Friday, March 31, 2017

TGIF FEATURE: Playboy - Dating sucks if you're an Asian dude or black woman

The calendar, Haikus on Hotties, was created to counter the Asian male stereotype.

TEREOTYPES SUCK. An article in Playboy brought up that old, sad trope that Asian men are not desirable as romantic partners.

“We’re the product of a racist society,” Toronto-based matchmaker, Sofi Papamarko wrote in the Toronto Star recently, “and we’re going to have to work hard at being inclusive and open-minded in dating and in every other aspect of life if we’re set on making any progress at all.”

Papamarko, who operates one of the online dating sites that are so popular these days. Asian men, along with black women, she says in the Plalyboy article are the hardest ones for whom to find matches.

“When we see Asian men and black women having a harder time, part of it has to do with beauty standards and part of it has to do with the ways people are socialized to imagine how Asian men or black women behave inside and outside of relationships.”

This is pretty much old news. The only reasons to justify Playboy coming out with this  article this month is 1. that men's magazine might have seen the demographic data showing the growing diversity in the U.S, or 2. to boost the egos of its primarily white, male readership, (ie. Things may be bad but, thanks god I'm not Asian.)

However, it’s not just people on Papamarko's dating site who feel this way. The findings are pretty much the same as data taken from other dating sites. That doesn't mean that people are necessarily racist.

“Beauty is a cultural idea as much as a physical one, and the standard is of course set by the dominant culture,” writes OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder. In a 2013 poll, the website surveyed 25 million website visitors. The study came to the same conclusion as Papamarko.

Long Duk Dong was played by Gedde Watanabe
Unforunately, despite leading-man heart throbes James Shigeta, Bruce Lee, Daniel Dae Kim and Steven Yeun, the image that persists in American culture comes from Sixteen Candles. Yup, that sex-crazed nerd, Long Duk Dong. 

A small survey of 350 Asian American men from 2015 pretty much echoes these results. Nearly half of Asian men have heard someone say “I don’t date Asian men” in their presence and many reported this dating preference within their own ethnic or racial group: East Asian, South Asian and Southeast Asian. 

Another study at Columbia University tried to estimate how much men of different ethnic groups would need to earn to become as desirable to a woman as a man of her own race. With all other factors normalized, an Asian man would have to earn an additional $247,000 to stand on equal footing with his white counterpart. This statistic is less intimidating to a pediatric surgeon or venture capitalist than it is to, say, a freelance writer and part-time house-sitter.

Elliott Rodger and part of his journal.

Most recently, comedian Steve Harvey made a racist har-har joke based on the (in his view) the unattractiveness of Asian men. Harvey was mocking self-help books when he came across a title How to Date A White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men. He guffawed.  He found it laughable that a white woman could ever find Asian men attractive.

"That's one page, too!" he laughed at his own joke. "Excuse me, do you like Asian men? No. Thank you."

On the opposite end of the attraction scale were white men and Asian women, who are seen as more attractive dates. 

The role of media and pop-culture in shaping our concepts of beauty cannot be underestimated. From the time Renaissance artists began to reimagine Jesus in their own image to the time when David Carradine was picked over Bruce Lee to star in the Kung Fu TV series to the countless times when Asian men are not even considered for leading men roles in the movies and television. 

With that onslaught of propaganda that's so deeply ingrained into the American psyche, it is no wonder most Asian men in the U.S. are not seen as serious dating material. Getting over that self-hatred is like a rite of passage for Asian/American men. Some never dig themselves out of that hole and you end up with an Elliot Rodgers, who went on a killing spree.

“All of this centers on Eurocentric beauty standards, which privilege those who are white or are white adjacent in appearance—things like lighter skin, light colored eyes, thinner noses, certain jawline shapes,” Shantel Buggs, a PhD Candidate in sociology at the University of Texas, told the Toronto Star. 
Oh, by the way, for you ladies ... and guys. Here's a link If you want a copy of, the  2017 Haikus on Hotties calendar at the top of this post. It was produce out by Dragonlady Productions.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Chief Justice: 'We are living in a time of ... unprecdented polarization'

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sskauve being interviewed by KQED-TV.

SHE'S A REPUBLICAN, but California's Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, is not hesitating to strongly criticize Donald Trump's immigration policies. 

In her State of the Judiciary address Monday (March 24), the Filipina/American justice said that the rule of law was being "challenged" amid the administration's immigration crackdown.

The address followed a letter that she sent earlier this month criticizing federal immigraiton authories for using courthouses as "bait" to arrest undcocumented  immigrants. A few days later, she criticized Trump's comments about federal judges who ruled against his poorly written executive orders on travel restrictions from six predominantly Muslim countries.

In a departure from her usual State of the Judiciary addresses that she usually uses to outline the budget needs of the state's judicial system, Justice Cantil-Sakauye  told the state’s lawmakers that “the rule of law means that we as a people are governed by laws and rules, and not by a monarch.”

“We are living in a time of civil rights unrest, eroding public trust in our institutions, economic anxiety, and unprecedented polarization,” she said. “Our values, our rules and our laws are being called into question, and all three branches of government and the free press are in the crosshairs.”

In an interview for KQED, she recalls the tipping point for her was an incident in Pasadena, CA. where ICE agents arrested an attorney's clients on the steps of the courthouse. "Courthouses are where we encourage to come for due process as witnesses, as victims, and that would have a chilling effect." People will no longer report, crime will go unreported in the community and they won't come to the court as bad guys, she said.

During her address to a joint session of the California Legislature, the chief justice, whose parents worked as agricultural workers in Hawaii, recalled her husband’s parents who were held at U.S. internment camps for Japanese/Americans for four years during World War II.


Hawaiian judge extends stay vs. Trump travel ban

U.S. District Judge Derrick Kahala Watson
HAWAIIAN federal judge, U.S. District Judge Derrick Kahala Watson, took only a few hours late Wednesday to extend his order blocking  Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban.

The state of Hawaii argued successfully that  the policy discriminates against Muslims and hurts the state’s tourist-dependent economy. The implied message in the revised ban is like a “neon sign flashing ‘Muslim ban, Muslim ban’” that the government didn’t bother to turn off, state Attorney General Douglas Chin told the judge.

Extending the temporary order until the state’s lawsuit was resolved would ensure the constitutional rights of Muslim citizens across the U.S. are vindicated after “repeated stops and starts of the last two months,” the state has said.

RELATED: Judge Watson receiving threats for his ruling against Muslim ban
The Department of Justice argued the ban falls within the president’s power to protect national security. Hawaii has only made generalized concerns about its effect on students and tourism, DOJ attorney Chad Readler told the Honolulu-based judge via telephone.

The Trump administration had asked Watson to narrow his ruling to cover only the part of Trump’s executive order that suspends new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries. Readler said a freeze on the U.S. refugee program had no effect on Hawaii.

Judge Watson had blocked the core provision of the revised executive order two weeks ago, stating that the order violates Establishment Clause of the Constitution by disfavoring Muslims.

"The court concludes that, on the record before it, plaintiffs have met their burden of establishing a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim," Watson wrote in his order extending the original temporary restraining order.

Watson, while putting an indefinite stay on the travel ban, argued that Trump's statements about Muslims and vow to institute a ban on Muslims during his presidential campaign speak to the intent of the travel ban.

After the original travel ban was stayed by a Florida federal judge, the Trump administration had issued a revised travel ban on March 6, in an attempt to overcome the legal problems with the first one.

Trump's original travel ban restricted people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Soon after trump signed the ban in February, it caused a worldwide outrage, with many people taking to airports across America to protest the order, which was deemed anti-Muslim. 

Trump has promised to take both challenged travel bans to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

'Crazy Rich Asians' finds its leading man

Novice Henry Golding was picked for Crazy Rich Asian's leading man.

WHO? The film version of Crazy Rich Asians has cast perhaps the most difficult role - that of its leading man.

Contrary to much speculation, it wasn't one of the better known names familiar to American audiences. Henry Golding, who hasn't been in a movie before, has been cast as Nick Young, opposite Constance Wu of ABC's Fresh Off the Boat.

Golding, whose father is from England and his mother from the Iban tribe in Sarawak, Malaysia, is was picked for the role after a worldwide search by director Jon Chu. He won't have to fake the required British accent to play Nick Young, the scion of an uber-rich family from Singapore. Golding is currently based in Singapore after growing up in London, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the story Tuesday.

