asian american identity

Steve Bannon’s beliefs about Asians in tech are as wrong as they are racist 

While speaking on on Breitbart News Daily in 2015, Steve Bannon discussed Asian people holding leadership positions in Silicon Valley. The statement itself (seen above) is blatantly discriminatory. The implication that there is such thing as “too many” Asians is racist. But it’s also flat-out incorrect.

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NY Times video about racism against Asian Americans is facing a backlash from the Asian community

On Thursday, the New York Times published a video about the racism that Asian-Americans face every day, a compilation of stories gathered from the hashtag #ThisIs2016. But because the video erases the complex reality of being Asian American, two marginalized groups are not on board.

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a spread I made for a poem that my mom used to try and make me memorize when I was a chid (I couldn’t seem to do it, i’m sure many of you know it as well) 

I revisited Quiet Night Thought while I was doing research for Permanent Alien and I think, it feels weirdly relevant now. I tried a translation, it’s not perfect.

I’ll be posting some more things soon from the book; it’s been an endeavor! 


Marvel’s ‘Iron Fist’ is a missed opportunity for Asian American representation

The trailer for Marvel’s latest Netflix show Iron Fist debuted over the weekend and left many scratching their heads and asking “why isn’t this character Asian?” While Danny Rand is white in the comics, as Hitfix pointed out, the character, created in 1974, follows a classic racist trope.

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this is the final album art for my cousin leo’s EP! hyphenated is an album that talks a lot about asian american identity, so i wanted to draw a chinese-american boy split with the image of the most awesome hero 孙悟空 (the monkey king). the animated 西游记 from 1999 is a huge childhood favorite of mine (nostalgia blast link) and i re-watched some episodes while drawing this haha. as chinese-americans, we have a long history rich with beautiful art and great stories. being chinese is WOW so cool and you should be proud!


Margaret Cho creates #whitewashedOUT to fight Hollywood whitewashing

Coined by Asian-American actress and comedian Margaret Cho, #whitewashedOUT is a rallying cry against the erasure of Asian actors and roles, which also coincides with Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month. One tweet shows exactly how white people should respond to this issue.

The articulation of an “Asian American identity” as an organizing tool has provided a concept of political unity that enables diverse Asian groups to understand unequal circumstances and histories as being related. The building of “Asian American culture” is crucial to this effort, for it articulates and empowers the diverse Asian-origin community vis-a-vis the institutions and apparatuses that exclude and marginalize it. Yet to the extent that Asian American culture fixes Asian American identity and suppresses differences–of national origin, generation, gender, sexuality, class–it risks particular dangers: not only does it underestimate the differences and hybridities among Asians, but it may also inadvertently support the racist discourse that constructs Asians as a homogenous group, that implies Asians are “all alike” and conform to “types.” To the extent that Asian American culture dynamically expands to include both internal critical dialogues about differences and the interrogation of dominant interpellations, however, Asian American culture can likewise be a site in which the “horizontal” affiliations with other groups can be imagined and realized. In this respect, a politics based exclusively on racial or ethnic identity willingly accepts the terms of the dominant logic that organizes the heterogenous picture of differences into a binary schema of “the one” and “the other.” The essentializing of Asian American identity also reproduces oppositions that subsume other nondominant groups in the same way that Asians and other groups are marginalized by the dominant culture: to the degree that the discourse generalizes Asian American identity as male, women are rendered invisible; or the the extent that Chinese are presumed to be exemplary of all Asians, the importance of other Asian groups is ignored. In this sense, a politics based on racial, cultural, or ethnic identity facilitates the displacement of intercommunity differences–between men and women or between workers and managers–into a false opposition of “nationalism” and “assimilation.”
—  Lisa Lowe, “Heterogeneity, Hybridity, Multiplicity” Immigrant Acts: On Asian-American Cultural Politics, pg.70-1

Chrissy Teigen says she’s not offended by the term “Oriental,” but maybe she should be

The U.S. government is not permitted to use the term “Oriental” on federal documents, so why are companies allowed to use it on dressing packets?

On Monday night, model/cookbook author/Snapchat savant Chrissy Teigen took to Twitter to blast the poor dressing choices for her in-flight salad options — one of which was “Oriental.” It was not the taste of the dressing she had a problem with, but the moniker itself. She said that she was “weirded out” by the name, and people quickly agreed.  

But the word has some problematic nuances to it. Serena Dai, a writer and reporter for Eater, said she does find the word Oriental to be racist, but this is due to its “bad historical baggage,” which she discussed in an eye-opening Facebook message.

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Sunset in Waikiki: Tourists sipping mai tais crowded the beachside hotel bar. When the server spotted my friend and me, he seemed to relax. “Ah,” he said, smiling. “Two hapa girls.”

He asked if we were from Hawaii. We weren’t. We both have lived in Honolulu — my friend lives there now — but hail from California. It didn’t matter. In that moment, he recognized our mixed racial backgrounds and used “hapa” like a secret handshake, suggesting we were aligned with him: insiders and not tourists.

Like many multiracial Asian-Americans, I identify as hapa, a Hawaiian word for “part” that has spread beyond the islands to describe anyone who’s part Asian or Pacific Islander. When I first learned the term in college, wearing it felt thrilling in a tempered way, like trying on a beautiful gown I couldn’t afford. Hapa seemed like the identity of lucky mixed-race people far away, people who’d grown up in Hawaii as the norm, without “Chink” taunts, mangled name pronunciations, or questions about what they were.

Over time, as more and more people called me hapa, I let myself embrace the word. It’s a term that explains who I am and connects me to others in an instant. It’s a term that creates a sense of community around similar life experiences and questions of identity. It’s what my fiancé and I call ourselves, and how we think of the children we might have: second-generation hapas.

Who Gets To Be ‘Hapa’?

Illustration: Jennifer Qian for NPR

This morning I was notified that my comic strip “First Imprasians” was posted on the Facebook page, The Love Life of an Asian Guy, a prominent social activist page. My intention has always been to expand discussions about Asian-American identity and experiences as much as possible, so as an activist, I am very flattered to discover that my work is reaching ever larger audiences with each new comic I create.

However, as an artist, I feel that I need to make something clear. As much as I want to expand these discussions, I do not wish to do so by having my art reposted or altered in any way.

In this particular case, the “First Imprasians” title was cropped out, the coloring was altered, and each panel was posted as a separate image, leaving only one of them with my signature attached.

I have already experienced a period in my career in which credit for my work has been obfuscated, so it greatly pains me to see it happening again. I post my work on multiple platforms (Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Patreon, and my website), all of which have sharing capabilities built in. I greatly enjoy reading your tags, your comments, your tweets, and your replies. One of the many joys of being an artist is the relationship with the audience, but when my work is reposted elsewhere, I may no longer see any of that feedback.

If you see my art posted on pages other than my own, I would appreciate it if you could inform the person posting it to take it down, and let them know of my reposting policy. (I usually don’t find out about reposts until one of you tells me about it.)

So remember: I love when you share my comics, but please don’t repost, and definitely don’t alter them.

Thank you.