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.

‘Aloha’ director apologizes for casting Emma Stone as Asian-American

CNN:

Writer-director Cameron Crowe is having a tough week. His critically savaged movie, “Aloha,” performed poorly in its first weekend in theaters, collecting just $10.5 million despite a shiny pedigree and a star-studded cast. And now he’s apologizing for what critics are calling the culturally insensitive casting of actress Emma Stone as a part-Asian character.

“Thank you so much for all the impassioned comments regarding the casting of the wonderful Emma Stone in the part of Allison Ng,” Crowe wrote in a post on his personal blog. “I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice.”

The Allison Ng character in the film is a young Air Force pilot in Hawaii with a father who is half Chinese. Ng is proud to be one-quarter Hawaiian, a fact she repeats to almost everyone she encounters.

But Stone, who grew up in Arizona, apparently has no Chinese or Pacific Islander ancestry. Native Hawaiians, Asian activists and bloggers have criticized the movie — set entirely in Hawaii — for its overwhelmingly white cast, with many singling out Stone’s casting as being especially egregious.

It’s so typical for Asian or Pacific Islanders to be rendered invisible in stories that we’re supposed to be in, in places that we live,” said Guy Aoki of the Media Action Network for Asian-Americans in an interview with the Huffington Post. “We’re 60% of the population (in Hawaii). We’d like them to reflect reality.”

Crowe, whose films include “Jerry Maguire” and “Almost Famous,” said the casting of Stone was not meant to be disrespectful.

As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one. A half-Chinese father was meant to show the surprising mix of cultures often prevalent in Hawaii,” he wrote.

Extremely proud of her unlikely heritage, she feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets. The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that.”

Aloha” is a romantic comedy-drama about a military contractor (Bradley Cooper) who returns to Hawaii to help negotiate the launch of a satellite. While there he reconnects with an old flame (Rachel McAdams) while falling for the young pilot (Stone) assigned to escort him around.

White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, May 12th


Angry Asian Man: 

What are you doing on May 12? Save the date. The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders invites you the White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Washington DC. The Summit will feature panels, workshops, and armchair dialogues with senior Administration officials, AAPI celebrities, and well-known community leaders, plus performances by distinguished AAPI artists.

The Summit is part of a series of events happening May 11-15 during AAPI Heritage Month in Washington, and provides a unique forum to actively engage with hundreds of AAPI leaders from across the nation. Previous AAPI Heritage Month speakers have included President Obama at the 2013 White House Celebration and Vice President Biden at the 2014 Opening Ceremony.

Programming details are still coming together, but more information on the Summit will be available in the coming months. In the meantime, visit the Summit website or subscribe to the weekly White House AAPI email newsletter. For further questions, email whitehouseaapi@ed.gov.

Why Asians need to care about breast cancer

ribbon

 Audrey Magazine:

We decided to look into how Asian Americans handle breast cancer. We were shocked by what we discovered.

For years now, Asians have been comforted by the fact that we have the lowest rate of breast cancer in the United States. Unfortunately, this assurance may be the very thing that hinders us from taking the necessary precautions.

Studies from both the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) have confirmed that Asian/Pacific Islanders have the lowest breast cancer rates.

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Although this is true, a number of things are not taken into consideration:

There are various types of Asians.
It is not a good idea to assume you’re safe from breast cancer simply because you’re Asian. In fact, the statistics greatly differ once we take a step closer. According to womenshealth.gov, Japanese American women have the highest rate of breast cancer among Asian Americans. Furthermore, breast cancer is the leading cause of death for Filipino women. Clearly, there are technicalities within the broad term “Asian” which should be paid attention to.

Our numbers are increasing.
Sure, we have the lowest rate of breast cancer and breast cancer deaths now, but that may be changing. Our rates are increasing faster than any other ethnic group. From 1988-2005, we’ve increased approximately 1.2% every year.

Some of us are not as safe as our parents and grandparents. 
According to sampan.org, “Immigrant Asian women who have been living in the United States for 10 years have an 80 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than their newly arrived A&PI immigrant counterparts.”

We develop breast cancer at a younger age.
Compared to the other ethnic groups, we develop cancer at an earlier age, but we don’t know to address it earlier. In fact, many of us don’t address it at all.

