8.31.2016

Upset About Diversity in Hollywood? 'Single By 30' is a Step Towards a Promising Future.

Guest Post by Philip Wang



I'll admit upfront that this post is going to come off a bit self-serving considering I am one of the creator/directors of the show, but ultimately I hope you will see that it's less "tooting my own horn," and more trying to rally and unite the community behind new opportunities and perspectives!

Single By 30 is an eight-episode original show that comes out weekly on Wong Fu Productions YouTube channel through YouTube Red. It's a romantic dramedy starring Harry Shum Jr. and Kina Grannis. Here's why it's an important show that you might want to get behind.

8.30.2016

Gene Wilder: Actor, Comic Genius, and Lover

Guest Post by David Henry Hwang



It is generally known that the lead roles in the play for which I'm best known, M. Butterfly, were originated by two amazing actors, John Lithgow and B.D. Wong. They blessed my work with their iconic performances on Broadway in 1988. However, my play might have had quite a different trajectory. Originally cast in the Lithgow role was another legendary actor, whose death was announced earlier today: Gene Wilder.

Best known for his immortal comic turns in movies like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein, The Producers and Blazing Saddles, Gene was originally offered the role of Rene Gallimard, the French diplomat who carries on a 20 year affair with a Chinese actress, who he later discovers to be a man. Gene had started in theatre, but hadn't appeared on Broadway since the early-1960s, after which he'd become a movie star. Yet this part apparently intrigued him enough that he agreed to take it on.

Gene had some reservations about the script, though, so my producer Stuart Ostrow and I were privileged to enjoy several meetings with him at his home in Los Angeles. Always kind and generous, meticulous and probing, with a keen intelligence, he struggled with the fact that Gallimard serves both as my play's narrator, and one of its two major characters. "I don't know how to be 'Gallimard' and the 'Stage Manager' at the same time," he would declare, referencing the narrator character in Thorton Wilder's classic Our Town. We went back and forth debating, while all the time, a little voice in the back of my head was going, "This is so cool! I'm talking about my play with 'Dr. Fronkensteen!'"

8.29.2016

Randall Park Interviews Ali Wong

Guest Post by Randall Park



Ali Wong is an amazing stand up comedian, actress and a writer on our beloved sitcom Fresh Off The Boat.

She is also one of my dearest friends. I’ve known Ali since her days as a cast member of Lapu The Coyote That Cares Theater, the UCLA Asian American theater company that I co-founded many years ago. Ali and I performed sketch and improv together in seedy restaurants to audiences that can be counted on one hand. I’ve seen her go from a fellow budding (and incredibly hard working) stand-up comedian to a brilliant (and still incredibly hard working) comedy superstar with her recent Netflix special Baby Cobra.

By the way, if you haven’t seen Baby Cobra, I suggest you turn off your computer right now, turn it back on, go to Netflix and watch it IMMEDIATELY. It is, in my opinion, a comedy classic. Right up there with all the greats.

Having known Ali for all these years, I have unique access to the mind of a master at her craft. Unlike the average journalist, I can ask her the deep, personal questions that reveal the true darkness behind the laughter, the tears of a clown, if you will. So with that, here is my in depth, at times uncomfortable, interview with my friend, the great comedian Ali Wong.

8.28.2016

Read These Blogs


Ghosts of White People Past: Witnessing White Flight From an Asian Ethnoburb: If diversity is so important to liberal whites, why do they keep fleeing ethnically diverse suburbia?

* * *

A fatal crash and the thoughts a father lives with: Calvin Li was killed in a car crash last year shortly after graduating from high school. In March, his father committed to donating $1.2 million to endow a fellowship at the University of Maryland that will focus on issues facing children of Asian American immigrants.

* * *

Why Asian-Pacific Islanders Care About Incarceration: For one, the U.S. Department of Justice statistics don't register enough Asian Pacific Islander prisoners to be included in reports. They are lumped in a category simply called "other."

* * *

23andMe has a problem when it comes to ancestry reports for people of color: Lazy ethnographic data leaves many people of color wanting more from this genetic testing site.

* * *

Too much boba is bad for you. A proposed change to California's data law could show who's most at risk. Why disaggregating data is important for the health of Asian American communities.

* * *

When an Adoptee Adopts: Joy Osmanski on open adoption and her experience as an adoptee herself.

* * *

Glare of Disdain In this autobiographical comic, Gene Luen Yang remembers the inexplicably uneasy race relations with his Indian American classmate -- and how the power of story helped bridge that gap.

* * *

The Story Behind The Get Down's Kung Fu Connection: The legacy of Bruce Lee and classic kung fu cinema are all over The Get Down, the new Netflix series set in the earliest days of hip hop.



Watch Now: Films and Shows By, About or Starring Asian Americans

Guest Post by Momo Chang



Hey! Tired of #whitewashedout films? Don't fret, there are films that are made by, star or are about Asian Americans. And many of them are in theaters now or available via streaming.

The reality is, there are thousands of independent films out there that don't receive big reviews, a large marketing budget, or big-times stars behind them. While the cost of making an independent film has gone down, filmmakers have to push to let folks know that these titles even exist.

One advantage in today's media world is that even though many films can't compete in the immediate marketplace of Hollywood blockbusters, they may have a longer life span via streaming, Netflix, VOD and independent distribution.

Entities like the Center for Asian American Media, where I work as the Content Manager, and Angry Asian Man, draw attention to Asian American films and filmmakers. CAAM hosts the nation's largest showcase of Asian and Asian American films at our annual CAAMFest. There are also about a dozen more Asian American film festivals across the country. Many of the films listed below either debuted at our festival or were partially funded by CAAM.

Keep up with Asian American films, filmmakers and mediamakers by attending one of many Asian American film festivals is one way to keep tabs on what's new. Come out to CAAMFest in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for news about Asian Americans in media.

