Sunday, June 16, 2024

Barrier- busting beauty queen is Cambodian American, wife and transgender

Bailey Anne Kennedy broke barriers when she won the Miss Maryland pageant.

“Sometimes the underdog does win in the end,” Bailey Anne Kennedy said in an Instagram post following her crowning as the new Miss Maryland.

By winning the pageant on June 1, the first day of Pride month, Kennedy broke through numerous barriers: She is the first Asian American, the first woman over 29 years of age, the first married woman and the first trangender woman to win the Miss Maryland contestt. She will represent Maryland for the Miss USA title August 4 in Los Angeles.

"As an Asian, we have been raised to be humble and be grateful for every opportunity," Kennedy told NBC. "So at that time, I was crying, thinking that 'Oh my god, I am doing something big for the communit

Some on social media criticized Kennedy and the Miss USA organization, making transphobic remarks about her inclusion and saying she didn’t deserve to win over the pageant’s cisgender women. She addressed the comments in another Instagram post.

“Not everyone has to agree with the spaces that you occupy, and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t worthy of these opportunities,” she posteed on the social media platform. “The work that I will do for the remainder of my life is to make sure that children who feel like me will never have to worry about the consequences of being who they are by simply being myself and being a positive contribution to society.”

The Cambodian American immigrant's win last week was a whilrlwind of emotions because I knew it was bigger than me,” she told Washington, D.C., TV station WDCW. “I knew that it was going to mean a lot for all the LGBTQ kids out there who might feel like they don’t belong in a box — like me growing up.”

Previously women over the age of 28 were not allowed to compete in the pageant. Transgender women have been allowed to compete for the past decade. Filipino 
American Kataluna Enriquez was the first Asian American trans woman to win a state titlewhen she was crowned Miss Nevada in 2021.

"Since 2012 trans women have been welcomed into our organization. Additionally, as of 2023 the organization invited all adult women of any age, marital and family status. As an organization, we fully support our Miss Maryland USA 2024, Bailey Anne," a spokesperson told Newsweek in a statement.

"I hope that I can be a beautiful contribution to society so that we are no longer looking at the LGBTQIA+ community in a negative light," Kennedy continued in her interview with NBC. "Minority girls are going to be able to see me and see themself and be able to see their reflection through my journey as well."

EDITOR'S NOTE: For additional commentary, news and views from an AANHPI perspective, follow me on Threads, on or at the blog Views From the Edge.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

James Beard awards: Thai restaurant named most "outstanding" and FilAm as best chef in California

Inside the Langbaan restaurant.

Asian American chefs and restaurants won prestigious James Beard awards June 10, considered the Oscars of the culinary world.

Portland, Oregon's Langbaan, serving Thai food, was named the country’s most outstanding restaurant at the James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony June 10 in Chicago.

According to the James Beard foundation, the award goes to an establishment that “demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality and operations, while contributing positively to its broader community.”
 FYI:  Here Is the Full List of James Beard Awards 2024 Winners including a number of other Asian American chefs.
“This 24-seat restaurant, which channels sort of a Bangkok night market vibe, has been instrumental to introducing Portland to authentic addictive flavors of Thai cooking,” awards show commentators said. “Whether it’s the bright salads, mouth-numbing larb, complex curries … Langbaan is the most fun you can have in Portland on a night out.”

“Thai food had much, much more than what Americans had seen.” said Langbaan owner Akkapong Ninsom. The restaurant changes its menu every two months to focus on a different region in Thailand and one of the first to offer a Thai tasting menu.
Courtesy of Kuya Lord
Chef Lord Maynard Llera at work.

Additionally, Filipino American Lord Maynard Llera, owner of Kuya Lord in Los Angeles won the James Beard Award for Best Chef of California in ceremonies held in Chicago..

"It's just surreal," he said after his win Monday night. "I came here 20 years ago from the Philippines with a dream of opening a restaurant."

