Tag Archives: Asian American

The Real Problem When It Comes to Diversity and Asian-Americans

Source – http://time.com/3475962/asian-american-diversity/

The lack of Asian leadership in tech sheds light on a larger issue: Asians are excluded from the idea of diversity

Years ago… they used to think you were Fu Manchu or Charlie Chan. Then they thought you must own a laundry or restaurant. Now they think all we know how to do is sit in front of a computer.

It was 1987 when Virginia Kee, then a 55-year-old a high school teacher in New York’s Chinatown, said the above words. She was one of several Asian-Americans who discussed the perception of their race for TIME’s cover story, “Those Asian-American Whiz Kids.” The cover story would elicit small-scale Asian boycotts of the magazine from those who found offensive the portrait of textbook-clutching, big-glasses brainiacs. To them, the images codified hurtful beliefs that Asians and Asian-Americans were one-dimensional: that they were robots of success, worshippers of the alphabet’s first letter, study mules branded with their signature eyes.  read more ……



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Liberation of Dachau by Japanese Americans 552nd Field Artillery Battalion 442nd RCT April 29th 1945



by Nihomachi Outreach Committee San Jose

(This article is reposted with permission of NOC.
Please visit their site by clicking on the link above)

The war in Europe was coming to a close as the Allies raced across Germany to Berlin. Elements of the US 7th Army chased the remnants of the German army retreating into Germany. Among the fastest moving units was the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion a Nisei (Second generation Japanese American) unit that was originally attached to the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The 442nd won the most decorations for any American unit for its size during WW2. The unit would win 7 Presidential Citations (5 while rescuing the Lost Texas Battalion in France 1944), 20 Medals of Honor (America’s highest decoration for valor) and over 9000 Purple Hearts (decorations for wounds suffered in combat). The 522 had a reputation for having the fastest and most accurate fire in the US Army. They were hand picked by Gen. Eisenhower (Commander of Allied Forces in Europe) to help lead the attack into Germany.

The 522nd liberated several of the sub camps near Dachau and actually opened the main gate at the Dachau concentration camp. Some 5000 survivors of the Dachau concentration camp were liberated by elements of the 522 on April 29th 1945.

Dachau was established in 1933 as the Nazi regime rose to power. The infamous camp was in 12 years of existence with some 206,000 prisoners .Dachau had some 30 sub camps (smaller forced labor and/or POW camps) located near adjacent towns. It was the site of mass exterminations, executions, and death marches. Some 5000 inmates were liberated mostly Jewish, Russian, French, Polish civilians and Allied POW’s.

The Story of Sgt. Oiye

On April 29th 1945, Staff Sgt. George Oiye was member of a forward observer team (patrols to search for targets for artillery to shoot ) for artillery battery C leading the 7th Army racing into Germany. Elements of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion were spread out over a 30 mile radius. They had orders to destroy military targets in Munich and to demolish the headquarters of the dreaded SS. They also had warnings to be on the look out for top Nazis such as Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun (Hitler’s mistress). They chased the retreating German units,captured and disarmed them. According to 522 records they were the first Allied unit to reach Dachau.

Unintentional Liberators

“We weren’t supposed to be there” said Oiye. Since they were spread out over such a wide area (30 KM) and Dachau was so big they simply ran into it. Japanese American soldiers shot the lock of the main gate of the outer perimeter fences. Then opened the barbed wire gates of the infamous crematorium the site were thousands of Jewish prisoners bodies were burned into ashes. The building had tall smoke stacks and large ovens with bodies smoldering still inside. Prisoners were often gassed or died of the harsh slave labor conditions at Dachau.

“A Hard Thing”
Oiye explained his reaction to visiting the infamous camp: He was mainly on the muddy roads out side the camp when it started to snow. “It was very cold and he saw the prisoners shivering. Some were in very bad shape,”emaciated, sick, diseased, bugs crawling on them and dying” He recalled the stripped suits they wore and some had no shoes. Oiye and his fellow soldiers gave the prisoners their extra gloves, bed rolls, and food. His reaction to the prisoners: “we were not prepared to deal with coming across a concentration camp.” “We came across by accident and were not prepared. It was a hard thing” He remembered that he ” felt bewildered, then angry and fearful. ” Oiye explained the sense of guilt “that mankind had transgressed so far…. the worst case of sin I know of.”