Golding, whose father is from England and his mother from the Iban tribe in Sarawak, Malaysia, d has never been featured in a film, but has experience hosting for TV travel shows, says THR.

The movie is based on the best selling novel written by  Kevin Kwan. It tells the story of American-born Rachel Chu and Singaporean Nick Young's courtship. A study in manners and misunderstandings among the aristocratic rich, a theme popular in many British plotlines.

The difficulty of casting the male lead took a long time. Left unsaid by director Chu and the producers representing the studios, but inferred by the difficulty in casting this role, is that Nick Young must appeal to men and women of all races. Women desire him and men want to be him. A white, black or Latino movie-goer must be able relate to this character in the way that we have not seen since Bruce Lee crossed over all racial lines. 

Director Chu and Warner Bros. Studios wish to have an all-Asian cast sparked a world-wide search for talent. The selection of Golding, coupled with the previously casting Asian star Michelle Yeoh as the controlling mother of Nick, will give the film an international appeal, especially in the burgeoning Asian market.

Asian American environmentalists decry Trump executive order dismantling climate change regs


YEAR 2016 was the hottest year on record, according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the third year in a row heat records were broken. The inevitable war between Donald Trump and the environmental movement is also getting hotter.

Today, March 28, Trump signed another executive order - this one is just one step in trying to undo the environmental regulations instituted under the Obama administration.

"Putting America first means preparing our nation for the storms and extreme weather that are impacting us as a direct result of climate change," said Rep. Ami Bera, D-CA, a member of the House's Science, Space, and Technology Committee. "Putting America first means continuing our role as a global leader in reducing carbon emissions. 
"Our work over the last decade to reduce carbon emissions put America first -- and this irresponsible executive order throws into uncertainty how we prepare for and tackle the very real consequences of climate change" said the Indian/American medical doctor.
The order directs the Environmental Protection Agency to redraft regulations related to carbon emissions at power plants, eliminates guidance calling for the consideration of climate change when making federal decisions, allows for federal coal leasing, and promotes the development of gas and oil on public lands.

Obama signed the Clean Power Plan into law in 2015, but industry opponents have kept it in litigation. It has yet to take effect, and Trump's EO is calling to revise and rewrite Obama’s landmark climate plan.

“Perhaps no single regulation threatens our miners, energy workers and companies more than this crushing attack on American industry,” said Trump.

Trump surrounded himself with coal workers when he signed his EO claiming that his action would bring back jobs. Industry experts say the number of coal-mining jobs around 70,000. There's no debating that jobs were lost in the coal-mining regions, most notably in Appalachia but that was not due to environmental regulations.
Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, told The Guardian that despite people’s belief that loosening environmental restrictions could bring back jobs, “the industry likes to point to pollution standards for the decline in jobs, but the reality is the market has markedly changed.”
The fact is, natural gas is cheaper and renewable energy - solar and wind - not only are more economically competitive but  the industry also employ 3 million people.

Trump’s anti-environment executive order:
  • Dismantles Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which limited carbon pollution from power plants
  • Alter limits on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry
  • Halts efforts to prepare for extreme weather events
  • Lifts a moratorium on the leasing of federal land for coal mining
  • Removes a rule to account for the social costs of carbon
  • Revokes an order calling on agencies to consider climate change in environmental impacts
Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Asian/American environmentalists condemned the newest presidential executive order and the administration's position on climate change, which Trump has claimed is a hoax  perpetuated by China.
“Today's actions only deepen our dependence on fossil fuels and all the danger and damage they bring. And they protect a deeply-flawed system that has bilked taxpayers for decades to the tune of tens of billions of dollars,” said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Nevertheless, Trump trumpeted the jobs he alleges his EO will produce.
“This is an all-out assault on the protections we need to avert climate catastrophe. It’s a senseless betrayal of our national interests. And it’s a short-sighted attempt to undermine American clean energy leadership," said Suh, a Korean/American who from 2009 to 2014 served as assistant secretary of policy, management and budget for the United States Department of the Interior.
“Trump is sacrificing our future for fossil fuel profits - and leaving our kids to pay the price. This would do lasting damage to our environment and public lands, threaten our homes and health, hurt our pocketbooks and slow the clean energy progress that has already generated millions of good-paying jobs," she said. 
The Trump administration is rejecting the advice of 1000 businesses, over 75 mayors and millions of Americans who are calling for strengthened policies on climate change. Instead, the Administration wants to decide America’s environment and energy future based primarily on consultations with the fossil fuel industry—namely the American Petroleum Institute, Independent Petroleum Association of America, ConocoPhillips, and the coal company Peabody Energy.