This is his first James Beard Award win, and the only award Los Angeles took home this year.

The award brings attention to Philippine cuisine, which has long been overlooked while other Asian cuisnes won acceptance and praise in the US. The award puts Kuya Lord on the nation's culinary map alongside Chicago’s tasting menu restaurant Kasama, San Francisco's Abaca and Seattle’s Musang.
Befor the Beard honors, Kuya Lord, a 20-seat over-the-counter restaurant, was drawing raves from local food critics.

 Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Bill Addison called the Llera “a gripping new expressionist of Filipino cooking.”

“The finesse and power of Llera’s cooking has transitioned seamlessly from pop-up to restaurant,” Addison noted.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For additional commentary, news and views from an AANHPI perspective, follow me on Threads, on or at the blog Views From the Edge.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Kahuku High School continues its tradition of staging a rousing graduation ceremony

The Kuhuku High school seniors begin their performance during their graduation.

This is the time of year when high school seniors take the next big step in their lives. Millions of young people take part in their graduation ceremonies.

Several years ago I stumbled upon a video showing the commencement ceremonies of Kahuku High School located in the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. We continue that tradition this year.

Initially, what caught my attention was the student body population, dominated by Asians, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders -- a welcome contrast to most mainland high schools.

FYI: For the complete gradution ceremony, click here. Skip the speeches and songs and  begin at the 1:37 mark.

What also surprised me was the passion and pride of the senior class and the 100% participation in song and choreography for thl event they'll remember for the rest of their lives. Again, that was a comoplete contrast to the high school I attended where being cool was not showing honest emotion and showing enthusiasm was looked as too rah-rah.

The Kahuku graduation ceremonies took place May 18. It culiminated with a rousing haka led by Alisha GAleiia, the first female student to lead traditional haka.

The student population of Kahuku High & Intermediate School is 1,353 and the school serves 7-12.

The singing and dancing tradition began in 1995 when current Principal Pauline Masania was a teacher and the senior class advisor.

Initially, she worried that the students wouldn't buy into particcipatio but she was surprised at the solidarity that developed among the different cliques that develop in high school.

 “Sometimes you have some kids, for them, it’s really out of the comfort zone. They don’t give it their whole heart. But as I watch the practices, I thought every student is thoroughly enjoying themselves and going all out,” Masaniai told KHON.

The videos of the cseremonies continue to go viral. Other schools have contacted her thoping to do something similar at their their high schools. The graduation ceremony was even eatured on the Today show.

Sena Fonoimoana was a graduating senior in 2001 He helped cchoreographed his claass's commencement and has been doing ever sice. .

“I’m just blown away at where it is at and where it’s gotten,” Fonoimoana told KHON. “This is just timing for this class with social media now, the way it is so… It’s been here for a while and we’re just trying to carry on the tradition or just grateful it’s at the stage and the kids realize I can make a positive effect.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: For additional commentary, news and views from an AANHPI perspective, follow me on Threads, on or at the blog Views From the Edge.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

FBI admits mistakes of the China initiative; seek better communication with community

Usually when a federal agency makes a mistake, it tries to brush it off with bureaucratic rhetoric so it was unusual when an FBI official admits the agency made in implementing the much malighned China Initiative.

The China Initiative, a Trump administrative policy supposedly to uncover spies of the Peoples Republic of China, had a “negative impact” on the Asian American community admitted Jill Murphy, deputy assistant director of counter-intelligence at the Fedreal Bureau of Investigation.

Murphy made her statement at an event sponsored by Rice’s Baker Institute and Office of Innovation and advocacy groups like the Asian Pacific American Justice Task Force, brought together FBI officials, field agents, AANHPI community leaders, activists and scientists for the first time on a livestream. More than 400 participants from across the country took part in the session.

The China Initiative targeted researchers and scientists of Chinese descent but wound up racial profiling innocent academics, health care workers, and businesspeople for failing to disclose alleged ties to the Chinese government.

