Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Simpsons to change racist Apu


THE HARSH SPOTLIGHT Indian/American comedian Hari Kondabolu aimed at the offensive and racist Simpson character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon may have had an impact.

Less than two months after Kondabolu’s film The Problem with Apu aired on national TV, Hank Azaria, the voice behind the character, told TV Guide the long running show is looking at making changes.

For the film, Kondabolu interviewed a number of prominent Indian Americans in Hollywood who uniformly condemned the character. Many talked about how Apu lead to them being ridiculed by their peers.
RELATED: South Asians target Simpsons' Apu
 “The idea that anybody, young or old, past or present, was bullied or teased — or worse — based on the character of Apu on The Simpsons, or the voice or any other tropes of the character is distressing, especially in post-9/11 America,”said Azaria. “The idea that anybody was marginalized based on it or had a time was very upsetting to me personally and professionally.”

Azaria made his comments at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena Friday.

“As far as what is going to happen with the character going forward, it’s really not just up to me,” saying the show’s producers have also “given it a lot of thought.” “They will definitely address — maybe publicly, but certainly within the context of the show — what they want to do, if anything, with the character,” he added according to Indian Express.

The Simpsons has long prided itself on being non-apologetic. It’s known for being an unflinching equal opportunity offender. What it could possibly do to make Apu more palatable is questionable. Short of eliminating the character altogether, one has to wonder how much the character will be changed, if at all.

“The idea that anybody, young or old, past or present, was bullied or teased — or worse — based on the character of Apu on The Simpsons, or the voice or any other tropes of the character is distressing, especially in post-9/11 America,”said Azaria. “The idea that anybody was marginalized based on it or had a time was very upsetting to me personally and professionally.”

Azaria made his comments at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena Friday.

“As far as what is going to happen with the character going forward, it’s really not just up to me,” saying the show’s producers have also “given it a lot of thought.” “They will definitely address — maybe publicly, but certainly within the context of the show — what they want to do, if anything, with the character,” he added according to Indian Express.

The Simpsons has long prided itself on being non-apologetic. It’s known for being an unflinching equal opportunity offender. What it could possibly do to make Apu more palatable is questionable. Short of eliminating the character altogether, one has to wonder how much the character will be changed, if at all.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Who is Gary Lee? Another MLK Day, another President

GARY LEE started his Twitter account@whoisgarylee only three days ago and it was an instant hit.

Lee, who worked under President Barack Obama, left the White House in 2011 to pursue an advanced degree in South Korea. He recalls on his last day, he was summoned to the Oval Office to have the customary photo with the President.

Upon arrival, President Obama greeted him in Korean. It surprised Lee and all he could do was respond in delight. That exact moment was captured by White House photographer Pete Souza.
RELATED: Some thoughts on MLK Day 2018: Be not afraid
Lee was a low-level staffer yet Obama, the most powerful man in the world at the time and had bigger issues to tackle, had taken the time to practice the Korean pronunciation of "hello."

Contrast that with the current White House occupant who blusters, uses coarse language and proclaims, "I'm the least racist person." Yeah, right!

Now, I'm crying, too. That's how a REAL President is supposed to act!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Some thoughts on MLK Day 2018: be not afraid

CNN Graphic

WELL -- THIS HEADLINE should keep white nationalists awake at night. CNN has posted an article titled: 

America is changing. Bigoted slurs, immigration bans and racist rallies can't change that

The article is worth a read. It shows graphically that the standard definition of what is American is changing. 

The racist animus dividing our country must have civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. turning over in his grave. Today, (Jan. 15) on Martin Luther King Day, 2018, our country is facing the worst race relations since the 1960s.

When Donald Trump and his supporters chant "Make America Great Again," they are referring to an era that never existed for people of color. 

It was a time when many states still had laws on the books outlawing interracial marriages, racial covenants were common in deeds forbidding home sales to nonwhites, laws were still prevalent that prevented black Americans from voting, separate but equal was the law of the land, doors were closed o golf clubs, schools, businesses and social institutions to nonwhites and the opportunities for advancement to an education or in a career were few except for the privileged insiders.

