USA Today: Constance Wu on Hollywood’s white savior problem: “Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon”

29-great-wall-constance-wu.w529.h529.jpg

USA Today (by Jaleesa M. Jones):

Constance Wu has had it with Hollywood’s white savior complex.

The Fresh Off the Boat actress and two-time Television Critics Association Awards nominee posted a pointed letter to Twitter Friday, in which she criticized the whitewashing of Chinese history with the casting of Matt Damon in 2017’s action epic The Great Wall and called for Hollywood to change the narrative.

We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that only a white man can save the world,” Wu wrote one day after the trailer debut for The Great Wall, which features Damon as its dragon-slaying lead. “It’s not based in actual fact. Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala. (Gandhi). Mandela. Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time.”

Wu went on to challenge the argument that it’s hard to finance and profit from movies that aren’t toplined by white talent, and urged studios to consider the message tacitly communicated by scores of films that revolve around white heroes and struggling communities of color.

Money is the lamest excuse in the history of being human,” she wrote. “So is blaming the Chinese investors. (POC’s choices can based on unconscious bias too.) Remember it’s not about blaming individuals, which will only lead to soothing their lame ‘b-but I had good intentions! but…money!’ microaggressive excuses. Rather, it’s about pointing out the repeatedly implied racist notion that white people are superior to POC and that POC need salvation from our own color via white strength. When you consistently make movies like this, you ARE saying that.”

Wu also questioned why projects starring entertainers of color aren’t given the benefit of the doubt — or the latitude to fail — that is afforded to projects starring white actors.

If white actors are forgiven for having a box office failure once in a while, why can’t a POC sometimes have one? And how COOL would it be if you were the movie that took the ‘risk’ to make a POC as your hero, and you sold the (expletive) out of it?! The whole community would be celebrating! If nothing else, you’d get some mad respect (which is WAY more valuable than money) so MAKE that choice.”

The actress punctuated the call to action by invoking the importance of representation, particularly for children whose dreams may expand or contract based on the images they see, which are still decidedly limited according to Hollywood’s announced 2016 slates.

If you know a kid, you should care too,” Wu argued. “Because we WERE those kids. Why do you think it was so nice to see a nerdy white kid have a girl fall in love with him? Because you WERE that nerdy white kid who felt unloved. And seeing pictures of it in Hollywood’s stories made it feel possible. That’s why it moved you, that’s why it was a great story. Hollywood is supposed to be about making great stories. So make them.”

Award-winning filmmaker Grace Lee’s food documentary “Off the Menu: Asian America” now streaming on PBS.org

 

Angry Asian Man:

The feature documentary Off the Menu: Asian America, produced by CAAM and KQED, is a road trip to the kitchens, factories, temples and farms of Asian Pacific America that explores how our relationship to food reflects our evolving communities. From Texas to New York and from Wisconsin to Hawaii, award-winning filmmaker Grace Lee takes audiences on a journey using our obsession with food as a launching point to delve into a wealth of stories, traditions, and unexpected characters that help nourish this nation of immigrants.

This is not your typical food travelogue. If you missed the public television broadcast of Off the Menu: Asian America, the film is currently available for streaming in its entirety on PBS.org until January 5.

Hudson Yang of ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ and Aziz Ansari’s ‘Master of None’ nominated for NAACP Image Awards

NBC:

ABC‘s “Fresh Off the Boat” is loosely inspired by celebrity chef Eddie Huang‘s memoir of the same name and stars Hudson Yang as a young Huang, as well as Randall Park as his father, Louis, and Constance Wu as his mother, Jessica. Wu has been nominated for her role in “Fresh Off the Boat” in both the 2015 Critic’s Choice Television Awards and the Television Critics Association Awards.

On Dec. 1, “Fresh Off the Boat” released an in-character cast video and social media campaign under the hashtag #makeitrightFOTB lobbying for a Golden Globe nomination.

Among the nominees for the 47th annual NAACP Image Awards is “Master of None,” Aziz Ansari‘s Netflix series released earlier this fall. Co-creators Ansari and Alan Yang received a nomination for their writing of “Parents,” the second episode of the series, and Ansari was nominated for Outstanding Director for the same episode.

