Primary Reader: Asian American Studies

I really liked the article “A Full-on CRAASH at Hunter College” because I have met members who were part of the organization in the spring of 2011. They seemed very committed to the cause so I did not find it a surprise that this article showcased the passionate leaders of the organization. I took several Asian […]

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Researcher: Transnational Labor and Capital

In Rachel Salazar Parrenas “Migrant Filipina Domestic Workers and the International Division of Reproductive Labor,” she writes “the hierarchy of womanhood – based on race, class, and nation – establishes a work transfer system of reproductive labor among women – the international transfer of caretaking.” I looked up reproductive labor as child-rearing and house keeping duties […]

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Primary Reader – Empire, Globalization, Diasporas, and Transnationalism

In Lisa Lowe’s “Heterogeneity, Hybridity, and Multiciplicy: Asian American Differences,” she talks about the problems that come with the idea of a homogeneous Asian American population. Instead of looking at Asian American populations as homogeneous, she wants to talk about the heterogeneity and hybridity of the population. In addition she wants to make it a […]

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Researcher: June 24th – Pacific Wars

In Robert Lee’s “Cold War Construction of the Model Minority Myth,” he writes that Asian Americans were more likely to fit in a white-dominant society because Asian Americans were not Blacks. He writes “Asian Americans were ‘not black’ in 2 significant ways: they were politically silent and ethnically assimilable” (145). I never thought about the […]

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Primary Reader – Racial Capital, Racial Hierarchy

In Moon-Ho Jung’s “Introduction” and “Domesticating Labor,” he writes “Coolies confused the boundary between slavery and freedom, between black and white, causing the mass demand for Asian migrant laborers as well as appeals for their exclusion in the postbellum United States” (6). Coolies as I understand, is “cheap labor” or those with jobs that do not […]

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Researcher – Discourse of Exclusion (June 12th)

1st Source:, Reading 1: Lee, Erika. 2007. “The ‘Yellow Peril’ and Asian Exclusion in the Americas.” Pacific Historical 76 (4): 537-562.   For “The Yellow Peril’ and Asian Exclusion in the Americas” by Erika Lee, I chose this picture because it makes alot of her argument come to life. I chose this picture because it depicts an Asian […]

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Primary Reader – June 5th Readings

In Nayan Shah’s “Public Health and The Mapping of Chinatown,” he comes to the conclusion that “The Chinese were characterized repeatedly in terms of ‘excess’ – of their number, of their living densities, of the diseases they spawned, and of the waste they produced” (173). I do not find this conclusion during the start of the Chinatown […]

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On "Primary Reader 7/10 readings"

I liked Storm's article because it helps with the discourse of the Asian American Studies Movement, and it was a report about a club within Hunter College. I did not know much about the club but knew it existing as flyers were handed out. I think it is interesting that the Asian American Studies Program was founded in 1993 but still has had trouble funding it. It was formed a lot earlier than I had thought but I think the program will help students see the multiplicity of Asian Americans. I think that the heterogeneity of the Asian population as well as the rejection that all Asian American populations are not the same are compelling ideas and could use more awareness. I took some Asian American Courses and it was really enlightening and so I think the Asian American Studies Program is really useful. I also think as the article reported, the fact that students are disinterested in the subject is invalid. I see the Asian American Studies Program as interesting and did not think that is was separate from any other academic departments. I like "I-Hotel" by Karen Tei Yamashita because it was creative in terms of recreating the atmosphere and the chaos but I thought that "On Strike!San Francisco State College Strike, 1968-1969" by Karen Umemoto was much more informative and easier to read in terms of understanding the beginnings of such an influential movement. I think it is great that a movement could have such a lasting impact and created a separate school - the School of Ethnic Studies.

On "Primary Reader"

