Archive for November, 2012

Read full text here: Are “LatinAsians” A New Political Voting Bloc?

It has been almost four weeks after the presidential election. President Obama was re-elected, as I expected, but there are some notable changes in the voting behaviors due to a significant change in demographics. In the earlier post of mine, I made a post about one congressional district where Asian and Pacific Islanders constitute the majority. It may be just a one district out of hundreds of other congressional districts, but it signifies a general and irresistible change towards bigger Asian American influence on national politics. Bigger Asian American influence is also present in the presidential election. Asian Americans now represent 3% of national voters, and its increase in population is the fastest in the nation. Not only their increase but also their voting behavior is notable. 73% of Asian Americans voted for President Obama. Their support will be significantly important in the next election which will be held in 2016 when more Asian Americans can vote. Many people including news commentators question why would Asian Americans give a big support to Democrats.

I think that Asian Americans show support to President Obama, not specifically Democratic party.(Maybe) Since President Obama positions himself as a representative of all the ethnic minorities, other minorities such as Latino Americans and Asian Americans support President Obama. Moreover, I think Republican party has an impression that it consists of christian white males who live in mid south region such as Texas. Republicans also support big businesses where Asian American do not have much stake. Because there are only two choices: Democrats or Republicans, Asian American generally tend to support Democrats or remain undecided. The blog post also supports my hypothesis by stating that ” a good portion of [Asian Americans] are unaffiliated, not registered as a Republican or a Democrat.”

Since I am not a true Asian American (I am born in Korea and have lived there for my entire life except for college education), my view is highly likely to be biased. However, I think my argument still has a point. Republicans do not show themselves as embracing all minorities in US. Rather, their immigration policies are really strict (mostly towards illegal immigrants, but still) If they want to get Asian American votes, they should develop a friendly image toward minorities. If not, their future is bleak. As one comedian in Saturday Night Live said in his comedy skit, “[President Obama says] In every some seconds, one hispanic gay baby is born. One more vote for me.”(This is a joke) Even though it is not an Asian baby, you get the point, right?



Read Full Post »

1. ‘Gangnam Style’ Video Edges Out Justin Bieber; Becomes Most Viewed on YouTube

2. Tiger JK Goes on “Racist Rant” Due to “Gangnam Style” Heckling at The Creators Project

To tell the truth, I did not know that Gangnam Style would be so popular in US at the first time that I saw the M/V on the bus. My first impression on Gangnam Style is that Psy, the artist who sings Gangnam Style, is doing his usual thing: dancing weird moves and some hook phrases. However, his horse dance became so popular in US and everyone is singing Gangnam Style and dancing the horse dance. What is more interesting for me is that people in US love the song even though they understand a single line of Gangnam style that is written in Korean. I think that US people like the song because  the horse dance which is easy and fun to follow. Anyways, because of Gangnam Style, more US people come to know Korean artist Psy, and probably more of Korean pop culture. It is notable to mention that Gangnam style’s view count surpasses that of Justin Bieber’s “Baby” and becomes the most viewed on YouTube.

However, Gangnam Style’s hype did not only create positive responses but also possibly racist reactions from some of people. Professor Chang once mentioned some bad, possibly racist twits regarding to Psy’s Gangnam Style among white people. The second link to an article is about the negative side of Gangnam style’s hype. A short summary of the article is that some white audiences asked Tiger JK, one of the best rappers in Korea, to stop rapping and dance horse dance for them. For Tiger JK, it was considered as racist remarks, because he felt that white guys are just interested in an Asian guy dancing a funny horse dance in front of him. He left outrageous twits on twitter that are towards to the white people at the event.

I do not think that this possible racist comments are confined to this one incident. The center of Gangnam Style’s hype is the funny dance of one funny looking Korean guy. People do not bother to know what Gangnam Style’s lyrics is trying to say. News media highlights Psy’s funny character but do not mention his personal histories such as how he came with this song and what musical career he has made throughout his life. Moreover, some people just assume all other Korean music is like Gangnam Style even though Korean music is more than just one song. That is why the white males in the Tiger JK’s event asked Tiger JK to do the horse dance because they do not see the difference between Psy and any other Asian musical artists. This blurred assumption may be the origin of the possible racial rants. I appreciate the popularity that Gangnam Style achieved in US, but I wanted to point out that there is also a dark side of his big hit and may create a racist, at best insensitive, remark.

