Isn’t the internet big enough for more than one “Angry Asian”?

Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man

If you follow AAPI blogs, you are aware of the latest great big ripple in our little pond. If not, here’s what’s going on: two major icons of Asian America have (kind of) declared war. Over the weekend, Lela Lee — creator of the comic strip Angry Little Asian Girl and subsequent merchandising — wrote a post outlining an ongoing trademark dispute between herself and Phil Yu, blogger of Angry Asian Man.

Lee contends in her post that Yu and his online moniker infringes upon the registered ALAG trademark, and that the similarity between the two names will create consumer confusion: basically that the casual reader might mistake Angry Little Asian Girl and Angry Asian Man as related products originating from the same person. Lee goes on to accuse Yu of having plagiarized much of Angry Asian Man from the Angry Little Asian Girl business model — she cites his Angry Reader of the Week feature and a t-shirt design — and of basically taking credit for the phrase and concept of the “Angry Asian”.

Yu responded with his own blog post yesterday, unique in that it is probably 10 times longer than anything Yu has ever written for his site. Yu discloses in his post that not only has this dispute been ongoing for the better part of the last year, but that Lee has sent Cease & Desist letters to both himself and Wendy Xu, creator of the web-comic Angry Girl Comics, threatening both with additional legal action. Xu has since also published her own side of the story, confirming that she has also been targeted by Lee’s lawyers.

So, this is a thing happening right now in Asian America; so, let’s talk about it.

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UC Davis students push to license Chinese American attorney 124y after denial due to racism


Hong Yeng Chang’s case is obscure to laypeople, but well-known to students of the law.

Chang was among the many Chinese students who migrated to the United States in the 19th century to pursue an education. He obtained his undergraduate degree at Yale University and went on to receive his law degree from Columbia University in 1886 (just years after passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act and at a time when anti-Asian sentiment was high throughout the country), as one of the nation’s first Asian American Ivy Leaguers.

Upon graduation, Chang applied to take the New York state bar exam, and was initially refused due to his race. However, after receiving special permission from the state Legislature, he took and passed the bar exam being — according to the New York Times reports of the era — the first Chinese immigrant to be licensed to practice law in the United States.

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