During the presidential campaign, Trump exhorted his predominantly white followers to vote for him because "it's your last chance." He was able to tap into the deep uneasiness held by many white Americans of the demographic shift that is changing the face of our country that historically placed them at the top of the heap.

In the back of their minds, Trump supporters knew the coded meaning of "Make America Great Again." That campaign slogan caused the majority of white voters to cast their ballot for Trump. White men voted for him overwhelmingly.  Surprisingly, a majority of white women -- especially the suburban moms -- voted for him despite the number of women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct. 
RELATED: Who is Gary Lee? Another MLK Day, another President
In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won the majority of all the white votes in almost every category. Race trumped common sense. Race trumped the lies and playground insults that came out of Trump's mouth. Race trumped the economy. Race trumped the obvious racist attacks against Muslims, Mexicans, Blacks and immigrants.

It is not just the recent vulgar remarks Trump made about immigrants from certain countries that mark him as a racist. Even before he launched his campaign with a tirade against Mexican immigrants, his life has numerous examples of what he thinks of Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, Asians and other people of color. What makes Trump's brand of racism so frightful, is like so many other whites, he is unaware of his racism.

Based on what Trump said about the immigrants from Haiti, Africa and El Salvador, Trump continues to use race to divide our country by stoking the fears of the white majority, fears based on ignorance and racial stereotypes.

CNN is not alone with its conclusions, According to the nopartisan Pew Research Center, immigrants are driving overall workforce growth in the U.S. As the Baby Boom generation heads toward retirement, growth in the nation’s working-age population (those ages 25 to 64) will be driven by immigrants and the U.S.-born children of immigrants, at least through 2035.

This demographic trend scares the bejeebers out of white supremacists.

To quote President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the "Only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Trump would have us believe that if people of color were in the majority it would mean losing the American dream, that the Constitution would no longer be the law of the land, that equality, justice and opportunity would disappear from our core values. 

I wish there was some way to convince white people that there is really nothing to fear. Those  dreams and values are universal that all men and women -- no matter what race -- cherish and hold for their families, communities and our nation.

Even though the changes are inevitable -- as CNN notes -- and most likely it will be uncomfortable. That doesn't mean it has to be turbulent if white people would just accept the colorization of our country. They need to learn to get along with a wider range of people -- something that we people of color have had to learn to do for a long time, even when it meant sometimes biting our tongues.

I was at a college reunion recently, and as old college friends, we BS'd a lot. I was asked by a white friend I used to share a house with a few blocks from campus, "What was the biggest problem facing America?"

Oh, hell! I hate having to represent all the people of color in the country, I thought to myself.  But the question wasn't patronizing. It was asked in all seriousness. It didn't take long for me to answer. I said, "The truth?"

"We'd expect nothing but the truth," he said.

"White people have to learn to accept the inevitable changes that are occurring demographically and learn, that in the end, not much will change ...,: I paused ,as I tried to read his face to see if I was risking our friendship.

My friend jumped in and finished my thought: "... Except we (white guys) won't have that white privilege," he smiled.

"Right, right, right," I said in surprise. 

He gets it. His response gives me hope.

Happy MLK Day!

New TV project: First Rule of Ten should be -- 'no whitewashing'

LET'S HOPE this TV project reaches fruition: A former Buddhist monk trying to balance his beliefs with modern-day Los Angeles. Sounds intriguing.

It's unlikely the producers or the network won't turn the protagonist into a white guy, (i.e.. Iron Fist) spouting Mr. Miyagi-like sayings.

It's a good project coming from actor-turned-producer Daniel Dae Kim's production coming 3AD, using to full advantage the production muscle he has gained through the success of his  ABC drama series The Good Doctor.

Also, having playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) working on the project gives more support for an Asian or Asian/American actor to play the lead.