When I think about “The War on Terror,” I think of prison camps such as the ones at Guantanamo Bay. In Junaid Rana’s “Racial Panic, Islamic Peril, and Terror,” she writes “the rapid escalation of racial violence that followed 9/11 normalized an atmosphere of racial terror whose logic was later demonstrated through the explicit use of gender-based violence and sexual humiliation in the torture abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison”(50). This was a recent news article I found concerning updates on the camp and whether it would be closed down: I think this article provides some insight to the turmoil of having these prison camps related to the War on Terror and the question of whether Guantanamo Bay would actually be closed. Guantanamo Bay is mentioned for its torture of its prisoners and although President Obama has pledged to close the camp, there still has not been an indication he may. I think this is important in understanding the “War on Terror” because these themes of torture are something that has always been prevalent in war. These themes are particularly prevalent in what some see as a racially targeted and politically motivated war. I also could understand the impact that 9/11 may have had on children that are Muslims because 9/11 happened in my youth as well. In Sunaina Maira’s “Youth Culture, Citizenship, and Globalization: South Asian Muslim Youth in the United States after September 11th,” she writes “Within six weeks of September 11, Congress passed the USA-PATRIOT Act of 2001 (which conveniently stands for United and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act) under considerable pressure from Attorney General John Ashcroft, who threatened Congress that ‘Those who scare peace-loving people each phantoms of lost liberties … only aid terrorists’”(333). The PATRIOT Act was a controversial act that many people seemed to think targeted Muslim and Arab citizens. This article details Japanese Americans as another racial group that was targeted during Japanese Internment after the bombing on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941: I think this article is refreshing because there are not many texts I have read about an American citizen helping out the Japanese Americans that have been interned. Rather the rhetoric is about American citizens and official sharing some sort of resentment for Asian Americans and their fear of “Yellow Peril.” “Yellow Peril” refers to a lot of media, but to read about someone who has saved Japanese Americans as dictated in the article is really heroic. How has the United States targeted other racial groups in the past, and what can be done? Are the methods cruel in cases such as prison camps, and what can be done? How can we allow American citizens of diverse backgrounds feel like they are part of this country and embracing what is "citizenship."

On "Primary Reader on 7/1 readings"

I think the last quote is interesting: "the U.S. state and media have reproduced the historical contradictions of U.S. racial formations that fuel hate violence, while at the same time promoting tolerance and diversity" (222). I think it is true that minorities have been discriminated such as East Asian and South Asian populations. Arab Americans and Muslim Americans have endured discrimination, especially the youth that Maira has mentioned. They grow up with a really prejudiced sense of citizenship because the wider population does not accept or think that they are worthy for a full set of rights or are not "American" enough. Even though the youth in America are not responsible for the crimes brought on by other populations of their homeland, they are still being treated like criminals and terrorists. They are racially slurred at as well as treated with hostility with chants that fuel racism. In this sense, the U.S. state and media have reproduced these contradictions of a free world because they do not seem to be taking big steps to stopping this kind of treatment or prejudice to these people. This type of treatment to even small minorities do not stop violence or promote values that should be "American." Maira writes that they may never experience the same type of citizenship the law guarantees and for this reason, Arab-speaking populations are harshly marginalized in United States society. I think that U.S. racial formations in terms of categories may promote tolerance and diversity but they are essentially a euphemism toward a multiculturalistic way of thinking compared to the more realistic polyculturalism where not everyone benefits the same way. This highlights the unequal treatment and the unfair prejudice youth had to face post 9/11. Even after many years, the treatment does not stop for Muslim Americans or citizens of Middle Eastern descent.

On "Heterogeneity, Hybridity and Multiplicity: Asian American Differences"

In Lisa Lowe’s “Heterogeneity, Hybridity, and Multiciplicy: Asian American Differences,” she talks about the problems that come with the idea of a homogeneous Asian American population. Instead of looking at Asian American populations as homogeneous, she wants to talk about the heterogeneity and hybridity of the population. In addition she wants to make it a point that Asian Americans should be viewed with multiplicity, or in different lights. She writes, describing Asian American homogeneity, “The articulation of an ‘Asian American identity’ as an organizing tool has provided a concept of political unity to understand unequal circumstances and histories as being related” (71). I think she is acknowledging that the unity of only one” Asian American identity” has perhaps have had some political benefits but goes on to critique this standpoint as wrong because it “implies Asians are ‘all alike’ and conform to ‘types’” (71). In addition, she writes “Rather, the assertion of ‘integral autonomy’ by ‘not unified’ classes suggests a coordination of distinct, yet allied, positions, practices, and movements – class-identified and not class-identified, in parties and not, race-based and gender-based – each on its own, not necessarily equivalent manner transforming, disrupting, and destructuring the apparatuses of a specific hegemony” (70). In other words, a one unified view of Asian Americans is erroneous because it ignores many of the differences between Asian Americans as well as reinforces the idea that there is one, specific, dominant hegemon, or in this case the White population. In Anderson, Wanni W. and Robert G. Lee’s “Asian American Displacements,” they write about four types of displacement. They write “at beginning of the twenty-first century, we identify four existing forms of displacement as the lived experienced of the immigrant, the refugee, the exile, the expatriate, and the migrant: physical/spatial displacement, cultural displacement, psychological/affective displacement, and intellectual displacement” (11). I think of physical/spatial as the first type of displacement but with time, this type of displacement can lead to “cultural,” “psychological,” and “intellectual” displacement. I think that the latter of the three types of displacement are the most straining and the most offensive to new immigrants who are struggling to conform to new cultures, new ideas, and new ambiances. The term hypochondria comes to mind when I think of people who have trouble fitting in to the present place they are in because they are suffering from being away from home, from adjusting to the new time as voiced in many Asian American texts. In the end, they conclude “they (volumes) lead us through the Asian experience in the Americas across space and time and provide us a conceptual map with which we can engage the changing economic, cultural, and political landscapes” (17). The writers end on a hopeful path as they acknowledged earlier in the text that Asian American studies were conceived in the 1970’s after being empowered by the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s to fight the oppression that inhibited a racially divided America. Discussion Questions 1) Is Lisa Lowe’s writing accurate of what is happening in today’s United Stated States? If so, what can we do to empower Asian Americans to fight for better representation? 2) Are Asian Americans being subjected to great “cultural,” “psychological” and “intellectual” strain because they are a minority and because they have been displaced from their home country? What can we do to alleviate some of the pressure?

