The Culture Canard of the Model Minority Myth: how racial gaps in academics aren’t due to cultural pathology

August 29, 2014


This past week, Bill O’Reilly was his usual raging asshole self when he set out on his Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” to debunk the notion of White privilege. The essence of his argument? Asian Americans are doing great socioeconomically even though we are not White. Therefore, racism must not really exist, and the root of the problem for African Americans must be a cultural pathology.

To bolster his argument, O’Reilly pointed to racial disparities between Blacks, Whites and Asians in graduation rates, unemployment rates and median family income to conclude that African Americans have essentially invented a mythological White privilege as an attempt to avoid taking “personal responsibility”. O’Reilly argued:

Just 13 percent of Asian children live in single parent homes compared to a whopping 55 percent for blacks and 21 percent for whites. So, there you go. That is why Asian Americans, who often have to overcome a language barrier, are succeeding far more than African-Americans and even more than white Americans. Their families are intact and education is paramount.

In essence, Papa Bear provides a textbook example of Asian Americans used as the wedge minority by the White mainstream to berate African Americans (and implicitly other academically disenfranchised minority groups) for not bootstrapping their way to socioeconomic success. It can’t be racism; it must be some deficiency in Black culture to blame, right? After all, the Asians can do it, why can’t the Blacks?

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84yo Asian American victim of NYPD brutality to sue city for $5 million

August 28, 2014
His head bloody, 84 year old Kang Wong is escorted into a police car before being charged with jaywalking. Photo credit: G.N. Miller / NY Post.
His head bloody, 84 year old Kang Wong is escorted into a police car before being charged with jaywalking. Photo credit: G.N. Miller / NY Post.

I blogged earlier this year about the story of Kang Chun Wong, the 84 year old Chinese American man who was brutally beaten by New York City Police Department officers after he was stopped for an alleged incident of jaywalking. Wong, who speaks predominantly Cantonese and Spanish, was walking on the Upper West side when he was stopped by Officer Jeffry Loo at the intersection of 96th and Broadway.

According to the NY Daily News, Officer Loo asked for Wong’s identification, which Wong provided. However, when Loo began to walk away with the ID, Wong — not understanding what was happening — protested. That’s when Loo, along with several officers pushed Wong against the wall of a building and then slammed him to the ground, bloodying his head. Witnesses were horrified, capturing graphic pictures of Wong being handcuffed and taken away.

Wong was eventually charged with jaywalking, along with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, however the Manhattan district attorney’s office decided not to prosecute the case.

Now, Wong — through his attorney Sanford Rubenstein — is suing the city and the NYPD for $5 million dollars.

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Reappropriate: The Podcast – Ep. 5 | What is #AAPI #feminism?

August 28, 2014

I’m really excited to present the newest episode of Reappropriate: The Podcast, wherein guest Juliet Shen (@juliet_shen) of Fascinasians and I tackle the question “what is AAPI feminism?” It’s a great conversation that talks about identity, movement-building, gender & sexuality (including interracial relationships), and our role models. I hope you will take an hour to watch the podcast through YouTube above, listen to the audio only version using the mp3 player below, or download the podcast through the iTunes store.

Note: In this podcast, I use the word “crazy” a couple of times in a manner that could easily be seen as reinforcing the ableist stigma of the word as negative. I want to draw attention to this because I first want to apologize to any listeners who are offended by my use, and also to underscore that this is a personal language habit I have been actively working on for many months. In the podcast, we talk about always being self-reflective and aware of our internalized -isms as well as conscious and deliberate about everything we do; I think this is a perfect example of what we were talking about and am disappointed in myself for the usage of this word. I think activism and advocacy is always a learning process, and I am certainly not perfect when it comes to challenging my own issues. So, yes, you will hear me slip-up a couple of times in this podcast and use an ableist term, and for that I apologize.

Next episode: Please join me for the next episode of the podcast which will be recording on September 8th at 7pm EST (subject to change). The topic will be “Is digital or hashtag activism ‘real’ activism?”, and to discuss this I’ve invited Cayden Mak (@cayden) of 18MillionRising onto the podcast. You will be able to watch the podcast as it records through this link, and you can tweet your questions or comments now to @reappropriate to have them included on air!

Audio only:

What is #AAPI feminism? Discussing tonight on Ep #5 of Reappropriate: The Podcast!

August 27, 2014


What is AAPI feminism? These four letter words seem innocuous enough, but they encompass an entire field of literature, history and activism. The question posed by this sentence is both as essential to AAPI feminists of today as its answer is relatively obscure to non-AAPI communities. Many are indeed even unaware that AAPI feminism has existed as a school of political thought and a growing social movement since the 1970′s.

Tonight, I will attempt to address this question in episode #5 of Reappropriate: The Podcast. To join me, I have invited Juliet Shen (@juliet_shen), founder and curator of the Fascinasians Tumblr blog, another one of the web’s major AAPI feminist blogs.

The podcast will start recording at 9pm EST / 6pm PST tonight through this link and you are invited to live-stream the episode as we record! As always, the podcast encourages user discussion. Please submit your questions and comments either before the recording through Twitter to @reappropriate, or during the recording both through Twitter or on the Google+ Hangout.

Earlier episodes of Reappropriate: the Podcast can be found on YouTube, or by subscribing through the iTunes Store.


Philadelphia newspaper apologizes for publishing anti-Asian caption “error”

August 27, 2014


The Philadelphia Public Record — a local paper that caters mostly to a readership of elected officials and labour unions – issued a weak sauce apology after publishing the above photo in its newspaper late last week. The photo of city councilman Mark Squilla attending a fundraiser was captioned in the August 21st issue of the paper with the names of several Asian American attendees, including several clearly fake pidgin names such as “Hao Hello”, “Me Too”, “Chinky Winky” and “Dinky Doo”.

All of the names are clearly offensive; the name “Chinky Winky” also invokes a common anti-Chinese slur.

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