The television project is First Rule of Ten, based on the successful books by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay.
First Rule of Ten focuses on a young monk, who after years spent struggling with the teachings of his Tibetan monastery, leaves to find his identity in the unlikeliest of places – Los Angeles, according to Deadline. There, he’s forced to reconcile the differences between the Buddhist teachings he’s grown up with and the new fast-paced lifestyle filled with temptations. His path to self-discovery becomes further complicated when he witnesses a brutal crime and becomes inextricably entwined in its investigation.
RELATED: AAPI actors moving from the sidekick to the star
“3AD is excited to develop First Rule of Ten as our first collaboration with ITV Studios America,” said Kim. “The books tell a beautifully universal story from a uniquely Asian American perspective.

Kim, who left his Hawaii Five-0 series over a pay disparity dispute last spring, went into the production end of the business, ostensibly to produce more shows with Asian perspectives and storylines.

His first project, The Good Doctor, though derived from a Korean series of the same name, had a white protagonist. He realized to gain credibility among the Hollywood community, his project needed to be a success. He decided to focus more on the autistic angle of the lead character rather than his race.

With the surprise success of The Good Doctor, one of the top shows of the season, he has been able to launch other projects that will have that Asian/American perspective that he has sought.
  • Re Jane is a comedy adaptation of the Patricia Park novel of the same name, has landed at TV Land. It's about a Korean/American woman trying to reconcile the conflicting values of Korea and America.
  • Exhibit A is a legal drama based on the South Korean series My Lawyer, Mr. Jo, in the works at CBS.  According to Deadline, if Exhibit A is picked up to series, it would be the first U.S. non-action drama to feature an Asian/American lead. 

A major 'Oops!' on missile alert system sends Hawaii into a frenzy

Vern Miyagi, Hawaii's emergency manager, was on the Sunday morning talk shows explaining what happened.

OFFICIALS ARE responding after Hawaiians were sent into a frenzy Saturday (Jan. 13)  morning after receiving an emergency alert warning them to seek immediate shelter from a ballistic missile threat, reports NBC
Thirty-eight minutes passed before they received another official mobile alert that the previous message was a false alarm.
On Saturday afternoon, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi announced at a press conference that a single individual had made the mistake. “I accept responsibility for this,” said Miyagi. “This is my team. We made a mistake. We are going to process this and study this to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Local television interrupted normal programs to alert viewers that the missile warning was in effect at 8:07 a.m. until 6:07 p.m. Following the false mobile alert at 8:07 a.m., officials had quickly checked with the military’s U.S. Pacific Command to ensure there was no missile threat. At 8:20 a.m., the state’s Emergency Management Agency tweeted, “NO missile threat to Hawaii.” The second mobile alert notifying residents of the mistake was sent at 8:45 a.m., 38 minutes after the first alert.
“USPACOM has detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. Earlier message was sent in error. State of Hawaii will send out a correction message as soon as possible,” said Cdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command.
The error led to a huge discussion over how such a thing could happen, especially when there are such high tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. Kim Jong-un had claimed recently that the “entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons.” Just Wednesday, Trump apparently expressed that he will be open to dialogue with North Korea when it’s “appropriate.” “We’ve always supported having talks with North Korea as long as they’re credible and serious,” said a Trump administration official.
“What my family went through and what so many families in Hawaii just went through is a true realization that they have 15 minutes to seek some form of shelter or else they’re dead — gone,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, told MSNBC. She questioned how such a mistake could even happen and why it took so long to correct it.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige
“We’ve got to get to the underlying issue here of why are the people of Hawaii and this country facing a nuclear threat coming from North Korea today, and what is this President doing urgently to eliminate that threat?” Gabbard said, according to CNN. “I’ve been calling on President Trump to directly negotiate with North Korea, to sit across the table from Kim Jong-un.”
“We have the sirens, we have cell phones, we have internet and social media mechanisms,” Hawaii Gov. David Ige said at a press conference on Saturday. “We know that we need to be able to broadcast messages across all platforms. There was no automated way to send a false alarm [to wireless devices]. We had to initiate a manual process. That is why it took a while to notify everyone.”
Miyagi explained that a new team had come in after a shift change to test the ballistic missile checklist. However, the wrong button was pushed, sending the alert for an actual event instead of for the test. The responsible individual will not be fired but he and his coworkers will be retrained, according to Miyagi.
According to officials, Hawaii plans to utilize a new protocol before sending out a similar alert in the future, including adding a second person to the process. The Federal Communications Commission plans to begin its own investigation on the incident, according to Chairman Ajit Pai.

