Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Philippine president's drug war spares Filipinos' deportation from the U.S.

Donald Trump's immigration policies have drawn nationwide protests against the deportations.

PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte's controversial war against drugs kept two Filipino immigrants from being deported from the U.S.

The two Filipinos are not undocumented immigrants. Both men are green card holders who live in San Francisco with their families. They chose to remain unidentified. They were represented by the Asian Law Caucus, a legal advocacy agency.

Serving jail terms for drug offenses, Immigration and Customs Enforcement started deportation proceedings against them, part of Donald Trump's crackdown on immigrants who have criminal records, no matter how minor. 

ALC attorney Kevin Lo successfully defended his clients' lives using the United Nation's Convention Against Torture. He argued that their lives would be endangered if they returned to the Philippines, where Duterte's anti-drug strategy which endorses the slaying of anyone connected to the drug trade, no matter if one is a dealer, manufacturer or victim.

“In evaluating the cases of the two Filipinos clients, we learned about the situation in the Philippines with President Duterte’s drug war. And when we realized that they had claims for protection under the Convention Against Torture, we decided to take their cases because we know the situation is pretty serious,” Lo told the Inquirer, a Filipino newspaper.

“We decided to make the argument that drug addicts who are deported to the Philippines has a more then 50 percent chance to be added to government watch lists and subsequently killed,” Lo explained.

The judge allowed the Filipinos to stay in the U.S. while Duterte is in office. If and when thte Philippine president's six-year term comes to an end, they would again be eligible for deportation.

Since Duterte has taken office, there have been over 8,000 extra-judicial slayings by the military, local police, private security guards or self-anointed vigilantes. Human rights advocates, including President Barack Obama, have condemned the executions without due process.

         RELATED: An inside look at Duterte's war on drugs by NYT

Despite the international criticism, Filipinos appear to support the Duterte's drug was as his popularity continues to be extraordinarily high.

Although most of the deportations under the Trump administration have involved people from Mexico and other Latin American countries, a large number of undocumented Asians -- one in seven Asians, or 1.65 million, according to U.S. immigration advocates -- are in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security told Philippine authorities that up to 310,000 undocumented Filipinos may be eligible for deportation. The Philippine government estimates that there are about 3.4 million Filipinos and Filipino/Americans in the U.S.

In a phone conversation, Donald Trump praised the Philippine president and his fight against drugs. 

“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” Trump told Duterte. “Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”

Trump invited Duterte to visit the White House sometime in the future drawing strong condemnaton from human rights organizations. No date has been set for the visit.

California gets five new AAPI judges

CALIFORNIA'S GOV. JERRY BROWN continues to diversify the state's judiciary with the appointment last Thursday (May 25) of five Asian/Americans to preside as judges in Superior Courts.

“It’s critical that our judiciary reflects our communities," said Assemblymember Rob Bonta, chair of the API Legislative Caucus. "As the fastest growing population in California, Asian Pacific Islanders have not been represented in appropriate numbers on the bench. This is a step in the right direction.”

The new judges are:

Benjamin T. Reyes

  • Benjamin T. Reyes' appointment to the Contra Costa County Superior Court makes him the county's first Filipino/American on the bench. He is a principal at Meyers, Nave, Rhack, Silver and Wilson PLC and city attorney for the cities of Union City and Pinole, both in the San Francisco Bay Area. Reyes, 51, earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley. resident of Alameda is a lactive in the Bay Area legal community. He is a longtime supporter, former Vice-President and current advisory board member of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California.
Somnath Chattterjee

  • Somnath "Raj" Chatterjee was appointed to the Alameda County Superior Court. Chatterjee, 47, of Oakland, has been a partner at Antolin Agarwal and Chatterjee LLP since earlier in 2017. He was a partner at Morrison and Foerster LLP from 2006 to 2017, where he was an associate from 1997 to 1999 and from 2000 to 2005. The Indian/American attorney served as a deputy public defender at the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office from 1999 to 2000. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Neetu Badham-

  • Neetu Badhan-Smith has been appointed to Los Angeles Superior Court. Badhan-Smith has served as a deputy public defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office since 2004. The 40-year-old Los Angeles resident was formerly an attorney at the Southern California Housing Rights Center. The Indian/American lawyer earned a Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Rubiya Nur

  • Rubiya Nur, 52, will be joining Badhan-Smith on the bench of the Los Angeles Superior Court. She was born in Bangladesh. She has been a solo practitioner since 2008. Nur formerly served as a deputy public defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office from 2001 to 2008. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern Law School and a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, San Bernardino.