Kelvin Yu (left) talks with Aziz Ansari (right) in a scene in Netflix’s “Master of None.” 

“Parents” deals with second-generation main characters Dev, portrayed by Ansari, and Brian, portrayed by Kelvin Yu, thanking their first-generation parents for sacrifices made during their parents’ journeys to the United States. The pair take their parents out to dinner where they learn about their parents’ youth and upbringing.

The 47th annual NAACP Image Awards is scheduled to take place on Feb. 5, 2016.

How Asian Americans should deal with racist “microaggressions”

Dr. Richard Lee, Professor of Psychology- University of Minnesota

The Mac Weekly (by Minju Kim):

Microaggressions is a form of racism, often subtle, many Asian Americans deal with in their daily lives. Dr. Richard Lee, a psychology professor at University of Minnesota, is an expert on microaggression towards Asian Americans. He does extensive research on Asian Americans, including diverse issues ranging from international or interracial adoption and immigration to media portrayal of Asians.

On February 26th, he visited Macalester and gave a lecture titled “What does FOB mean? Fresh Off the Boat or Foreigner Objectification?

He explained that microaggression, which is a subtle but still concrete form of racism, occurs because many people regard Asian Americans as “forever foreigners,” rather than a part of “American identity.” They objectify Asian Americans in categories and exoticized as to serve their curiosity. The question that they frequently ask, “Where are you REALLY from?” manifests their perception of Asians as foreigners. Thus, the term FOB, which originally means Fresh-Off-the-Boat, can be interpreted as Foreign Objectification.

While the lecture marked a great success with high turnout, some questions remained among the participants. With regards to the questions, the follow-up interview was conducted through email in order to help the readers to better understand the argument that he makes.

TMW: At the lecture, you mentioned that it is important for adoptees to be connected to their original ethnic cultures. At the same time, their identity as American is essential to their self-esteem and life satisfaction. Then, what is the best and most stable identity for them to have? The American identity? The Asian identity? The Asian-American identity?

RL: There is no one best or most stable identity for any group of people, adopted or not. Research suggests that what is most important is that individuals develop an overall healthy, positive identity. If identifying with a particular social group (e.g., Asian American, Vietnamese, African-American) contributes to this overall identity, then all the better. Other research also suggests that feeling like you belong in this country (and hence identify as American) is important to well-being.

You said “Microaggression towards Asians is more cognitive rather than emotional.” Could you elaborate that point?

Our view is that microaggressions toward Asian Americans often are based on stereotypes that are not necessarily laden with negative emotions (e.g., angry black man). Instead, they are based on stereotypes such as nerdy, weak and foreign.

What do you think is the cause of microaggression? Would it be strictly because of the media portrayal of Asian Americans?

Media plays a big role but it’s also historical, dating back to the first Chinese immigrants to come to America.

You mentioned that you are interested in researching the ways in which Asians Americans cope with microaggression. However, as of now, how do you recommend Asian Americans to react when they encounter such racism?

It is important for Asian Americans to develop a repertoire of interpersonal and emotional coping skills to manage racism and discrimination. These skills should help people immediately after a discriminatory event occurs and afterward too. For example, if someone keeps asking questions and making comments that make you feel like they are treating you as a foreigner, it is helpful to know how to address this treatment rather than just accept it and thereby reinforce this person’s stereotype, but if there is a potential threat in the environment and its not safe, then it is important to know how to defuse the situation and step away. It also is important to know when to seek support from friends and family.

For those students who are not Asian Americans, what is the proper way for them to interact with Asian American students? Should they just not ask questions even when they have questions?

I think it’s important for people to just take a minute to examine their assumptions before making a comment such as “Where are you really from?” Is it the same kind of question you would ask a white person? If not, then why are you asking it now? If you are curious about someone’s ethnic background, ask yourself why. Is it to satisfy your curiosity? But then ask if you would ask another white person this question. Why are you only curious about the background of someone who is Asian? Is it the novelty or because you perceive Asians as an Other that is exotic and foreign?