Although the FBI targeted hundreds of people of Chinese descent from 2018 to 2022, in the end, there were no espionage convictions.

However, the PRC's attempts to influence US policy, harassment of US residents and theft of technology and research is very real. Most recently:

  • On June 8, a US Navy service member was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay a $5,500 fine for transmitting sensitive US military information to an intelligence officer from the People's Republic of China (PRC) in exchange for bribery payments.

The Department of Justice has issued warnings of China's interference with US elections this year by spreading misinformation and disinformation targeting Chinese American voters through Chinese lnaguage publications and social media.

In the 2020 elections, the DOJ said the hackers also began targeting email accounts belonging to senior staffers of a presidential campaign in May 2020 and Washington-based journalists, several months before the general election.

“The Justice Department will not tolerate efforts by the Chinese government to intimidate Americans who serve the public, silence the dissidents who are protected by American laws, or steal from American businesses,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement, adding that the “case serves as a reminder of the ends to which the Chinese government is willing to go to target and intimidate its critics.”

The FBI is struggling to protect uS residents and tech. The agency is riching out  out with a clear message: "we acknowledge past missteps and seek the community’s assistance in countering the Chinese Communist Party and its government."

“We really need to spend time listening to you and your concerns, and we’re not always right, and we can always be better. We need open lines of communication,” said Murphy.

Murphy said agents were learning about the “correct way” to talk about the Asian American community, clarifying the distinction between the Chinese government (PRC) and the Chinese Communist Party, not the Chinese people.

Quan said making that distinction was important in “humanising” the Asian-American community, said 
Gordon Quan, a former city council member in Houston and one of the speakers at the event

“We believe in national security as well. But by the same token, don’t paint all Chinese with the same brush that you know China is a threat. And if you’re Chinese, you’re a possible threat,” Quan said.

During the Houston livestream, Kelly Choi, a supervisory special agent at the FBI’s Houston field office, urged Asian-Americans to collaborate with law enforcement agencies, whether reporting crimes to the FBI or local and state authorities. She recalled how after the US closed the Houston consulate, some Asian-Americans were not comfortable talking to the agents conducting routine interviews.

She said that in the past several years, the bureau had been working with community leaders to improve communication, and that the public forum was one of the suggestions that had come from that effort.

Citing potential “misplaced trust”, Choi emphasised the agency’s commitment to improving local engagement, saying the FBI sought to foster confidence through outreach.

Douglas Williams, a special agent in charge of the FBI’s Houston field office, said the FBI wanted Asian-Americans to trust the FBI “when something does happen in this community … that you feel comfortable calling us and that we can investigate it”.

Murphy conveyed the bureau’s commitment to understanding the Asian American community better and to exercising greater discernment in case selection, aiming for a more respectful and nuanced approach.

“I’m very cognisant of ensuring that we are opening our investigations on predicated facts or allegations of either things that threaten national security or federal criminal violations,” she said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For additional commentary, news and views from an AANHPI perspective, follow me on Threads, on or at the blog Views From the Edge.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Justice Department meet with Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and Arabs

The DOJ  met with leaders of community agencies from South Asian commuities.

Two days after a Texas man was charged with a federal hate crime and for making interstate threats against the employees of a Sikh nonprofit organization the US Justice Department took time to reassure that it is taking steps against the rising wave of violence against people from the Middle East and South Asia.

Bhushan Athale, 48, of Dallas, was charged June 5 by complaint with one count of interfering with federally protected activities through the threatened use of a dangerous weapon and one count of transmitting an interstate threat to injure another person.

Acording to the criminal complaint, on or about Sept. 17, 2022, Athale, an Indian American, called the main number of an organization that advocates for the civil rights of Sikh individuals within the United States. Over the next hour, Athale left seven voicemails expressing extreme hatred toward Sikh individuals working at this same organization and threatening to injure or kill these individuals with a razor. 

