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.

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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.

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Republican Senator Compares Trump Impeachment Hearing to Japanese American Incarceration

Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana.

Republican Senator John Kennedy’s statements earlier this week would be laughable if they weren’t so ahistorical and trivializing of racial trauma.

Earlier this week, the Democrat-turned-Republican junior senator from Louisiana told reporters that the impeachment inquiry was less fair than the forcible relocation and detainment of Japanese Americans at the height of World War II. (See JACL’s Power of Words for a discussion of the language used in this article).

Senator Kennedy’s absurd and ahistorical comments were first reported on by Huffington Post Politics reporter Igor Bobic:

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Andrew Yang’s Problematic Reinforcement of the Model Minority Myth

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang at the Sept 12 Democratic primary debate in Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. (Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Tonight, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Andrew Yang joined the nine other top Democratic presidential candidates on the debate stage at Texas Southern University. A noteworthy moment for Asian Americans, Yang remains one of the first Asian Americans in history to run a national campaign for the presidency.

That’s why it is all the more problematic that Yang routinely leans upon Model Minority stereotypes of Asian Americans to advance his candidacy. As early as last year, Yang routinely framed himself as qualified to be president because he is a “smart Asian” who is “good at math” — a classic Model Minority trope reminiscent of the infamous Time magazine cover that popularized model minority stereotypes for a generation of Americans. Tonight, Yang invoked a different facet of the Model Minority Myth when he quipped in response to a question on healthcare that “I am Asian, so I know a lot of doctors.

The Model Minority Myth has stood at the root of a good deal of anti-Asian racism and oppression. Yet, Yang is unconcerned by the many ways that the Model Minority Myth hurts Asian Americans and other people of colour. Instead, Yang sees Model Minority caricatures of Asian Americans as something to lean into and to laugh at, and he even sells math-branded Yang swag in his campaign store.

I can’t but wonder if Andrew Yang sees Model Minority stereotypes as a joke, then who’s really laughing with him?

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Building Power at the Intersection of Race and Electoral Politics

Representative Ayanna Pressley speaks at a podium during a press conference as Representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib look on.

By Guest Contributor: Sudip Bhattacharya

After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset primary win against the establishment Democrat in New York’s 14th Congressional District, I contacted my Democratic Socialists of America chapter to see how I could help. Prior to Ocasio-Cortez’s victory, I had hesitated in officially joining the DSA. I believed it offered little for black and brown communities like mine. However, watching clips of Ocasio-Cortez speaking on issues important to working-class black and brown people while knowing that she was endorsed by the DSA, forced me to rethink my previous assumptions.

Ocasio-Cortez, and others like Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib also forced my colleagues and students at Rutgers University to reassess what they may have thought about politics. More students are now receptive to discussions of socialism and feel emboldened in positively changing the U.S. political system. My own family members and friends have become obsessed with Ocasio-Cortez and those like her — they read whatever they can about them and share clips of them on social media.

However, as I’ve continued to help organize around issues like housing with our Central Jersey DSA chapter, I also recognize the limits of electoral politics in significantly improving peoples’ lives, especially for black and brown communities. After all, in New Jersey, we have Democrats dominating the State Assembly and a Democrat as Governor — and yet, living and working conditions for many black and brown residents continue to deteriorate. Therefore, it is necessary to reevaluate the role of electoral politics in building socialism. I argue that when examining electoral politics, we must center our analysis on black and brown people in the U.S. Doing so reveals that electoral politics shouldn’t be summarily dismissed, but ultimately, our goal must be to build constituencies among people of color that remain independent of either political party. Only with this strategy can we apply pressure to policymakers — regardless of their partisan affiliation and campaign promises – to better the lives of black and brown people.

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