Asian Americans are the least likely to ever get a mammogram.
Although Asian Americans need to take just as much precaution, we have the lowest rate of screenings. Is it because it’s taboo in our culture to discuss this issue? Is it because of the misconception that we’re relatively safe from breast cancer? Either way, there is clearly a lack of breast health/breast cancer education, screening and treatment among Asian American women.

Studies confirm that only 62% of Asian American women 40 and older have had a mammogram in the past two years. This is still the lowest percentage compared to every other ethnic community in America.

Some barriers to breast cancer screening include:
-Low income
-Lack of access to care (such as lack of a local (or easy to get to) mammography center or -Lack of transportation to a mammography center)
-Lack of a usual health care provider
-Lack of a recommendation from a provider to get mammography screening
-Lack of awareness of breast cancer risks and screening methods
-Cultural and language differences

– See more at: http://audreymagazine.com/why-asians-need-to-care-about-breast-cancer-updated/#sthash.hlerj6hS.dpuf

Meet Moana: Disney announces its Ffrst Pacific Islander princess

NBC:

On the heels of “Frozen” frenzy, Walt Disney Animation Studios announced its first Polynesian princess, a spirited and adventurous teenager named Moana, in Disney’s 56th animated film of the same name. Moana will also be the first Pacific Islander princess from the studio.

Described as a CG-animated comedy-adventure, and set in the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, Moana’s adventure takes her on “an action-packed voyage, encountering sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore,” according to Disney.

The film will be directed by Ron Clements and John Musker who also directed “The Little Mermaid,” “The Princess and the Frog,” and “Aladdin.”

Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself,” Musker said. “She’s the kind of character we all root for, and we can’t wait to introduce her to audiences.”

Most exciting to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) audiences who welcome but are sometimes wary of representation from mainstream outlets is that the screenplay was written by the talented and funny Maori-Russian-Jewish New Zealand writer, director, actor, comedian, and painter Taika Waititi.

Waititi is the director of the 2010 film, “Boy” — which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and is the highest grossing local film ever in New Zealand, and the 2004 short, “Two Cars, One Night” — which was nominated for an Academy Award. He also played Tom Kalmaku in the 2011 film, “Green Lantern.” He also wrote the 2003 play, “Untold Tales of Maui,” a clever updating of the many legends of the trickster demi-god Maui.

Moana,” the movie, is expected to be released in 2016.

Link

2014 V3 Digital Media Conference

 

V3con Honorees 2014 600x312 LA Ticket Giveaway: 2014 V3 Digital Media Conference

8Asians:

 

V3 Digital Media Conference is coming up right around the corner. The event kicks off on Friday June 20th with an Opening Awards Reception. Then, the all day conference takes place on Saturday June 21st. Both events are being held at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo (LA). Here is the website for more info: http://v3con.com/.

Registration includes admission to Friday’s Opening Awards Reception and Saturday’s all day conference, including breakfast and lunch on Saturday. Check out the full schedule and the list of speakers.

Broadcast journalist Ann Curry, Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold and singer-songwriter Judith Hill will be honored at the 2014 V3 Digital Media Conference, presented June 20-21 in celebration of Asian American contributions to media and culture.

 

The third annual conference, presented by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association, recognizes the “Vision. Visibility. Voice” of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in digital and social media, with the goal of showcasing the most influential and interesting Asian Americans online while connecting diverse communities and building new media skills.

 

The two-day event, which drew more than 500 attendees in each of its first two years, will consist of a gala evening awards reception Friday, June 20, to be followed by an all-day conference on Saturday, June 21, both at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles.

 

“As in past years, we are privileged to bring together such prominent and influential honorees,” said Jocelyn “Joz” Wang, founder and executive director-advisor of V3con. They have taken diverse paths toward a common destination of advancing the stature of Asian Americans and our culture.”

The three “V” awards given at V3con recognize the contributions, talents and values of path-breaking individuals who have enabled Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to become recognized as a significant force in media and the broader community.

 

This year’s recipients will be recognized at the Friday event for their roles in significantly raising the profile of the AAPI community in the mainstream.

 

Check out this link:

2014 V3 Digital Media Conference

Link

NPR: Why aren’t Asian-Americans getting their ‘One Shining Moment’?

 

NPR:

 

Jeremy Lin cast a long shadow in this conversation, in part because there are so few Asian-American players to cast them.