“Working people from coast-to-coast are already feeling the devastating health impacts of toxic air and water caused by corporate polluters who for too long have gone unchecked," said Filipino/American Luisa Blue, executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union. "By undoing the Clean Power Plan, President Trump is reverting our communities to unhealthy and unsafe living conditions to benefit corporations over our communities. We can have a vibrant economy and vibrant communities with clean air and water.”

“By cutting carbon pollution from power plants, it aims to spark innovation, drive investment and energy efficiency to create jobs and save families money. Most importantly, it has the potential to address power plant pollution in the communities most vulnerable to asthma and other health impacts,” said Vien Truong, director of Green For All. “It’s clear that Trump is determined to protect the fossil fuel industry, no matter the cost. Green For All will continue to stand with frontlines families and our most vulnerable to enact policies that create jobs and cut carbon pollution to protect the health of our kids.”

Besides Bera, other AAPI congressional representatives were strongly dismayed by Trump's action.

“While the President can afford to live in this alternate universe, Hawaii and other island communities are forced to grapple with the reality of climate change, said Hawaii's Sen. Mazie Hirono. "Our coral reefs are dying because of historically high ocean temperatures. By 2100, Hawaii’s sea levels will rise by more than three feet. We owe it to our keiki to listen to our climate scientists, and build upon, not erase, the progress we’ve made.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI, said: "Unless we make a concerted effort to reduce carbon emissions, invest in clean energy, create green jobs, and improve our air and water quality, we are moving backwards, at a time when our planet simply cannot afford for us to do so. In spite of this action today, I have no doubt that Hawaiʻi will continue to lead the nation in renewable energy production. We must continue investing in renewable energy, moving away from foreign oil and fossil fuels, and moving toward our goal of 100% clean energy by 2045."

“Today’s executive order will not bring back jobs nor will it make us more energy secure. What it will do is increase pollution, threaten public health, and risk the ruin of some our most treasured public lands," said Rep. Ted Lieu, D-CA. "Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time – one that we cannot wait to address – and the United States cannot afford to cede its leadership in addressing it."

“The science is clear on climate change. ... It is our moral responsibility to protect our environment for future generations and to justly transition our economy from fossil fuels to clean energy, providing sustainable jobs to our communities. This executive order is a huge step in the wrong direction," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-WA. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Vanita Gupta continues her fight for justice and civil rights

HOORAY! Vanita Gupta is back. The former head of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division is the new leader of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a 67-year-old organization sometimes described as the lobbying arm of the civil rights movement.

She was named the next president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Thursday (March 21). Later this year, she will succeed Wade Henderson, who has served as president and CEO since 1996 and helped grow the organization into a coalition of more than 200 civil and human rights groups.

Vanita Gupta
“Civil and human rights work has never been easy, and these unprecedented times demand a clarity of vision, strategy, and solidarity that the Leadership Conference coalition is uniquely positioned to champion," said Gupta. "I am honored and humbled to take on this essential work to guarantee that justice and equality apply to every individual as we struggle to be a more perfect union and remain a beacon for hope in the world.”

Gupta will hold the titles of president and CEO of both organizations and officially assume the roles on June 1, 2017. She most recently served in President Obama’s administration as the head of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. 

She will succeed Wade Henderson, who has served as president and CEO since June 1996. Henderson, one of the pre-eminent civil and human rights leaders of the last 40 years, announced in November 2015 his intention to step down after the selection of a successor.

William Robinson, chair of The Leadership Conference Education Fund board, said Gupta, 42, represents the “next generation” of civil rights leaders.