Athale’s voicemails, which were filled with violent imagery and obscenity, contained references to places, people and tenets that are particularly significant within the Sikh religion. 

Among other things, Athale stated his intention to “catch” the Sikhs at the organization, forcibly “shave” the “top and bottom hair” of these individuals, use a “razor” to forcibly “cut” these individuals’ hair and “make” them bald, forcibly “make” them smoke and eat tobacco and “show [them] the heaven.”

In March, Athale again called the same Sikh organization and left two more voicemails. In these voicemails, Athale again used violent imagery to express his hatred toward Sikhs as well as Muslims, suggesting, among other things, that the Indian Government and Mumbai Police should “catch them and beat their ass” and “f*ck these rascals’ mothers.”

The investigation reflects that Athale has a long history of making religious-based comments and threats, such as when he previously used a professional networking site to express to a former co-worker that he “hate[d] Pakistan” and “hate[d] Muslims,” and he told the co-worker “I hate you, I just don’t know how to kill your whole family including you? Tell me??? I will figure it out […] Probably I will hire a Jew, they will be most happy.”

If convicted, Athale faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for interfering with federally protected activities and a maximum penalty of five years in prison for transmitting an interstate threat. Both charges also carry a penalty of up to a $250,000 fine. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The charges leveled against Athele ppreceded a June  7 meeting the Department of Justice had with Muslim, Arab, Sikh, South Asian and Hindu community stakeholders. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division outlined relevant enforcement efforts across the Department and highlighted actions to prevent and combat discrimination and hate crimes.

Thie meeting, held quarterly,g occurrs at a time when hate and threats of violence against these communities remain concerningly high, particularly since Oct. 7, 2023.
FYI:  If you believe that you or someone else experienced religious or national origin discrimination, report a civil rights violation online at If you believe you are a victim or a witness of a hate crime, report it to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or submitting a tip at Learn more about the department’s work on hate crimes here.

In the US, Siks is the second most targeted group for hate crimes based on religion, according
to the latest DOJ Hate Crimes report.

Representatives from the Civil Rights Division, FBI, Criminal Division, Community Relations Service, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties and Office of Community Oriented Policing Service heard from attending organizations about campus safety and civil rights protections for student protestors as well as concerns about employment discrimination. Representatives from other federal government agencies also participated, including Department of Homeland Security Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Departments of Education, Labor, Transportation and State.

Combating hate crimes and addressing discrimination claims are among the department’s top priorities.The June 7 meeting represents the department’s latest efforts to engage with organizations and stakeholders on issues affecting Muslim, Arab, Palestinian, Sikh, Hindu, and South Asian communities. 

In March, the department hosted a community safety briefing for Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian community stakeholders, during which the department released resource documents designed to help the public better understand federal civil rights laws, including laws that prohibit violence and discrimination on the basis of religion and national origin, discrimination in public accommodations, and protections afforded by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).

Besides the Dallas case,the DOJ has also continued to aggressively investigate and prosecute hate crimes, including recent cases include:
  • Texas man who carried out a mass shooting targeting Muslims at a car repair shop in Dallas in which one person was killed, and four others were seriously injured; 
  • New Jersey man who broke into the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University during the Eid holiday and destroyed property, including prayer stones, items with inscriptions of the Quran, and a Palestinian flag; 
  • Florida man who assaulted a Muslim woman postal worker by pulling her out of her truck and grabbing her neck while attempting to pull off her hijab and threatening her; and a Florida man who threatened a Michigan-based Muslim civil rights nonprofit.
EDITOR'S NOTE: For additional commentary, news and views from an AANHPI perspective, follow me on Threads, on or at the blog Views From the Edge.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Filipino American father and daughter team up in Broadway's "Hadestown"

Jon Jon Briones and daughter Isa Briones share a moment during curtain call of Hadestown.

At a reent Tony-award winning Hadestown curtain call when the actors dropped their stage persona and became their real-worlds selves again, Isa Briones and Jon Jon Briones wound up in tears.