-Barom (by48)

Read Full Post »

Read the article here.

Recent Chinese economic growth, coupled with a push for diversity, has brought about an increase in Chinese international students studying at United States universities. The increase in students can be particularly noted at Ivy League institutions, where Chinese students now dominate the international enrollment. In this article, Alexis Lai analyzes why this increase has occurred, from both the Chinese and American perspectives. More Chinese families are able to afford to send their children to schools abroad due to an improved and growing Chinese economy. Additionally, Chinese parents want to send their children to the U.S. to relieve them from the stress of studying for the “gaokao” and grant them a “student-centered” education. International students are also viewed favorably in the eyes of college admissions officers because they create a global university, and are more likely to afford full tuition.

Reading this article reminded me of some of the points discussed in the article, “Quota on Excellence? The Asian American Admissions Debate” by Don T. Nakanishi. This 1989 Nakanishi article focuses on the low admissions rates for Asian American students at American institutions, and the controversies surrounding these admission rates. It is interesting to note that both the Lai and Nakanishi articles cite family economic success as a key determining factor for attending a U.S. institution.  Lai states that part of the reason for the increase in Chinese international students is that their families are wealthier than before. Chinese students used to be dependent on scholarships in order to attend U.S. universities, but can now pay tuition in full. Comparatively, Nakanishi mentions that the increase in Asian American enrollment is due to “phenomenal demographic growth” (page 5) and not a newfound desire to earn higher education. Nakanishi also mentions that not having a university connection through an alumnus could also explain the low admissions rates for Asian American students. However, there seems to be more opportunities to make these connections today, as the person profiled in Lai’s article attended two U.S. colleges and works for an admissions consultancy in Beijing.

Another topic that was touched upon in the Lai article was affirmative action and how United States admissions counselors decide who to offer admission to. I found a quote from Jay Lin, the admissions consultant in Beijing, to be quite interesting. He stated, “A school could easily fill itself with all Chinese student’s, but no school’s going to do that…it’s a double-edged sword—if you have too many Chinese, then the Chinese will stop coming to your school, and also Americans will stop coming to your school”. It was intriguing how Chinese students seek out the same diversity U.S. colleges work to achieve. As in the affirmative action articles we have read for class, the focus on admission rates and the college admissions department’s responsibility to create a diverse student body makes it seem as if diversity is entirely driven by the university. Noting that diversity is a characteristic that students desire at an institution of higher education makes diversity a quality that is for the student, as requested by the student.

-Rebecca (rv88)

Read Full Post »

Access article here.

Earlier on in the semester when we read and discussed about early Chinese settlements in the United States, we observed that even upon leaving China in search of a new life, people gathered together to live in concentrated, ethnic communities in places such as California. Another interesting observation was the eventual dispersion of these groups over a wider geographical range within the country, all the way to the East Coast.

This article explores some of the recent interesting demographic changes in Manhattan’s Chinatown, which housing stock has long been thought of as being sought after almost exclusively by Chinese Americans and immigrants. Drawn to its proximity with other attractions in Manhattan such as SoHo, it is increasingly bringing in more non-Asians — as Mr Lam, a broker in Manhattan claims, “many of the buyers have been from outside the U.S.—including some from Russia, England and Sweden—and most are very young, between 25 and 45 years old. ” In fact, 2010 Census shows that there were 15% fewer Asian residents in the neighborhood than in 2000.

An interesting point to take note of in this article is the coagulation of Chinese Americans despite of the increasing demand of others to penetrate into their zones. Many non-Chinese find it hard to find opened residential listings in Chinatown for two main reasons: one, most are rentals, and two, the housings are “passed between Chinese families”. While it is precisely this sense of attachment towards their own kind that the Chinese immigrants were able to build a robust community of their own in the 19 century which were fundamental to their adjustment to their United States, it seems as so this same force deters their integration into the rest of America.

By Jill Seong (ds632)

Read Full Post »

Read the original blog post here.

