Archive for the ‘Blog Articles’ Category

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?



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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)

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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)

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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

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Read the article here at Racebending.

Like an earlier article about Cloud Atlas, once again, Asian actors are being denied roles in favor of white peers. In the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of a piece set in 13th century China, almost all the (Chinese) characters are played by white actors. Unlike the case of Cloud Atlas, these actors are at least not using yellowface as far as I can tell, which is at least one point in their favor. However, as the writer points out, while the producers used “colour blind casting,” the preferred actors had experience doing British classical acting with the RSC, where major or meaningful roles are usually closed off to minorities. The entire casting process was basically stacked against minority actors, who were only cast to play small, background roles. The claim is made that there aren’t enough qualified British East Asian actors auditioning to fill the entire cast, but apparently there aren’t enough to fill the role of even one major character.

This is just one more incident in the trend of telling Asian actors they aren’t Asian enough to play someone from their own ethnicity or race. The author, being of multiethnic descent, has also faced discrimination in the form of “not being Chinese enough” for some roles. There’s always been a history of non-Asian people describing Asians and their culture; it seems that they must also act out that culture on behalf of Asians who can’t do a proper job of it. Like in the Prashad reading, Asian men and women are often portrayed by white men and women in brown or yellow face and “Oriental” clothes – a European idea of what Asia is like is perpetuated by Europeans/European Americans. The perpetual stranger is too strange to be even himself. Britain may not have the same exact history of immigration-based exclusion as America, but this certainly isn’t an act of inclusion or equality.

It may be too late to change the casting of this play, but unless the RSC applies color blind casting to all their productions, even those where people would argue that the characters are unlikely to be minorities, there’s no excuse for having such misrepresentation in their plays.

– Rachel (ryw6)

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Read the full text here: (http://www.8asians.com/2012/11/07/admissions-test-prep-stepping-stone-to-asian-americans-considered-unfair-by-others/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter)

I found this article really interesting because this is closely related to the discussion in class on Friday. It is about a complaint filed by civil rights groups that they believe NYC’s most competitive public high schools discriminate against Hispanic and black students through using only one criteria in selecting student body: a standard test. Civil rights groups argue that there are too many Asian Americans in those high schools but too few Hispanic and African American students because the test discriminates poor families over rich families. Rich families can tutor their kids, who are mainly whites and Asians, so Asian and White kids can score higher on the test than Hispanic and African American kids can. The admission to those high schools is significant factor in deciding the future success of students, so the civil right groups think that more Hispanic and African American students should represent more proportion in the student body in order to contribute to the equality of society.

After I read this article, I have a mixed reaction. On the one hand, I agree that which school does one go to can significantly help one’s future success. So, it is understandable that more Hispanic and African American kids want to go to good schools. However, on the other hand, I cannot agree that schools’ admission criteria, which is a standard test called SHSAT. It is designed to measure student’s academic ability regardless of student’s background information such as ethnicity. It is true that getting a tutoring may enhance the chance for the student to get a good score, there are also other ways for economically disadvantaged students to get a help on preparing the test. New York provides a free preparation to students whose family income is below a certain level. I cannot say that it is an even game for all, but it is evident that the test itself cannot qualify as a discriminating practice.

Although the test itself does not discriminate students based on their racial profiles, I think considering the test score as the sole criterion in the admission process should be changed in order to remedy the current situation. Even though the test is designed to measure academic ability, it is not the only way and the perfect way to measure it. A student may not perform well on the test, but he or she can be perfectly capable of possessing the academic ability that the schools require students to have. The test is not perfect in measuring it because students may enhance their scores by learning the skills to solve the problem in that the test results may be distorted. There are various ways to present one’s academic ability such as academic grades, a recommendation, or scientific researches, so the schools should consider more of a holistic way to evaluate students in the admission process to remedy the current situation.


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Read the full text here (http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/campaign/266587-113th-congress-will-be-more-diverse)

Yesterday, Americans decided to place their future and hope on Obama for another 4 years. Congratulation Mr. President. In addition to Mr. President, a lot of senators and congressmen will enjoy their victory in the election. Nate Shinagawa, a democratic party’s nominee for NY’s 23rd congressional district, which includes Ithaca and Tompkins county, could not share the joy with other winners. He lost to the incumbent Tom Reed(R) in a hard-fought battle. I felt sorry for his lost because I expected him to show that Asian Americans can also win the battle and go to the congress to represent Asian Americans. However, it is too early to be disappointed. There are a few Asian American who won yesterday’s election and advanced into national politics. Among them, Congressmen Honda is one of them.

He won a seat in California’s 17th congressional district, which is redistricted reflecting the results of 2000 census. The new 17th district became the first Asian American and Pacific Islander majority district in the continental United States. He believes that 113th congress will represent the more diverse American community with more Asian American representatives in the congress, and the first Asian American and Pacific Islander majority district is definitely showing the trend toward the more diverse America.

Even though Honda’s victory was achieved in the district where Asian American dominate, his victory should not be underestimated. Moreover, as US become more diverse, the congress should also reflect the diversity by including congressmen and senators with more diverse backgrounds. If this trend continues, more Asian Americans, including Nate, will proceed to national politics and will represent Asian Americans in the near future.

-Barom (by48)

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