It was the first time the Filipino American father and daughter shared a stage.

“There’s just this pinch-me moment. I can’t believe I get to do this with a musical theater legend but also that legend is my father and also telling a beautiful, beautiful story,” Isa Briones tells the Associated Press.

Her father, Jon Jon Briones, the experienced professional, also succumbed to the emtional moment. “When we were rehearsing, I was crying watching Isa, and I would miss my cues because I was watching her,” he tells AP. “I’ve also learned to look relaxed for the cast because if one of their leads is nervous, that’s not good. But I lost it at curtain call. I lost it.”

Last March 19, Hadestown on Broadway added Olivier Award nominee Jon Jon Briones and daughter Isa Briones to the Broadway cast in the pivotal roles of ‘Hermes’ and ‘Eurydice,’ respectively. 
The father-daughter duo took over the roles played by Tony winner Lillias White and Lola Tung.

If you're anxious to see Filipino Americans on Broadway after the short-lived run of Here Lies Love with its all-Filipino cast, theatergoers will have a short chance of watching the Briones perform together beacuse the last performance for both father and daughter will be June 30.

Last seen on Broadway and in the West End as ‘The Engineer’ in Miss Saigon, and known for his various series regular roles on Ryan Murphy’s Ratched and Class of ’09, Jon Jon makes his return to Broadway. Isa, best known for her series regular roles on Star Trek: Picard and Goosebumps, makes her Broadway debut. 

Isa was. also in the natinoal touring company for Hamilton and off-Broadway prouction of Grease, but Hadestown is her debut on Broadway.

Written by Anaïs Mitchell and directed by Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown is currently playing at the Walter Kerr Theatre (219 W 48th Street).

EDITOR'S NOTE: For additional commentary, news and views from an AANHPI perspective, follow me on Threads, on or at the blog Views From the Edge.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Museum updates exhibit of the 1904 St. Louis World Fair putting Filipinos in human zoo

Igorots were required to perform native dances for visitors to the St. Louis World's Fair.

Onn April 30, 1904, the St. Louis World Fair opened its gates and fairgoers got their first glimpse of Filipinos.

The St. Louis History Museum is taking a new look at the exhibit that did irraparable twisted view of Filipinos that continues to thsi day.

While the 1904 World’s Fair is a celebrated moment in St. Louis history, it also highlighted America’s central inequalities and the era’s spectacles of colonialism—from controversies over the content of the displays to conflicts over who was permitted to attend the Fair at all. 

The new exhibit is the Missouri History Museum’s aims to tell a fuller, more complete version of the 1904 World’s Fair by including a broad spectrum of voices and perspectives.

Fairgoers' flock to the Filipino Reservation

Visitors learn more about the1,200 Filipinos brought to live on the Philippine Reservation of the fairgrounds just six years after Spain surrendered the islands to the US, bypassing and ignoring the independence sought by Filipino patriots.

The Philippine Reservation put Filipinos on display in a zoo-like habitat on full view to fairgoers, with different groups of people ranked on a scale between “civilized” and “savage”.

Sharon Smith, Curator of Civic and Personal Identity, underscores the way the artifacts collected and displayed from the 1904 World’s Fair help tell a story that is complex, 

“History is often told through stories illustrated in museums by artifacts, archival documents, and photographs. The stories we have chosen to tell in The 1904 World’s Fair evoke both the wonder and the complexities of the Fair.” Smith adds, 

“The new exhibit’s artifacts and stories will help visitors see the event for all that it was: an amusement park, a laboratory, a workplace, a stadium, and a place where America’s imperial ambitions were on display for the world to see.”

About 300 of Filipinos brought to the Midwest from different Filipino ethnic groups and tribes including the Igorot, Moro and Bagobo people. Fair planners put Indigenous people from all over the world in these racist exhibits, including Native Americans and tribes from central Africa. 
Ria Unson, whose great grandfather was one of the Filipinos brought to the US, said these kinds of exhibits intentionally displayed the Igorot as “savages” or “primitives.” Her story and the story of her ancestor is part of the museum exhibit.