Winston S. Keh

  • Winston S. Keh will serve in the San Bernardino County Superior Court. Keh, 54, of Stevenson Ranch, has served as a commissioner at the San Bernardino County Superior Court since 2015. The Filipino/American was senior litigation attorney at Tharpe and Howell LLP in 2015, senior counsel at Diederich and Associates from 2012 to 2015 and an associate at R. Rex Parris Law Firm in 2012. Keh is a member of the Los Angeles-based Philippine American Bar Association, earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of La Verne College of Law and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of West Los Angeles. 
“While California has thousands of Asian/Pacific Islander attorneys, our state's judges have not reflected our diverse communities," said Assemblymember David Chiu, who served as former president of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, and spearheaded judicial appointments for the API Legislative Caucus.
RELATED: Judge's son appointed to the bench
According to the annual report released by the Judicial Council released prior to these latest appointments, over two-thirds of the state's judges are white as of Dec. 31, 2016. The report also showed slight increases of judges of color.

  • Asian (6.5 percent in 2016 compared to 4.4 percent in 2006);
  • Black or African American (6.9 percent in 2016 compared to 4.4 percent in 2006);
  • Hispanic or Latino (10 percent in 2016 compared to 6.3 percent in 2006);
  • Pacific Islander (0.2 percent in 2016 compared to 0.1 percent in 2006);
  • White (68.8 percent in 2016 compared to 70.1 percent in 2006);

The report shows that despite the increases, the courts have a ways to go to be fully representative of California's diversitiy. For example, Asians mamke up 10 to 11 percent of the state's population but only 6.5 percent of the judges.

“In order for Californians to have confidence in the court system, our judiciary should reflect the rich diversity of our state,” said Assemblymember Evan Low, chair of the subcommittee on appointments of the API Legislative Caucus.

“A diverse judiciary ensures a wider range of perspectives and allows for more decision-making power among underrepresented groups,” he said.

Monday, May 29, 2017

National Museum includes an Asian American perspective on U.S. history

IN THE WANING days of Asian American & Pacific American Month, visitors to Washington DC may be pleasantly surprised to see the displays at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History. It tells the unvarnished history of our country that is usually excluded in high school history texts - warts and all.

Americans of Asian descent are included in the telling of our country's story: from the building of the transcontinental railroad, the longtime use of imported labor to harvest our crops, to the immigrants of today - the high-tech experts, the medical professionals, scientists and entrepreneurs.

The museum has devoted several rooms to the incarceration of Japanese/Americans during World War II, titled "Righting A Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II," a dark chapter in America's history that is usually glossed over and given only a couple of paragraphs at most in our schools' studies of American history.

Besides showing a reproduction of Executive Order 9066 which made it possible to round up all people of Japanese descent in the western U.S. and the heroics of the 442nd Regiment, the museum included a display explaining the little known resistance within the Japanese/American community against the illegality of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's executive order. The most notable member of the resisters was Fred Korematsu, whose case was revived in the 1960s that eventually led to an admission of 9066's unconstitutionality, a formal apology from President Ronald Reagan and reparations.

The exhibit consists mostly of document reproductions, photos and quotes. It could use a little more interactiveness, perhaps a recording or two by some of the former internees describing their horror at being detained and the losses they suffered by givng up their homes, farms and businesses.

It be great to simply press a button and hear the story of the late Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye who lost an arm during WWII. Press another button and listen to George Takei's story of being interned as a young child and how it led to creating the Broadway musical "Allegiance." (See how you can donate below.)