Since the mid-20th century, the “model minority” reputation has preceded Asian Americans. The “model minority” characterization defines Asian Americans as hard-working and righteous, and was formed out of the will quickly integrate Asian Americans into society during the 1960’s. The Nielsen Report, “State of the Asian American Consumer Report: Growing Market, Growing Impact”, subtly and perhaps incorrectly hints at this stereotype through the habits and behaviors it discusses. According to the 8Asians blog post regarding the report, the Nielsen Report “tries to stimulate interest in Asian American consumers by saying that Asian Americans have the U.S.’s wealthiest households and US $718 million in household income.” However, the author of the blog post recalls reported numbers around “US $506 million” for Asian American household income earlier this year. This suggests that the Nielsen Report’s numbers are unreasonable and may be inflated in order to appeal to Asian American consumers. Although there are many possible causes for this inflation, one may be that the authors of the Nielsen Report were influenced by the “model minority” characterization of Asian Americans. Under this influence, higher income numbers for Asian American families would make more sense, as they are defined as a hard-working people. However, the possibility remains that the Nielsen Report conducted its’ study in a different manner or simply used different data for its’ report.

Another characterization of Asian Americans that was briefly discussed in the blog post was the grouping of all Asian American ethnicities into one group. The blog post author states that “Nielsen acknowledges that the diversity with the category [of Asian American] is a challenge, but said that traits like an emphasis on family and focus on the future are unifying ideas across the Asian American spectrum”. The fact that the report recognized the different Asian American groups shows progress for Asian American activism in the United States. In the 1980’s, there was little understanding of the differences amongst Asian American groups in the United States, as portrayed by Vincent Chin, a Chinese American, being called a “Jap”. The Nielsen Report’s acknowledgement of these different groups shows that there currently is a greater understanding of the diversity of Asian Americans.

Finally, the previous quote regarding the “unifying ideas across the Asian American spectrum” brings out how simple cultural commonalities can bring together the different Asian American groups. As discussed in lecture, prior to the Vincent Chin case, there was not a truly prominent cause to unite the Asian American groups. In this sense, violence brought Asian American groups together in “reactive solidarity”. However, it is interesting to note that ideas such as encouraging education, saving for the future, and placing priority on family can be unifying as well. Although the ways in which each Asian American group teaches these ideas may be different, it is refreshing to note that something as simple as common set of values can also bring Asian American groups together.
-Rebecca (rv88)

Read Full Post »

Read Full Article HERE

We are all familiar with Nielsen for their work in measuring and reporting consumer behavior.  8Asians recently discussed Nielsen’s recent report on the spending behavior of Asian Americans and unearthed some interesting trends.   The report states Asian Americans have the wealthiest households with a combined income of %718 million.  This astounding number means the Asian American median income is 28% higher than the rest of the United States.

The blog post quickly addresses one of my main curiosities – how exactly did Nielsen define Asian Americans as a group?  In class, we discussed the pan-Asian identity and factors that bring the group together, but never from a commercial point of view.  For example, the report reveals trends across Asian Americans such as they are more likely to clip coupons and use smartphones.  It goes on to say how there is a strong focus on family and planning for the future (e.g. retirement and college).

Although we have not formally addressed this facet of pan-Asian identity formation, we can consider the model minority construct in this context.  It is possible that some of the Nielsen report findings align with the prevalent themes of working hard and attaining financial success.  Furthermore, it is interesting the report highlighted a focus on family and education – again premises of the model minority construct.  While, Nielsen might have not considered any of these factors while putting their report together, the ideas presented are intriguing when considered in certain contexts.

– Johanna

Read Full Post »

Read the article here.

In this article, Terry Curtis Fox writes about how being in a minority group affects people’s politics. In the simplest form, his writing suggests that threatening one minority group is basically like threatening them all. According to him, minorities instinctively know, that policies that threaten one group will eventually threaten them, and the ones that protect one protects them all. So, even if groups may not always agree on everything, ranging from race to religion, they will protect each other from being oppressed by the majority.

In today’s politics, this means that if you estrange one group, you will likely estrange many others as well. So even though they all seem like very different issues, anything from a candidate’s stance on abortion, gay rights, or immigration may affect more people than the candidate may first realize. Fox claims that the Republicans side with the majority while the Democrats side with the minorities. He sees the reelection of Obama as proof that majorities are becoming more scarce. The red states on the electoral college show states in which there is still a clear majority. But in this era, in race, and in many other ways, people are becoming more diverse. And to win the votes of this diverse group, one has to show that they do not mean to harm any one group.

This means that whether it is true or not, calling China the source of all financial troubles, or trying to crush illegal immigration in one sweep, whoever the intended target, may have more repercussions than one may realize at first.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »