20 celebrities you didn’t know were Asian

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Audrey Magazine (Ethel Navales):

Not all Asians look the same.  I repeat, not all Asians look the same. It seems no matter how many times we say it, people simply assume that all Asians share the same physical features. Some believe we all have the same body structure and others even think we all have the same kind of hair. Of course, we know this is absurd. We know that there are plenty of ethnicities which categorize under the umbrella term “Asian” and we know there are plenty of Asians who are of mixed race. So why do people think all Asians look the alike? Well it may have a thing or two to do with media’s portrayal of Asians. If audiences have only been exposed to a very particular type of Asian, how can they know we’re all different? This lack of exposure may be the very reason many celebs who are bi-racial or multiracial are often overlooked in the Asian community. Even if they don’t necessarily “look it,” all of the following celebrities are Asian.

Check out this list of 20 Asian celebs you probably didn’t know were Asian.

1)  Vanessa Hudgens from High School Musical is part Chinese and part Filipino.

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2)  Tiger Woods is part Thai.

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3)  Chad Michael Murray of One Tree Hill  is a quarter Japanese.

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4)  Dean Cain, superman of the TV series, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman is a quarter Japanese.

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5)  Nicole Scherzinger of PussyCat Dolls is half Filipino.

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6)  Keanu Reeves of The Matrix is a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese.

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7)  Darren Criss of the TV series Glee is half Filipino.

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8)   Ne-Yo is a quarter Chinese.

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9)  Tyga, the rapper, is half Vietnamese.

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10)  Maggie Q is half Vietnamese.

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11) Enrique Iglesias is half Filipino.

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12)   Piper Curda of the Disney Channel show I Didn’t Do It is part Korean.

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13)   Mark-Paul Gosselaar, aka Zack Morris of the 90’s hit TV show Saved By The Bell, is a quarter Indonesian.

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14) Kristin Kreuk of the TV series SmallVille and Beauty and the Beast is half Chinese.

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15) Kelsey Asbille Chow of the MTV series Teen Wolf  and The Amazing Spiderman is part Chinese.

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16)   Host of the TV show Lip Sync Battle and model, Chrissy Teigen is half Thai.

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17)  Rob Schneider of Grown Ups and The Hot Chick is a quarter Filipino.

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18) Chanel Iman, the Victoria Secret Angel and model is half Korean.

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19) Model Karrueche Tran is half Vietnamese.

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20) Bérénice Marlohe from the famous Bond series, SkyFall is part Cambodian and Chinese.

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– See more at: http://audreymagazine.com/20-celebs-you-didnt-know-were-asian/#sthash.71uqqXCc.dpuf

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.

Asian-American families are closing the racial wealth gap the fastest

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Job applicants at Asian Diversity Career Expo.

Quartz:

The past few years have been good to Asian-American families: they are erasing the financial disparity with white households faster than black and Hispanic families. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis took a look at the Survey of Consumer Finances to tease out the interplay of race and financial health.

Though much of the gains came from a steep drop in white wealth, there’s still an improvement.

By one measure—median household income—Asian families are already besting their white peers. Black and hispanic families haven’t been as fortunate, staying in the same (lower) range since 1989.

The study also examined the way that factors like gender and education affect a household’s finances. They came up with a scorecard based on certain behaviors as measured in the SCF—saving rates, debt owed, credit, etc.—and teased out how much of the racial wealth gap would be erased if everything else were equal.

Wealth—and the financial security that comes with it—builds over the years, and minority households tend to be younger.

Likewise, the heads of white household are better-educated on-average, which also contributes to earning and wealth-building power.

Haters Gonna Hate: An Interview with Constance Wu of “Fresh Off the Boat”

Haters Gonna Hate: An Interview with Fresh Off the Boat's Constance Wu

The Muse:

Constance Wu is living the dream of every up and coming actor—landing the lead on a hit sitcom on a major network with a rapt audience. But Wu’s role as Jessica Huang, Taiwanese mom of three boys on Fresh Off the Boat, is more than just a sweet gig—it’s historical, as FOTB is only the second Asian American-centric sitcom in 20 years after Margaret Cho‘s All-American Girl in 1994. Add to the pot the outspoken opinions of the show’s creator Chef Eddie Huang, who went from bashing the show to supporting it in a matter of days, Wu’s first big break is breaking color lines and studio systems. But the 26-year-old is taking all of it in stride because haters gonna hate, you know?

For your first sitcom, your comedic timing is great without trying too hard. How do you strike that balance with Randall Park, who plays your husband Louis Huang, and the three boys Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler and Ian Chen?

This is only the second comedy I’ve ever done and it didn’t work until I stopped trying to be funny. That’s the trap. Whenever you’re trying to be funny, it becomes cloying and manipulative. My goal with my performance is to be as true as possible.

