Archive for the 'Discrimination' Category

What’s a little ignorance between friends?

My friend sent me a link to racewire for a post on this topic.

Adrienne Maree Brown asks:

Do any of y’all maintain relationships where one person, who has more privilege and is white, regularly says things that are remarkably ignorant? But you know they ‘mean well’?

What do you do about that? I want the Racewire readers to offer up wisdom from a perspective of awareness…do you keep such people in your life?

I sat over drinks with some friends Sunday night, we all went to college together, and they were talking about a few white folks we went to school with who have uttered an unusually high number of offensive things recently.

Now me personally, I don’t stay close to repeat offenders.

But I have some friends who do and I’m at a loss at what to advice them when they lay this burden on my shoulder.


Model Minority: Good or Bad?

TIME Magazine - Asian American Whiz KidsModel Minority: (as defined on Wikipedia)

Model minority refers to a minority ethnic, racial, or religious group whose members achieve a higher degree of success than the population average. This success is typically measured in income, education, and related factors such as low crime rate and high family stability. Critics of this terminology say that it amounts to racial stereotyping, and that its use may be a political tool and its implications incite jealousy and fighting among ethnic minorities, an example of leveraging majority power dynamics to provoke ill sentiments between minority groups.

As a student of Asian American Studies, I realize the topic of Model Minority could warrant its own 12 week course, but let’s just take a whack at it shall we?

  • Is the Model Minority a myth? What truth(s) lie in this?
  • What are the positives of the “Model Minority” stereotype? Negatives?
  • Are good stereotypes good? Are good stereotypes bad?
  • Why should (or shouldn’t) Asian Americans fight the Model Minority stereotype?
  • Discuss.


    Comments continue to pour trickle in regarding Mister Wong, the Offensive Social Bookmarking Portal. One commenter seems to be offended by the “PC BS” we “Amerians” [sic] are spreading all over the world. Various people have chimed in, stating that Mister Wong is not racist.

    As Ernie mentions on his personal blog, context counts.

    Earlier today, there was a brouhaha (emphasis on the “haha” part) at over a supposedly racist billboard seen on the Westside. LA radio station Power106 ran some billboards featuring their morning show host, Big Boy, on a billboard with the words “Big Boy’s got GAS!” and in smaller type “Win gas and cars all summer!”

    The author of the original post is Jim Bursch, Editor of said the following:

    Racist billboard not welcome on Westside

    Context counts, and in this case, the context is a predominantly non-black neighborhood where referring to an adult black man as “boy” is wrong and racist. Also, there are contexts in which fart jokes are funny, but not on a public street where you see the same offensive “joke” every day, day after day.

    This is just wrong.

    What’s wrong is Mr Bursch calling out this billboard as racist, because the adult black man pictured is not being referred to as “boy” but “Big Boy,” a stage name and professional name he has used for years.
    Continue reading ‘Context?’

    Virginia Tech: The Day After / Media Advisory from the AAJA

    By now, most everyone is aware of yesterday’s tragic events as well as much of the aftermath, including the identity of the mass murderer as Cho Seung-Hui.

    While more information will continue to surface, we’ll leave the “breaking news” to other outlets who have full-time staff covering the events.

    Speaking of professional journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) issued a media advisory yesterday urging media to use caution in how the suspected shooter’s ethnicity factors into any coverage.

    Here is an excerpt of the original statement on 4/16:

    As coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting continues to unfold, AAJA urges all media to avoid using racial identifiers unless there is a compelling or germane reason. There is no evidence at this early point that the race or ethnicity of the suspected gunman has anything to do with the incident, and to include such mention serves only to unfairly portray an entire people.

    The effect of mentioning race can be powerfully harmful. It can subject people to unfair treatment based simply on skin color and heritage.

    We further remind members of the media that the standards of news reporting should be universal and applied equally no matter the platform or medium, including blogs.

    A second, follow-up media advisory released by AAJA on 4/17 says the following:

    Now that the identity of the suspected shooter at Virginia Tech is known, AAJA cautions the use of his heritage or immigrant status in news coverage.

