Asian Americans are not your model minorities. We are not your wedges. We are not your license for guilt-free anti-blackness. We are not your proof that President Donald Trump isn’t racist.
The specter of war between North and South Korea has dominated headlines, particularly as President Donald Trump increasingly matches the bellicose posturing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un word-for-word (and tweet-for-tweet). Under the best of circumstances, the precarious relationship between North and South Korea requires precise and thoughtful diplomatic handling; that is no more true now that North Korea approaches the threshold of achieving nuclear weapons.
A better president might develop a program to halt North Korea’s nuclear advancement with a measured balance of diplomacy and international sanction. A better president would understand the devastatingly high price of war, and would seek to avoid that at all costs.
But, America elected Donald Trump, a self-aggrandizing buffoon who sees the rising tensions on the Korean peninsula as just another opportunity to provoke Kim Jong Un with belittling — and highly racially emasculating — language.
California’s first female Secretary of State and the first Asian American woman publicly elected to a state constitutional office, March Fong Eu, will be memorialized when the California Secretary of State building complex is renamed in her honour.
Eu died last week at the age of 95 after a long and storied career in public service.
Earlier today, the UC Irvine School of Law — ranked within the top 30 of the nation’s law schools by US News & World Reports, and ranked 10th among public universities — announced that Professor L. Song Richardson has been named the school’s newest dean, succeeding UCI Law’s founding dean, renowned constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky.
Dean Chemerinsky had served as UCI Law’s dean for nearly ten years since the school’s founding in 2008 before accepting the position of dean at UC Berkeley School of Law this past summer. Richardson had been serving as interim dean since Chemerinsky’s departure, but with today’s announcement now becomes the second dean in the school’s history. Richardson — who is mixed race Black and Asian American — is also the only woman of color to currently serve as dean of any top-30 law school, and she may also be the first Asian American woman to be named dean of a major American law school. (I would welcome reader corrections if I am in error on this latter point.)
It’s a headline that might have described the antics in an episode of “Family Guy”: White guy pretends to be a Japanese guy to work as a comic book writer, and keeps the charade going for two years until he one day kills off his Asian altere-go when it outlived its usefulness. And, as with so many “Family Guy” subplots, the story has an overtly racist undertone.
No one would imagine that not only would this happen in real life, but that the White man in question would be named this year as Marvel Comics’ Editor-in-Chief — one of the top positions in the comic book industry. But yes, earlier last month, Bleeding Cool broke the news that newly-promoted Marvel Comics EIC C.B. Cebulski had spent two years between 2004 and 2005 writing several prominent Marvel titles under the invented guise of “Akira Yoshida”. Adding insult to injury, most of the stories written by Cebulski-as-Yoshida are Asiaphilic fables involving White protagonists immersed in the hyper-saturated colours of Orientalist fantasy.
For two years, Cebulski — a White man — donned literary yellowface to objectify, appropriate, commodify, and caricature all things Japanese for non-Asian comic book audiences. In so doing, Cebulski displaced actual Asian American comic book writers who still struggle to break into an industry that is an estimated 79% White and mostly men.