Major policy change: DACA accepting renewals for extending protected status

DACA supporters demonstrated in front of the White House.

THE DACA PROGRAM, which protects young immigrants from deportation, has resumed accepting renewal requests for deferred action.

Due to a federal court order, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service has started accepting the renewals after freezing applications when Donald Trump called for the end of the Obama-era program.

The change by the USCIS comes four days after a federal judge in California temporary blocked Trump's order to end the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals program for the young people who were brought into this country by their undocumented parents.

The decision could impact up to 800,000 DACA enrollees including at least 13,000 Asian/Americans. They have been living in uncertainty, unable to plan their future or live their lives since Trump declared the of the DACA program last September.

Trump ordered Congress to come up with legislation to protect this group of immigrants. So far, members of Congress have been able to come up with a replacement. Democrats said that a decision for DACA had to come before they could agree on the budget, which needs to be made by Jan. 19.

The sticking point is the Trump administration's insistence that any deal on DACA must include funding for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, to which Democrats are adamently opposed.

Following is the USCIS press release issued Saturday, Jan. 13 outlines the steps that need to be taken to renew a DACA application:

Individuals who were previously granted deferred action under DACA may request renewal by filing Form I-821D (PDF), Form I-765 (PDF), and Form I-765 Worksheet (PDF), with the appropriate fee or approved fee exemption request, at the USCIS designated filing location, and in accordance with the instructions to the Form I-821D (PDF) and Form I-765 (PDF). USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA. USCIS will not accept or approve advance parole requests from DACA recipients.

If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016, you may still file your DACA request as a renewal request. Please list the date your prior DACA ended in the appropriate box on Part 1 of the Form I-821D.

If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired before Sept. 5, 2016, or your DACA was previously terminated at any time, you cannot request DACA as a renewal (because renewal requests typically must be submitted within one year of the expiration date of your last period of deferred action approved under DACA), but may nonetheless file a new initial DACA request in accordance with the Form I-821D and Form I-765 instructions. To assist USCIS with reviewing your DACA request for acceptance, if you are filing a new initial DACA request because your DACA expired before Sept. 5, 2016, or because it was terminated at any time, please list the date your prior DACA expired or was terminated on Part 1 of the Form I-821D, if available.

Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer a removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Further, deferred action under DACA does not confer legal status upon an individual and may be terminated at any time, with or without a Notice of Intent to Terminate, at DHS’s discretion. DACA requests will be adjudicated under the guidelines set forth in the June 15, 2012 DACA memo.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Stereotypes about Asians just won't die

TWO ASIAN STEREOTYPES are alive and still in the minds of many non-Asians. They popped up again this week in the hubbub surrounding Donald Trump's racist remarks when referring to immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and Africa.
In defense of Trump, a conservative commentator on CNN referred to the model minority trope when she said Trump “would welcome immigrants from Asia so he is open to accepting people from other countries.” said Carrie heffield said, referencing information from a White House official.

Liberal commentator Keith Boykin, who was on the same panel, called her on her use of the model minority image, “This is not good because it’s playing into the stereotype of the model minority,”

The comparisons of recent immigrants from South Asia, China and Korea working in tech and as engineers is not a fair comparison to immigrants who came as refugees or working in lower-paying jobs.

The model minority stereotype also hurts Asian/Americans because it ignores the wide diversity within that community, some who sruggle academically or live in extreme poverty.

The other instance of the Asian woman came about when NbC began researching other instances of racism in the White House. NBC investigators found out that when Trump was being briefed by a former senior analyst, who is Korean/American, about the situation on Pakistan, he interrupted the intelligence briefing by asking where she was from.

That's right that stupid question Asians and Asian/Americans have heard in our lives. This is how NBC reported the incident:
A career intelligence analyst who is an expert in hostage policy stood before President Donald Trump in the Oval Office last fall to brief him on the impending release of a family long held in Pakistan under uncertain circumstances.

It was her first time meeting the president, and when she was done briefing, he had a question for her.

”Where are you from?” the president asked, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the exchange.