As for TV shows, we're watching those too. Fall TV season is about to begin, including these shows with significant Asian American casts: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Dr. Ken, Fresh Off the Boat, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Quantico and Elementary. Also, the Justin Lin-directed show Scorpion is back for another season. Two shows currently on HBO are The Night Of and Ballers, starring Riz Ahmed and The Rock, respectively. There's also mixed-race Blasian star Merle Dandridge on OWN's Greenleaf.

Here's to sharing more of our voices and stories. And, please let us know if we missed any.

— Momo Chang

8.27.2016

A Conversation with a "Jungle" Asian American

Guest Post by Naomi Ko



Minnesota. It's cold, it's white. There aren't a lot of Asian Americans like me (first and second generation Korean Americans.) However, my home state hosts the largest population of Hmong Americans in the United States.

May Lee-Yang, a good friend and collaborator, is one of these Hmong Americans from Minnesota. She is an incredibly talented playwright, actor, performance artist, writer, producer, etc. She's a real Jane-of-all-trades.

We often joke about how she's a "jungle" Asian and I'm a "fancy" Asian. Yes, I know, it doesn't sound right. Some readers may be offended. But, as May is one of the pioneers in the Hmong American Theater movement, she believes this title better explains who the Hmong are to a public that don't know much about them at all.

Recently we talked about May's experience as a "jungle" Asian.

8.26.2016

Angry Reader of the Week: Constance Wu

"I highly recommend letter writing."


Photo Credit: Constance's Dad

Greetings, good people of the internet. It is time, once again, to meet the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Constance Wu.

Fartherhood

Guest Post by Ed Lin



My wife Cindy and I hadn't planned to have kids, not before we were married, not in the years after.

We weren't hardcore against it, just not as pumped to procreate as you should be if that's what you want. We had a great punchline whenever we were on a plane or in line somewhere and a baby somewhere began to scream: Let's have kids!

We already had full lives. We were both working dayjobs. I was also writing books while she was also acting on stage, television and film. Our free time outside of these activities was spent supporting our artist friends, seeing their readings, plays and (at times questionable) performance art.

Things began to change, though, as we found ourselves on the deep end of our 30s. Our friends were having kids, staying home and being squares. That shrank our social circle but we were still as busy as a childless couple could be. Cindy landed a major film role and ended up quitting her dayjob -- no more sneaking out to auditions for her. After that, her acting gigs only ramped up. I landed a contract with a major publisher to write what turned out to be a mystery series set in New York's Chinatown in the 70s.

Our schedules conflicted and she would miss my readings and I would miss hers. You know you're making it when you miss each other's events, we remarked with wonder. We tried to carve out time for friends when possible, though.

One overdue appointment was to go out to New Jersey to see friends who had undertaken the Herculean task of having two kids. Two! It seemed like they had had the first one five seconds ago. Time, for us, wasn't going by quickly, necessarily. It's just that as adults we weren't subject to the same calendar events that people with kids are. We didn't notice back-to-school sales, snow days or summer-camp enrollments. Disregarding the months, New York City has two seasons, really. For us, the weather got cold and then it got warmer, and the subway sucked on the weekends, year in and year out.

Jersey is not even an hour away but it is a different world. I remember that we were thoroughly charmed by the house that our Jersey friends lived in. They had a dog that would freak out if it heard a photo click so you had to mute the phone to take its picture. But their kids! They were two little girls, I guess aged five and seven. They put on a magic show that was the funniest thing I'd seen in years. I laughed at the younger daughter for not being able to palm a card correctly and she burst into tears. I felt horrible about it and still do. I'd pay for her college if I could.

On the train ride back into the city I began to wonder what it would be like to live with children that were inexhaustible and happy.

8.25.2016

Letter to My Younger Self

Guest Post by Kristina Wong.



As part of TEAM (Together Empowering Asian Minds), a new campaign to address mental health among Asian American women, APIA women are publishing letters to their younger selves.

Dear 12-year-old Kristina Wong,

It's me -- your older OLD ASS self writing from the future -- 2016!

If I remember you correctly, you are wearing two pairs of scrunchy socks over tacky bright leggings, your peers shun you as a "weirdo pervert," and you stay awake at night wondering if you'll ever engage in sexual activity.

Surprise Young Kristina! Nothing changes in the future! The difference is... you will actually forge a CAREER out of your awkwardness! That's right! You are going to grow up to be a PERFORMANCE ARTIST!

I know what you're thinking:

What the hell kind of doctor is a "performance artist"?
How will we break the news to Mommy and Daddy?
You mean I really won't have sex in the future... ever?

On Community Engagement: A Conversation with RadAzns TC

Guest Post by Bao Phi



RadAZNs TC (TC standing for Twin Cities) is a Minnesota Asian American activist group that conducted a series of door knocking campaigns in low income communities with Asian residents to talk about police brutality, anti-Blackness, and discrimination. Though many members of RadAZNs TC had been activists in myriad groups and causes for quite some time, many of them came together through movements and actions related to the shooting of Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old African American man who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police on November 15, 2015, in North Side Minneapolis.

Below is an interview I conducted with several members who were involved in the door knocking campaign -- Eunha Jeong Wood, Txoov Vaaj (Chong Vang), MK Nguyen, and contributions by Linda Her.

8.24.2016

Another Great Wall

Guest Post by Oliver Wang



Readers of this site are already well aware of the recent kerfuffle over Zhang Yimou's upcoming action fantasy epic, The Great Wall, aka "that film where Matt Damon fights dragons in China." Unlike other Hollywood films with a Great White Savior Complex, The Great Wall is more complicated because it's both Chinese-directed and co-produced (Zhang himself has vigorously defended the film's cultural politics). Regardless, all the news about The Great Wall instantly reminded me of a very different Great Wall, one that also happened to be a Chinese/American co-production and though it was certainly less controversial, it was no less historical: Peter Wang's A Great Wall (1986).