Pamphlets that advertised the Philippine Reservation, which was the fair’s largest exhibit, referred to the Igorot as “barbarians.” For months, they were forced to live on a recreation of a village from the Philippines as part of the attraction.

“Scientists have declared that, with the proper training, they are susceptible to a high state of development, and unlike the American Indian, will accept, rather than defy, the advance of American civilization,” read the pamphlet, now in the Missouri History Museum’s collection.

An estimated 17 people died in the Philippine Village from pneumonia, malnutrition or suicide. At least one of the dead was a teenage girl whose brains were taken by the Smithsonian by a scientist who wanted to prove the superiority of Europeans over people of other races.

“120 years later, there’s still people who have perceptions of Filipinos as primitives,” Unson said. Part of the exhibit’s goal is helping visitors to explore why, she added.

world's fair
The St. Louis World's Fair overview map is part of the history museum exhibit.

The rumor that some of the denizens of the Philippine Reservation ate dogs provided one of the most durable memories of the fair in St. Louis. To this day one of the neighborhoods near the long-gone exposition grounds is called Dogtown, because it is supposedly where the Filipinos got their dogs.

Human zoo fed into the myth of White superiority

The history museum's exhibit also includes the other peoples who were presented in the world's largest human zoo. An estimated ten thousand people were conscripted to play a role in the account of progress by the Anthropology Department.

Among the 10,000 in the human zoo were Ainu people from Japan, “Patagonians” from the Andes, and members of 51 of the First Nations of North America—including Chief Joseph of the massacred Nez Perce, the Comanche soldier Quanah Parker, and the Apache leader Geronimo. Geronimo was assigned to pose for nickel-apiece souvenir photographs with white visitors and play the part of the Sioux leader Sitting Bull in daily reenactments of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Elsewhere on the grounds lived Ota Benga, who was about 20 at the time of his sale as a slave He had had his teeth filed into sharp points as a child, and was exhibited at the fair as a “cannibal.” Benga and the other enslaved Africans sometimes danced and performed before as many as For a time after the fair, under the auspices of the white supremacist racial theorist Madison Grant, Benga was kept in a cage at the Bronx Zoo. After his release, Benga worked in a tobacco factory in Virginia, where he had his teeth capped. In March 1916, in Lynchburg, Virginia, Ota Benga built a large fire, danced, and then shot himself through the heart.

The only representation of African Americans on the fairgrounds was at the “Old Plantation,” where black actors tended a garden, staged a fake religious revival, sang minstrel songs, and cakewalked in an endless loop of white racial nostalgia.

That the Philippine Reservation was called a “reservation” in the first place reflected an important fact about the racial imagination of the fair organizers. In their view, America's expansion to Asia was a natural extension of an f American empire that began with the conquest of the American West and the displacement of Native Americans. The American emprie would put the US on par with the European countries with colonies in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

The 1904 exhibit, like many others, was supposed to demonstrate the indigenous way of life as savage and tje need to be ciivilized. 
But the underlying racist message of the fair was about the moral responsibility of the "superior" White race to civilize the world's "savages."

Painting indigenous people in this light helped justify American imperialism, colonization, and destruction of other lands. 

The museum's updated exhibit goes beyond celebrating the 1904 exhibit by including the racist exploitive aspects of the human zoos. “It can be a difficult thing, but what we find is that people are hungry for that,” says public historian Adam Kloppe. “People want to grapple with history. They want to get in the weeds, and we view the museum as the space where you can have those kinds of conversations and explorations in a civil way.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: For additional commentary, news and views from an AANHPI perspective, follow me on Threads, on or at the blog Views From the Edge.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Income disparity greatest among Chinese Americans compared to other Asian American communities

Shoppers crowd Chinatown in New York City

Among Asian Americans, the model minority stereotype is like an albatross weighing down fair representation and needed services to address the inequality that eists withn that community.

