Pretending to Be…

Why Asians Will Always Be Insignificant…
February 14, 2008, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Pretending to be an Activist, Pretending to be an Architect

First off, let me start by saying I hate using the word “asian”. The word “asian” (btw my spell check wants be to capitalize asian but I refuse to do so) means you are from the continent of asia. It generalizes all the idiosyncrasies and intricacies that each nation in the largest continent in the world has to offer. The term “asian” groups together people that have different values, customs, languages, and traditions. So I will use the term “people from asia”.

The reason why people from asia will always be insignificant in this country is because the duality of a certain nature in them. Their greatest strength is also their greatest weakness. Let me start off by talking about Chinese people as a microcosm for people from asia.

They were the first to step into this land that stretches from sea to shining sea. They have lived, eaten, played, and died in this country since the early part of the 19th century, thats the 1800s if any stupid person is reading this because I do not discriminate against stupid people. So Chinese people have lived through the Civil War, The Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, Prohibition, the World Wars, the Civil Rights movement, and the Bush administration. Thats a lot of shit, pardon my french. Through it all, they remained self sufficient, as that is the nature of people from asia.

When i say self-sufficient I mean they have accepted changes for what they were, good or bad, and just kept on living. During the Chinese Exclusion act, that lasted for more than 75 years, can you find a Chinaman in history that stood up and spoke out as a leader of his people speaking of how unconstitutional it was? The U.S. government blamed the Chinese for being willing to work for lower wages thus putting white men out of work. Well the reason why that reasoning wouldn’t make sense is that the population of Chinese during before the Act was around .002 PERCENT!!! When the U.S. invaded the Philippines and used the Spanish American War as a cover-up and when William McKinley said “GOD” told him to takeover that country, did anyone of asian descent rise up to speak against it? Also during the Japanese Internment of WWII when anyone who was of Japanese descent were put into concentration camps because America was afraid they were all spys, including the children. Yes, the reasoning again works out well there doesn’t it?. And no one spoke out on the behalf of the Japanese-Americans, the Chinese and Filipino brethren did not say a word in public. During the Civil Rights movement not one person of Asian descent was involved. NOT ONE!!! And most recently during the controversy of Affirmative Action, where many students of asian descent do not get into the schools they deserve to, again no one from the asian community spoke out. Never in U.S. History has a person of asian descent spoken out, on anything or about anything. And when I speak of “speaking out” I know there have probably been rallies and demonstrations, but no one has been in the forefront, in the front lines of the civil arena.

Now the ironic thing is that people of asian descent are living quite well in contrast to what they have been through. 49% of people of asian descent, age 25 and older, possess a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education highest among all race groups. Asians have the highest proportion of college graduates of any race or ethnic group in the country, including whites. Median household income for Asians in 2005, the highest among all race groups, at $61,094 a year. The proportion of employed Asians 16 and older who work in management, professional and related occupations, such as financial managers, engineers, teachers and registered nurses, is 47%, highest among minorities. Our high school proficiency is highest among minorities at 86%. Our neighborhoods started out as slums but we have made them into thrivings areas of culture, residents and businesses, Chinatown in NYC and LA, Flushing in NYC where the places were dead before we settled there.

But after all we have achieved as a community, name me one “Asian” leader in the civil arena. Name me one person of asian descent that fights for the well being and continued betterment of the “asian” community. You cant because there are none. The reason why Asian-Americans never spoke out during the atrocities done against us in U.S. history is because no one was educated enough or well spoken enough to come out and make a change. But now we are. Its funny, we have that reverse ‘Cosby’ism where Bill Cosby says that blacks blame their environment too much and dont blame themselves. Well us as Asians (notice how I now use the term “asians” and capitalize it now?) never blame our environment we just keep chugging along. Although this aspect of Asians is admirable it also is extremely negative and goes against the whole concept of what this country was built on.


That is the point people! And it is up to us, the younger generation of Asians to change this. No matter what your occupation, it is your responsibility to speak on behalf of your people. To have a opinion about your people. To bring up issues regarding your people to politicians. To actually care about politics. To perform filibusters if necessary for the sake of your people. The sad part about the Asian community is that there is no spokesperson or spokespeople that voice our opinions to the rest of the country. Where are the Martin Luther Kings, the Malcolm X’s, the Booker T. Washington’s, the Frederick Douglas’, the Tavis Smiley’s, the Cornel West’s, and the Jim Brown’s of the Asian community?

Hopefully they are being groomed today so that they can lead tomorrow.


7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

applause Jun, I am taken aback by your entry. I believe that we should do it, me and you Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X, we should rise up and lead

Comment by An Rong Xu

an rong, if me and you combined we could would still not be worthy enough to wash Dr. King’s underwear… lol

Comment by fbgurunineteen

haaha true

Comment by An Rong

“During the Civil Rights movement not one person of Asian descent was involved. NOT ONE!!!”

don’t tell me you’ve never heard of Yuri Kochiyama

Comment by diana mai

yes i do know of her, and I am kind of embarrassed to say that I only heard of her about a year and a half ago, through Mumia Abu-Jamal’s many podcasts/speeches/teachings. But from what little I do know of her she was actively involved with Malcolm X and is known for being involved in the Puerto Rico independence as well. But she is known mainly for being more of a Human Rights activist, no? When you speak of Kochiyama thats what I think of, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Malcolm X, and her Human Right’s activism. I do not think of her as a voice for Asian Americans, but as a voice who happens to be Asian-American. Maybe thats just my ignorance? im not sure…

Comment by fbgurunineteen

i agree that kochiyama is mainly known for her human rights work as well as other causes like the rights of political prisoners such as Mumia, but she also dedicated herself to working for reparations to the hundred thousand Japanese who were interned during the war in addition to civil rights and protesting racial inequality.

i think the general feeling of a lack of activism you feel within the asian american community is completely understandable, because i used to feel the same way. do people know who the “malcolm x” (so to speak, or any other big name activist) of korea is? no, because there is a real lack of awareness and media depiction in general. our history as asian americans is also a lot shorter because of immigration in comparison to black history and activism.

you have to read books on your own and research if you want to learn anything about APA history, because it’s not taught in textbooks. that’s what i started doing after i came to college and realized that i wasn’t looking hard enough and learned a lot about asian american studies/women’s studies. also, do some reading on grace lee boggs

etc, there’s a wealth of information out there if you do some digging

Comment by diana mai

wow i just got assigned homework, lol..
but yes i do agree that we have to do “digging” on our own to ever learn anything…
Its encouraging to see people like you are out there…

Comment by fbgurunineteen

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