8.23.2016

Need Fashion Inspiration? Look No Further Than "Chinatown Pretty"

Guest Post by Jean Ho



When Phil asked me to write a guest post, I knew I wanted to highlight the creators of Chinatown Pretty, a street-style blog celebrating fashionable Asian American seniors and their stories in San Francisco Chinatown.

Photographer Andria Lo and writer Valerie Luu met through food -- Andria shot the photos for Valerie's Vietnamese pop-up restaurant and catering business, Rice Paper Scissors. Their inspiration for Chinatown Pretty? Man Ta, "the woman with the jade shoes," who Valerie first spotted getting off a bus somewhere between Chinatown and North Beach. She just knew she had to find out the story behind the chic octogenarian and her bright green kicks.

As it turns out, the sneakers are from a store on Stockton Street, and she owns ten pairs: "I wear them until they break," Man Ta told Valerie and Andria. A longtime Chinatown resident, she has since seen that store on Stockton shutter.

Work In Progress: Emotional Abuse and Violence in Our Communities

Guest Post by Juliet Shen.



I have always been a vocal person.

For four (almost five) years, I ran a blog called Fascinasians where I shared content about race, gender, feminism, and current events. Those who know me know that I am never one to shy away from conversation, and will probably be the first to openly discuss something I feel is unjust or wrong.

It has now been six months since my last relationship ended. After joining a sorority whose chapter philanthropy is fighting sexual violence, my passion for fighting domestic abuse grew and grew. Every friend who came to me and every person who shared their story with me stoked my fire. I did workshops on Asian American feminism and talked about toxic masculinity and warned people what to look out for to identify a dangerous situation or relationship. I never once thought that I would have to do it myself.

8.22.2016

California's Proposed Bill to Disaggregate AAPI Data Significantly Weakened in New Amendments

By Jenn Fang. Cross-Posted from Reappropriate.


Attendees at a recent rally in support of AB1726, a data disaggregation scheduled to reach the CA Senate floor soon. (Photo Credit: @DiverseElders / Twitter)

After months of increasingly vitriolic debate that divided the AAPI community, California Assembly Bill 1726 (AB1726) was significantly amended on Friday. In its original version, AB1726 was the culmination of years of lobbying work by California's AAPI advocacy community, and it would have put in place measures to disaggregate healthcare and higher education data to reveal disparities faced by Southeast Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the state. Using the same ethnic options offered by the National Census, AB1726 would have expanded the ethnic self-identification choices offered in demographic studies conducted by state departments related to healthcare and higher education.

Last year, AB1726's predecessor, Assembly Bill 176, passed the California Legislature with near unanimous bipartisan support and the backing of several local California advocacy groups, only to be vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown. This cycle's AB1726 was expected to pass the Legislature with similarly minimal resistance, until it faced inexplicably intense backlash from grassroots Chinese American groups that had originally organized around SCA-5 (and protests against Jimmy Kimmel) in the state. What emerged was a vocal, deeply inflammatory, arguably paranoid resistance to AB1726, wherein opponents suggested while the bill was still in Committees that it would create a “backdoor” to reinstitute race-conscius affirmative action in the state.

How a data collection bill designed was supposed to circumvent California state law prohibiting race-conscious affirmative action in higher education remains unclear to me.

Yet, no one can deny this grassroots conservative Chinese American movement's growing clout.

Angry Asian American Parenting Guide

Guest Post by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang


Frances Kai-Hwa Wang and her four children at their favorite place for steamed buns and bibimbop, Eastern Accents bakery (Photo Credit: Mark Bialek)

When my oldest child was about 10 years old, I wrote an Asian American parenting book, because I knew everything and had four perfect children. Unfortunately, I did not publish that book then, because my children soon became teenagers, and suddenly I knew nothing and did everything wrong. Now, with two children off to college, one child with a perfect ACT score, and one more who is very tall, I am finally starting to get my confidence back.

So when I see younger Asian American friends struggle through the many challenges of raising Asian American babies, well, I just LOL.

Here are some of my best unsolicited Angry Asian American parenting tips for raising strong, proud, and ANGRY Asian American children.

8.21.2016

Bruce Lee Onitsuka Tiger Corsair - Jeet Kune Do - LTD Edition

YOU KEEP FOR YOUR COLLECTION



Last year, Bruce Lee Enterprises teamed up with BAIT and Onitsuka Tiger to celebrate the legacy of the iconic martial arts star with a special limited-edition sneaker. BruceLee.com is offering a limited run of this leather shoe, which pays homage to the footwear worn by Lee in one of his classic films.

Read These Blogs


Tilda Swinton responds to Doctor Strange casting controversy: Tilda Swinton, who stars as The Ancient One in Marvel's upcoming Doctor Strange, says the film comes from "a very diverse place."

* * *

Work In Progress: "I did workshops on Asian American feminism and talked about toxic masculinity and warned people what to look out for to identify a dangerous situation or relationship. I never once thought that I would have to do it myself."

* * *

NBC's "Superstore" reveals that one character is undocumented: On the season two premiere of NBC's Superstore, Mateo, a gay character from the Philippines, discovers that he is an undocumented immigrant.

* * *

Trump Campaign Assumed Indian-American Supporter Was A Protester, Tossed Him Out Of Rally: Needless to say, he no longer plans to vote for Trump.

* * *

Thurgood Marshall's interracial love: 'I don't care what people think. I'm marrying you.' A profile of Cecilia "Cissy" Marshall, who met her future husband Thurgood Marshall when she was placed to work as a secretary at the NAACP.

