Asian American Adolescents Want To Talk To Us About Sex

(Photo Credit: iStock)
(Photo Credit: iStock)

A study that describes itself as the first to “specifically examine Asian American adolescents’ beliefs regarding discussions of sexual health between health care providers and Asian American adolescents” reports that Asian American youth have a lot of opinions about sex. Specifically, young Asian Americans stress that inadequate communication between themselves and their parents and healthcare providers compromises their access to adequate sexual education.

Researchers interviewed twenty young Asian Americans between 14 and 18 years old (median age was 16.7), with an even split between self-identified male and female respondents. Interviewees included Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino, Thai, Korean and Laotian American teenagers mostly born in the United States.

In talking with these Asian American young people, investigators learned that many were dissatisfied with their own education on sexual health, and were motivated to learn more. Unfortunately, however, most of the adolescents expressed that their sources of knowledge on sex were limited: only 40% reported having had any conversation with a parent about sexual health. More shockingly, only 15% had ever discussed sexually transmitted diseases with a healthcare provider, and only 5% had ever talked to their doctors about sex, contraception, or pregnancy.

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Asian Americans, We Must Stand Strong with our Undocumented Immigrants | #MyAsianAmericanStory

The falsified documents of a Chinese American so-called "paper son".
The naturalization papers of a Chinese American immigrant.

Whether it is Donald Trump’s verbal caricature of overseas Chinese businessmen, or Jeb Bush’s proclamation that when it comes to “anchor babies” the issue is “more related to Asian[s]”, or Carly Fiorina’s lamentations over the “industry” of Chinese women having babies in the United States, one thing has become clear: the Right-wing of American politics is now firmly entrenched in a platform of anti-immigrant nativism filtered through the lens of sinophobia. Much of that xenophobic rhetoric comes in the form of railing against undocumented immigrants, whom Trump characterized in his campaign announcement speech as “criminals”, “rapists” and “murderers”.

Two thirds of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are foreign-born according to the Center for American Progress’ State of Asian America report released last year, and 40% of America’s immigrants currently call an Asian country the place of their birth. Of those approximately 10 million foreign-born AAPIs, 1.3 million (or 1 in every 8) are undocumented immigrants. These numbers also suggest that currently, approximately 1 in every 9 undocumented immigrants is AAPI.  Those numbers are on the rise: over the last decade, the overall Asian undocumented population has doubled, with the undocumented population originating from India, South Korea and China having grown by as much as 300%.  Considered alongside evidence showing that undocumented immigration from Mexico has slowed in recent years, Asian Americans are now the fastest growing undocumented population in America leaving one National Journal reporter to suggest that “someone tell Don­ald Trump that he’s pick­ing on the wrong im­mig­rants.”

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Most AAPI actually DON’T think affirmative action hurts us in college admissions | #BlockBlum #IAmNotYourWedge

POFR - affirmative action - unc-thumb-640xauto-10601

This is perhaps the most exciting and satisfying report of negative data I have ever read.

Opponents have long argued that existing surveys showing broad support for race-conscious affirmative action among AAPI have obscured disapproval of these policies based on how the questions were worded; earlier studies asked questions regarding affirmative action broadly based on wording used by the non-partisan Pew Research Group. Yunlei Yang of the Silicon Valley Chinese Association criticized this methodology when he wrote for the LA Times in his op-ed (“Asian Americans would lose out under affirmative action“), saying “I find the poll question misleading and Ramakrishnan’s reasoning deeply flawed.”

That criticism was echoed on BigWOWO, where blogger Byron Wong wrote, “If [the poll’s question wording] is not a loaded question, I don’t know what is.” Among his other concerns, Byron went on to advocate for an alternative question wording that limited scope to college admissions, saying:

Most people have heard the debate about college admissions since it affects everyone. People already know that college affirmative action makes it more difficult for Asian and white kids to get into selective colleges. People already have their views.

The basic premise is that had a survey polled Asian American (or specifically Chinese American attitudes) on affirmative action in college admissions, and asking whether or not these policies hurt Asian American acceptance rates, the answer would reveal a resounding majority opposition to race-conscious affirmative action.

Not satisfied, it seems, to simply disprove these nay-sayers, the primary investigators of this year’s surveys on Asian American political opinions have now “clapped back” with an abundance of evidence that almost completely dismantles these (apparently baseless) criticisms.

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Alternate universe ST:TNG would’ve had Asian Americans as Data and Tasha Yar!


I’m a huge fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, so it was with a certain amount of fangirl glee that I stumbled across this digitized memo from Paramount Studios. The memo (which found its way online in 2010) dates back to April 1987, and it lists some of the short-list casting considerations for some of our ST:TNG first season bridge crew.

There are some expected entries — Patrick Stewart as the favourite for Picard, and Jonathan Frakes winning out the role for Riker (spelled with a “y” in this memo) And, of course, Trekkies like myself were aware that Denise Crosby was initially considered for Troi. Many African American actors of note, including Wesley Snipes and Tim Russ (who would go on to star in Star Trek: Voyager) were on the short-list to play Geordi Laforge.

And, in an alternate universe, Rosalind Chao would’ve been Commander Tasha Yar, the hot-headed and tomboyish head of security. As Trek lore goes, Chao was a favourite for the role until Marina Sirtis auditioned for Troi; Rodenberry then decided to bump Chao’s casting and move Crosby to Yar’s role. Chao, who later appeared as Keiko O’Brien on ST:TNG and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, would’ve — I think — revolutionized images of Asian American women in science fiction. An Asian American Yar is tough and no-nonsense, but also struggles with her femininity and sexuality, undermining chances that Chao’s portrayal would’ve spun off into a “dragon lady” stereotype.

But then there are a few surprises.

Paramount was already toying with the idea that it might be ST:TNG, not Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that might give the franchise its first African American Starfleet captain; esteemed actor Yaphet Kotto was considered a competitor for Patrick Stewart in the role of Picard. Kevin Peter Hall, another African American actor, was in the running for the role of Data.

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