New York, she replied.

Trump was unsatisfied and asked again, the officials said. Referring to the president’s hometown, she offered that she, too, was from Manhattan. But that’s not what the president was after.

He wanted to know where “your people” are from, according to the officials, who spoke off the record due to the nature of the internal discussions.

After the analyst revealed that her parents are Korean, Trump turned to an adviser in the room and seemed to suggest her ethnicity should determine her career path, asking why the “pretty Korean lady” isn’t negotiating with North Korea on his administration’s behalf, the officials said.
Was he even listening to the critical information in the briefing? Trump apparently had fallen under the spell of "yellow fever," a fetish for Asian women, something that is shared by alt-right men, according to a New York Times article.

"As a commenter wrote on an alt-right forum, 'exclusively' dating Asian women is practically a 'white-nationalist rite of passage,' reads the article.

Damn those stereotypes! They refuse to die!

(CORRECTED on Jan. 13, 8:30 a.m. PST, to correct subject of intelligence briefing.)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Racist, vile, vulgar language scuttles DACA deal, draws strong reaction from AAPI community

DACA enrollees ask: "Now What?
(UPDATED 10 p.m., Jan. 12)

BY NOW we've all heard about the racist comments uttered by Donald Trump. The noise and fury arising from those remarks drowned out the reason the meeting was being held.

What has almost been lost in the coverage of the story, is that two senators came forward with a bipartisan deal that might have been a solution for the 800,000 young Dreamers who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. About 13,000 of the almost 800,000 DACA participants are from Asia, mostly from South Korea, the Philippines, India and Pakistan.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham were meeting with Trump to discuss a compromise plan from a bipartisan "Gang of Six" senators, The other members of the "Gang of Six" included Republicans Jeff Flake and Cory Gardner and Democrats Michael Bennet and Bob Menendez.

Durbin and Graham arrived at the White House expecting to meet with Trump but they were surprised that also invited to the meeting were a group of Republican senators noted for their hardline positions on immigration. Those hardliners included Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue and Republican Reps. Bob Goodlatte, Kevin McCarthy and Mario Diaz-Balart were also at the Trump meeting on Thursday.

So - from the get-go -- the meeting was stacked to set up a rejection of any compromise putting into jeopardy the ability for Congress to meet the Jan. 19 deadline for reaching agreement on government spending. Many Democrats insist that action on DACA must be met before they agree to a budget.

As Durbin explained the "Gang of Six" compromise and reached the part about extending protections for refugees from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti, Trump then interjected his now infamous remarks.

"Why do we want all these people from 'shithole countries' coming here?" Trump told senators in the Oval Office. Those remarks blew up any further discussion on the DACA compromise.
The Gang of Six's proposal included a path to citizenship for all Dreamers -- not just those who put their trust in government by enrolling in DACA, thus putting them at risk of deportation under the current administration.

In addition, they proposed a down payment of the $1.6 billion requested by the administration this year on border security, limits to the ability of recipients to sponsor family members and an end to the diversity lottery and reallocation of those visas in part to cover people who were under Temporary Protected Status, according to CNN.

Cotton, Perdue, Goodlatte and McCarthy pushed back at the Durbin and Graham proposal.

"I'm not sure what the next step will be," Durbin told reporters. "The President invited us to -- at his little get-together in the Cabinet room -- to come up with proposals, and we did. It's a bipartisan proposal which we've worked on for four months in the Senate, and I don't know what happens next."

Asked what it would take to bring something to the floor -- Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said any deal would have to hit the four items identified by Trump in an earlier meeting on Jan. 10. Besides a fix for DACA, the compromise should include border security (aka The Wall), something to curtail "chain migration" or family-based migration, and ending the diversity lottery -- and be "something that the President would sign."

In a joint statement after the disturbing Oval Office meeting, the Gang of Six senators noted their deal hit those four points and pledged to work to seek support from colleagues, without acknowledging the setback.