People think that Jessica’s accent is funny but no one writes jokes about her accent. The humor comes from the writers giving me very funny situations and lines. What makes her so refreshing is that she has an accent and doesn’t know perfect English but she doesn’t think that’s a reason for her not to have a voice and a very loud one at that. That’s what’s interesting and fun about her and playing against Randall and the boys because we’re all just trying to have a good time and tell a specific story.

Speaking of the accent, some felt it was very controversial for you to portray Mrs. Huang with her Taiwanese accent. Why do you think accents in general are so divisive when it reflects actual humans?

Asians have been so rarely represented in mainstream media and historically, especially in the early stages, the accent was used as a humor tool with jokes written about it. But now I would challenge people who say that Jessica’s accent is stereotypical and ask what does that mean? An accent is not a stereotype, it’s just a set of linguistic phonetic changes that happen when your mother tongue has a different set of phonetic constraints than the newer language that you are now speaking. Stereotype enters when that accent is used for the purpose of humor. Of course there are people who are laughing at my character’s accent for very coarse reasons, but we aren’t writing jokes about the accent. It’s an important shift to make.

Recently, a lot of Asians actors want to neutralize their roles on television and say ‘This person is playing a character who happens to be Asian and that has nothing to do with their identity.’

That is a trend that is flying across all minorities, it seems…

My grandfather was an illiterate bamboo farmer and my dad really had to work himself up academically to get a full ride scholarship and a Ph.D in biology in America. He didn’t have a leg up anywhere, he had to work to get that. To even say that that type of journey has nothing to do with my place and opportunities now is dishonorable.

I don’t think that identity is purely determined by race and if a story wants to focus on other things that are important to the narrative, that’s great. But it’s not harmful to say that ethnicity plays an important part in identity and that that part of the story matters. It’s not fodder for humor, it’s just another unique and beautiful element of humanity. Hopefully, we celebrate that. And we’re also a comedy! We want that comedy to be great and warm in our show, which Randall and I both found important.

How’s Fresh Off the Boat been as your first TV experience, between participating in the first Asian American sitcom in 20 years and the tumultuous process creator Eddie Huang had making it?

Eddie and I are new to network television. Before this show I’d done one guest star on Law & Order when I was in college. The network system is established, so being a newbie in this already established constrained situation, we struggled to find our footing. There can be the danger of gratitude becoming complacency which Eddie wasn’t willing to let happen. I think he had to realize which battles he needed to lose in order to win the greater war of representation. Even for myself as an actor, there were certain parts that I was uncomfortable with in terms of lines I was given.

As someone new to television, I wasn’t sure how openly I was allowed to express my opinion. I certainly didn’t want to tread on the toes of people who have more experience than I but I didn’t want to let that inexperience be why my voice and opinion were not valid. Straddling that line was nerve-racking. I didn’t protest too much, instead I found a way within my character work to make it work.

Then last week I emailed our show runner Nahnatchka Khan about a live reading I gave in episode nine or ten. In the first takes, I was trying hard to be clever and improved these funny lines and then on the last take—the scene was with Hudson (Eddie’s character)—for the first time, I actually heard what Hudson said to me, which was ‘You did good mom,’ and I had a genuine response to it. So I emailed Nahnatchka and wrote ‘When I’m doing that series of takes and I’m trying really hard to be clever and funny, and I know that it came off, but if you don’t mind, could we use the last take because I have plenty of times during the series where I’m clever and funny. The last one was the only take in which I actually heard what Hudson was saying to me.’ She emailed me back like, ‘We did use one of your clever takes and we just re-watched it and you’re right. The last take you did was good and it was lovely for a different reason and if that really means something to you, we’ll change it.’

I was stunned because I thought, ‘She’s been doing this forever but this means something to me. So I’m gonna say it with as much respect as possible and if she says ‘No’ at least I tried.’ But she said yes and added ‘Don’t be afraid to ask things like that, I really want to run this with an open door.’ Because Eddie has been so vocal from the beginning—and in the beginning, maybe they didn’t listen to him as much—I think it’s making the system change a bit. People were quick to stigmatize the conflict that Eddie was expressing but that’s just people trying to do better and figuring out how. And of course he’s gonna be sensitive about the show, it’s about his family.

You spoke earlier of stereotypes and a bit of the Tiger Mom trope arises in your portrayal of Jessica Huang when she begins tutoring her three boys after school. Was that something you had to negotiate?

We have real source material in Jessica Huang. I don’t think I should play against a stereotype just to fight the war against stereotypes. Because I’m playing a role that carries the show and a character that has an arc, occasionally elements of Jessica’s personality do fall into a Tiger Mom stereotype. But I’m playing them because they are true to her, not because I am exploiting a stereotype. I’m never doing that. You have to serve the truth of the character and Jessica Huang does what she digs, whether or not it falls into a stereotype.

Chris Rock said that if Tom Hanks does a project, he’s free to fail, but if Denzel Washington does something, he’s representing the entire black race. How are you handling the pressure of being the first Asian American family on network television in 20 years?