On "Primary reader (Racial Triangulation)"

In “The Racial Triangulation of Asian Americans” by Claire Jean Kim, she writes “racial triangulation occurs by means of two types of simultaneous, linked processes: (1) processes of ‘Relative valorization,’ whereby dominant group A (Whites) valorizes subordinate group B (Asian Americans) relative to subordinate group C (Blacks) on cultural and/or racial grounds in order to dominant both groups, but especially the latter, and (2) processes of ‘civic ostracism,” whereby dominant group A (Whites) constructs subordinate group B (Asian Americans) as immutably foreign and inassimilable and Whites on cultural and/or racial grounds in order to ostracize them from the body politic and civic membership (see Figure 1).” I do think that Asian Americans were mistreated as either a middle point between “Whites” and “Blacks” and treated as inferior. I think their status may have been degenerative to some point to uphold white hegemony. In any sense, this very statement is ironic because the other part of Racial Triangulation is “Civic Ostracism” where instead of having a degenerate status; the White population ostracizes the Asian population to treat them as inassimilable. It is consistently transparent that Asian Americans at some point in United States history were either the “middle man” or “the alien” to promote white hegemony and promote the interests of the White population. In other words, it is clear Asian Americans were either “ragged on” or used as a “middle point” to promote the values and interests of a dominant power thereby consistently created the Asian Americans as an inferior race. What are some ways to change this systematic hierarchy of White hegemony and power?

On "Primary Reader – Said and Shah’s Orientalism and Politics of Knowledge"

"Medias and literature were being used to portray negative image of Asians in the western world, and that created discriminations and against the east side." I agree that media and technology can produce certain types of knowledge and biases against some Asian populations that are discriminatory. This discrimination is most obvious in United States legislation such as the Chinese Exclusion act which would "decrease the white workers’ unemployment rate." As Shah mentions, "White workers started to lose their job because of the Chinese workers and the cholera and smallpox epidemic in San Francisco built discriminations toward the Chinese immigrants" which I think is clearly referenced in how Chinese immigrants were treated in San Francisco in 1949 and beyond after Gold was found. It always seemed that Caucasions did not want to compete with the Chinese or Asian population as referenced by the competition between the two or more races in building in the United States transcontinental railway system. I think the fact that Chinese populations built the transcontinent system is the same sentiment as African populations who build the slavery system in Southern America with cotton picking reminiscent of how this country was "built on the backs of slaves" in the 18th century. Shah also mentions about the "investigations" that shaped many political and medical discourses on the Chinese populations as filthy and disease prone - most notably "Chlorea." These discourses are very much in the sentiment that seems to be expressed in today's remarks and opinions but that doesn't change the fact of the the racial discrimination and the unfair treatment of Chinese populations through United States legislation such as the Exclusionary Acts and Gentlemen's Agreement during Theodore Roosevelt's presidency in the 19th century. I have never seen San Francisco's Chinatown but Shah seems to go into great detail in mentioning the discourses and nuances in how policies were made and how inspections were to follow, all which discriminated the Chinese populations in some way. I think Edward Said's comment about "unlearning" ways of thinking is similar to comments made by other people of the Asian community. I like how he identifies the "occidental" and the "oriental" but he ultimately states it is a theory just as how some come to find the first, second, and third worlds as non-existent. I think it is useful for different authors to have different methods of comparison and investigation. Said goes into a much more historical context than Shah in investigating political discourses, actions, intentions, and motives while Shah focuses on San Francisco's Chinatown relative to the ones that could be found in Flushing, Sunset Park, and Manhattan. Discussion Question: What other ways could Shah have built his investigation on his description of San Francisco's Chinatown and is Said's argument of the Orient and Occident compelling?