Unfortunately, unlike the rest of the museum that had students running to and fro, parents explaining to their kids what the exhibits meant, and lines of people waiting to see an exhibit close up, visitors to the Internment exhibit was relatively sparse. The same could be said of the African/American exhibit next door, that tells their story from the slave ships to their cultural prominence today. It appears that some Americans prefer to turn a blind eye to the real story of our country.

As America's story continues, museum visitors are told of the waves of immigrant workers who work in Hawaii's sugar cane fields and California's agricultural heartland: First the Chinese, then the Japanese, then the Filipinos followed by Mexican farm workers.

This leads to the creation of the United Farm Workers led by Cesar Chavez. Unfortunately, in this exhibit, little is mentioned of the multi-ethnic origins of the UFW initially led by Filipino/Americans Larry Itliong, Phillip Vera Cruz and Andy Imutan that forced Chavez to join forces with the Filipino workers.

Filipino farmworkers in California.

A Japanese/American family in their California strawberry field.

A diorama showing Chinese farmworkers doing the backbreaking work of the harvest

In more modern times, AAPI immigrants continue to contribute to the prosperity of the United States, students who come to study find employment here: medical professionals from the Philippines providing medical help in our hospitals, labs and universities, and the immigrants flocking to Silicon Valley.

Newer immigrants contintue to contribute to America's welfare.

All in all, the Smithsonian should be applauded for their inclusion of AAPI stories in the telling the complete story of our country at the National Museum of American History. The stories are especially relevant this month, Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. They could probably use more donations from AAPI individual donors and corporations to expand their work.

For a number of years, the Smithsonian has embarked on a strategy to diversify its story telling and exhibits. These exhibits are put together by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. Among the exhibits are the A Day and Life of Asian Pacific America photo exhibit and the Beyond Bollywood exhibit, South Asian and Asian American artists are featured in H-1B, referring to the work visa for special occupations, plus staging events around the country.  

If the Smithsonian isn't careful, they might attract the attention of the Trump administration. Given the desire of Donald Trump and his followers to return to the good ol' days, they might not like facing the real facts of U.S. history. The gold ol' days were not good for everybody.

Memorial Day 2017: A time to stand up

They died for their buddies. They died for the U.S.. They died for us.
TODAY we remember and honor those men and women who gave their lives while serving their country in our nation’s military.

From the Battle of New Orleans and the Civil War, to the battles of Iraq and Afghanistan, to the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, to the trials of World Wars; from the Lousiana swamps to forests of the Battle of the Bulge, to the jungles of Asia and the deserts of the Middle East, Asian/Americans have fought to keep our country safe from the evil ambitions of tyrants and despots

The best way we can honor their memories is to make sure that the values and principles  that they died for continue to thrive.

Today, freedom of speech is being attacked as the press is wrongly maligned as they try to uncover the true stories behind the headlines. Journalists are being verbally and physically attacked. This is wrong! 

Today, voting rights are being denied by the shenanigans of politicians trying to protect their power. This is wrong!

Today, hate has burst out of the darkness to become part of our everyday lives. Our neighbors are being attacked and killed, their homes vandalized, and who live in terror because of the color of their skin, the accents in their speech or the religion they practice. This is wrong! 

Today, families are being torn apart and communities live in fear because of immigration policies being enforced unjustly, unevenly and inhumanely. This is wrong!

Today, there are those who wish to enact laws denying travelers, immigrants, and refugees from entering the United States, a country of immigrants, because of their religion. This is wrong!.

Today, we place flags on military graves and we sing patriotic songs … but most of all we remember those we miss so much. Let’s honor their sacrifice by remembering what they died for and protect those values that have made America great. 

Today, we recall that liberty is always the achievement of courage to step up when duty calls; courage to point out and speak out against injustice; courage to stand up to fear, hate and ignorance.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

History made: Japanese driver wins Indy 500

Japanese driver Takuma Sato celebrates after winning the Indy 500.

TAKUMA SATO's victory in the Indianapolis 500 today (May 28), made history when he became the first Asian to win the Formula One race.
"Unbelievable feeling!" Sato exclaimed as he jumped out of his car in the Victory lane to celebrate with his teammates and owner Michael Andretti.

