Beyond the Bad and the Ugly: a summit on Asian American stereotypes, March 23 @ JANM in LA

The first ever summit on Asian American stereotypes is being organized by Jeff Yang, of SHATTERED and Wall Street Journal.
The first ever summit on Asian American stereotypes is being organized by Jeff Yang, of SHATTERED and Wall Street Journal.

If you’re going to be in the Los Angeles, California area on March 23, take the day to stop by the Japanese American National Museum, which will be hosting the first ever summit on Asian American stereotypes: Beyond the Bad and the Ugly. An all-day series of panels has been organized by Wall Street Journal columnist and SHATTERED co-editor Jeff Yang (@originalspin), and includes some really great guest speakers from across the community.

Here’s the full skinny:

In 1914, Sessue Hayakawa became the first Asian American actor to break through on the silver screen, appearing in movie pioneer Thomas Ince’s silent classic The Typhoon, and launching a career as one of the most popular and well-paid stars in the nascent Hollywood industry, albeit in roles that consistently depicted him as villainous, violent and manipulative. As he put it himself, “I want to be shown as I really am, and not as fiction paints me….My one ambition is to play a hero.”

Ninety-nine years later, Asians and Asian Americans have a much greater presence in U.S. popular culture — but they are often represented in ways that Hayakawa would recognize and lament: Silent thugs. Sexless nerds. Predatory temptresses, calculating conspirators and impossibly strange foreigners.

Organized by Jeff Yang, columnist for the Wall Street Journal Online and editor-in-chief of the new graphic novel anthology SHATTERED (, which uses the medium of the comics to explore and explode unyielding stereotypes of Asians in pop culture, BEYOND THE BAD AND THE UGLY gathers together some of the brightest and most interesting Asian American creators, and critics, activists and academics in a unique one-day summit that begins by looking back at the heritage of Asian images in American media and society, and ends by looking ahead — discussing new ways to prevent distortions and present more vivid, humanized, three-dimensional portraits of Asians and Asian Americans to a wider and more accepting audience.

Featured sessions at the summit include:

• Opening Plenary “IS THIS STEREOTYPE REALLY NECESSARY?”, a fresh, frank, informative (and likely snarky) exploration of Asian images past and present, moderated by SHATTERED editor-at-large Keith Chow and featuring notables such as graphic novelist Gene Yang (AMERICAN BORN CHINESE); performance poet Beau Sia (DEF COMEDY JAM; author, THE UNDISPUTED GREATEST WRITER OF ALL TIME); bloggers Andrew Ti (YO, IS THIS RACIST?) and Jen Wang (DISGRASIAN) and actor Parvesh Cheena (NBC’s OUTSOURCED)

• Keynote Conversation “ORIENTATIONS”, a three-way talk about the history of stereotypes of the “far” and “middle” East, between Professor John Kuo Wei Tchen of New York University’s A/P/A Institute; science fiction author and cultural studies scholar William F. Wu; and Jack Shaheen, author of REEL BAD ARABS, former CBS news consultant on Middle East affairs and Professor Emeritus of Mass Communications, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

• Keynote Conversation “SEXTYPES,” a discussion of race, gender roles, sex and sexuality, with Jeff Yang and adult film star Keni Styles

• Closing Plenary “CHANGING THE GAME,” a conversation about reevaluation and reinvention of stereotypes, moderated by Oliver Wang, cultural critic and Assistant Professor of Sociology at CSU-Long Beach, and featuring Parry Shen (star of BETTER LUCK TOMORROW and SHATTERED managing editor); Christopher Chen, producer of the forthcoming documentary LINSANITY; Jay Caspian Kang, Grantland editor and author, THE DEAD DO NOT IMPROVE; Brian Hu, managing editor, Asia Pacific Arts magazine; and other special guests to be announced.

For more information on BEYOND THE BAD AND THE UGLY, or to connect with participants for interviews, email organizer Jeff Yang at [email protected].

BEYOND THE BAD AND THE UGLY will also officially kick off SHATTERED’s 2013 book tour, which will take Yang and his co-editors Parry Shen, Keith Chow and Jerry Ma to select cities and college campuses in the East, West and Midwest. For further information on booking the SHATTERED tour, contact Keith Chow at [email protected], or complete the SHATTERED booking form at


9 am-9:30 am (and through day): REGISTRATION

9:30-10:00 am: Brief Welcome: Dr. Greg Kimura; Jeff Yang

10:00-11:00 am: Opening Plenary:
Keith Chow, editor at large, SHATTERED [possible moderator]
Beau Sia, poet
Gene Yang, graphic novelist
Andrew Ti, blogger, YO IS THIS RACIST?
Jen Wang, blogger, DISGRASIAN
Parvesh Cheena, actor, OUTSOURCED

11:00-12:00: Keynote Conversation:
Professor Jack Tchen, NYU Asian Pacific American Institute
William F. Wu, author
Jack Shaheen, Professor Emeritus of Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

Keynote Conversation: SEXTYPES
Jeff Yang, columnist, Wall Street Journal Online, editor-in-chief, SHATTERED
Keni Styles, adult film star

1:00-2:00 Lunch Break

2:00-4:00 Screenings

2:00-3:00 Breakouts A: What We Teach and Show

Jason Sperber, cofounder, Rice Daddies
Julie Kang, blogger, Geisha School Dropout
Cynthia Liu, cofounder, K-12 Network
D. Rikio Mooko, associate dean of students, Pomona College

Jocelyn Wang, blogger, 8Asians
Steve Nguyen, Channel APA
Paula Yoo, author, GOOD ENOUGH; producer, EUREKA
Stephen Dypiangco and Patrick Epino, National Film Society
Jerry Ma, art director, SHATTERED

3:00-4:00 Breakouts B: What We Do and Say

18 Million Rising (Jenn Pae/Cynthia Brothers)
Racebending (Michael Le and Marissa Lee)
Lisa Lee, blogger, Thick Dumpling Skin; diversity program manager, Facebook

Ling Liu, executive director of the Fred Korematsu Institute
Jay Chen, Hacienda Heights school board member, congressional candidate
Tanzila Ahmed, voter engagement manager at Asian Pacific American Legal Center

4:00-5:00 Closing Plenary:
Oliver Wang, Assistant Professor of Sociology at CSU-Long Beach
Parry Shen, actor/producer, managing editor, SHATTERED
Christopher Chen, producer, LINSANITY
Jay Caspian Kang, editor, Grantland; author, THE DEAD DO NOT IMPROVE
Brian Hu, managing editor, Asia Pacific Arts


6:00 to closing
SHATTERED: The Asian American Comics Anthology Reception

You need to check it out. More information forthcoming at the event’s Facebook page.

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