To conclude, foreign objectification all comes down to hasty assumptions and inappropriate questions. Don’t get me wrong, I do not intend to say that microaggression always stems from ill intention. However, to borrow W. Kamau Bell’s words, “ending racism is not about ending your curiosity.” It takes a long time to change the society. However, it takes only few seconds to think before asking an inappropriate question and to avoid partaking in microaggression.

Best Asian American athletes in 2014


Northwest Asian Weekly (By Jason Cruz)

It was another stellar year for API sports.

It started off with Doug Baldwin and the Seattle Seahawks bringing home the team’s first ever Super Bowl and a parade that seemingly the whole city of Seattle came to see.

The Winter Olympics were a bit of a disappointment for Asian Americans. Mirai Nagusa was denied making the U.S. women’s figure skating team despite making the top three.

J.R. Celski earned a Silver medal in the men’s Short Track 5000-meter relay but failed to medal in any of the three individual events he competed in.

Julie Chu, the first Asian American woman to play for the U.S. women’s ice hockey team ended her career with a Silver medal for the U.S. team. However, her quest for Gold was thwarted just three minutes before the end of the Gold Medal Game against Canada. With the U.S. up 2-0, Canada made a furious comeback and scored two goals in three minutes to send the game into overtime where Team Canada scored another goal for the Gold. Chu played in an unprecedented four Olympics and was the U.S. Olympic team’s Flag Bearer for the closing ceremonies.

In April, Manny Pacquiao returned to the ring and avenged a controversial loss to Tim Bradley by winning a convincing unanimous decision.

The World Cup was held in Brazil in June and the two Asian nations competing, South Korea and Japan, did not fare well. Both were eliminated in the first round of the tournament.

Also in June, Michelle Wie won her first major golf championship with a win at the U.S. Women’s Open. At the same tournament, 11-year-old Lucy Li became the youngest qualifier in the U.S. Women’s Open.

University of Washington men’s golf team member Cheng-Tsung Pan played in the British Open in July. The UW junior earned the spot by tying for second at a qualifying event in Thailand. This fall, Pan decided to turn pro.

The U.S. Tennis Open featured great runs by 24-year-old Japanese star Kei Nishikori and China’s Peng Shuai.

Nishikori, who was coached by Chinese American Michael Chang, made it all the way to the men’s final before losing to Milos Raonic.

Shuai made a surprising run to the semifinals where she had to retire (forfeit) due to continued leg cramps.

Absent from the women’s side of the tournament was Li Na who announced her retirement in September.

In October, Apolo Ohno finished the famed Ironman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii.

November saw Manny Pacquiao’s return to the ring as he destroyed Chris Algieri. Pacquiao’s next opponent…Floyd Mayweather?

In December, the University of Oregon’s Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy, college football’s biggest individual award.
Mariota becomes the first Asian Pacific Islander to win the trophy.

And without further ado, here are the top 10 API athletes of 2014:

10. Harley Kirsch

Kirsch, who is part Korean, was the quarterback for the Eastside Catholic High School team that defeated the vaunted Bellevue High School football team to win the Washington state class 3A football championship. Located in Sammamish, Washington, the school ended Bellevue’s 67 game winning streak. Kirsch is only a junior and will return next season to lead Eastside Catholic.

9. Amelia Andrilenas

The junior gymnast at Juanita High School qualified for the state meet and placed first, second, and fourth in all-around meets during the 2013-2014 season.

For the outsider, the most astonishing thing about the 4’11” gymnast is that she has only one hand. Andrilenas, who was adopted from China, took up gymnastics at an early age and has excelled since.

8. Jeremy Lin

Lin was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason to complement Kobe Bryant. So far, Lin has not done much to help Kobe. He’s averaging just 10 points for the currently 9 win and 22 loss Lakers. He did score a season high 21 points in the Lakers’ first win. While he is far-removed from the days of New York and Linsanity, he still is a contributing member of the Lakers who hope to rebuild.