Sato, who has been racing professionallly for almost a decade, could wind up winning $2.5 million for winning the the Indy 500.

Sato became the first Asian-born driver to win the race. It was Sato’s second career IndyCar victory. Sato previously won at Long Beach in 2013. It was the fifth Indy 500 win for Andretti Autosport and their third in the last four.

An Andretti driver has now won the 500 three times in the last four years.

Last year, it was with rookie Alexander Rossi. This time it is with Sato, who joined the team just this season and had largely been overlooked at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the Andretti camp expanded to six cars for the 500 with the addition of Formula One driver Fernando Alonso.

Takuma Sato was congratulated by Indianapolis 500 Festival Queen Shivani Bajpai.
UPDATE: (MAY 30) Terry Frei, a sports reporter for the Denver Post, sent a controversial tweet shortly after Sato won the Indy 500, saying: 

"Nothing specifically personal, but I am very uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend," he wrote.
The tweet immediately evoked a firestorm of criticism on social media which resulted in Frei losing his job at the newspaper, according to a report from NBC.

Four FilAm 'Good Samaritans' save man's life

Four Filipino American nurses were interviewed for their quick thinking in saving a man's life.

STEVEN KIRSCHNER was having a heart attack when four Filipino/American nurses passing by quickly administered CPR to save his life.
“When he collapsed, his heart stopped. They’re the ones who started it again,” said Susan Kirschner about her husband’s heart attack at Oakland Airport.
Oliver Naca, Rainier Escanio, Marc Discipulo and Armil Vertudez — as well as with the emergency responders and airport personnel who arrived minutes later, were honored Thursday (May 25)  at the Port of Oakland headquarters in Oakland, Calif.

The Kirschner's were at the airport waiting to board a flight when Steven Kirschner began to not feel well. He said he felt pain in his chest and arm. The discomfort was enough that they cancelled their flight plans at the last minute.

As they were leaving the airport terminal, Steven Kirschner collapsed.

The four nurses were returning from a nursing conference when they spotted the Kirschners. They were not supposed to be there. “We had crossed the street by accident,” said Naca of the moment the group saw Kirschner collapse.

Naca said he “went to check his pulse, see if there’s any signs of life and everything just kind of kicked off from there.”

The four men, all who work at Kaiser Permanente in Walnut Creek, began to administer CPR until airport personnel brought a nearby defibrillator.

“We’re very grateful we were there at the wrong place at the right time,” said Naca.

“What if they had been there five minutes later?" asked Susan Kirschner. "What if they were going to a flight and had to leave? What if we had gotten on the flight.”

Although the four nurses who saved Kirschner's life were raised in the U.S., they are following a well beaten career path trodded by Filipinos.

Since it is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, here is some background information about nurses from the Philippines:

The Philippines is the largest exporter of nurses globally – roughly 25 percent of all overseas nurses worldwide. About 85 percent of employed Filipino nurses work in more than 50 countries.

The U.S. has been giving special visas to the nurses from the Philippines to make up for the nursing shortage for decades.

Filipino nurses made up 50 percent of all foreign nurses, according to some sources. Today, there are 200,000 nurses of Philippine origin in the USA. Almost every hospital in America's big cities employ Filipno nurses. 

In his 2013 State of the Union speech, a Filipino nurse was lauded by President Obama during his speech:

“We were sent here to look out for our fellow Americans the same way they look out for one another, every single day, usually without fanfare, all across this country. We should follow their example. 
"We should follow the example of a New York City nurse named Menchu Sanchez. When Hurricane Sandy plunged her hospital into darkness, her thoughts were not with how her own home was faring – they were with the twenty precious newborns in her care and the rescue plan she devised that kept them all safe.”
Steve Kirschner said, “They performed perfectly and that made all the difference in the world for me.”

Friday, May 26, 2017

TGIF FEATURE: View the winners of HBO's contest for emerging APA film makers.

BEFORE Asian American & Pacific American Heritage month winds up, take a few moments to view the winners of HBO Asian Pacific American Visionaries, a short-film competition dedicated to showcasing emerging APA directors and exploring the Asian Pacific American experience. 