    We understand the need to research the background of Seung-Hui Cho (first name is pronounced “sung hee”) and to provide details about him as a nation struggles to make sense of the horrific incident.

    But we are disturbed by some media outlets’ prominent mention that the suspect is an immigrant from South Korea when such a revelation provides no insight or relevance to the story. The fact he is not a U.S. citizen and was here on the basis of a green card, while interesting, should not be a primary focus in the profiling of him. To highlight that suggests his immigration status played a role in the shootings; there’s been no such evidence.

    We remind the media that the use of racial and other identifiers must be accompanied with context and relevance. Without it, we open the door to subjecting an entire people to unfair treatment or portrayal based on their skin color or national heritage.

    For the record, although I am currently not a member of AAJA, I have attended various AAJA functions in the past and may possibly join in the future. I am all about “supporting the community,” “fair and accurate coverage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” etc, etc.

    That said, I have to say that the first media advisory suggesting coverage should “avoid using racial identifiers unless there is a compelling or germane reason” is an odd request given the context of the breaking news. Without official confirmation of the killer, the only information used to describe the gunman was that he was “Asian.” Various reports added other details, such as what he was wearing. But at the time of a breaking news story, the best information journalists had to go on was eyewitness reports, most of whom described the gunman as being “Asian.” That seems to be a pretty compelling and germane reason to bring a racial descriptor into use, at least in that cursory manner. Yes, it would have been unfortunate if that information was wrong, but in this day in age, people still identify others visually by race and any eyewitnesses and victims who described the gunman described him as such.

    Regarding the second media advisory, it is obvious that AAJA’s language has changed: “We remind the media that the use of racial and other identifiers must be accompanied with context and relevance.” (No more request of “compelling and germane.”)

    That is probably because there was quite a bit of backlash against the request against using “racial identifiers” as descriptors. And considering the request came from an organization that describes itself using a racial identifier (Asian American Journalists Association), it’s no surprise that some people found the advisory a tad hypocritical. (Note: In case it’s not clear, *I* am not saying the AAJA was hypocritical… just saying that some people thought that.)

    In fact, here is what one former AAJA member, Christine Suh, has to say:

    I hope members out there are as perplexed as I am by the advisory, but the fact that the group’s leadership thought to promote such a poor practice tells me there are members out there who agree that ignoring the identity of the shooter would be acceptable in this story. [full story]

    Here is the response from Jeanne Mariani-Beling, AAJA national president:

    The comments made by Christine Suh mischaracterize AAJA’s position. AAJA never advocated “ignoring the identity of the shooter” as Ms. Suh stated. Our media advisory, which was issued yesterday prior to the identity of the shooter being released, dealt specifically with using race as an identifier. [full story]

    Here is a sampling of other coverage and reactions:
    ::newsbusters:: ::Asian Journalists Call for Censorship:: ::CBS News:: ::Asian American Journalists Association: Embargo Race And National Origin of Killer Cho:: ::Missing From the News::

    There has been some concern about how Cho’s killing spree could potentially create a backlash to Koreans/South Koreans/Korean Americans/Asians/Asian Americans/etc. What about the backlash to the AAJA? Just blog search AAJA this week for more reactions…

    All that said, I do personally feel that there seems to be an over-emphasis on Cho’s immigrant/nationality status and I do hope that other contributors to 8Asians will address this in the days to come. Additionally, I also want to state for the record that I am glad there is an Asian American Journalists Association out there with thousands of reporters dedicated to good journalism and avoiding “unfairly portraying an entire people.” I am glad there is an organization to issue such media advisories, if necessary. However, as much as I want to say race isn’t a factor in this particular story, it’s becoming pretty clear to me that in the eyes of many Americans, it is.

    Tim Hardaway’s Gay Bashing rant and George Takei’s Response

    George Takei has been long known in the Asian American community as an activist for civil rights and more recently, for gay rights.

    Hats off to George Takei for his brave PSA addressing Tim Hardaway’s recent homophobic rants.

    George, you are my hero.

    Hat tip: Jimmy Kimmel

    %d bloggers like this: