Call for Pitches: Asian America x LGBTQIA+

Several paper cranes organized into a rainbow

How does Asian American identity shape or complicate queer identity? Why is the intersection of LGBTQIA+ identity with the Asian American community so often overlooked? How do we find common language to talk about gender and sexuality across the distinct cultural contexts that make up the Asian diasporic experience?

Reappropriate is excited to solicit pitches for short- or long-form personal essays on the topic of Asian American x LGBTQIA+ identity. Experienced or novice essay writers are encouraged to submit a brief pitch or full-length draft here.  

Created in 2002, Reappropriate is one of the web’s oldest and most popular Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) race advocacy and feminism blogs. The blog’s writing focuses on race, gender, identity, Asian American history, and current events.

REVIEW: The Loneliest Americans is an incoherent rejection of Asian American identity

Cover of "The Loneliest Americans" by Jay Caspian Kang

By Guest Contributor: Sudip Bhattacharya

In The Loneliest Americans, Jay Caspian Kang attempts to argue that mainstream “Asian American” politics is a fabrication: a smokescreen behind which some of us hide, or from which we try to glean some superficial meaning.

Asian Americans are too diverse for one singular pan-ethnic label, argues Kang, and so the class divide within our group continues to fester and grow. According to Kang, some of us choose to manufacture an Asian American community through the trite, with social media postings about boba tea or Lunar New Year celebrations scattered across our Instagram. He writes:

How do you create a people out of such silly connections? And why do we, the children of immigrants, feel the need to fulfill some hyphenated identity when our parents seemed perfectly content to live as either Koreans or Chinese or Indians or Vietnamese in America — or, if they felt particularly optimistic, insisted that they, too, were Americans? (The Loneliest Americans, p. 16)

Kang suggests that contemporary mainstream Asian American politics has been preoccupied with the concerns of upwardly mobile Asian Americans. As such, he argues, the Asian American activist class – overtly English-fluent, second-generation, highly-educated progressives – ignore the issues of “real” Asian Americans – first-generation working-class immigrants who categorically reject their own racialization as “Asian American”.

“The stuff that you generally hear is about that — it’s about the bamboo ceiling, it’s about Hollywood representation, it’s about Scarlett Johansson stealing a bunch of roles,” Kang stated in a recent interview.

Notwithstanding the fact that I do enjoy boba, there is a level of truth to what Kang, now a staff writer at the New York Times, is writing about in The Loneliest Americans, his first non-fiction book in which he challenges the relevance of Asian American identity and politics in a neoliberal age. Obviously, The Loneliest Americans is neither the first nor the only text to discuss Asian American identity politics. Over the years, we’ve seen a growth in research and writings that confront some of the major issues impacting Asian American identity, from Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings to Desis Divided by the political scientist, Sangay Mishra to others. Asian American stories and perspectives are enjoying new interest from mainstream readers, and Asian Americans writers now have greater opportunity to write books that seek some understanding of themselves and the politics they’re surrounded by. Kang’s The Loneliest Americans is the latest contribution to this increasingly popular genre.

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Report: Asian American Women Twice as Likely to Be Targets of Anti-Asian Hate

Photograph of the NYC public art installation "I Still Believe in Our City" featuring artwork by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya.

A joint study by the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) and Stop AAPI Hate finds that Asian American women are twice as likely as Asian American men to self-report being targeted in anti-Asian hate incidents. Further, NAPAWF reports that in a separate poll surveying 3,500 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women, nearly four out of five Asian American women say that anti-Asian racism has affected their lives – for many, the impact has been significant.

Most strikingly, that survey found that half of all Asian American and Pacific Islander women have personally experienced a specific incident of anti-Asian racism in the last two years.

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Celebrating AAPI Feminism on International Women’s Day 2016

Womens-Day-2016

In celebration of today’s International Women’s Day, I’m posting some excerpts from Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathing Fire.

There are many facets of womanhood that deserve attention today, and every day. If you are spending today in celebration of International Women’s Day, I hope you will dedicate part of that time to celebrating the lives and legacies of our nation’s proud and unapologetic AAPI feminist women.

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Why I’m Supporting Bernie Sanders

bernie-sanders

This post has been a long time in the making. I’ve spent the better part of the last eight months on the fence, watching the battle lines be drawn in the Democratic primary fight. I weighed the pros and cons of the candidates running to represent the Democratic party in November, and while I’ve found all to be generally acceptable, none have been truly electrifying – or, at least, as electrifying as was a junior senator from Illinois in 2008.

To be honest, I didn’t think it would really matter whom I supported in the 2016 Democratic primary race; I believed that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would sweep her way to an easy primary victory early this year. I watched as many other highly qualified candidates declined to run, leaving only Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley standing in opposition to Clinton. No matter what I thought of their progressive politics, it seemed unlikely that Sanders and O’Malley would have the resources to seriously challenge the Clinton machine.

Boy, was I wrong.

On Tuesday, Sanders accomplished the seeming impossible when he earned a near tie with Clinton in the Iowa caucus – a mere .3% of the vote separated the two candidates. For a candidate who once trailed Clinton by more than 20 points in the state, Sanders’ second-place finish proved that his candidacy is, in fact, a viable one.

More to the point, I feel Bernie Sanders is the right candidate to support in the 2016 Democratic primary.

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