The works of Dinh Thai, Tiffanie Hsu, and Jingyi Shao – who placed first, second and third, respectively  —  made their world premieres at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in April. The shorts cover a range of genres and subject matter including family, racism and addiction. Winning films will also premiere on HBO platforms.

Launched in August 2016, APA Visionaries was created to help further the dialogue about race, diversity and representation in Hollywood while offering unique and creative depictions of the Asian Pacific American community. The judges for the competition were comprised of HBO executives and industry experts, including representatives from Visual Communications (organizers of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival) and the Coalition of Asians in Entertainment (CAPE).

“HBO is proud to celebrate and support the movement towards a diverse media landscape where one’s differences can also be their greatest strength,” stated Jackie Gagne, VP Multicultural Marketing at HBO. 

“These three films and the visionaries behind them are excellent examples of the wealth of stories and talent waiting to be discovered in the Asian Pacific American community.”

About the winners:
  • First place — Dinh Thai’s “Monday” is the story of a young drug dealer who finds himself struggling with the moral implications of his illicit profession.
  • Second place — Tiffanie Hsu’s “Wonderland” explores the lonely and surreal world of a 12-year-old girl whose mother (played by Joan Chen) is a gambling addict.
  • Third place — Jingyi Shao’s “Toenail” finds a career-obsessed yuppie having to care for his ailing father on the eve of his big promotion.

Appeals court upholds stay on Muslim ban, AsAm civil rights groups applaud

Donald Trump's executive orders sparked nationwide protests.

DONALD TRUMP'S attempt to implement a ban against immigrants or refugees from six predominantly Muslim countries once again ran into a wall Thursday (May 25).
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA refused to lift the injunction on Trumps second executive order saying it "drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination." In so doing, the court agreed with Judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland who ruled that Trump's EO was in effect, "a Muslim ban," which goes against the Constitution.

"The Fourth Circuit Court confirmed what we have been saying for months – President Trump’s Muslim travel ban is not only anti-Muslim and un-American, but fundamentally violates our constitutional right to freedom of religion," said Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, cheered the decision.

"President Trump's Muslim ban violates the Constitution, as this decision strongly reaffirms," Jadwat, who argued the case. "The Constitution's prohibition on actions disfavoring or condemning any religion is a fundamental protection for all of us, and we can all be glad that the court today rejected the government's request to set that principle aside."
The White House said it disagreed with the ruling indicating that the decison woud likely  be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"These clearly are very dangerous times, and we need every available tool at our disposal to prevent terrorists from entering the United States and committing acts of bloodshed and violence," said White House spokesman Michael Short. "We are confident the President's executive order to protect the country is fully lawful and ultimately will be upheld by the Judiciary."
“We welcome (the) ruling as a strong indication that the federal courts reject the ‘Muslim ban’ as unconstitutional and un-American,” said Lena Masri, National Litigation Director for Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Ten of the 13 judges who heard the arguments held that although Trump had broad power to deny entry into the United States, his executive order "stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across the nation."

"The question for this Court, distilled to its essential form, is whether the Constitution ... remains 'a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace,'" Fourth Circuit Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote in the majority opinion. "And if so, whether it protects Plaintiffs’ right to challenge an Executive Order that in text speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination."

Like Judge Chuang before them, they took into account statements made by Trump during the presidential campaign promising to implement a Muslim ban.

"These statements, taken together, provide direct, specific evidence of what
motivated both EO-1 and EO-2: President Trump’s desire to exclude Muslims from the United States," wrote Gregory in the court ruling. "We need not probe anyone’s heart of hearts to discover the purpose of EO-2, for President Trump and his aides have explained it on numerous occasions and in no uncertain terms."
Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a coalition of five civil rights organizations issued a statement praising the court's decision. 

"Advancing Justice is thrilled to note the court did not allow fear-mongering and propaganda to overcome the basic civil and human rights that immigrants and refugees should be afforded," said the statement. "We commend the court for not repeating the shameful moments in history that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 and saw more than nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II."