The reaction from the AAPI community strongly condemned Trump's vulgar comments:

“The President’s words were simply racist, repugnant, and reprehensible, and they have no place in our political discourse," said 
Vanita Gupta, who served as the Obama Justice Department’s top civil rights official and now heads The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.  "Congress must prove that America’s founding values and principles are more than words by repudiating the President’s disgusting remarks and passing bipartisan legislation now to protect Dreamers and families covered by Temporary Protected Status.”

Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statement condemning President Trump’s racist comments:

“The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus strongly condemns President Trump’s reprehensible statement about immigrants from African and other countries. It is racist and reveals his thinking that he would like to ‘Make America White Again.’ President Trump would like to take this country backward and end immigration as we know it.

“With his statement, it is now clear why President Trump has moved to end the DACA program, decimate legal immigration, and to end the Temporary Protected Status of countries.

“CAPAC believes strongly that the most urgent business at hand is to pass a clean DREAM Act. We must protect the lives of the 800,000 young people who fear deportation to a country they do not even know, and who not only come from Mexico, but also South Korea, the Philippines, India and many other countries from around the world. We also believe, however that, such a solution should not be done on the back of our family-based immigration system.

“We are deeply disturbed that the President of the United States made racist and white supremacist comments regarding immigrants from Africa and Haiti. Our nation’s strength is rooted in its global diversity and our nation’s leaders should celebrate – and not demonize – immigrants," said a statement from Asian Americans Advancing Justice. 

"While we condemn the President’s racism, we also call on our Congressional members to not fall for this latest distraction. Congress must focus on passing a clean Dream Act that does not come at the expense of our long-standing family-based immigration system and diversity visa program.”


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Critics' Choice Award: Kumail Nanjiani said he'd "like to thank all the white men"

Kumail Nanjiani and wife Emily V. Gordon, both of whom cowrote the script 'The Big Sick' based on their real-life courtship,  receive their Critics Choice Award.
IN AN UNPRECEDENTED event, The Big Sick, a movie based on the inter-racial courtship of Pakistani/American Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, won the Critics' Choice Award for Best Movie Comedy.

Nanjiani used his Critics' Choice Awards speech to make a point about diversity on Thursday night.

RELATED: Anna Awards gives Best Movie to 'The Big Sick'
'I’d like to thank all the white men who allowed us to stand here today,' said the Pakistani-born actor and comic after accepting the trophy for Best Comedy.

Nanjiani was honored for The Big Sick, the film he co-wrote with wife Emily V. Gordon, inspired by their own life.

During their courtship, Gordon suffered a life-threatening illness and was placed in an induced coma. As she accepted the award, she said, 'We had such an amazing cast that brought the movie to life. I want to thank my doctor.' 

It is the first time in Hollywood history that an original script written by an Asian/American was so honored.

2017 Anna Awards picks best picture, outstanding actors and more

'The Big Sick' has the honor fof winning the 2018 s Best Asian/American Move Award.

IT'S AWARDS SEASON: The Golden Globes were just handed out. The writers, actors and directors will be handing out its yearly awards. The Grammy's are coming and soon, the Academy Awards will be announced.

Although they are better known and have the glitz, glamor and hype, here are the award announcements that you've all been anxiously waiting for. Right? The winners for the Fourth Annual Anna Awards, granted to Asian American and Pacific Island artists for their work in 2017 because ... except for Aziz Ansari, no one else seems to recognize their work.

Anna May Wong
The awards are named after Anna May Wong, one of the earliest Asian/AMerican actors who had to endure playing the exotic, or the submissive, or the sexual stereotypes of Asian women even though she was born and raised in Los Angeles. She was a star even though Hollywood never gave her the credit she deserved nor the chance to play a role beyond the stereotypes.

Views From the Edge came up with the idea for the awards  in 2014 when no Asians were nominated for any award on any of the entertainment award shows. Not much has changed since then. There is no physical trophy or certificate, just a nod in their direction with an attaway tap on their shoulder.

The awards categories change somewhat from year to year depending on circumstances, incidents or the news context of the period. To be clear, there is no statuette, trophy or money attached to the awards and they're presented for your enjoyment and pleasure. If it raises an eyebrow or two, that's OK, I'd like to hear from you.

 It may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, but it says something about the current state of American pop-culture. So, with no apologies to the Academy and the Hollywood Foreign Press, we present the Anna Awards.

