinese Immigrant Father About American Racism

The Peter Liang conviction was a reminder of the space between my father and me. Usually the space hangs there, pregnant but unperturbed. Every now and then, however, something like Liang’s conviction forces us to actively confront this truth: that he, a first-generation Chinese immigrant who embraced the “American Dream,” and I, his queer Chinese-American daughter, are very different. It seems obvious, but we rarely speak of it, because I’m expected to not be different.

In the weeks following Liang’s conviction, I’ve composed many unsent letters to my father. The first ones, composed after he called to proudly tell me …

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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, …

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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 …

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When Being Chinese Is Not Enough: Peter Liang and the Future of Ethnic Solidarity

Chinese Americans across the country are planning to rally on April 26 in defense of Peter Liang. The rookie New York Police Department officer fatally shot Akai Gurley in a stairwell of the Louis H. Pink Houses housing project in Brooklyn on November 20, 2014. Gurley, 28, was unarmed at the time.

The demonstrations are the latest response decrying Liang’s indictment for manslaughter. A March gathering outside Manhattan’s City Hall organized by the Greater New York Coalition to Support Officer Liang attracted an estimated 2000 attendees. A live petition to the White House, opened February 17, “Demand[s] Brooklyn District …

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I dream of Asian America #JusticeForAkaiGurley

This February, a grand jury indicted rookie NYPD Officer Peter Liang on charges related to the fatal shooting last November of 28-year-old Akai Gurley. Gurley, an unarmed African American man, was killed when he stepped into the stairwell of the public housing building where his girlfriend lived with their two-year-old daughter. At the time, Liang and another officer were conducting a vertical patrol, a routine tactic in which police officers sweep public housing buildings in search of criminal activity. Liang drew his gun and fired a bullet that hit Gurley in the torso, killing him.

Liang’s indictment has sparked protests …