“As the first woman and first child of immigrants to serve as the leader of this organization, Vanita Gupta’s selection marks a turning point in civil rights history,” Robinson said. “The civil and human rights coalition is in very good hands.”

Gupta will hold the titles of president and CEO of both organizations and officially assume the roles on June 1, 2017. She most recently served in President Obama’s administration as the head of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. 

She will succeed Wade Henderson, who has served as president and CEO since June 1996. Henderson, one of the pre-eminent civil and human rights leaders of the last 40 years, announced in November 2015 his intention to step down after the selection of a successor.

William Robinson, chair of The Leadership Conference Education Fund board, said Gupta, 42, represents the “next generation” of civil rights leaders.

“As the first woman and first child of immigrants to serve as the leader of this organization, Vanita Gupta’s selection marks a turning point in civil rights history,” Robinson said. “The civil and human rights coalition is in very good hands.”

RELATED: Civil rights will suffer under Trump; we'll miss Vanita Gupta
Born in Philadelphia, Gupta is the daughter of Indian immigrants and spent much of her early childhood in England and France, where her father worked as a business manager for a multinational chemical company.

Gupta began her career as a lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In addition to her work with the ACLU and NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Gupta has taught civil rights litigation and advocacy clinics at New York University School of Law since 2008. She received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University and J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Obama appointed Gupta as principal deputy assistant attorney general and head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division in October 2014, where she served until January. As the nation’s chief civil rights prosecutor during one of the division’s highest profile and most productive eras, Gupta oversaw a wide range of criminal and civil enforcement efforts to ensure equal justice and protect equal opportunity for all.

Gupta focused the division on advancing constitutional policing and criminal justice reform; prosecuting hate crimes and human trafficking; promoting disability rights and protecting the rights of LGBTQ individuals; and ensuring voting rights for all. She prioritized combatting discrimination in education, housing, employment, lending, and religious exercise. During her tenure, she oversaw federal investigations of the Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, and Chicago police departments; the lawsuit against North Carolina’s discriminatory H.B. 2; and the successful appeals of the Texas and North Carolina voter ID cases.

“Throughout her career, Vanita has pushed our nation to live up to its promise of equal justice for all," said former Attorney General Eric Holder. "Her fearless advocacy for the rights of all Americans, while at the helm of the Civil Rights Division, proves that she will be able to lead the important coalition of the Leadership Conference member organizations. Vanita’s ability to bridge divides and build coalitions to drive progress will enable her to build on Wade Henderson’s incredible legacy.”

“At a time when our nation’s ideals and progress are being threatened in such fundamental ways, The Leadership Conference is a vital nerve center of the broad swath of civil and human rights organizations that are fighting for justice, fairness, and equality around the country,” Gupta said.

RIP: Alex Tizon, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Alex Tizon, 

By Louis Chan

A JOURNALIST who dedicated his career to writing about the marginalized and whose 2014 book "Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self," told of his struggles as an Asian/American man, is dead at the age of 57.

Alex Tizon died unexpectedly of natural causes Thursday (March 23), according to his family and the University of Oregon where he taught journalism as an assistant professor since 2011.

“My family arrived in the United States in the mid-1960s, when race was a national preoccupation,” said Tizon in an interview with AsAmNews in 2014. “The dialogue was almost always framed in terms of White and Black — White Americans and Black Americans. There were less than a million Asians in the United States at the time, and we’re still a relatively small minority today — 5 percent, I believe. I don’t think Asians have been in the country long enough and in large enough numbers for the majority of White and Black Americans to be able to associate an Asian face with being “all-American.” I don’t like it, but that’s been the fact for as long as I’ve lived here.”

Tizon was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Seattle with his family when he was just 5, according to the Seattle Times

He won journalism’s most prestigious prize, the Pulitzer, in 1997 for his investigative story with two other reporters on corruption in a federally subsidized housing program for Native Americans.

He also worked as a bureau chief in Seattle for the Los Angeles Times and has published numerous stories in The Atlantic Magazine. In fact, what could be the last story ever written by Tizon is expected to be published in The Atlantic soon.

“His death is a tragic loss not only to his family but to the entire SOJC (School of Journalism and Communication) community,” journalism director Scott Maier wrote to students at the University of Oregon.

