File this under "Asian Shame":
Indian American fashion designer Anand Jon Alexander was convicted of 20 counts of serial rape this week.
The 35-year-old designer was featured on "America's Next Top Model" and has worked with celebrities like Paris Hilton, Oprah Winfrey and Mary J. Blige. He was born in India and emigrated to the States to study design. His work is described as fusing east and west (argh).
He's convicted of luring several girls and women aged 14 to 21 to his apartment with promises of modeling contracts, then raping them. His family has been campaigning to get the Indian government involved, to no avail. They say he was framed, but the arguments made on his support site seem flimsy at first glance.
Not much comment to make here. Here's his website if you want to see his designs. And see the interview above from about eight years ago for a little -- in hindsight -- creepy discussion of his being raised by women and encouraged to be a brat. It's too bad: he's well-spoken, particularly for someone in the celebrity-ridden fashion world, and his perspective is interesting. In another life he'd be a role model ... in fact, he probably has been. Just that thought, more than anything, makes me shudder.
Thought you were done with the election? Well, the election's not done with you!
Edited to removed photo. Sorry, folks, I wasn't thinking about copyright!
Okay, this has to be said:
While we're all celebrating President-elect (squee!) Obama and reveling in the enormous turnout of African American and Latino voters that helped seal the deal, let's not forget that the forces of bigotry and discrimination won a huge victory on Tuesday ... and that in great part precisely because of the huge turnout of voters of color.
Artist Jenifer Wofford makes connections.
IF YOU WERE WONDERING what happened to the pluralism of the '90s, it hasn't gone away. It's just mutated.
While for many artists starting their second decade, melding and multiplicity are concepts easily enough abandoned, there are a few, like my friend Jenifer Wofford, who've built a practice on those bones.
What does it mean to be a minority? And what does it matter?
With Obama downplaying the race factor, Hillary supporters and critics alike highlighting her almost-cried-but-didn't moment, and Edwards recently -- and oddly -- referred to as a "minority" on the Tyra Banks Show last week, I'm a little confused as to the role race and gender (and sometimes class) are playing in this election on the Dem side.
I first caught Cynthia Lin's show at the HotHouse in Chicago over a year ago, where the diminutive singer/songwriter was crooning "Skipping in NYC," a catchy little love song that takes place somewhere between Sixth Avenue and Chinatown. At 5'2", she's the Taiwanese-American petit oiseau of folk jazz, reminiscent of Edith Piaf and Joni Mitchell, with a big voice and jazzy melodies.
A press conference in New York City last month addressed an issue that often goes ignored but is already affecting many Asian Americans in the 21st century – Chronic Hepatitis B.
A study released by pharmaceutical giants Idenix and Novartis revealed some alarming figures. A survey of 301 CHB patients (55% of whom were Asian American) indicated that not enough CHB patients or the general population are properly informed about CHB and its causes, although the similarities to the HIV epidemic are obvious.
In the U.S. and estimated 1.25 million people are critically infected with HBV 2 -- Asian Americans make up more than half of this number.
* One in 10 Asian-Americans has CHB, compared with one in 1,000 for the general U.S. population:
* 1 in 10 Chinese Americans
* 1 in 12 Korean Americans
* 1 in 8 Vietnamese Americans
Exploring relative realities.
Faridah Diamrang sits in the basement of her home in Maladeg, Philippines while her mother untangles rice sacks used to make pillows.
Last week I turned in my last story to Civiane (copy editor) and Cielo (art director) to take forward into the newly glossy realm of print existence in Hyphen. The story -- an investigation/"think-piece" by Wendy Cheng on the new role Vietnamese Americans can play in post-Katrina New Orleans -- is just the kind of story I imagined, even dreamed about, Hyphen producing when we first started the magazine. My dream Hyphen story combined political passion, investigative journalism, theoretical savvy, writing chops, and an ability/willingness to speculate, dream, prescribe, and stick one's neck out. Did this piece hit all of these notes perfectly? No, of course not. But for me, after struggling through eight issues to learn how to be an editor, finally getting to edit such a piece is ... satisfaction indeed.
Yay! My new cultural hero is a 22-year-old stand up comedian from South Carolina named Aziz Ansari. And he walked all over New York City with a boom box blasting "Kiss Me". In front of girls.
If I had a dollar for every science fiction perpetrator who used Asian languages as a signpost of the future, BUT NOT ASIAN PEOPLE ... well, I'd have a bunch of dollars.
Take Joss Whedon ... please.
Duuuude ... whaddaya WANT from us?
It's true, ladies and germs, our very own, brand spankin' new literary editor, Barbara Jane Pulmano Reyes has just been honored by the Academy of American Poets with a James Laughlin Award for a second book! Congrats, Barb! You better ride this mileage 'til the car breaks down. You know Hyphen will.
Now that Issue Seven (the body issue! yay! coming next week! yay!) is at the printer, we are turning our full attention to Issue Eight. So now's a GREEEEAAAT time for you to empty out those drawers of half-assed creative writing you've been trying to ignore.
Anyone who knows the AA communities knows that our folks maintain close ties with government and service organizations in our countries of origin. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Asian countries are being mobilized through the efforts of their overseas children to send help to Katrina victims. Here's a short list of current efforts from the past two weeks:
If you're as angry about the government's non-response to Katrina as I am, please consider signing this petition from Moveon.org. The petition simply asks for congress to create a Katrina commission--like a 9/11 commission. And this time I think there may well be more will among the people to act upon the information gathered.
Of the forty-nine convenience store clerks arrested this summer in Georgia for selling common products that contained ephedrine or pseudoephedrine (a main ingredient in home-made methamphetamine), forty-four were Indian American.
Then hire more Asian American Journalists!
Ursula passed along this article (pasted below) from the Foil-I mailing list (provenance, Weekly Kagoj) about New Orleans' Bangladeshi Immigrants. A consequence of the destruction that we hadn't foreseen: some of the ... uh ... browner foreign students studying in the hurricane region might have a problem transferring their studies to other cities. Let's keep an eye on this one.
What does the Katrina disaster say about who the "problem people" are in this country?
Here are some links to appropriate outrage and pertinent information.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine may help unravel why some racial groups show greater sensitivity to certain drugs. Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle and Washington University in St. Louis studied the genetic makeup of patients on the anticoagulant drug warfarin, prescribed to prevent blood clots after heart attack, stroke or surgery.
Asian American wimmin rule!
Have you ever noticed that you notice more than white people?
Do you have any idea how excited I am about Issue Seven?
Get used to it, Americans who weren't born in the US. (Come to think of it, that includes me.) This naturalized Indian American found out what "security" means in terms of getting his damn driver license renewed. Good for him for speaking up!
Within a month Hyphen's Body Issue (Issue #7) will be out and you'll be able to read about new research on a variety of diseases affecting Asian Americans, especially those associated with poor diet: cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Although all Asian Americans continue to be neglected by the medical research establishment, this article suggests that South Asian Americans may be disproportionately affected by the physical consequences of assimilation.
Have you guys seen this article in the New York Times from two days ago? The Syrian-born naturalized Canadian citizen who was snatched in Kennedy airport and deported to Syria to be tortured because the US gov't decided he was a member of Al Qaeda is suing. The government is now arguing in court that "Foreign citizens who change planes at airports in the United States can legally be seized, detained without charges, deprived of access to a lawyer or the courts, and even denied basic necessities like food." For some reason, it's the last item that gets to me. Denied food? Why would you want to do that?
I don't have much comment about this story, because it just makes me too angry and sad. These three Iranian brothers, one of whom came to the U.S. for his education and the other two who came over to escape the revolution, were caught in the triple bind created by our government's "war on terror", often actually a war of terror on our own residents. They've just recently been released after being detained for more than three years. Horrifyingly, their release was only secured by an investigation into the beating of one brother for standing up for an ailing fellow detainee. I love my country, but I am so ashamed of this government we allow to act in our name.
Should an industry whose sales and marketing strategies feed guns to the black market be liable for shooting deaths?
We all love stats, don't we? I love stats so much, that I made sure we did a sex survey for Issue 7 of Hyphen (out in a month! Keep your eyes peeled!) just so I could mess with stats. Sex Stats!
Until then, though, have a look at these Asian American community stats, extracted from the annual community survey, and prettily diagrammed.
In case you were wondering, the Real ID Act of 2005 (mentioned in an earlier post on this blog) passed in May. This might become another leading edge in the new war of Centralization vs. States' Rights, one with real potential, unlike the medical marijuana fight, or abortion.
It was bound to happen. Thought y'all might enjoy this.
It's from this site, created, presumably, to promote the book "Karate the Japanese Way", which title in itself begs the question. Hmmm ... self aware Asiaphilia smacks of the "asshole argument". You know the asshold argument: "Well, I'm an asshole, but at least I know I'm an asshole ..."
On the fourth of July I sat on my cousin's deck, getting a slow sunburn and eating cold potluck. So far, so American. I also fell into a brief, if inevitable, discussion on the State of the Nation with a couple of friends, one of whom, apparently, had let her affinity group disperse. The inevitable upshot of the discussion was that we all believed that the hundreds of thousands of people who marched against the war in 2003, and the millions who disapproved of it, would rise up in support of some positive action ... but that no one had yet to propose a truly effective action.
Some rumblings from that conversation and from a recent article in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, have turned my attention towards a new initiative, currently limited to San Francisco, but with the potential to become a nationwide effort.
Eww. When I said to my fellow Hyphenators that we needed more interesting, morally ambiguous, Asian Americans to write about, this wasn't exactly what I had in mind. On the other hand. She does make good copy.
Yay! If you ever worried that life in mainstream America was going to get boring, what with all the ethnic sensitivity and the lack of racism 'n' stuff, don't worry. You'll have plenty of heartburn for years to come.
In the last two weeks I've smoked approximately two packs of cigarettes directly and about twenty packs indirectly. Yep, I'm in Europe still.
Wanna see the world at work? Literally?
Hello from Wisconsin, the cheese state! And when I write "cheese", I mean it metaphorically, as well as literally. I wandered to the state capitol building yesterday (I'm in Madison, natch), drawn there by the sight of crowds and the sound of punk rock. There, at the weekly farmers market, I saw a band composed of 10 - 14 year olds, playing a remarkably competent cover of Green Day's "Longview", with a blonded woman not much older than I am -- very obviously one of the bandmembers' mothers -- dancing away furiously as he sang "My mother says to get a job but she don't like the one she's got."
The Colonial Me was born on distant shores and flew on a jet plane to a parallel life in a new land, wailing and shitting her diapers. There, a culture rich in means, but starved in education, rejected her with television and gap-filled history books, ravished her heritage with stereotypes and unbelievably corny magazine advertisements. They married and had many misunderstandings. Apparently, true multifculturalism had yet to be invented.
Need I say more? Let's just bask in the glow of that achievement for a moment ...