* * *

When Asian America was a Movement: Karen L. Ishizuka, a veteran of the Asian American Movement and author of Serve the People, rethinks the history of Asian American activism.

* * *

The Raw Emotions, Music, and Activism of Thao Nguyen: Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down not only brings down the house with her music, she's also a committed activist

* * *

When the Chant Comes: Two Poems by Kay Ulanday Barrett: Two poems by Kay Ulanday Barret, from his new collection When the Chant Comes.

* * *

Truth, Lies and Chinese Art Inspire 'a Puzzle Box of a Play': Playwright Christopher Chen's Caught was inspired by the controversy over Mike Daisey, who admitted to fabricating details in his one man play about Chinese Factory workers.

* * *

Second Jen breaks sitcom ground with two Asian women in lead roles: Samantha Wan and Amanda Joy created and star in the new sitcom Second Jen, premiering this fall on Canadian television.



ToyRap: Check Out This Fun Father-Son Project on YouTube

Guest Post by Derek Kan



Hi, AAM FAM! My name is Derek, and I hail from New York City. I work at a video entertainment company called DramaFever (now Warner Brothers), but some of you may know me better as Derek from Magnetic North. Like most everyone here, I'm a fan of Angry Asian Man, as well as Usher, and this little-known show called Game of Thrones. If there were ever an episode of GoT starring an Asian Khaleesi riding a dragon singing Usher's "Let it Burn," well damnit that would be a dream come true.

Speaking of dreams, nearly everyone at one point is faced with that career decision of passion versus practicality -- the dream job or the job that, you know, actually makes money. Once you start down the latter path, the harder it becomes to ever do anything else. Comfort and responsibility really set in and the courage to leave that behind tends to dwindle away... But for my cousin Andrew, he refuses to let that happen.

8.20.2016

Movies You Should Watch If We Want To Be Friends

Guest Post by An Rong Xu



Our obsession with cinema is at an all time high, with hoards of people headed to theaters to watch films, folks sharing Netflix subscriptions, and trying to find that film that speaks to you. Well, I'm here to share with you some of my favorite films that have inspired me, made me cry, had me contemplating the meaning of life, and aspiring to make something that one day has as much meaning to others as these following films have to me.

So if you want to be friends, talk about films over some pu-er tea and cookies, let's do it.

8.19.2016

Angry Reader of the Week: Alison De La Cruz

"I'm gonna let the uninformed catch up to us cuz frankly I don't have time to waste on catching you UP!"


Photo Credit: Mallury Patrick

Hello, internet! It is time again to hear from the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Alison De La Cruz.

New Disney short 'Inner Workings' explores the duel between the heart and the brain

New animated short, directed by Leo Matsuda, will premiere in front of Disney's 'Moana.' By David Yeh.



It is often said of Asian Americans in Hollywood that to be seen and to be represented, we need to be doing more behind the camera. While it still seems to be an uphill climb in live action, we've already been seeing the results in animation for quite some time. Over at Walt Disney, the biggest animation studio, director Leo Matsuda is bringing his own Japanese Brazillian sensibilities to his new short, Inner Workings, set to debut with the November release of Disney's feature Moana.

Inner Workings is a six-minute tale of the heart and brain, following the internal struggle of Paul, an average joe office worker whose pragmatic logical side engages in a tug-of-war with his free-spirited adventurous side.

Remembering Taiwanese America

Guest Post by Brian Hu



As the recent conversation about America's "great" days reminds us, nostalgia is a luxury of the privileged for whom history can afford to be rose-colored or sepia-tinted. Nostalgia assumes too that one has a history, or at least one stable enough from which to cull cultural artifacts and collective memories to celebrate.

As a child of immigrants, I've never been able to quite identify with the nostalgia of such films as The Big Chill, Almost Famous, and Dazed and Confused because their wall-to-wall soundtracks of 60s and 70s American pop songs weren't the ones my parents played for me when I was growing up. I came to love the songs in adulthood, but they didn't remind me of my parents nor did they trigger simpler times. Those films and their songs created in me an imagined nostalgia, empty memories that I tried to convince myself were mine. And for the most part it worked. Marvin Gaye, The Who, KISS. I knew their names and I knew their lyrics.

I'm sure my parents listened to "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "Whiter Shade of Pale," or any number of other English-language oldies while growing up in Taiwan in the 1960s. But those weren't the cassette tapes they played and replayed for my sister and me in the 80s. I didn't know the names of the artists or the titles of their songs, but based on the folk guitars and the haircuts on the album art, I suspect that my parents' music preferences were locked to Taiwan circa-1979, when they moved to the United States. While Taiwanese pop music evolved and Mando-pop exploded in the 80s and 90s, the songs blearing out of our cloth-covered speakers or our 1988 Honda Accord stayed the same, our cassette collection a musical time capsule of the world my parents left behind.

8.18.2016

Angry Asian Challenge

Guest Post by Jeremy Arambulo



I heard the lyric "anger is a gift" from Rage Against The Machine's "Freedom" in the summer of 1993. Those words were a bull-headed push for a first-generation Asian-American teenager in a predominately white suburb, fueling the already-aggravated fire of my 15-year-old brain.

I'd grown up using anger as a tool to galvanize me whenever the odds were against my favor, whether the fight was in social circles, dating, or work. That same intensity made me want to punch the fucking fake teeth out of Mickey Rooney's racist caricature in Breakfast at Tiffany's and scream at all those sexless Asian nerds from 80s comedies to grow a goddamn spine.

Bruce Lee was the sole Asian hero for my entire childhood, as he probably was for any Asian-American kid in my generation. He defined perfection in physical form and fighting skill, along with his charisma and philosophy. By my early teens, I identified most with Bruce Lee's onscreen (and likely off-screen) anger. I had no intention of learning martial arts or becoming an actor, so Bruce became my Patron Saint of Furious Defiance.

