Tag Archives: Asian Americans

Emil Guillermo: Second thoughts on Starbucks’ #racetogether while I’m drinking my Peet’s coffee

peets

OK, OK.  I am joining the coffee grumps. Coffee, black, no race convo.

I read the Starbucks insert in USA TODAY this past weekend, and frankly, I’m astonished.

Race together?  It’s pretty much the same two lanes:  black and white.

In an eight-page insert, the first mention of Asian Americans is on page 5.

In one of 8 questions, there’s this question: “Asians recently surpassed Latinos as the fastest growing group of new immigrants to the United States.” TRUE or FALSE.

The answer is: TRUE.

“Asians recently surpassed Latinos as the fastest growing group of new immigrants to the United States.”

Asians are mentioned in the timeline titled, “Path to Progress.”

But as I point out in my column on the aaldef.org/blog, there are some glaring omissions.

Pass the Peet’s. And see my new column on the aaldef.org/blog.

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Emil Guillermo: Haters will be haters? I’ll have my race conversation VENTI, please; Why racist “micro-aggressions” may necessitate Starbuck’s “micro-engagements.”

I know you’re grumpy in the morning. But is there really any reason for the backlash against a company that for once is trying to exhibit a little corporate responsibility?

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When I first heard of CEO Howard Schultz’s idea, I at first was as snarky and as skeptical as the next guy. But his sincere belief of trying to change the country “one cup at a time” with an attempt to engage on race is pretty daring. And right.  When I think of the last racist transgression I encountered, it’s always some passing remark that no one thinks twice about. Except the person of color. They’re called “micro-aggressions.”

They’re really snap judgments. Racist ones.  And people of color experience them all the time. All the time.

How do you cut them off at the pass?

Maybe Starbucks’ “micro-engagements” are the best way?  No one expects you to go deep all the time on race. A little passing acknowledgement of the issue, may slowly nudge us all to a different level in the discourse. It just may build the empathy we should all be seeking. But it starts with conversation. Why wait for the next major race news story? Start with a small positive engagement.

You can always pass. Politely say, “No thanks.” But it’s an opportunity to chat while waiting. Or to chat while sitting at a table.

Go ahead and dis the idea. But that just says something about the “post-racial” society, doesn’t it?

But maybe this is progress. Suddenly, I’m seeing all these odd-coffee mates on the same side. Even The Nation has something negative and snarky to say about this.

Now this is odd: the left and the right on the same side on a race issue?  Are they steaming about not buying SBUX before the split? They might as well talk while having their venti latte.

See how to have a real race conversation in my piece here.

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Emil Guillermo’s Amok PODCAST: Todd Endo calls in from Selma about being at the 50th anniversary of the historic marches

toddendomarchingAsian American activist Todd Endo was in Selma 50 years ago, just as he  was at the march on Washington in 1963 to hear Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.  (I took this photo of him at the 50th anniversary of that march in 2015).

This weekend, Endo called in from Selma where he attended the big anniversary of the marches there.  We talked about what he felt then and now,  about what he saw, and the Asian Americans at the event, including a Chinese American who was also at Selma in 1965.

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Emil Guillermo on Todd Endo, an Asian American activist at Selma, and at the March on Washington.

AALDEF-Podcast-Marching-And-Talking-With-Todd-EndoAsian-American-Activist-50-Years-After-His-First-March-On-Washington-.jpg          I met Todd Endo in 2013 at the 50th anniversary of MLK’s March on Washington. It’s the event which featured King’s “I have a dream” speech. Endo marched in 1963, and he was at King’s other big march, the one two years later in Selma, 1965.

Funny how few people conflate the DC march and Selma. Or how people don’t really understand that Selma was two years after the “Dream” speech, and a year after the Civil Rights Act. Even after that momentous bit of legislation, 1965 required the Voting Rights Act, which Selma helped bring about.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of Selma, we must constantly relearn the history. Or as we’ve found out, society begins to march backwards.

My piece on Todd Endo at Selma is here.

My podcast with Endo at the 1963 March on Washington is here.

 

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