Tag Archives: Asian Americans

Barack Obama on the “Asian American” umbrella term

Umbrellas are for Mai-Tais, generally.

But politically, it’s all about creating a catch-all  phrase that would encompass all of Asian America.

It’s not easy. At last night’s APAICS dinner in Washington,the president helped the most political Asian Americans on the planet figure out what we need to do to make sure the umbrella still works 

for all of us.

Check out my blog post on the Asian American Legal Defense and

Education Fund blog.

Linsanity’s chill: ESPN fires, suspends employees for Lin headline

After hearing from Asian Americans around the country, ESPN took action and fired the writer responsible for the “chink in the armor’ headline. And it suspended an anchor for using the same tired cliche.
That’s both good and bad.
Good, in that it punishes the perps. Bad, in that it should send a chill through the ranks of wordsmiths in journalism.
I take no joy in seeing someone lose their job. Indeed, I think a public apology on all ESPN shows would have been sufficient.
The problem with firing is that the mesage to ESPN workers sounds more like censorship than a corrective action.
We’re fighting racism, not free speech.
And yet, what happened when we were free to talk about Lin?
People started ching-chonging and using racist language because they don’t really know how to be clever or smart about Lin without resorting to race.
It shows how ignorant and how limited people are about Asian Americans.
When Lebron or Kobe have a great game, no one breaks out the fried chicken and watermelon jokes. Everyone knows that’s racist. For Asian Americans, no one seems to care. Maybe now they will.
I’m sure ESPN didn’t want to be a buzzkill and spoil the party. But by taking an extreme zero tolerance stand against slurs, it shows it means business.
Lin’s performance today helping the Knicks beat the defending champion Dallas Mavericks means Linsanity has legs.
Maybe now we can all celebrate it without a lapse into racism.

I’m no “Lin-fidel,” just a realist on Jeremy Lin. Still, he’s just what we need as more people keep blurring the difference between Asian and Asian American

I’ve got good reason to love Jeremy Lin. I’m an Asian American who went to Harvard. I didn’t play basketball, but I did play white guys in black theatre productions. (You take your extra-curriculars where you can). So my love for Lin is real. I’m just realistic. I root for the Golden State Warriors and we had a mild case of Lin-phomania last year. 

Lin-sanity is a New York phenomenon.   I’m not sure it can be sustained.

I wish Jeremy nothing but the best. No Schadenfreude from me.  He’s a Norcal homey. He worked hard and when he had his chance this time around he delivered. But I’m not sure if last week was one of those special weeks you remember forever because you just don’t replicate it that easily.  I ran for 187 yards on 7 carries as a Pop Warner half-back. I still talk about that. OK, yeah, Jeremy’s doing it in the NBA. Big diff.   I hope he has a long run and can play at the level he’s shown, but I remember last year in Oakland when he couldn’t get off the bench. 

Still, we can thank Jeremy for reinforcing the point to all of America–there’s a difference between Asian and Asian Americans.

It’s more than a technicality. It’s a point worth stating over and over.

We forgot the distinction in WWII and opened up internment camps—for Americans.

As China shows its economic might, some in this country are trying to blur distinctions again.

Maybe Jeremy Lin will help remind people during this critical time in world history, there are Asians, and then there are Asian Americans.

For more,check out my post on the Asian American Legal Defense Fund blog:

 http://aaldef.org/blog/linsanity-call-it-linphomania.html.