8.17.2016

I Miss My Dad and His Pork Chops

Guest Post by Lynn Chen



Growing up, I was always in awe of first generation Asian-Americans who talk to their parents. I mean REALLY talk to them. Beyond just "This is what I did today" or "Auntie's dinner is on Saturday" or "This is what grade I got" or "This is how much I'm getting paid for this job."

Or maybe it was just me and my family. My brother and I had our own secret language, and another with our parents. We said what they wanted to hear, because they never seemed to like the truth. We learned to absorb criticism and keep our mouths shut.

I developed binge eating disorder that took over most of my twenties. In my thirties, as I started recovery in the form of two blogs (The Actor's Diet and Thick Dumpling Skin), I learned how to communicate with my parents through food. Of course my folks had always fed me. But I never asked questions -- I just ate what was in front of me, whatever my mother placed into my bowl with her chopsticks. When I began writing about my diet on a daily basis, I unearthed questions about who I was -- where I came from, who my family was. Who were they?

I introduced my parents to Farmer's Markets and Brita Filters. I was curious about the origin stories of dim sum on Sunday. Stinky tofu. Pork Floss. Why did we always have a tin of Danish Butter Cookies and Almond Roca in the pantry? We sat together and ate. More and more, we learned to sit together and not focus on the food - more on the conversation.

My father stopped cooking when I left for college, but when we were kids I remembered two dishes he had on heavy rotation: Pan Fried Pork Chops and Spaghetti.

Election 2016 and Beyond: Asian Americans' Policy Priorities and the Challenge of Voter Mobilization

A Conversation with Professor Janelle Wong. Guest Post by Nicole Chung.



Professor Janelle Wong is Director of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland and a Professor in the American Studies Department. She is the author of Democracy's Promise: Immigrants and American Civic Institutions (2006) and a co-author of two other books on Asian American politics, including Asian American Political Participation: Emerging Constituents and their Political Identities (2011).

Dr. Wong, who received her PhD from the Department of Political Science at Yale University, is a Research Fellow with APIAVote and a Principal Investigator on the National Asian American Survey. She spoke with me about policy priorities for Asian American voters, past and current barriers to APIA mobilization and involvement, the political outreach and research still needed in our communities, and how our rapidly expanding population can help ensure more Asian Americans' voices are heard.

8.15.2016

Asian Americans Blow Shit Up

Guest Post by Julia Cho and Nicholas Pilapil



Asian Americans being sexy. It's a rare thing to see in the media. We're usually kept on reserve to play the sexless friend or dying immigrant (see #NotYourAsianSidekick). And if we are allowed to be sexy, it's typically as some unattainable mythical creature, who's always down to fuck and has nothing else going for them. Or you're a Chinese Olympic diver named Ning Zetao then everyone just wants to touch your abs. We become objectified and glorified sex objects.

In Artists at Play's production of The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up by Carla Ching, we blow that shit up and bring it back to reality -- that Asian Americans can be fucking sexy ... in a real way.

Diana and Max, The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up, meet at 9 years old, the day Diana's dad and Max's mom start fucking (older Asians get some action too!). The play jumps back and forth in time over 20 years, as Diana and Max fall in and out of love with each other, trying not to make the same mistakes as their parents.

It Exists: Asian American Cinema

Guest Post by Andrew Ahn



I was confused for Daniel Kwan five times at Sundance. Yes, we both made features that were premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. Yes, we are both Asian. And yes, we both have facial hair. But no, I am not Daniel Kwan of the Daniels, the writing and directing duo behind Swiss Army Man. I am Andrew Ahn, writer and director of Spa Night.

People would congratulate me on Swiss Army Man. They would ask me what it was like to work with Daniel Radcliffe. Fortunately, I think Daniel Kwan is a good looking guy, so I'm flattered as much as I am offended. However, more importantly, it's a good sign for Asian American film that there was another filmmaker at Sundance that I could be mistaken for. In fact, there were five Asian American writer directors with films within the festival's US Dramatic Competition: Meera Menon (Equity), Jason Lew (The Free World), Soyoung Kim (Lovesong), Daniel Kwan (Swiss Army Man), and myself. This is an impressive and surprisingly under-publicized statistic. At Sundance last year, Benson Lee's Seoul Searching and Jennifer Phang's Advantageous screened; at SXSW, Daniel Park's Ktown Cowboys.

The media has focused on the lack of Asian American representation in film, both in front and behind the camera. This type of reporting is important; it's galvanizing. However, it does not support, celebrate, or promote the work that is already being made. Just this summer, there are three Asian American films that have or will have opened in theaters: Seoul Searching, Ray Yeung's Front Cover, and my film Spa Night. This is encouraging, a strong indicator of our progress. However, more has been written about The Great Wall, Ghost in the Shell, and Doctor Strange than these films. This is unfortunate and a true missed opportunity, because our heroes don't look like Matt Damon. Our heroes look like Justin Chon, Rosalina Lee, Jake Choi, and Joe Seo.

8.14.2016

Sunday Evening, Dinner: A Poem

Guest Post by Amy S. Choi



The Girl

I can't eat this. What do I do, I can’t eat this.

After these meals I can't ever get the smell out of my clothes, and it drives me crazy. The steam collects on my hair, too, from this mackerel fish. They eat it wrapped in lettuce leaves with a dab of hot pepper paste and the lettuce crunches in their teeth, but the slivers of green get caught in mine and I can’t eat this. They used to tell me that I could eat the bones of mackerel because mackerel bones are soft. They told me it would make my brain stronger. Right now I'm burying mackerel in my rice bowl. I don't feel stronger.