Meanwhile, in a separate case, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments last March issued by Judge Derrick Kahala Watson of the 3rd District Court. While awaiting this appeal, the nationwide stay on the EO's travel ban will remain in place.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mental Health: Asian Americans suffer in silence

ASIAN/AMERICANS suffering from mental illnesses are less likely to seek help than other ethnic groups. In fact, compared to Euro/Americans they are three times less likely to seek mental health services.

Much of this reluctance among Asian/Americans is attributed to the social stigma associated with mental problems.

According to Dr. Kevin Nadal, president of the Asian American Psychological Association and professor at John Jay College in New York, many Asian-American families hold a "notion of shame and stigma" around mental illness and that "bringing shame to one's family can be especially detrimental to a person's mental health."

CBS Evening News Uncharted: State of Mind" is a new five-part digital series airing in May with new episodes released every Wednesday. This month, the series will examine the state of mental health care in America in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month. More than 43 million Americans suffer from mental illness. The third installment of the series deals with mental illness within the AAPI community.

The online episode focuses on a Chinese/American woman named Sara (She didn't want to divulge her last name.)
Suffering from depression, a victim of bullying and molested by a relative, she attempted suicide more than once. She was in and out of hospitals as a result. "I hated my life, I hated myself," she said.
Looking back, she attributed the reluctance of her family to seek assistance to the social stigma and shame that mental illness could bring to the family.
Nadal says that the Asian/American community sometimes turns a "blind eye to things like sexual assault," domestic violence and child abuse because of shame or stigma.

Watching her daughter go deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole, Sara's mother finally sought professional help. In her late teens, Sara was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. She was dealing with symptoms like hallucinations, auditory delusions, paranoia and depression all at once.
But with intense therapy and a search for the right medication, Sara began to get better. 
"Medication gave me my life back. If I didn't take medication I'd probably be dead," she said.

For Sara, hope is what keeps her fighting to survive.
Besides the social stigma associated with mental health, these are some other reasons API are reluctant to seek help:
  • AAPI don't see mental illness as treatable. They tend think that inner reflection will cure any emotional and mental distress. Most of all, they believe, don't tell anyone outside the family.
  • Language barriers and a lack of providers who understand Asian cultures contribute to that disparity. 
  • In Asia, mental illnesses are less likely to be treated as medical conditions, according to Mariko Kahn, the executive director of Pacific Asian Counseling Services. 
  • Many Asian languages have no words to describe mental illness, except words with negative connotations.
If you're having suicidal thoughts or know someone that is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK. For Asian language services from the Asian American Suicide Prevention and Education, call 1-877-990-8585.

Uproar over The Bachlorette's decision to cut Asian American suitor

Blake K. meets this season's Bachelorette Rachel Lindsey.

THE BACHELOR/BACHLORETTE franchise finally - FINALLY - has a person of color in the coveted title role in the most diverse seasons of the competition.

Wouldn't you know it? The first contestant rejected by the Bachlorette Rachel Lindsey, was the Asian/American hunk, Blake K.

Rachel, the first bachelorette of color ever, has 31 men competing for her favor, including 14 men of color, the most in the show's history.

The show premiered Monday (May 22) with high anticipation and expectations. She had the tough task to eliminate eight guys on the first night. Among them was Blake K, a 6-foot tall former marine with a great physique and smile..

Could Rachel, the beautiful 32-year old attorney, have fallen for that old negative stereotype of AsAm men? In numerous polls, Asian/American men are the most unattractive date, the result of a century of the cultural desexualization of AsAm males. Asian men don't do well in this competition. They are usually eliminated early.

Usually, military veterans get some slack on the show but that didn't appear to make an impression on Rachel. Apparently, Blake's humility, in such contrast to his rivals, charmed Bachelor Nation. The sting of his departure was lessened somewhat with the ensuing uproar.

One fan began a petition to have Blake K. return as The Bechelor.

However, there's hope. There is one other Asian/American suitor still remaining on the show. Mohit, a product manager appears to be South Asian.

In an Instagram post two months ago while the show was still being filmed, Blake K posted a picture that may indicate the real reason he left the show early,