7. Tim Lincecum

It seems that every other year Lincecum and his San Francisco Giants seem to win a World Series. The Giants won baseball’s World Series this year making it three times in the past five years that the team has won the title. Lincecum, who is a Washington native and part Filipino, pitched his second-career no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in June. He also picked up his 100th career win this past September. Although Lincecum played sparingly in the World Series, he picks up his third ring.

6. Chloe Kim

At only 14, Kim was too young to compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics but the snowboarder did earn silver in the “superpipe” at this year’s Winter X Games. Look for the Korean American to make the next team in the 2018 Winter Olympics which are in her parents’ home country of South Korea.

5. Julie Chu

A pioneer in the field of women’s hockey as Chu was the first Asian American to be on the women’s team and the first to play in four Olympics. She also starred in a commercial with her mother shown during the Winter Olympics.

4. Mirai Nagusa

The 21-year-old Los Angeles native was denied a spot on the 2014 Winter Olympics women’s figure skating team despite winning the Bronze medal at the U.S. Championships. Usually, the top three are awarded spots on the Olympic team. However, the U.S. Figure Skating committee determined that Ashley Wagner, the fourth place finisher make the team based on Wagner’s stronger international record. Although it was reported that Nagusa would appeal the decision, she later decided not to pursue it.

3. Apolo Ohno

The Olympic medalist is keeping busy in retirement. Last year he ran the New York Marathon. This year, he has completed one of the most grueling events out there, the Kona Ironman Triathlon. Ohno finished in 9 hours, 52 minutes and 27 seconds. What will he do next?

2. Marcus Mariota

The Oregon Duck won the Heisman Trophy in December and leads his team into the first College Football Playoff. Mariota is certain to be a top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

1. Doug Baldwin

It’s pretty easy to pick Baldwin as he was a key part of the Seahawks run to the Super Bowl last year and remains one of Russell Wilson’s most valuable receivers. Hopefully, we’ll see Baldwin (and the rest of the Seahawks) with another Super Bowl ring in 2015.

 

Link

China Daily: Survey finds barriers remain for Asian Americans to climb the corporate ladder

 

Asian Pacific American Corporate Survey

AsAm News:

 

The Asia Society this week released its annual Asian Pacific Americans Corporate Survey and it revealed Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders still face barriers in advancing beyond middle management, reports the China Daily.

50 percent of Asian Americans surveyed say they are not included or unaware of what their companies are doing to grab the APA market.

Only 40 percent believe there is adequate representation on their company’s board of directors.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from Fortune 500 companies were surveyed.

Despite the perceived lack of engagement by these employees from their employers, a resounding 95.4% say they care about the success of their company. 60 percent say they’ll stay with their employer for at least five years.

You can find out more about the survey in the China Daily.

 

Check out this link:

 

China Daily: Survey finds barriers remain for Asian Americans to climb the corporate ladder

 

Asian Pacific American Corporate Survey

Link

OnlineCollege.org: “20 Amazing stats about Asian-American achievement”

 

OnlineCollege.org

For decades now, Asian Americans have been regarded as a “model minority,” with high achievement in school and doing well overall, particularly at the top of the curve. But there’s much more to the achievement of Asian Americans than that, and we’ve set out to share some truths about just how well Asian Americans are doing today. We’ve discovered that although Asian Americans do live up to their reputation, there are disparities, including failures to make it to top positions like CEOs, as well as significant difficulties for certain Asian groups. Read on, and we’ll discuss 20 amazing and surprising statistics concerning Asian-American achievement.

Check out this link:

OnlineCollege.org: “20 Amazing stats about Asian-American achievement”

  1. ASIAN-AMERICANS ARE NOT MAKING IT TO THE FORTUNE 500

    Asian-Americans are excelling in academics. In fact, they represent 15-25% of Ivy League enrollment. However, Asian-Americans make up less than 2% of Fortune 500 CEOs and corporate officers. It’s not clear how exactly this works out, as Asians are more likely to value power and compensation, aspire to top jobs, and speak up for a raise. Asians are simple less likely to get a raise or a promotion, and often, feel stalled professionally with less job satisfaction.