“War was one thing but that kind of treatment of mankind; thats is not normal” Oiye stated. Some of the 522nd soldiers found ladies handbags made of human skin. He could remember seeing “intricate” tattoos on these handbags. Gloves and lampshades were also found to made of human skin. Other soldiers reported that dozens of prisoners that were horribly tortured and murdered.


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Asian-Americans and the ‘model minority’ myth

Source: The Korean Herald – http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140126000336

Previews of Amy Chua’s forthcoming book, “The Triple Package” (co-written with husband Jed Rubenfeld), detonated a social media uproar among Asian-Americans. Many were infuriated by the New York Post’s report that Chua, the self-styled Tiger Mom, was identifying eight superior “cultural” groups in the United States: Jewish, Indian, Chinese, Iranian, Lebanese, Nigerian, Cuban and Mormon. For Asian-Americans, the problem is about another Chua production that seems to perpetuate the “model minority” myth and, in particular, the notion that Asians are culturally ? even genetically ? endowed with the characteristics that enable them to succeed in American society.

Before the mid-20th century, the Tiger Mom did not exist in the national imagination. Instead, Americans believed that Chinese culture was disgusting and vile, viewing U.S. Chinatowns as depraved colonies of prostitutes, gamblers and opium addicts bereft of decency. Lawmakers and citizens deployed these arguments to justify and maintain the segregation, marginalization and exclusion of Chinese from mainline society between the 1870s and World War II. Those efforts were more than effective: to have a “Chinaman’s chance” at that time meant that one had zero prospects.

There is danger in offering culture as a formula for success, because our ideas of culture are hardly fixed. The history of Americans’ views about Chinese immigrant behaviors shows that “culture” often serves as a blank screen onto which individuals project various political agendas, depending on the exigencies of the moment.

During World War II, white liberals agonized that racism was damaging the United States’ ability to fight a war for democracy against the Axis powers. Many felt that the Chinese exclusion laws, which had barred migrants from China from entering the country or becoming naturalized citizens since the 1870s, risked America’s trans-Pacific alliance with China against Japan. A coast-to-coast campaign emerged to overturn the laws. The Citizens Committee to Repeal Chinese Exclusion recognized that it would have to neutralize deep-seated fear of “yellow peril” coolie hordes. So it strategically recast Chinese in its promotional materials as “law-abiding, peace-loving, courteous people living quietly among us.” Congress repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943.

In the 1950s, journalists, social scientists and policymakers recycled this fledgling idea, circulating it further and wider as they groped for a solution to what they perceived as a national juvenile delinquency crisis. The New York Times Magazine emphasized that Chinese youths displayed “unquestioned obedience” toward their elders, while Look magazine celebrated their “high moral sense.” U.S. Rep. Arthur Klein of New York praised his Manhattan Chinatown constituents for their “respect for parents and teachers,” “stable and loving home life” and thirst for education.


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The Deceptive Data on Asians

Source: Insider Higher Ed June 7, 2013

Scott Jaschik

When Harvard University issued a news release last month about the freshman class it had just admitted, the announcement included information about the racial and ethnic make-up of the newly admitted students. Asian-Americans, the release said, would make up 20.9 percent of the class. Native Hawaiians were grouped with Native Americans, and together those two groups would make up 2.3 percent.

When the College Board released its most recent report on SAT scores, racial and ethnic breakdowns were provided. In one category — with impressive mean scores — were Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islanders.

Both examples (and there are many more easily to be found) suggest Asian-American academic success. But a report released Thursday calls for the end to such data reporting. It is time to disaggregate data about Asian-American students as much as possible, says the report, issued by the Educational Testing Service and the National Commission on Asian-American and Pacific Islander Research in Education. The failure of most schools and colleges to do so has resulted in key problems facing Asian-American groups being “overlooked and misunderstood,” said Robert T. Teranishi, associate professor of higher education at New York University and principal investigator for the report, during a news briefing.

