Category Archives: AANHPI

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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Katy Perry (Sorta) Addresses Cultural Appropriation Critiques

June 13, 2017
DeRay McKesson (left) and Katy Perry (right) recording an episode of McKesson’s podcast. (Photo credit: Katy Perry livestream / screen grab from YouTube video posted by Kiwi in Munich)

In the latest episode of DeRay McKesson’s podcast, “Pod Save the People” (Episode 8:  “When You Have to Face Yourself”), McKesson interviews singer Katy Perry. During the conversation, Perry and McKesson discuss many topics, including the subject of cultural appropriation.

Perry has been heavily criticized — including by this blog — for multiple incidents of racial insensitivity and cultural appropriation, including at the 2013 AMA Music Awards when Perry dressed as a geisha in an Orientalist staging of her song “Unconditionally” (video after the jump). Perry was also accused of racism and appropriating black hair for her music video, “This Is How We Do“, wherein the singer was shown wearing cornrows and eating watermelon.

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The Power of Anti-Black Ideology

June 6, 2017
A protester holds up a sign that reads “Hands Up, Dont Shoot.” Photo credit: Flickr / Chris Wieland)

By Guest Contributor: Sudip Bhattacharya

The acquittal of police officer, Betty Shelby, in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher was preordained.

The narrative follows a familiar pattern: A White individual (Shelby) encounters an unarmed African American man, and with no evident motive, chooses to end the life of the Black person standing before them.

Crutcher’s death is his fault,” she later said. It is hard to imagine how that could be the case. Dashcam video shows that Crutcher was shot and killed while unarmed and complying with police orders.

After my visit to Ferguson last summer, I referenced the writings of Simone Browne, Christina Sharpe, and Alexander G. Weheliye, to argue that unless we understand how Anti-Blackness/Whiteness operate in the U.S., we will consistently fail in creating a society that would treat everyone with dignity and respect. Without this understanding, we will never build a place that honors the hopes and dreams of someone like Terence Crutcher.

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