However, even within th Asian Americans, the differences and needs are greater for some than others. Among Asian Americans, Chinese households are among the lowest – and highest – earners

In 2022, Chinese American households near the top of the income ladder earned over 19 times as much as Chinese American households near the bottom of the ladder. This gap was the largest across Asian American households of different origins, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

Income inequality is a measure of the income gap between highest- and lowest-earning households. It has long been a public concern in the United States, especially after the economic upheaval brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 2018 analysis by the Center found that income inequality is greater among Asian Americans than any other U.S. racial or ethnic group. In this new analysis, we explore income inequality within the origin groups that make up the Asian American population.

Indian Americans are frequently the highest-earning Asian origin group when looking at different steps on the income ladder. For example, they top the list when looking at those who belong to the lowest 10% of households and the top 10% of households by earning levels.

The story is different for Chinese Americans. 

At the lower end of the income distribution – the 10th percentile – Chinese Americans who belong to the lowest-earning households were among the poorest Asian origin groups in 2022, with annual earnings of $10,500. 

At the 50th percentile of the income distribution – the median – Chinese American households were among the Asian origin groups with the highest incomes, with earnings of $65,800. 

And at the 90th percentile, Chinese households earned $200,000 in 2022 – second only to Indian Americans. (Incomes are adjusted for household size and expressed in 2022 dollars.)

In other words, Chinese households in the 90th percentile of the income distribution earned 19.2 times as much as their counterparts in 10th percentile.

        FYI: For a more detailed analysis, click here.

Sri Lankan, Korean and Pakistani American households also had high levels of income inequality in 2022. 

By contrast, Burmese, Filipino, Nepalese and Hmong households had the lowest income gaps among U.S. Asians in 2022,

The Pew study also goes into other factors that may affect income levels, such as education, what part of the US they live and how long individuals have lived in the US.

It should be noted that the disparity exhibited by the Chinese American community is a reflection of the growing inequality between the rich and poor in the United States. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. 

Some of the reasons cited for the disparity can be attributed to globaliziation, education and ttechnological advances. However, one cannot that the  rich also benefit immensely from the tax code’s preferential treatment of income from investments.

Over the past four decades, the richest 1 percent of Americans have enjoyed by far the fastest income growth. The most rapid increase has occurred at the tippy top of the economic ladder. 

Between 1979 and 2020, the average income of the richest 0.01 percent of households, a group that today represents about 12,000 households, grew 17 times as fast as the income of the bottom 20 percent of earners. These Congressional Budget Office figures include income from labor and investments. They do not account for taxes and means-tested public assistance, such as food stamps and Medicaid.

Income disparities are now so pronounced that America’s richest 1 percent of households averaged 104 times as much income as the bottom 20 percent in 2020, according to the Congressional Budget Office

EDITOR'S NOTE: For additional commentary, news and views from an AANHPI perspective, follow me on Threads, on or at the blog Views From the Edge.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

NY Times launches series on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Despite being in the US for centuries, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are nearly invisible in US society.

In a recent study, more than half of all Americans found it difficult naming a single prominent AAPI figure even though Vice President KamalaHarris is Inidan American, multiple Grammy winner Olivia Rodrigo is Filipino American and AAPI are prominent in the fields of medicine, business, science and high tech. 

Part of the problem of the erasure or oversight in school books and a lack of inclusion and coverage in mainstream media, which paints a picture of the country everyday by decisions made by journalists on what stories and personalities to cover. The lack of a presence in the media contributes to that invisibility in American society.

The New York Times, one of the most prominent and influential mainstream news organizations in the country, announced Monday a new series th at examines the increasing creative output of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in popular culture.