Aggregated data “conceals significant disparities,” Teranishi said.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/06/07/report-calls-end-grouping-asian-american-students-one-category#ixzz2VWH4xYjx
Inside Higher Ed



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AAJA Launches Retrospective on Vincent Chin, Pivotal Struggles in Asian American History

AAJA Launches Retrospective on Vincent Chin, Pivotal Struggles in Asian American History

AAJA Launches Retrospective on Vincent Chin, Pivotal Struggles in Asian American History

Online Resources Are Part of AAJA’s MediaWatch Program, Which Aims to Hold News Media to Standards of Accuracy and Fairness in Coverage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Jun 3, 2013) – The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) launched today an online retrospective on Vincent Chin, a Chinese American whose tragic fatal beating approximately 31 years ago spurred a pan-Asian civil rights movement.

The new online content, which can be accessed via AAJA’s website, features a timeline of discriminatory actions against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), including Chin’s death on June 19, 1982, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Japanese American internment from 1942 to 1944.

The webpages also highlight additional resources (e.g. books, videos and articles) on the Vincent Chin case, as well as AAJA resources to improve fair and accurate coverage of AAPIs including AAJA’s MediaAccess Guide and the AAJA Handbook to Covering Asia America.

To access the online retrospective, visit: www.aaja.org/vincent-chin/

Chin, a 27-year-old Chinese American man, was killed in Detroit days before his wedding by two autoworkers who thought Chin was Japanese. At the time, many Americans blamed Japan for crippling the U.S. auto industry.

“The brutal attack of Vincent Chin marked a pivotal civil rights moment in the history of Asian Americans. Unfortunately, 30-plus years since, hatred and negative stereotypes toward many minorities are still prevalent, reminding us that our struggle for equality isn’t over,” said AAJA National President Paul Cheung.

“AAJA’s MediaWatch was established to make sure our community is being covered fairly and accurately. Although as Asian Americans we often have a cultural upbringing different from that of other Americans, we share many of the same struggles and successes. As journalists, we must inform the public of the truth and share the stories of our nation,” Cheung added.

The online content was made possible with funding from the Ford Foundation. University of California Hastings College of Law Dean Frank H. Wu, a renowned expert in AAPI civil rights issues, also contributed to this project.

AAJA’s MediaWatch program also encourages the public to report questionable coverage of AAPIs by news organizations. For more information, visit the AAJA MediaWatch page.

The Asian American Journalists Association is a nonprofit professional and educational organization with more than 1,500 members across the United States and in Asia. Founded in 1981, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry. AAJA’s mission is to encourage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to enter the ranks of journalism, to increase the number of AAPI journalists and news managers in the industry and to work for fair and accurate coverage of AAPIs and their issues. AAJA is an alliance partner in UNITY Journalists for Diversity, along with the Native American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. For more information about AAJA, visit www.aaja.org.


AAJA Executive Director

Kathy Chow

(415) 346-2051



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The Model Minority Myth: What 50 Years of Research Does and Does Not Tell Us

Source: http://diverseeducation.com/article/52979/


The Model Minority Myth: What 50 Years of Research Does and Does Not Tell Us

by Dr. Nicholas D. Hartlep

Nicholas Hartlep

Nicholas Hartlep

It is little wonder why Asian-Americans are perceived by the wider higher education community to be paragons of scholarly success, despite their treatment by the U.S. government, historically, as political pariahs (as seen in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the lawful internment of innocent Japanese-Americans during the early 1940s).

The Asian-American student population supposedly scores off-the-charts on high-stakes college admission tests, such as the SAT. Public perception of Asian-American success is evidenced in the phrase “the Asian invasion” — the notion that Asian-Americans are overrepresented on college campuses. Still, Robert Teranishi, associate professor of higher education at New York University and author of the book Asians in the Ivory Tower: Dilemmas of Racial Inequality in American Higher Education, says, “Despite the perception that Asian-American Pacific Islander students are heavily concentrated in selective universities, the largest concentration of AAPI college enrollment is in community colleges.”

While some in the ivory tower (such as Arthur Sakamoto) endorse the claim that Asian-Americans are successful in higher education, Teranishi’s research under the auspices of the National Commission on Asian-American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE) indicates that this “problem-free” façade is empirically inaccurate. Others who have objectively considered the data, such as Frank Wu, agree. Moreover, Asian-Americans are also believed to have superior mental health despite evidence to the contrary.