I feel that pressure but it’s not something that’s manifesting itself in my work. Sure, there is a burden of representation but the burden shouldn’t be to represent every Asian ever. The burden is to represent an Asian story with as much truth as possible that it touches something in other people and strikes up a curiosity for an experience that is different than your own. Then that gets the ball rolling for others to make individual stories based in truth, intelligence and compassion. My job is not to give you a watered down McDonald’s version of an Asian family so that your next door neighbor thinks, ‘Oh they’re just like me.’ I’m not like freaking out, haters gonna hate, lovers gonna love. People like authenticity and courage, that’s why people like Eddie. Haters will always hate, they’ll see a beautiful flower and be like ‘Ugh, look at that flower!’

Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays at 8/7 Central on ABC.

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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

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Abercrombie & Fitch Sales Decline: How Disrespecting Diversity can be Bad for Business

 

Abercrombie  Fitch Fifth Avenue crop 600x475 Abercrombie & Fitch Sales Decline:  How Disrespecting Diversity can be Bad for BusinessAfter managing to alienate significant numbers of Asians, Asian Americans, Muslims, African Americans, Hispanics, overweight, and disabled people, Abercrombie & Fitch has found – surprise – that declining sales forced it into a quarterly loss.  In an attempt to regain some lost sales, the company has slightly retreated on its position of catering only to what the company’s CEO calls the “all American beautiful people” by now including sizes for larger people.

Abercrombie & Fitch is a case study of what happens can happen when a company doesn’t pay proper attention to the diversity of its potential customers.

aftshirt 600x400 Abercrombie & Fitch Sales Decline:  How Disrespecting Diversity can be Bad for BusinessDiversity can apply to many facets of people.  Racial diversity is one aspect.  In 2002, these Abercrombie & Fitch T-Shirts playing on stereotypes managed to infuriate many Asian Americans.  Asians were upset by this model (shown below) brought into South Korea to open up one of their Hollister subsidiary’s stores and who later mocked Koreans over twitter.  Lawsuits have been brought by Hispanics and African Americans who say they weren’t hired or were only to work away from customers because they didn’t have the “right image.”

Abercrombie & Fitch targets 18-24 year olds, but that demographic is increasingly non-white in the US, not to mention already that way in the rest of the world.  Why would they want to alienate a growing segment of potential customers, especially one that has large and increasing buying power?

holistermodel Abercrombie & Fitch Sales Decline:  How Disrespecting Diversity can be Bad for BusinessThere are other kinds of diversity that Abercrombie & Fitch seem to dislike.  The company lost a lawsuit filed by a Muslim woman working at Abercrombie & Fitch who was fired for wearing a hijab.  This wasn’t the first case.  Abercrombie & Fitch and its subsidiaries have also been sued regarding handicap access, forcing a women with a prosthetic arm to work away from customers, and preventing a woman from helping her autistic sister try on clothes in a dressing room.  They have even managed to alienate people who like Taylor Swift.

Abercrombie & Fitch has tried to make steps to address diversity issues, explicitly discussing it on their hiring web site.  I found this Abercrombie and Fitch apologist site to be an amusing attempt to win people to their side. Sales declines has been partially attributed to other factors like higher teen unemployment and changes in teen spending on other items.  Still, these other reasons for sales declines and Abercrombie & Fitch’s other  efforts are overshadowed by their long and ongoing history of negative behavior.  Respecting diversity is more than some notion of political correctness but it directly affects the corporate bottom line.   Gap’s use of Sikh man in an ad and their reaction to a racist defacing of it are a stark contrast.

Not coincidentally, Gap is profitable, and those profits are increasing. To me, it would seem much better to have a larger diversity of customers to than to chase a shrinking demographic of teen “beautiful people” who are notoriously fickle.

In the past, The Wife bought clothes for my sons at Abercrombie & Fitch, but stopped going there after feeling that she was unwelcome there because she wasn’t white.   The Daughter said that at her college, students (even the white ones) don’t wear Abercrombie & Fitch or Hollister, as these brands are generally associated with douchiness.  What would it take to get The Wife, The Daughter, and many others back as customers? Including larger sizes, while a good step, is not going to do it.

Some even say it is a step backward as the plus sizes are only available online, suggesting that Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t want large people in their stores.  More drastic measures, such as rethinking their marketing and “Look Policy” in light of changing demographics, are needed.

Check out this link:

Abercrombie & Fitch Sales Decline: How Disrespecting Diversity can be Bad for Business

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Meisha Lee’s post on Team-Yellow’s Facebook page…

Meisha Lee's post on Team-Yellow's Facebook page...

Today while flipping through the new Glamour magazine I saw an Asian girl as an example of how to do your hair …. Never in my life have I seen this and it brings me tears of joy that we, as Asians are slowly being seen as “normal people” that can be shown in Magazines like this. How many decades have we seen Caucasians as our only example? #progress