I wish he wouldn’t slurp his soup. God, I hate that sound. Tapping my chopsticks. They're pretty red wood with mother-of-pearl inlays, not silver. The silver ones are his. My chopsticks click like naked branches on glass, and I look outside through the fogged windows. It's gray. If I hold my breath it numbs the sound of the slurping, his teeth gnashing broth. My bowl has loose grains of sticky rice stuck on the upturned lip. If I keep sticking them up there like the trophies in the living room they won't notice I haven’t eaten.

A few more grains.

I want to leave now. They're not looking at me. I want to leave now.

8.13.2016

I Used to Reject My Chinese Heritage, What Do I Do Now?

Guest Post by Julianne Hing



Hello Angry Asian Man readers. My name is Julianne Hing, and I'm a reporter. You can find my work at The Nation these days. I hope you'll indulge me as I attempt something I've never done before: give personal advice in a public arena. A young writer wrote to me earlier this month with questions about her cultural identity, and she said yes when I asked her if it'd be okay to write her back here, on Angry Asian Man. Big thanks to her and to Phil for inviting me to share my thoughts with you.

Hi Julianne--

Recently, I've been trying to understand my ethnicity, racial heritage, and my experience as a Chinese American. In the past, I rejected my heritage because I didn't really have many positive experiences and tried to distance myself from my roots. I branded myself merely as "American" and forsook the "Chinese" part of my identity. It's funny, I've never been interested in understanding the Chinese part of me and was even repulsed by the thought of embracing myself as Chinese. It's only as of late that I became interested in understanding my Asian identity. In my quest for understanding, I'm trying to find good outlets to discuss these topics. Would you happen to have any ideas about where to start?


Caveats first: I'm no Asian-American studies scholar, and no expert in cultural identity formation. I've thought a lot about the issues you're exploring for yourself right now, but I certainly have not arrived at some plane of enlightenment in my journey to understand my cultural identity. Consider me a fellow traveler walking alongside you.

8.12.2016

Angry Reader of the Week: Lisa Ling

"I am all about trying to get us to understand each other better."



Hello, my friends! You know what time it is. It's time to meet the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Lisa Ling.

'Snakehead': Filmmaker Finally Takes on His Passion Project

Guest Post by Evan Jackson Leong



Hello Asian America! I'm finally here. Where is here? Well, its Day 1 of the Snakehead movie website and Day 3285 since the inception of ​this idea. I'm finally realizing the dream of a film project that I've carried in my Asian American conscience for over nine years!

When I started this project, I was young, single, and a hungry struggling artist living in LA. I also had corn rows.

8.11.2016

Disney Channel picks up family series 'Andi Mack'

Another Asian American family joins the airwaves. By Jes Vu.



Looks like another Asian-American family will be making its way to a television near you. Andi Mack, a new family series from the creator of Lizzie McGuire, has just been picked up by the Disney Channel.

'Andi Mack' Comedy From 'Lizzie McGuire' Creator Picked Up To Series By Disney Channel

Andi Mack is a "single-camera family series centers around Andi (Lee) as she's about to celebrate her 13th birthday. However, when her capricious older sister Bex returns home with the hope of getting her life together, Andi's life is turned upside down and she is left questioning everything she's ever known."

Select Chapters and Excerpts From My Ideal Self-Help Book Written Specifically For Second-Generation Asian-American Women Suffering From Low Self-Esteem/Depression and Who Also Want to Pursue a Career in the Arts

Guest Post by Yumi Sakugawa


8.10.2016

Awkwafina & Mindy Kaling Join Ocean's 8 Cast

By Marvin Yueh. Cross-Posted from Kollaboration



Earlier today, Deadline confirmed that deals are close for the initial cast of their new heist movie Ocean's 8, directed by Gary Ross (The Hunger Games and Free State of Jones). Big names in announcement include Oscar winners Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and Anne Hathaway as well as notable names like Helena Bonham-Carter and Rihanna. While the all-female principal cast of this traditionally male-centric franchise might have most people's attention, we were intrigued by two familiar names in the announcement. Major roles in the film has been offered to Asian American actors Mindy Kaling and Nora Lum (aka Awkwafina).

Announcing Elevate: AAPI Data Challenge

Guest Post by Doua Thor and Karthick Ramakrishnan



Quick... fill in the blank.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are ________.

   a) the fastest-growing racial groups in the United States
   b) incredibly diverse with respect to income and educational attainment
   c) poised to reach $1 trillion in buying power by 2018
   d) the ones most likely to enroll in remedial education
   e) all of the above

The answer is e) all of the above.

There are so many ways we can talk about the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. AAPIs represent the fastest-growing racial group in the country, increasing over four times as rapidly as the total U.S. population and are expected to double to more than 50 million by 2060.

AAPIs are diverse on matters related to life experiences, socioeconomic status, and health outcomes. This includes factors such as holding advanced degrees and living in poverty, as well as factors like immigration and refugee experiences, languages spoken at home, English proficiency, unemployment rates, and a higher incidence to particular diseases such as Hepatitis B. In the past decade, there have been significant improvements in the availability of data on AAPIs, on issues ranging from socioeconomic status to education, health, and civic participation.

8.09.2016

Nobody Does It Better: Taiwan Shows the U.S. How

Guest Post by Valerie Soe



I've been living in Taiwan this summer working on my new documentary Love Boat: Taiwan, and being out of the United States for a few months has made me wonder: why can't things be like this in the U.S.? I'm not fetishizing Asia or throwing unnecessary shade at the US of A but there are definitely things we could learn from how it's done here in Taiwan. So here are a handful of examples of stuff that they do in Taiwan that I wish we could do in the United States.