Best Asian/American Movie 
The Big Sick based on the true-life story of the interracial courtship of Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gardner. For non-Asians the movie is funny because of the performances of the great cast. However, for Asian/Americans the familiarity to the cultural misunderstandings takes the movie a notch up to hilarious. On Thursday, (Jan. 11), The Big Sick was awarded the Critics' Choice Award for Best Comedy.

'Columbus' was not nominated for any of the big awards, but the Anna's recognizes its brilliance.
Best Underrated Asian/American Movie
Columbus, starring John Cho and directed by Kogonada, is the best movie hardly anyone has seen. It is not for everyone. There are no superheroes, no spectacular special effects, no sex and it is not cleverly hip. It is not Asian/American in theme, but its conversations of family, ambition and living to one's potential are universal. The movie is on several critics' top movies for 2017 but it failed to generate enough buzz to get the attention of the award shows. With Kogonada at the helm, the film is a feast for the eyes. Every lingering shot is beautifully framed and conveys a mood of suffocating beauty.

Best Director
Kogonada, who directed Columbus, his first feature film. He created a leisurely-paced essay on architecture and familial relationships. No sex, no action, just wonderful acting by John Cho, Haley Lu and the rest of the cast. His mood-setting made Columbus, Indiana, with its humid, rainy weather. lush greenery and architectural masterpieces, the overriding character of the movie. Columbus, the town, could be smothering in a way, not only weatherwise, but culturally and the way small-towns can cut off ambition and risk-taking. by its residents.

John Cho, right, discusses a scene witih Columbus director Koganada.
Best Actor
John Cho in Columbus. The veteran actor once again showed his versatility in his restrained but conflicted character. His soul-searching journey never comes to an end but as he comes to accept his fate and what comes next in his own life, he launches another kindred soul on her own journey of self-discovery. It's a far cry from Cho's breakout role in the Harold & Kumar franchise or as a starship helmsman. It is Cho's best work.

Best Actress
Hong Chau in Downsizing. Who can argue against nominations for the Golden Globes, SAG and possibly the Academy Awards? The Vietnamese/American plays an immigrant who speaks with a heavy accent without resorting to stereotype. She is the first AAPI actor to be nominated for the major awards since Hailee Steinfeld, a Filipina/American, was nominated in 2011 for her role in True Grit. The last time Asian American to win an acting award was Haing Ngor, a Cambodian refugee and physician, when he received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of journalist Dith Pran in 1984’s The Killing Fields.

Biggest Disappointment
Killing oft Captain Philippa Georgiou played by Michelle Yeoh in Star Trek Discovery's second episode. After heavily touting the first Asian starship captain in the series, teasing about her possible storyline and building excitement in the AAPI community, the show's writers killed her off before we even got to know her. In the show's first season, the writers introduced the idea of alternative universes so I'm hoping we haven't seen the last of her.

Best Stage Performance
Eva Noblezada in Miss Saigon. The pride of San Diego, Calif. where she was born, and Charlotte, North Carollina, where she was raised, Noblezada  was nominated for a Tony for her portrayal of the title role of Kim in the Broadway revival of the musical that takes place during the Vietnam era. Will her success follow in the footsteps of the first Kim, Tony-winning Lea Salonga?

Best Badass Man of the Year
Daniel Wu in AMC's Into the Badlands. The action series still has the best choreographed fights on television thanks to the fantastic work of Dee Dee Ku, who did the same for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Wu, who doubles as producer, demands the best from his actors, including a strenuous boot camp  before they even begin filming.

Melissa O'Neil
Best Badass Woman of the Year
Melissa O'Neil in SyFy's Dark Matter, in which she plays Two (aka Portia Lin). The Chinese/Canadian won Canadian Idol, but her fight scenes on both shows are well fought, fast and with (apparent) force. She doesn't hold a belt in any martial arts that I know of, but her footwork, body movement could fool me. Unfortunately, Dark Matter went dark this year.