“At The Asian American Foundation, we believe that the best way to fight anti-Asian hate is to create belonging and there is no better way to do that than through storytelling,” said Norman Chen, CEO of The Asian American Foundation, which conducted the sturdy. “This moment represents a departure from a long history of invisibility, stereotyping, and misrepresentation of our community. We look forward to The Times’s exploration of the influence of AAPI culture in our everyday lives.”

The project will include immersive articles that delve into the ways filmmakers, authors and other creators are depicting AAPI life. It will culminate with an event featuring prominent artists exploring the ways in which they are infusing stories about their experience into American pop culture.

Asian Americans are the fastest growing demographic in the US, with nearly 25 million Americans with heritage that connects to more than 20 countries throughout East Asia, Southeast Asia and the subcontinent of India. Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders are the third fastest growing group in the US.

The new project also shows the long road the New York Times has traveled since its 2016 video "Conversations on Race," which surveyed members of the Asian American community. The newspaper came under strong criticism for focusing on East Asains, skipping over Stouth and Southeast Asians..

Veronica Chambers, an award-winning editor, will oversee the 2024 project. Her team are focused on producing series that demonstrate how moments in history impact modern society. Other work includes a series that excavates the Harlem Renaissance, an examination of love and money with the Modern Love team, and a series based on images uncovered in The Times’s photo archives.

This series will draw on talent across the newsroom, including Miya Lee, editor of Modern Love projects at The NY Times. Lee’s work builds on the experience she gained from helping to turn a 20-year-old print column into a compelling digital and multimedia brand. Outside of Modern Love, Lee has written articles about elements of Asian American and Pacific Islander culture.

“I’m thrilled to work on this series that examines this significant moment in American popular culture, when an increasing number of AAPI filmmakers, comedians, authors and others are breaking through and reaching wide audiences,” Lee said.

The first piece of the series, “Found in Translation: Asian Languages Onscreen,” is focused on the use of Asian languages in American movies and TV. The story features an innovative visual design by Alice Fang, a New York Times graphics editor.

This Times series is funded through a grant from The Asian American Foundation a nonprofit founded to serve the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in their pursuit of belonging and prosperity that is free from discrimination, slander and violence.

“Our team at The New York Times is dedicated to telling richly layered, visually vibrant pieces, leaning into innovative story formats. We’re excited to explore how Asian American and Pacific Islander artists are crafting new American narratives through music, food, literature, film and television,” said Chambers.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For additional commentary, news and views from an AANHPI perspective, follow me on Threads, on or at the blog Views From the Edge.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Filipino American makes history as the new Miss Philippines Universe

Chelsea Manalo was named Miss Philippines Universe.

Filipino American Chelsea Anne Manalo made history by becoming the first Black woman to be crowned Miss Universe Philippines on May 22.

“As a woman of color, I have always faced challenges in my life. I was told that beauty has standards, actually,” she answeered a question in the final stage of the contest. She added  that she was taught to “believe in my mother, to always believe in yourself, uphold the vows that you have.”

“Because of these, I am already influencing a lot of women who are facing me right now,” she said, gazing out to the audience.

Representing the province of Bulacan where she was born and raised, the 24-year old model was raised by her mother and stepfather after the death of her African American father.

"I grew up having insecurities as I was always bullied because of my skin and my hair type,” she told Essence, crediting her friends and family for helping her “realize that I am beautiful in my own extraordinary way.”

Manalo's selection was seen as significant for shattering traditional beauty standards in the Philippines too often defined by European features.  

“I am more than a reflection of a woman who is very humble of having humble beginnings. And a sash that is really close to my heart because it reminds me of who I am, of the Philippines, of who we are.” she said. “And this will only transpire me to be more radiant because I am a woman of color but I am also a transformational woman that can really represent who we are as Filipinos.”

Manalo will represent the Philippines in the MIss Universe contest that will be held in Mexico in September.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For additional commentary, news and views from an AANHPI perspective, follow me on Threads, on or at the blog Views From the Edge.