HBO’s APA Visionaries Short Film Contest is Currently Seeking Submissions!

July 17, 2017

After a successful inaugural year that saw winning short films screened at the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, HBO’s APA Visionaries Short Film competition is back for 2018!

This year, HBO has partnered with the totally awesome Leonardo Nam (Westworld) to seek short film submissions exploring themes of belonging, identity and culture. Check out this year’s competition announcement video (featuring Nam) after the jump!

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BREAKING: Viral Story About “Asian White Supremacist” May Be Fake

July 15, 2017
A screen-capture of a viral Medium essay claiming to be a first-person narrative of an Asian American woman and former neo-Nazi. (Photo credit: Medium)

Editor’s Note: Minutes after this post was published, @hmasculazn deactivated his Twitter account. Shortly afterwards, the viral Medium essay was removed by the author, and the author’s profile was deleted. Some links may no longer work.

In the last two weeks, an essay posted last year on Medium and written by a self-described Asian American woman and former neo-Nazi has gone viral.  “I was an Asian White Supremacist” (Google web cache here) was widely shared through Asian American Twitter and Facebook groups, and it even attracted interest from the editors of prominent Asian American media outlet NextShark who sought to republish the writing.

The essay sparked interest for its first-person depiction of a self-described Taiwanese American woman – “Angie Lee” – who describes growing up in the American South hating her Asian appearance and desiring to become White. Lee further describes how she became romantically involved with a white teenager – “Brandon” – who becomes involved in neo-Nazism. Lee explains that through this relationship, she internalized white supremacy and racism, coming to hate herself, her family (and in particular, her restauranteur  father), and other people of colour. Lee describes how she eventually ran away from home to live with Brandon and fully embrace neo-Nazism, and even became pregnant by Brandon. However, Lee explains that when her son was born, the fact that he appeared more Asian than White caused Brandon to reject both mother and child. The essay concludes with Lee’s description of how she was taken in by a women’s shelter and now raises her son on her own, and has let go of her racial self-hate.

The essay has been widely shared on social media for its supposed evidence of how Asian American women are complicit in white supremacy, and it is often paired with latent attacks on Asian American feminism.

However, some are now wondering whether the essay might also be entirely fake.

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Dashcam Video Shows Brutal Police Assault of Laotian American Man

June 22, 2017
A screen-capture from dashcam footage released today by the ACLU of a traffic stop that led to the police beating of Anthony Promvongsa. (Photo credit: ACLU / YouTube)

Shocking dashcam footage released today by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)  of Minnesota shows a police officer brutally attacking a Laotian American man during a traffic stop last summer in Worthington, Minnesota. The ACLU says that the assault was both unconstitutional and excessively violent, and that “[p]eople should not fear that they could be attacked by the police for no reason or while being detained for investigative purposes.”

In the dashcam video (after the jump) which was captured by a second officer at the scene, Anthony Promvongsa (who was 21 at the time of the incident) is seen in the driver’s seat of his parked vehicle when Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force Agent Joe Joswiak (who was off-duty at the time of the incident) approaches the car door with his gun drawn. Joswiak is heard profanely ordering Promvongsa to exit the vehicle. Immediately upon reaching the car door, Joswiak flings it open and begins forcibly pulling Promvongsa from the vehicle. Joswiak appears to knee and punch Promvongsa several times as he forces him to the pavement and handcuffs him. Midway through the video, another uniformed officer — Sgt. Tim Gaul — is also seen inexplicably turning off the audio of the recording dashcam, leaving no record of the verbal exchange between the police and Promvongsa for the remainder of the arrest.

Now, Promvongsa is facing several criminal charges stemming from the traffic stop while Joswiak does not appear to have any sanction for his obvious use of excessive force. The incident took place on July 28, 2016 — just three weeks after Philando Castile was shot and killed in St. Anthony, Minnesota last year by a police officer during a routine traffic stop.

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Slants Win Supreme Court Case Against US Patent and Trademark Office

June 19, 2017
Asian American rock band, The Slants.

In a ruling handed down this morning, the US Supreme Court unanimously sided with Asian American rock band “The Slants” against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The Slants had sought to register their band’s name as a trademark, but was denied  the mark under guidelines outlined in the 1946 Lanham Act, which prohibits the registration of any mark that might be deemed offensive or disparaging.

The Slants took issue with the US Patent and Trademark Office’s ruling, saying that their band name was not offensive, and was instead an effort to reclaim a racial or ethnic slur to empower the Asian American community.

However, The Slants’ legal battle to challenge the Lanham Act’s disparagement clause is of particular political relevance, as the clause also represents a significant legal basis for the Native American community’s protest of the “Washington Redskins”‘ name and trademark.

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Under Trump, Dreamers — But Not Parents — Will Be Allowed to Remain in U.S.

June 16, 2017
Cris Mercado, an undocumented immigrant, in a scene from “American Dream”. (Photo credit: “American Dream”/Fwd.Us via NBC News)

In a surprise announcement on the 5th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Trump administration announced yesterday that it would reverse one of the president’s campaign promises and would instead continue the popular federal program.  Founded in 2012, DACA granted renewable permits to undocumented immigrants who had been brought into the United States as children, protecting them from deportation and allowing them to work.

However, yesterday also saw U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly sign a memorandum to roll back a program proposed by the Obama administration in 2014 called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). DAPA was intended to provide legal protections for the undocumented parents of American citizens or residents in an effort to not break up immigrant families. That program was never put into place due to legal challenges in federal court filed by 26 states led by Republican governors.

In January, Trump was quoted as saying about undocumented immigrants, “They are here illegally. They shouldn’t be very worried. I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody.” However, it is clear by yesterday’s dual announcements that the Trump administration is less interested in “taking care of everybody”, and more interested in taking care of Trump’s approval rating.

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