Is He or Isn't He?
Shazad Latif plays the psychologically damaged security officer Ash Tyler in Star Trek Discovery. Ash Tyler is not exactly an Asian name so that explains the question mark on his racial origins. Latif, however, was born in London in July 1988 of mixed English, Scottish and Pakistani descent. Considering Tyler's troubled past, we're not sure how long he will last in this universe.

Newcomer of the Year
Kelly Marie Tran in the movie Star Trek: The Last Jedi. This pick was a no-brainer. Tran, better known for her work on Youtube, her first major break/role is HUGE in more ways than one. She plays mechanic Rose Tico, the first impactful role played by an Asian in the nine-movie Star Wars saga. Tico plays a heroic role in the war between the galactic Empire and The Rebellion and most likely will be back in Episode 9 of the franchise.

Has Finn Jones convinced anybody of his martial arts prowess in 'Iron Fist?
Best Whitewashed Role Award
Finn Jones in Netflix's Iron Fist and The Defenders. Steeped in Asian culture, taught the martial arts by Tibetan monks, Jones is the ultimate white savior, arrogantly admonishing actual Asians (such as Kendo instructor Coleen Wing played by Jessica Henwick) to the "truth" and "techniques." Really, what would have been lost to the overall plot if the main role was portrayed by a real-life Asian? Or, someone who doesn't just go through the choreographed fight scenes by the numbers and looks like he's had some martial arts training?

Best Stereotype Buster Award
Kelly Marie Tran, wins her second Anna this year for her role in The Last Jedi. Her character, Rose Tico, is a mechanic who performs heroically in the war against the evil Empire. She didn't resort to being a martial artist, Dragon Lady, submissive or sexual plaything. At last, there's an Asian cosplayers have someone they can dress like without having to having to explain themselves. Rose Tico forever!

Unexpected Appearance of an Asian
Gary Young showed up unexpectedly in Outlander, which partially takes place in the 18th century. The show follows the adventures of a Scotsman and time traveler from the 20th century. This season, the show's third, moved from Scotland to the Caribbean so for someone who hasn't read the novels the show is based on, it was a complete surprise that a Chinese character should pop up but there he is: Mr. Willloughby, aka Yi Tien Cho. Apparently, in the books, Mr. Willoughby speaks with a heavy accent and is racist characture of a Chinese man, so much so, that book readers cringed at the idea of including him in the TV series. Fortunately, Willoughby's portrayal by Young is a far cry from the book version.

Mickey Rooney Award
Formerly known the "Worst Portrayal of an Asian American" award we've renamed it for Mickey Rooney's embarrassing portrayal of I. Y. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's for the actor portraying a character that best exemplifies the negative stereotypes of Asians or Asian Americans. This year, the ignominious award goes to Hank Anzaria for providing the voice of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the Indian storekeeper in the cartoon show The Simpsons. Comedian Hari Kondabolu took a hard look at Apu in a documentary, The Problem With Apu. He says the character exploits stereotypes of Indian immigrants. Anzaria offered a heartfelt apology to anyone who's been offended and said changes are on the way. We'll wait and see.

Outspoken social critic
Chrissy Teigan - We're considering renaming this award after Chrissy, who has 9.5 million Twitter followers. She keeps winning this category year after year. The super model is not afraid to give us an intimate peek into the highs and lows of her personal life and speaks for many of us against injustice, inequality and racism and all the craziness coming out of the White House. Most recently she fought back against a racist tweeter who tried to link her to the pizzagate scandal, a fake news story created by Trump supporters.

Breakout Artist of the Year
BTS - Who can forget the American debut of the K-pop band at the American Music Awards? It was like the second coming of the Beatles, girls screaming and crying and fellow artists clapping and dancing. The 7-member boy band has racked up accolades this year. Among the most noteworthy of those has been becoming the first K-pop group to crack the top 40 on the benchmark Billboard Hot 100 chart with their track "MIC Drop." How long will the BTS fever last? Who cares? Enjoy the moment while it lasts.

Truth Be Told
Comedian Kumail Nanjiani's opening monologue when he hosted Saturday Night Live didn't shy away from race relations, stereotypes and his Pakistani heritage. It might have made some people uncomfortable but that's what happens when truth is spoken. Watch it below: