We've got lots of stuff for you in The Trailblazing Issue of Hyphen, including having Diana Nguyen and Jen Wang, the bloggers behind Disgrasian, on our cover.
Disgrasian's wry and offbeat style is blazing a trail for Asian American blogs. So we thought the gals behind it would be great for the cover of an issue that highlights some of the Asian Americans who are making a mark for themselves.
It's wonderful to see people who are making their way in new territories, but when thinking about what to write for The Trailblazing Issue's Editor's Note, I was reminded of my reaction when Norman Mineta became the first Asian American to serve in a presidential cabinet in 2000. I shed a tear, but it was more from the emotional relief from feeling that Asian Americans had somehow gained some acceptance in mainstream society.
There've been a lot of other firsts since then, and Mineta helped pave the way for all the Asian Americans in the Obama White House. Even after all the firsts, there's still a long way to go before we overcome ever-present stereotypes.
One example of this is our story for Redux on how Google and others are serving up ads for "meeting sexy Asian women" and other sexually oriented material on Asian American-focused websites. Jen Wang, who was interviewed for the story, describes it best: "It's like 'Asian girl' is synonymous with: sex, porn, escort, hooker."
We've got other great features in The Trailblazing Issue, including a Q&A with Sierra Club President Allison Chin (the first person of color to lead the environmental group), and stories about car designer Seung-il Sean Lo and life coach Cathy Akiyama. All are rare Asian Americans in their fields.
In Music, we have an excellent piece by Gina Hotta -- we are still mourning her loss -- on the connections between Coltrane, jazz and Asian America.
All that, plus a profile on designer Jean Pelle, drawings by artist Weston Takeshi Teruya, fiction by mimi lok, a personal essay by Pueng Vongs about coming to terms with her mother's suicide, and this optimistic outlook by our film editor Sylvie Kim, who looks back at the notable and notorious in Asian American cinema during 2009, and muses, "Bai Ling's character catches on fire. Who says there are no good movie ideas anymore?"