Category Archives: Guest Contributors

The Forgotten: Those Left Behind by Our Myths

April 27, 2017
Hmong American teenager Dylan Yang appears in court to hear the verdict in his reckless homicide trial in March 2016. (Photo credit: WSAW7)

By Guest Contributor: Yung Wing

We often hear about the success of Asian Americans who are emblematic of the “model minority” stereotype. But we rarely hear the voices of those who fall through the cracks. The term AAPI, or Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, was popularized by the Obama Administration from among several terms which already existed. It encompasses not only East Asian and Indian American immigrants who on average possess more degrees and levels of education when they immigrated to the US, but also the Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders who are not as well off. And when the public only has one “model minority” conception of AAPIs, comparably marginal peoples are too often forgotten.

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Unpacking Get Out’s “Asian” character

March 6, 2017
Several characters gather in a party scene from Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”. (Photo credit: ‘Get Out’ / Universal Pictures via NextShark)

By Guest Contributor:  Melissa Phruksachart (@mphruksachart)

Though Jordan Peele’s Get Out has been primarily read (and marketed) as an excoriation of white liberalism, Peele actually asserts the multi-racial nature of white supremacy through the character of Hiroki Tanaka (Yasuhiko Oyama), a Japanese man.

This post contains spoilers of the movie “Get Out”. Please read on with caution.

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Beyond Hope: Fighting Within a Fascist America

February 10, 2017
Aerial view of the Women’s March in DC on January 21, 2017. (Photo credit: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)

By Guest Contributor: Sudip Bhattacharya

“Sudip, what’s going to happen to us? Can he really create a registry…?”

The words stuck to my ribs as nausea gripped me.

It was meant to be a typical Friday night. My friends and I met at the local IHOP, as we often did, with plans to crack jokes about Nicholas Cage or perform impressions of Batman ordering pancakes. Instead, we sat, staring at our plates. I was the one studying politics in grad school, so my two friends — who are Muslim and South Asian American — asked me about what was next. We had grown up together in central New Jersey, where we had spent carefree weekends at shopping malls and exploring random towns along Route 1. Yet, that evening, I saw the lines on their faces deepen with anxious creases.

I would’ve been lying if I encouraged them to sense a light at the end of the tunnel, when clearly, everything we believed was collapsing before our eyes. I shifted the conversation, asking them about a trip they were planning. I tried listening, while realizing that since the election of Trump, my capacity for hope was extinguished.

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Senator Hirono, Will You Join Our Resistance? | #DearMyAAPIRep

January 27, 2017
Photo credit: Twitter

By Guest Contributor: Mark Tseng Putterman (@tsengputterman)

Dear Senator Hirono (@mazieforhawaii),

On inauguration day, you promised your commitment to “resist any attempt the President makes to dismantle the progress we’ve made” on issues of health care, immigrant rights, civil rights, and economic justice. The next day, you joined hundreds of thousands of women and supporters at the Women’s March in D.C. — tweeting: “Aloha trumps hate & we will not back down”.

These admirable sentiments are all the more powerful coming from you, our first Asian American woman senator, and a longtime advocate for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. But in these times of political crisis, we know that every single vote counts.

That’s why I was so disappointed to see that on January 20, the same day you promised to resist Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda, you used your vote to help confirm his nominee, John Kelly, as Secretary of Homeland Security.   

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The Power of Deconstructive Politics: Moving Beyond “Asian American”

January 19, 2017

By Guest Contributor: Sudip Bhattacharya

As we devolve into a modern incarnation of white establishment politics, one that has merged the sensibilities of 1950s-era America with the advent of social media, the easiest and most natural response for us would be to counter through uniting around familiar concepts such as “Asian American” rights and empowerment. However, by doing so without a critical eye, I fear we will lapse into a politics that is neither revolutionary nor liberating.

Only by pursuing a path of deconstructive politics — one that takes apart ideas and identities we take for granted among ourselves — can we truly form an agenda that benefits all classes, all genders, and all those who will be further marginalized by this new and dangerous administration.

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