His book, "Big Little Man" is described as a memoir based on his life experiences.

“We all at some point encountered—and continue to encounter—the deep-rooted Western notion, perpetuated by entertainment media, that Asians are at the bottom of the food chain, the weakest, the smallest, the least masculine of men,” said Tizon to AsAmNews.

It’s that sense of empathy for communities often ignored by both society and journalists that Tizon will be remembered.

“He was very curious about other people — and learning about other people helped him learn about himself,” said his wife, Melissa Tizon to the Seattle Times. “That’s what journalism did for him. His whole life quest was about trying to understand who he was, as an immigrant growing up in a largely white community.”

A memorial is scheduled for Saturday, April 1, at the Newport Convenant Church in Bellevue, Washington at 1 p.m. Flowers can be sent there or his family says donations can be made in his memory to the Asian American Journalists Association.

Constance Wu sheds light on Asians and Asian/Americans as seen by Hollywood

HOO, BOY! Constance Wu opened up a can of worms in the April issue of Allure magazine explaining one of her pet peeves: the difference between between Asians and Asian/Americans. 

"I wish reporters were more in tune to the difference between the Asian experience and the Asian/American experience. I think often they lump the two together and think that when I talk about Asian/American narratives that they can cite Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Mulan as proof of concept when it’s a different experience. We are told that we should be placated by those stories, even though they aren’t our stories.," said Wu.

"You can’t name an Asian/American movie that’s mainstream in the past ten years. You cannot name one. You cannot. You could name a Chinese movie, a Korean movie, blah blah blah, but it’s different," said Wu, one of the stars of ABC's Fresh Off the Boat.

Constance Wu
"Even my television show is a period piece. It’s set in the ’90s. And a lot of times people think of Asian culture as some mythical world, instead of modern people with modern occupations with modern problems, modern tools, and modern occupations. 

"Like we’re not all just talking Taoism and kung fu — some people are just trying to get over their breakup with their boyfriend, and they’re Facebook stalking.”

Lumping together all people from Asia and Asian/Americans into one monolithic bloc is a common mistake made by pollsters and people who are not part of that demographic.

Politically, sometimes it is convenient to put us all together in order to achieve the numbers that might give us some attention.

Among ourselves, we are all aware of our differences. However, we share a lot of similar issues that make it convenient to join together when it serves our common interests.

When Asian/Americans protested the whitewashing of Major Motoko Kusanagi of the Ghost in the Shell movie, the Japanese creators of the character were praising the selection of Scarlett Johansson to play the Japanese role in the film. Asians who have grown up in Asia did not have to grow up with whitewashing, yellow face or erasure.

Differences have shown up in the affirmative action debate. Without the knowledge of why affirmative action policies were necessary, newcomers believe it works against their children in university admission policies. Growing up in a homogenous society, they generally have no idea of the impact of racial discrimination or white privilege in the admissions process or in applying for a job.

In a way, new immigrants are at an advantage over their U.S.-raised brethren in that they don't carry the weight of baggage filled with the centuries-old biases and social stratification that shaped the America we have today and which holds back many AAPI from fulfilling their dreams and full potential.

So, while we tend to not want to air our dirty laundry, perhaps Ms. Wu has done us a favor by bringing the issue to the attention of those who can't tell the difference between Asians and Asian/Americans, much less the variations between people from China, India, Japan, the Philippines or any of the dozens of countries and regions that make up Asia and Pacific islands.

The dissimilarities between Asian/Americans and Asians are sometimes stark. As the U.S. becomes increasingly diverse, the people descended from Asia need each other, no matter when they set foot on these shores. At the same time, non-Asians - especially those in the mainstream media -- need to realize and learn to appreciate the differences.

Read about Constance We in the April 2017 issue of Allure.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Jo Koy: Journey of a FilAm comedian leads to Netflix special

FILIPINO/AMERICAN COMEDIANS are a rare breed. One comedian is breaking the stereotypes of AAPI men as shy or not out-going with his laugh-filled performances, often focusing on his mixed racial heritage.

BE SURE to tune in to Netflix beginning March 28 to watch Filipino/American comedian Jo Koy's special.