  2. ASIAN-AMERICANS ARE REACHING HIGHER LEVELS OF EMPLOYMENT, HOWEVER

    Asian-Americans enjoy good representation in entry-level and middle management positions, but somehow don’t make it to the top. Despite not filling out the Fortune 500, Asian-Americans still enjoy high achievement in employment, with 45% of Asian-Americans in management, professional, and related occupations, a figure that is higher than the total population, which comes in at 34%.

  3. NEARLY ALL ASIAN-AMERICANS HAVE AT LEAST A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA

    Although certain groups still struggle with educational attainment, overall, Asians are completing high school in large numbers. About 86% of Asians in the U.S. 25 years and older have at least a high school diploma, and 50% of Asian-Americans have at least a bachelor’s degree. This is huge compared to the 28% of the total U.S. population with a bachelor’s degree.

  4. ASIAN KIDS JUST SPEND MORE TIME STUDYING

    In an exploration of Tiger Mother parenting, the New York Daily News discovered that the typically high achievement of Asian-Americans may not be due to harsh parenting, but rather, because they spend more time studying than other kids, and not necessarily because their parents force them to. In one study cited by the article, it was found that Asian-American 11th graders spent six more hours per week studying than white students of the same age. The article points out the extra study time can improve feelings of competence, self worth, and joy from completing a monumental task.

  5. ASIAN-AMERICAN KIDS AREN’T MORE STRESSED THAN THEIR PEERS

    Although high achievement and hard work are stressed by both parents and students in the Asian-American culture, studies have found that they typically don’t experience more stress than other groups. University of California, Irvine, psychology professor Chuansheng Chen studies almost 5,000 11th-grade math students and found that Asian-Americans and white Americans typically reported the same high level of stress. Asian-American students are, however, slightly more academically anxious. Still, Chen concluded that high parental standards and intense studying didn’t seem to cause noteworthy psychological stress.

  6. ASIAN-AMERICAN FAMILIES SIMPLY EARN MORE

    Asian-American families earn $15,600 more than the national median income for all households. But while Asian-Americans are doing well overall, there are larger numbers at the bottom of the scale as well. 10% of Asian-Americans live at the poverty level, and 2.2% of Asian-Americans live on public assistance, compared with 8.2% of Caucasians at the poverty level, and 1.3% of Caucasians on public assistance.

  7. ASIAN-AMERICANS TAKE UP A DISPROPORTIONATE SHARE OF THE NATION’S MOST PRESTIGIOUS UNIVERSITIES

    At some of the best universities in the United States, Asians are the biggest or one of the largest groups on campus. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the student body is 28% Asian-American, and the University of California at Berkeley is 39% Asian-American.

  8. ASIANS WITH A BACHELOR’S DEGREE WILL EARN $400K LESS OVER THEIR LIFETIME THAN CAUCASIANS

    Asian-American men are more likely to ask for a raise, but less likely to actually get one. Even with a bachelor’s degree, Asian-Americans will earn less than their Caucasian counterparts. In fact, according to Forbes, it adds up to a lot: $400k less over the course of a lifetime.

  9. ASIAN-AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER STUDENTS STRUGGLE WITH HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE COMPLETION

    Across the U.S., Asian-American and Pacific Islander students often have trouble completing their degrees, with issues in high school and college completion. In Hmong adolescents, 40% do not complete high school, almost half. In Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander groups, bachelor’s degrees are scarce, with only 14% of students achieving this goal, compared to 28% of Americans with a bachelor’s degree.

  10. OVERALL, ASIAN-AMERICANS ACHIEVE MORE COLLEGE DEGREES

    Although certain Asian-American groups may struggle with earning degrees, overall, Asian-Americans earn the highest college graduation rate. Asian-Americans have 65% college graduation rates, followed by whites at 59%. Additionally, Asian-Americans are the only racial group that does not have young men falling behind their predecessors in postsecondary attainment.

  1. NOT EVERY ASIAN GROUP IS DOING SO WELL

    Chinese-Americans and South Asians personify the high-achieving Asian stereotype most people have come to know, but there are other Asian-American groups who are struggling to make things work. According to Asian Nation, for every Chinese-American or South Asian with a college degree, there’s an equal number of Southeast Asians struggling to adapt to living in the U.S. Specifically, Vietnamese-Americans only have a college degree attainment rate of 20%, and Laotians, Cambodians, and Khmer have a rate less than 10%.