Jeremy Lin cast a long shadow in this conversation, in part because there are so few Asian-American players to cast them.

While we were looking at some NCAA stats on student athletes for a story last week, we came across a couple of numbers that made our eyes bulge: of the 5,380 men’s basketball players in Division I basketball last season, only 15 were Asian-AmericanFifteen.

That’s 0.2 percent of all men’s players. To put that in perspective, consider that about 6 percent of the country’s population is Asian-American. (We should note here that the NCAA separates out Asian-Americans from Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in its demographic data.)

It’s often presented as a given that Asian-Americans are less involved in sports than others in this country, and every few years, someone writes a column about how we might soon see a boom in Asian-American sports stars. (Take this column by Richard Lapchick on ESPN way back in 2002.)

There’s an argument to be made that Asian-Americans don’t need to be proportionally represented in basketball. And sure, that’s legit. But there’s a difference between being underrepresented and being virtually nonexistent, and it’s odd that the invisibility is in basketball — our most democratic popular sport, with relatively few obvious barriers to entry. No cleats. No ice rink. No pommel horse. Just a ball and a hoop.

And while Asian-Americans are vastly underrepresented among college basketball players, they were overrepresented in other sports, like fencing:

Other sports with above average participation (greater than the U.S. Asian-American population percentage of around 6%) were squash (8.2% for men and 10.0% for women), gymnastics for men (7.0%), and rifle shooting for women (6.3%).

So again: There were 20 Asian-American men playing Division I squash in 2012, more than there were in DI hoops, even as there were only 193 men who played Division I squash in the entire U.S. I submit to you that basketball and race are the two most important concerns in American life, and with another Final Four upon us, humor me in some back-of-the-envelope theorizing.

Might the paucity of Asian ball players be chalked up to the fact that Asian people are short? That’s the first thing folks might say, and if there are any biases at play, it’s a bias against the diminutive.

If it were simply about height, white men — who are a smidge taller than black men,according to the CDC — might outnumber black players in the college game, or at least be close to parity. But there are twice as many black men in DI ball as there are white guys. (Alas, there were no demographic data in that study about Asian-American men.)

And let’s consider some data points from Interbasket, a website for fans of international basketball. In 2011, it published a chart ranking the average heights of 20-year-old men from different countries. The list found that men in Asian countries were generally shorter — India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines were all at the very bottom of the list, with average heights falling between 5-foot-3 and 5-foot-4. The height of men in Asian countries doesn’t tell us much about men of Asian descent in this country. But consider that Nigeria was seventh from the bottom on that list, with an average height of 5 feet 5 inches. An Interbasket user decided to rank all of the active Nigerian players playing Division I college basketball in the U.S. in 2011, from best to worst, and he came up with a list that was 116 players long.

We couldn’t find out the median or average height for college basketball players, but we did find a recruiting guide for the National Collegiate Scouting Association, which links middle-school students and high-schoolers to college sports recruiters. They gave a list of the ideal attributes that coaches should look for in Division I players by basketball position. The guide suggested that point guards, usually the smallest guys on the court, should be around 6 feet tall, while centers, usually the game’s Goliaths, should be around 6 feet 9 inches.

In other words, anyone who plays DI basketball is going to be something of a physical outlier. Pointing to height across big populations tells us very little.

Might there be cultural factors at play? You know, maybe Asian folks just don’t like basketball. I turned to Bo Noung — who runs Asianballers.net, a site about Asian basketball players — to tease this idea out some.

Noung’s family moved from Cambodia to Atlanta in the 1980s, and he grew up hooping with black kids. Even though he was only 5-foot-10, he was jumping center in high school games — he got by on a ridiculous 40-inch vertical. (I asked him if he could still get up like that. “I’ll be 37 this year, but I still do my thing,” he said.)

But his parents were not having it. Even though he was a straight-A student, they thought the community he was growing up in — and its black sport — was a bad influence on him.

“My mom told me not to play sports,” he said. “She told me straight up: You’re not playing sports, you’re not playing basketball. Just focus on school.”

So he hid his basketball from his parents, who eventually found out and made him quit the team. It’s still a sore spot. “I play basketball to this day against my parents’ wishes,” he said.

