Warren Releases Extensive Plan for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

Elizabeth Warren speaks at the 2019 California Democratic Party Convention. (Photo credit: Getty)

Disclosure: After supporting the Castro campaign to its end, I recently indicated my public support for the Warren campaign.

Coinciding with an online presidential townhall organized by Asian American and Pacific Islander advocacy groups today through the hashtag #AAPI2020 and that involved representatives of every current Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren released a comprehensive working agenda this morning that presents an extensive vision for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities under her presidency. The plan highlighted several key planks of her campaign platform.

Warren also introduced novel AANHPI-specific ideas. Warren vowed that as president, she will create a White House task force on data equity to prioritize disaggregation of federal and state demographic data. Aggregated AANHPI data has long led to the erasure of Southeast Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders for access to everything from education, healthcare, and the ballot box, and data disaggregation has been a major issue area for community advocacy groups (as well as for this blog).

Warren also promised to work with Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community leaders to develop other policies to better our communities. This is a vision that heralds back to the Obama administration when the White House worked in close partnership with AANHPI organizers to advance several policy initiatives and to launch the first-ever White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Continue reading “Warren Releases Extensive Plan for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders”

AAPIs Need to be Part of the Equal Pay Conversation

A protest sign demanding equal pay. (Photo credit: Steve Rappaport / Creative Commons)

Today is AAPI Equal Pay Day, the day in 2020 when an Asian American or Pacific Islander woman would — on average — finally earn as much money as a typical white man if both worked through all of 2019.

In the aggregate, AAPI women make about 90 cents to the dollar of white men, a statistic that is both troubling and that still overlooks disaggregated data showing an even starker gender wage gap for many AAPI ethnic subgroups. Many Southeast Asian American and Pacific Islander women, for example, earn less than 70 cents to the dollar a white man earns, but this fact is lost when only aggregated income statistics about the AAPI community are reported.

Continue reading “AAPIs Need to be Part of the Equal Pay Conversation”

What we’re not talking about when we talk about equal pay

Screen capture of video for AAPI Equal Pay Day from 2017. (Photo credit: NAPAWF)

By Guest Contributor: Sung Yeon Choimorrow (Executive Director, NAPAWF)

The gender pay gap is the difference between what men and women earn for doing the same work, and it varies for different sub-groups of women. In 2019, Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) women earned 90 cents for every dollar that white, non-Hispanic men made. Today marks the symbolic day in 2020 when we “catch up” to white men’s earnings from the previous year. The wage gap exists in every state and every occupation, regardless of education—but there’s so much more to the story hidden by the averages. 

The term AAPI includes more than 50 ethnic subgroups, some of which experience much wider pay gaps. Vietnamese American women, for example, made 67 cents for every dollar white men made last year and Cambodian American women made 57 cents. These women will have to work for several more months for their paychecks to catch up while the lost wages compound. 

Asian Americans have long been depicted as “model minorities” in this country. It’s a persistent myth that all Asians are the same and we’re all high-achieving with stable incomes. By failing to recognize our lived experiences, the myth makes it easier to dismiss our struggles and reinforces the misconception that Asian people don’t need resources or support. 

Continue reading “What we’re not talking about when we talk about equal pay”

“Parasite” makes history at Oscars

Writer-Director Bong Joon-Ho accepts an Oscar at the 2020 Academy Awards.

Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite” — a compelling exploration of class inequality in South Korea — has received near-universal critical acclaim. The first Korean film to win the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes, and the first non-English language film to receive the Outstanding Performance by a Cast award at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, “Parasite” made history tonight when it also became the first non-English language film to win the Best Picture Academy Award.

In total, “Parasite” — which was released on Blu-Ray last week — received four of the six Academy Awards for which it was nominated: in addition to Best Picture, the film was awarded Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Screenplay and director Bong Joon-Ho was awarded Best Director.

Prior to tonight, Bong Joon-Ho called out the narcissism of American Hollywood while claiming the Best Foreign Language Film prize at the Golden Globes. “Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,” he said in his acceptance speech.

This is a truism many of us familiar with non-American film already recognize: amazing films are made around the world, and (whether in America or abroad) in languages other than English. Indeed, some of my earliest memories of of fantastic films are Chinese-language films introduced to me by my parents. And yet, only rarely do non-English films (even American-made ones like “The Farewell”) get recognized or celebrated by Hollywood — a trend that underscores the many ways that non-white films are still Other-ized.

Continue reading ““Parasite” makes history at Oscars”

Just Show Up: A Field Guide to Campaign Volunteering in Iowa – as an Asian American from California

An Iowan neighborhood canvassed by the author. (Photo credit: Kevin Xu)

By Guest Contributor: Kevin Xu, Model Majority Podcast

Last week, I traveled from my home in San Francisco, California to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It was my first visit to Iowa, and what better way to travel the state than as a campaign volunteer? I’m a political junkie, and the Iowa Caucus has always held a certain mystique: the complex and archaic caucuses procedures, the cold harsh winter warmed only by Midwestern charm and hospitality, the first ballots in the presidential primary — how could I not be enthralled? 

I wanted to experience it. I wanted to help. And I wanted to represent the Asian American community out on the campaign trail in my own small way.

So here’s what I did to make it all work.

Continue reading “Just Show Up: A Field Guide to Campaign Volunteering in Iowa – as an Asian American from California”