The model minority characterization of Asians began largely as a result of William Petersen’s 1966 New York Times Magazine article “Success, Japanese-American Style.” Despite the persistence of this myth nearly fifty years later, it is still not understood well by the higher education community, leaving a false narrative of the Asian-American experience intact.

What does research tell us?

Poring over five decades of research on the model minority stereotype (MMS) while myself conducting research for two forthcoming books, The Model Minority Stereotype: Demystifying Success (2013, Information Age Publishing) and The Model Minority Stereotype Reader: Critical and Challenging Readings For the 21st Century (Cognella Publishing, 2013), I have found that research conducted on the MMS is compelling and conclusive.

First, research reveals that Asian-Americans were intentionally selected to be model minorities. African-Americans could have been constructed to be model minorities, but it was not their fate. Petersen’s 1966 story came about, not because the Asian population was superior to other minorities, but because the U.S. government needed a way to shift negative international attention away from itself. Alison Reiko Loader, a Ph.D. candidate in communication studies at Concordia University in Montreal, wrote an illuminating article on this issue, “We’re Asian, More Expected of Us: Representation, The Model Minority & Whiteness on King of the Hill.” She comments that “the model minority stereotype is not as flattering as it may first appear. The expectation of overachievement diminishes individual accomplishment and diversity amongst people of Asian descent by making them all seem the same. By portraying Asians as successful, it also effectively silences them and conceals racism against them.”

According to Loader and others, the MMS shielded the status quo, insulating politicians from accusations that African-Americans were unsuccessful due to racism and discrimination in the United States. Since Asians had “made it,” they were presented as verification that America was a land of opportunity. Northwestern Professor Shalini Shankar posits that schools seem to perpetuate the model minority due to the fact that the stereotype is so functional. “The model minority has gained currency because it allows schools to focus on their more successful Asian-American students as role models for other students. In these contexts, I see the model minority as a functional stereotype, not a myth.” Petersen’s MMS construct helped fortify the meritocratic and American Dream narratives being espoused during the peak of the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

It also certainly helped that Petersen’s story came on the heels of the release of The Negro Family: The Case For National Action (the 1965 Moynihan Report), written by Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Moynihan’s report blamed African-American ghetto culture for the difficulty the population experienced. Petersen’s decision to write an Asian-American success narrative was as purposeful as it was politically intentional.

Furthermore, research on the MMS reveals that Asian-Americans do, in fact, experience racism and mental health challenges. According to Eliza Noh, “Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Asian-American women age 15-24.” Other mental health experts cite the “model minority” stereotype and its attendant high expectations as a likely cause or contributor to suicide. Paradoxically, since Asian-Americans are perceived as having few, if any, mental health problems — an argument often advanced due to this population’s low utilization rates — Asian-American mental health needs go largely unmet. “In reality, the underutilization may be a reflection of barriers to accessing care, including the absence or awareness of culturally and linguistically appropriate services,” says Dr. Shalini Tendulkar, a researcher at the Institute for Community Health at the Cambridge Health Alliance and an instructor in medicine at the Harvard Medical School. “Additionally, it is imperative that we recognize that even within the Asian-American race, mental health disparities exist. Unfortunately, these disparities are often obscured when we examine aggregated data.”

What does research not tell us?

Research does not tell us whether MMS critics are themselves elitist, although the charge has been made by Sakamoto, Takei and Woo, who in their article, “The Myth of the Model Minority Myth,” contend that the over-education argument — the notion that Asian-Americans’ returns on education are unequal compared to non-Hispanic Whites — is highly elitist since it argues for increased income inequality: the need for highly educated Asian-American workers to earn even higher salaries in order to put them on par with comparable White workers.

Sakamoto notes, “Much of the existing research on the MMS examines Asian-Americans’ oppression and lack of parity with Whites.” And although much of MMS scholarship showcases how the stereotype divides and conquers people of color, according to Sakamoto, it does not provide actionable solutions. The former is a strength of the scholarship, but the latter is a liability. Actionable solutions are important to the diverse higher education community.