8.08.2016

Born and Raised in South Detroit: Stand Up Man and Asian Canadian Stories

Guest Post by Aram Collier



A couple of months after my wife and I got married, a cousin from Korea was sent to live with us. He spoke very little English and us being newlyweds in our 20s didn't know how to take care of ourselves, much less a teenager. We took him to try dim sum for the first time, helped him with his homework, and when we ran out of ideas of what to do I took him to watch Batman.

He said he liked my fried rice but he kind of hated Toronto, but coming from Seoul, who could blame him? Between his bemused perspective of Canada and our own fumbled attempts at taking care of him were parts of the Asian Canadian experience -- both from that of a newcomer and from the perspective of a Canadian born Asian. I realized that despite how connected we are with family in Asia now, we're still curiosities to each other.

This is the basis of my feature film Stand Up Man, a feature film comedy about Moses Kim, a wannabe stand up comedian who is forced to take over his family's restaurant and take care of his K-pop loving cousin from Korea. It's about the times your dreams run up against your realities.

Do the Eyes Have It?

Guest Post by R. Scott Okamoto



I submit this post as a reminder to myself the state of things for Asians in America. Even as we support Black Lives Matter, fight for humane treatment of immigrants, and do everything we can to help white men adjust to their shrinking dominion (no, not really), I raise my hand and ask America, "Do you see us?" I still don't think you do. Things are changing, yes. Having a couple of television shows with Asian American principal casts has felt like a revolution in mainstream America. My congressperson is Judy Chu. In so many ways, life is great and getting better. And yet...

My parents tell a story of life in Omaha, Nebraska, where my dad went to dental school in the mid-1960s. While at a gas station, they noticed a family staring at them. The mother pointed and said to her kids, "Oh, look at the cute little chinaman!" Today, I live in Pasadena, California. I play guitar in a band. I played baseball. I grew up hunting and fishing. I was an English professor for 15 years, and I was born at Fort Dix, New Jersey where my dad was a Captain serving his second stint in the army. So much Americana, it is to laugh.

A few weeks ago, as I made my way out of a crowded taco shop, an older black man made room for me, put his hands together, smiled, and bowed. It seemed a genuine gesture on his part. When I didn't return the bow because I was still trying to figure out what the hell he was doing, he just kept smiling and bowing as I exited the shop. And then I felt kind of bad for not bowing back. And then I felt kind of pissed because he saw me as a foreigner. One block from my house. In Pasadena. In 2016. I'm a 4th generation American, but it often feels like this is how people see me (thanks to my son, Ethan, for the graphics):

8.07.2016

Read These Blogs


The Great Wall Director Zhang Yimou Defends the Film From Accusations of Whitewashing: "The film is deeply rooted in Chinese culture," argues director Zhang Yimou, whose latest Great Wall features Matt Damon definding the Chinese monument against dragons.

* * *

Toxic Masculinity Claims Life of Another Asian American Woman: This has to stop. In Mukilteo Washington, Allen Ivanov murdered his ex-girlfriend and two classmates before driving to a house party.

* * *

#HyperMasculAZNs: Discussing toxic masculinity, misogyny, and patriarchy in the AAPI community. From Eddie Huang's misogyny and appropriation of symbols of Black masculinity, Daniel Holtclaw and Elliot Rodgers' horrific and violent acts -- 18 Million Rising initiated a Twitter conversation to urge the AAPI community, especially men, to confront issues of misogyny, toxic masculinity, and heterosexism.

* * *

'He was trying to kill me': echoes of Brock Turner in another case with same judge: An immigrant victim of domestic violence brought her case against ex-fiance Ming Hsuan Chiang to Aaron Persky's court. Persky sentenced Chiang to "weekend jail," a lenient sentence compared to the abuse she underwent.

* * *

How NYC's Chinese immigrants are fighting Chinatown's slumlords: Thanks to state regulation policies, community organization, and the existing community's efforts, New York's Chinatown residents continue to fight displacement.

* * *

Video: Adorable 67-Year-Old DPW Worker Suu Ngo Talks About Supporting Grandkids, Loving Her Work: Try to watch this without crying. Grandmother Suu Ngo raised her grandchildren after her daughter was murdered by her husband. She went to City Hall and asked for a job with the Department of Public Works to earn enough money.

* * *

'Shrimp Boy' gets life in prison for murder, corruption in San Francisco case: Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow led a SF Chinatown fraternal organization, and was sentenced to life in prison for murder in a case that unveiled a massive corruption scandal that cost millions in taxpayer dollars.

* * *

Real Life: Love, Loss, and Kimchi: How learning to cook Korean food helped Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast grieve and heal after her mother passed away.

* * *

Theresa Lin: The Julia Child of Chinese Regional Cuisine: For one hour every Sunday, Theresa Lin broadcasts cooking tips from her single-room studio in Pasadena to a hungry Mandarin-speaking audience tuning in from all over Los Angeles.

* * *

Views or Hiroshima: A Japanese American woman documents life in occupied Japan: After the U.S. government ended Japanese internment, Shiuko Sakai took a post in the Department of the Army and documented life in occupied Japan.

* * *

But Who Is Listening Now? What the painful process of learning Korean has taught Nancy Jooyoun Kim about facing rejection as a writer.

* * *

Text Message Interview with Yumi Sakugawa: Zinster, comic book maker, and interdisciplinary artist Yumi Sakugawa texts interviewer Taleen Kali about her creative process, Cavvies, and eavesdropping the conversations around her.

* * *

Gene Yang Said 'No' When DC Comics First Asked Him to Write a Chinese Superman: Award-winning cartoonist and writer Gene Luen Yang initially had one answer when DC Comics brought up the idea of a Far Eastern version of Superman: "There’s no way I want to do that."

* * *

For American Ballet Theatre's Stella Abrera, A Career Built on Determination, Passion: Stella Abrera, who began her role as a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, reflects on her journey and the ups and downs of her career.