The Tacoma,Washington standup comedian credits his Filipino mother for his comedic and acting talents. She encouraged him to take part in school talent shows and like many Filipino children, do impromptu performances for family and friends.

The comedian is known for mining his Filipino/American heritage for his material, telling stories about his colorful stage mother and updating audiences on his son. He's got the Filipino accent down pat. 

This is the third TV special for the comedian. He did two highly acclaimed specials for Comedy Central.

He was selling women's shoes for Nordstroms to supplement his career as a comedian, when he got the break that changed his life - an appearance on Jay Leno's Tonight show.

From there, he was able to quit that job and pick up gigs across the country, including Las Vegas.


NY Times: When a president says, 'I'll kill you.'

NT TIMES/Screen capture
One of the men who is part of the killing spree of alleged drug dealers in the Philippines.

The New York Times issued a new video about the thousands of vigilante killings of people alleged to be drug dealers in the Philippines. Thousands have been killed without the benefit of trial with a jury. Police, military and paramilitary groups have all been given permission to conduct extrajudicial killings for the sake of safety and security.

Photojournalist Raffy Lerma's 'Philippines Pieta.'

It follows photographer Raffy Lerma of the Philippine Daily Inquirer whose photo of one of the drug war victims could be titled the "Philippines' Pieta" and brought the world's attention to what's occurring in the Philippines.

In the bone-chilling 15-minute video, Duterte says, "Hitler e massacred 3 million Jews ... now there are 3 million criminals (inaudible) ... I'd be happy to slaughter them."

Watch the video here. WARNING: graphic scenes.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte:"I'd be happy to slaughter them."
The U.S., which used to have more influencel in the way the Philippines conducted its affairs, has lost its higher moral ground with the selection of Donald Trump as its Chief Executive. But even before Trump's electoral college victory, Duterte had already cursed out President Obama and his human rights advocacy; and pivoted away from the U.S. and sought China's assistance, shifting the delicate balance of power in Asia with the needle moving towards China.
Duterte, whom some have called as the Trump of the Philippines, is an early frontrunner for Time Magazine's Man of the Year. The poll, which opened on Friday (March 24), saw Duterte at the top spot with 4 percent of the votes as of Sunday (March 26).

On his heels was Pope Francis with 3 percent of the votes.


Poll: Millennials of color believe Trump presidency is illegitimate

Young people are leading many of the protests against Donald Trump and his policies.

AMERICA'S YOUNG PEOPLE generally don't like or trust No. 45, Donald Trump. That distrust and dislike is even greater among young people of color.

A majority of young adults, 57 percent, see Trump's presidency as illegitimate, including about three-quarters of blacks and large majorities of Asians and Latinos, according to a poll conducted by GenForward poll.

GenForward is a poll of adults age 18 to 30 conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The findings about the opinions of Millennials, an increasingly diverse generation, could spell trouble for the Republican Party down the line. By around 2020, half of the nation's children will be part of a minority race or ethnic group, the Census Bureau projects. Non-Hispanic whites are expected to be a minority by 2044.

The distrust and dislike for the policies of this president has manifested into activism among young people, who use social media, their preferred medium of communication, to successfully organize and respond quickly to every policy misstep taken by Trump, such as the failed attempts to install a Muslim ban and to repeal Obamacare. 

Other highlights of the poll:
  • Majorities of young adults in each racial and ethnic group disapprove of President Trump’s performance in office. 
  • Majorities of young adults in each racial and ethnic group also think that the country today is off on the wrong track, not headed in the right direction. 
  • Young adults express considerable concern about Donald Trump’s relations with Russia. Young people of color are especially worried. For example, 54 percent of Asian/Americans, 53 percent of Latino/as, and 49 percent of African Americans believe that the 2016 election was hampered by the Russians. Only 39 percent of whites share this view. 
  • Young people differ across race and ethnicity in whether they believe Donald Trump is a legitimate president. While a majority of whites (53 percent)  views Donald Trump as a legitimate president, considerably smaller proportions of African Americans (25 percent , Asian/Americans (36 percent), and Latino/as (28 percent)  share this belief— instead, most say Trump is not a legitimate president. 
  • Large numbers of Millennials report having been politically active during the first 50 days of the Trump administrations. Political engagement has taken place largely online and in opposition to—rather than in support of—President Trump. For example, most contacts with public officials (61 percent) among African Americans, 65 percent of Asian/Americans, 59 percent of Latino/as, and 62 percent of whites) have been to express opposition to President Trump and his policies. 
  • There continue to be large differences across race and ethnicity in perceptions about the most important problem in America. For example, young people of color list racism as one of the three most important problems in the country, but this issue is not one of the top three issues for young whites. 
  • Health care and immigration are among the other top issues listed by Millennials, suggesting a response to Trump’s current policy agenda.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Study: Overwhelming majority of AsAm men say they've been harassed