  2. SOME ASIAN-AMERICAN STUDENTS FACE SEVERE DISADVANTAGES

    Students from Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos come to the U.S. with issues that can impact their education, specifically war-related trauma and educational disruptions prior to immigration. While living in the U.S., many of these students deal with poverty, racism, and even limited access to educational resources, which can clearly put them at a severe disadvantage compared to other ethnic groups and even Asian-American families who have lived in the U.S. for multiple generations.

  3. THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP IS GETTING EVEN WIDER

    The gap between Asian-American students and everyone else is large and growing. Nationwide, Asian-Americans in the upper echelons of standard math exams were scoring 17 points higher than white students, and has widened in recent years according to the Center on Education Policy. Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, remarks that other groups should learn a lesson from Asian-American students, who are “working harder, doing better, and getting ahead.”

  4. ASIAN-AMERICANS PERFORM WELL ON MATH SAT SECTIONS, BUT NOT AS WELL IN READING AND WRITING

    Asian-Americans typically do well on the SATs, and in the math section, Asian-Americans earned 42 more points than the average white student did. However, the same can not be said about the reading and writing section, with Asian-American students scoring seven points lower in writing, and 17 points lower in reading. This is perhaps due to language differences in families who have immigrated recently.

  5. SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDENTS ARE SOMETIMES MISDIAGNOSED AS LEARNING DISABLED

    Newly immigrated Southeast Asian students often have limited English proficiency, and as a result, some are misdiagnosed as “learning disabled” and placed in special education. Asian-American and Pacific Islander students are 1.24 times more likely to receive special education and related services than all other racial and ethnic groups combined.

  6. OFTEN, ASIAN STUDENTS ARE NOT PREPARED FOR COLLEGE-LEVEL COURSEWORK

    Asian-American students may be doing well overall, but often, they’re simply not ready for college. In California in particular, students are really struggling. The Education Trust published a study,Overlooked and Underserved: Debunking the Asian ‘Model Minority’ Myth in California Schools. In this study, researchers found that about 7 out of 10 Asian students and 9 out of 10 Pacific Islander students are not prepared for college-level coursework upon high school graduation. Further, less than 10% of Filipinos, Cambodians, Laotians, and Samoans are ready for college math.

  7. ASIAN-AMERICANS HAVE A HIGHER PER-CAPITA INCOME

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2008, Asian-Americans overall achieve a higher per-capita income than all other groups. Asian-Americans had per-capita incomes of $30,292, compared with whites, who had a per-capita income of $28,502, and blacks with a per-capita income of $18,406. This is likely due to the fact that Asian-Americans are well represented in management positions.

  8. WESTERN MOMS HAVE MUCH DIFFERENT IDEAS ABOUT EDUCATION THAN CHINESE IMMIGRANT MOMS DO

    There are certainly quantifiable differences between Chinese and Westerners when it comes to educational opinions, and that may shed light on why Asian-Americans seem to do so well in school. In one study, most Western mothers (70%) believed that “stressing academic success is not good for children” and that “parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun.” Chinese mothers feel completely different, with 0% of the Chinese moms responding positively to these statements. Rather, they believe that their children should be the best students, and that “academic achievement reflects successful parenting.”

  9. CHINESE KIDS SPEND MORE TIME STUDYING THAN PLAYING SPORTS

    Each day, Chinese parents spend about 10 times longer per day teaching and pushing children to engage in academic activities than their Western counterparts do. With this extra time, Western kids seem to spend it playing sports instead of studying.

  10. ASIAN-AMERICAN STUDENTS ARE ACHIEVING AT HIGH-POVERTY SCHOOLS

    Overall, Asian-American students are doing well and living up to their status as the “model minority.” Interestingly, 30% of Asian-American and Pacific Islander students attend high-poverty schools, meaning that they’re not just doing well, they’re doing well at schools that are chronically underfunded and lacking in resources that other schools may have to offer.