* * *

Hari Kondabolu: 'People want to laugh to deal with frustrations about the world': Standup comedian Hari Kondabolu, who forged a career tackling American race politics, is going mainstream with his new album that takes on Black Lives Matter and the election.

* * *

"What The Hell Is A Panju?" And Other Questions I, A Brown Potterhead, Have For J.K. Rowling: "Ask everyone around you to name their favourite Harry Potter character. You'll hear more names of imaginary creatures than you will of people of colour."



How 'Quantico' completely wasted Li Jun Li

Guest Post by Lakshmi Gandhi


(Photo Credit: Philippe Bosse/ABC)

When ABC's Quantico returns for its second season on September 25, one familiar face won't be seen among everyone's favorite group of new FBI agents.

Li Jun Li confirmed late last month on Twitter that she'd be joining the cast of NBC's Chicago PD, which means Quantico fans will likely never see her character Iris Chang ever again.

To be perfectly honest, it's unlikely fans will even notice Iris' absence, which is a shame. While originally billed as "a flirtatious, beautiful Queen Bee type" who "founded six startups while at USC," the Iris who showed up on our screens each week was bratty, combative, and ultimately forgettable. It continually seemed as if the writers' room had no idea what to do with her, and I have to wonder why that was so.

8.06.2016

Progressive Politics and the AAPI Movement

Guest Post by Helen Gym


Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym marches for LGBT Pride at the Democratic National Convention.

The biggest political event of the year -- the Democratic National Convention -- just wrapped up in my home city of Philadelphia, and I wanted to offer some reflections on what a moment we're in as a nation and as an Asian American movement.

Last year I ran for citywide office in Philadelphia -- a major leap for someone who not only felt far more at home in grassroots mobilizing but as someone who often felt politics had limited impact when communities were so deeply marginalized and often under siege. We were always too busy mobilizing, developing and getting out our messages, and clarifying policy priorities.

But after two decades of doing this work, our communities were ready for change and poised to lead the charge. Organizations had matured, no longer newcomers to the political scene. Asian Americans United, my political home, had just marked 30 years of organizing in low-income and new immigrant communities. New leadership revitalized our networks; and community-led independent media meant we could tell our stories faster, more creatively and just as loudly as in the mainstream.

Most importantly, the issues that drove us -- mass incarceration and deportation, the dismantling of our public schools, gentrification, rising poverty, and anti-immigrant and racial injustices -- pulled us together with diverse communities in building broad-based justice coalitions which were moving faster than our politics -- putting us on the front lines of solutions, and not just of protests.

This is the movement that I came out of, and it's a movement that swept me into office as Philadelphia's first Asian American Democrat and first Asian American woman on City Council.

But it's also an example of our times as our communities -- and our politics -- continue to evolve.

Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Guest Post by Karen L. Ishizuka



On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first of two atomic bombs on the small island nation of Japan – the only time a nuclear weapon of mass destruction has been deliberately used to annihilate an entire city. Three days later, on August 9, 1945, the U.S. dropped another atomic bomb on another city in Japan, a mere 261 miles -- less than the distance between Los Angeles and Las Vegas -- from the first.

Because of the overwhelming devastation and resulting chaos, the actual mortality of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will never be known. However, the latest figures indicate the number killed in Hiroshima is now over 192,000 (either instantly or within the following few months) and over 75,000 in Nagasaki. This is more than six times the number of women, children and men living in Culver City, where I reside. In addition to the deaths, over seven decades later, untold numbers of survivors and their children continue to suffer from radiation and other after effects,

This year Barack Obama was the first U.S. president to visit Hiroshima while in office, breaking the silence of nine previous presidents since Truman pressed the buttons. During this interval, many scholars have come to the same conclusion that Gen. Dwight Eisenhower voiced at the time: that Japan was already defeated and the bomb was completely unnecessary. Although Obama did not apologize on behalf of the United States, as some have long wished for, his visit, with all the pomp and ceremony befitting of a state visit -- as well as his personal homage to the victims -- was historic and long overdue.

8.05.2016

Angry Reader of the Week: Daniel Dae Kim

"I'm about trying to leave this world a better place than how we found it."



What's up good people of the internet? It is time, once again, to hear from the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Daniel Dae Kim.

Why we need to find our TRIBE

Guest Post by Jason Y. Lee



As a Korean-American growing up in Kansas, I can count on one hand the number of friends at school that looked like me. My well-intentioned classmates called me "Bruce" (paying homage to the only famous Asian they knew) and asked me if I knew how to speak Chinese. Growing up in that environment, I learned how to assimilate and mask my Asian-ness, which meant loving Blink 182 and feigning an appetite for meatloaf.

That's why my first day of college was utterly mind-blowing. I saw massive throngs of Asian Americans traveling together around campus. Slowly but surely, I found myself drawn to these groups. It was refreshing to find others whose stories reflected mine, people who knew the trauma of packing kimchi for lunch. I enrolled in "Intro to Asian American History." I learned to crave boba tea and pho. I was starting to understand and embrace my identity as a Korean American.

8.04.2016

#AAPIatDNC: Reflections from the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Guest Post by the DNCC AAPI Media Center Team


Jason Tengco, AAPI Outreach Director for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, takes a selfie at the AAPI caucus at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

The 2016 Democratic National Convention was one of the most diverse and inclusive yet. And while Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities are often overlooked by mainstream audiences, this time we were seen and heard--even on the main stage. The 2016 Democratic Party Platform mentions Filipino American labor leader Larry Itliong in its preamble, in the same paragraph as Cesar Chavez. This is the first time any Asian American has been acknowledged in a major party platform.

Behind the scenes, it was the first time the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) organized an AAPI Media Center, where we had teams to pitch media, interact with AAPI delegates, produce videos, and engage on social media. Here are our AAPI highlights!

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