By Louis Chan

A  SURVEY of nearly 500 mostly young Asian American men has found 85 percent of the respondents have experienced some form of harassment at school and 35 percent experienced similar harassment in the work place.

The Asian American Man Survey was conducted in October and the results were just recently released.

While not scientific, The Asian American Man Survey provides a glimpse into the lives of an often underrepresented demographic.

Jason Shen who is a product manager in New York City started the survey in 2015. East, Southeast, and South Asian men were asked 40 questions. Shen says the respondents are heavily weighted on both coasts and among those in the tech industry. The majority were between the ages of 25 and 34.

“Up through my mid-twenties, I didn’t spend much time thinking about how my race/ethnicity affected the way others perceived me or interacted with me,” Shen writes about himself. 

“I had close friends who were Asian and those who were not. But over time, through conversations with many Asian/American men, I’ve come to realize that our ethnicity cannot be ignored. And running this study is one small way I hope to add to the conversation on race in this country.”

Eighty-five percent feel they are strongly American, but just 61 percent feel others feel the same way about them.

Nearly two-thirds say they’ve encountered someone who has told them they don’t date Asian men, yet 70 percent say they’ve dated someone who’s white versus 75 percent who have dated someone Asian.

The stereotypes encountered by these men varied among the various Asian/American subgroups. East Asian men say they were stereotyped being good at math, being good with computers, having a small penis, having slanted eyes, and having kung fu / martial arts skills.

Southeast Asian men say they are stereotyped as having a small penis, being good at math, being quiet / shy, being good at computers, and having kung fu / martial arts skills.

South Asian men face stereotypes of being good with computers, being labeled a terrorist, not being a “real” American, and being undesirable as a romantic partner​.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Report documents increase in hate vs. South Asian/Americans

SOUTH ASIAN AMERICANS Leading Together (SAALT) held a Congressional briefing Thursday (March 23) to address the uptick in hate violence nationwide and highlight recommendations for change, as outlined in its recent report, “Power, Pain, Potential.”

a national South Asian civil rights organization, was joined by eight members of Congressional leadership and community partners in an urgent discussion on combatting the surge in hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern Americans across the country.

“As President Trump continues to test-fire Muslim bans, this administration appears intent on intensifying efforts to ignore and provoke hate violence,” stated Suman Raghunathan, SAALT's Executive Director. 

 “The President has a sworn duty to protect the rights and safety of all Americans. Today’s briefing with Congressional leaders is an important step in making sure President Trump doesn’t escape his responsibilities.”

The South Asian/American communities have experienced devastating violence in recent months, including deadly shootings in Kansas and Washington State, numerous arson attacks and vandalism of mosques, businesses, and homes nationwide, and mounting fear by our communities across the country.

"It remains critical for elected officials to speak out early, loudly, and often against hate violence and policies that fan the flames," said Rep. Grace Meng, D-NY.

These tragedies are building upon the historically divisive Presidential elections, which, as documented in “Power, Pain, Potential,” saw over 200 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric against our communities nationwide. Notably, 95 percent of incidents were animated by anti-Muslim sentiment and 1 out of 5 xenophobic comments emanated from then-candidate Trump. This is a 34 percent increase in these incidents in less than a third of the time covered in our 2014 report, “Under Suspicion, Under Attack.”

Members of Congress who joined the briefing include: Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; 
Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-3), Co-Chair, Congressional Progressive Caucus; Rep. Ami Bera (CA-7); Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41); Rep. Grace Meng (NY-6); Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7); Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8); and Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17).