Noung said that in his experience, Asian-American parents were stricter about athletics than others. And he said that in the larger culture, our racial binaries mean that Tiger Woods — one of the most famous people of Asian heritage on the planet — is viewed simply as a black guy.

When I told Noung that there were 15 Asian players in college ball last year, he seemed surprised. “That’s a high number to me,” he said.

But consider the fact that basketball is a central component of the culture in many Asian-American communities, particularly on the West Coast. Take, for example, the enormously influential Japanese- and Chinese-American rec leagues in California. Colorlines‘ Jamilah King reported on how those leagues have been central to the organization of their communities since the early 20th century.

“For people my age, fourth-generation Japanese-Americans, [basketball] is in a weird way the main cultural hub and the one commonality that most Japanese-Americans have with each other,” says Tadashi Nakamura, a filmmaker.

“It’s not language, it’s not religion. Japanese-American basketball leagues have become such institutions that you’re raised in a basketball culture. You go to your older sister or older brother’s games when you’re little. Sometimes even your parents have played against each other.”

Nakamura continued, bringing his point home: “I actually knew almost every Japanese-American guy at UCLA my freshman year because we’d played against each other in the basketball leagues.”

The social benefits of basketball are also felt in the Chinese-American leagues. Cynthia Ting is a Chinese-American basketball player who grew up just south of San Francisco. Ting says she grew up as a shy kid and had a hard time coming out of her shell. “Asian league basketball has allowed me to form some of my closest friendships,” Ting says.

One person’s taboo is another person’s communal pastime, because, as always, a group’s “cultural inclinations” tend to defy simplicity. That goes doubly for “Asian-Americans,” a title used to designate millions of folks whose roots reach back to dozens of different countries.

Clearly, there are lots of folks who grow up hoop-obsessed in California’s popular Asian rec leagues. So why haven’t those leagues been a pipeline for DI teams? Chalk some of this up to how basketball talent is scouted and recruited. Certain school leagues and AAU teams become known as hotbeds of hoops talent, and so that’s where recruiters focus their attentions. Many big-city school systems have relatively few Asian-Americans. If there are Asian-American players out there who could thrive on the DI level, they’re probably not where folks typically look for basketball talent. And it’s possible they’re missing what’s in front of them.

Somehow we got this far without mentioning Jeremy Lin.

Lin is an outlier, and one of the reasons his story is so fascinating is that it flies in the face of these explanations.

Too short? Nope. At 6 feet 3 inches tall, he has prototypical point-guard height.

Familial/cultural aversion to sports? His dad was a basketball junkie, his mom attended all of his high school games, and both of his brothers played ball.

Was he off the radar? Lin was regularly featured in his local Bay Area newspaper in high school. As a senior he was named California’s co-player of the year for his division — a year in which his high school, Palo Alto High, won the state championship.

But despite that impressive resume, not one of the 351 colleges with a Division I basketball program offered him a scholarship to play ball for them. He eventually decided to play ball at Harvard, which doesn’t offer athletic scholarships.

Lin has said repeatedly that the fact that he’s Asian-American did not work to his advantage after his high school or college playing days. “Well, the obvious thing in my mind is that I was Asian-American,” he told 60 Minutes’ Charlie Rose. “I think that was a barrier.”

The NBA’s then-commissioner David Stern agreed when he was asked if Lin’s racial background hurt him. “I think in the true sense the answer to that is yes,” Stern told Rose. “In terms of looking at somebody … I don’t know whether he was discriminated against because he was at Harvard or because he was Asian.”

It’s always hard to prove counterfactuals. And there have been other players who have risen from obscurity to basketball fame, like Scottie Pippin and Dennis Rodman. But if scouts couldn’t envision someone with Lin’s height and resume as a scholarship-level athlete, one wonders how many other potential college standouts don’t pass the eye test.

We tend to think of sports as a meritocracy, as a rare space where talent will always out. But sports looks just like the rest of the world when it comes to how talent is located and groomed. Over time, informal networks become the structure of recruiting, the gateway through which everyone must pass.

So what am I missing here? Are there any other reasons Asian-Americans might be next to invisible in college hoops? If you’re Asian-American and played intercollegiate college hoops at any level, we’d love to hear about your experiences.

 

Check out this link:

 

NPR: Why aren’t Asian-Americans getting their ‘One Shining Moment’?