For instance, those who want to understand the MMS more fully might find themselves caught between two kinds of model minority resources: erudite articles with technical discussions of the myth, or books and websites on the myth with concrete data. Texts of the first type focus on the MMS but are often so technical they are inaccessible go the lay reader; they also lack practical applications to the college classroom. Texts of the second type, while generally more accessibly written, often leave readers without a clear sense of higher education implications. Consequently, the future trajectory of model minority research in higher education remains to be seen. Research does not tell us where the sociology of the stereotype will lead.

According to Teranishi, “Higher education should reconsider the model minority myth and develop strategies to demythologize the stereotype.” Wu also reminds us that the MMS “is a means of putting down African-Americans and Hispanics.” Asian-American collegians are not “problem-free.” They should be considered “people of color,” and they should be able to access affirmative action. According to Noh, “They also should be provided the mental health care services that they need.”

Research over the last 50 years informs us that Asian-Americans were intentionally picked to be model minorities and that Asian-Americans experience racism and mental health difficulties. The MMS is not a burden exclusively for Asian-Americans. In the previous installment of this series, we considered how the MMS negatively impacts other minority groups. The final installment will explore policy suggestions to combat the stereotype.

Dr. Hartlep is an assistant professor of educational foundations and author of the forthcoming books, The Model Minority Stereotype: Demystifying Success (2013, Information Age Publishing) and The Model Minority Stereotype Reader: Critical and Challenging Readings For the 21st Century (Cognella Publishing, 2013). He can be followed on Twitter @nhartlep.


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Chinese American Women: A History of Resilience and Resistance

This exhibit explores the lives of Chinese American women during their first one hundred years in the United States. It portrays a hidden history of strength, innovation, and resilience. American history has often overlooked early Chinese immigrants, leaving their lives unrecorded. Chinese American women, in particular, have often been forgotten in the history of migrations, settlement, labor, and civil rights. Many Chinese American men have found a place in U.S. history because of their work in the gold mines, on the railroads and on public projects such as draining marshes and building roads. The daily activities of Chinese American women remain less documented.  … read more

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Utah governor to honor Topaz internee, Fred Korematsu

Fred Korematsu Day • A young California welder resisted orders that sent 120,000 Japanese- Americans into internment camps in the 1940s.

Fred Korematsu, a native of Oakland, Calif., made history at age 23 when he defied authorities who forced Japanese-Americans into internment camps during World War II. His case ultimately went to the U.S. Supreme Court while he was interned with his family at Topaz, the camp in west central Utah. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert will issue a proclamation on Friday designating Jan. 30 as Fred Korematsu Day. Photo courtesy of Karen Korematsu and the Korematsu Institute

Fred Korematsu lived under a cloud of suspicion as an internee at the Topaz internment camp in central Utah and when he left the camp to work in Salt Lake City during World War II.

But on Friday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert will proclaim Jan. 30 as Fred Korematsu Day, honoring the man whose U.S. Supreme Court case challenging the internment of Japanese -Americans still stands as an example of racial injustice.

Korematsu would have been 94 on Jan. 30; he died eight years ago this spring.

The Salt Lake County Council on Tuesday passed a resolution supporting Herbert’s proclamation. Jani Iwamoto, who stepped down from the County Council earlier this month, advocated for both.

“He was an ordinary person who did something extraordinary,” Iwamoto told the council Tuesday. “Heroes like this are not necessarily big sports heroes or politicians. They’re ordinary individuals.”

Korematsu’s case had a lasting impact on basic rights, said Iwamoto, who knew Korematsu as a humble man who decades earlier resisted military orders that sent 120,000 Japanese-Americans living along the West Coast into internment camps.

“Fred just knew [internment] was wrong instinctively,” said Iwamoto, who first met Korematsu when she was a California law student who witnessed a 1980s effort to overturn his conviction. “He just wanted to live his life and be an American citizen.”

Korematsu was arrested for resisting the military order in spring 1942. A welder born in Oakland, he was just 23 when he was convicted and sent to the Tanforan assembly center in California and then on to Topaz in the desert northwest of Delta.

His reception in the camp was chilly, according to family members and friends who discussed it with him, said Ling Woo Liu, director of the Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education in California.

“It was a community totally under siege,” and it could be that people were wary of associating with him. “Everyone coped with the trauma very differently,” Liu said.

In any case, Korematsu had been confident he would prevail in court, and felt as if he had failed to vindicate his people, she said.

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