Victoria grew up in Northern Virginia and attended the College of William & Mary, majoring in English and minoring in Art. Heeding the siren call of activism and negative 30-degree weather, she received her M.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University and worked as a communications specialist at an office supply company in Chicago, where she takes great pride in asking deeply probing questions about laminators and writing run-on sentences. She recently relocated to the Washington, D.C. area. Victoria knows a lot about giraffes, the Kardashians, Harry Potter, and ways to prevent scurvy.
While researching the Chinese Exclusion Era as a graduate student, history professor Erika Lee stumbled upon her grandmother's wedding photo in an Alien File. This photo, and her grandmother's story, are among many immigrant stories told in an exhibit at the National Archives.
Up-and-coming designer Jenny Lai of NOT talks to Hyphen about her design aesthetic, Asian Americans in the fashion industry, and where NOT fits into the global market.
Last week, the House of Representatives voted on the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), a bill sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) to fight “a war on unborn little girls” among Asian immigrants. But does such a threat even exist in the Asian American community?
Hyphen interviews actor Justin Lee about Arrested Development, his new web series, and his dream roles.
Washington, DC, celebrates the 100th anniversary of Tokyo's gift of 3,000 cherry trees as a symbol of friendship between the US and Japan. But in the midst of the festivities, let's not forget our darker history.
That dream of holding office may be closer than you think. In recent years, a record number of leaders has emerged from the Asian American community.
Civil rights activist Fred Korematsu became the first Asian American to be part of the National Portrait Gallery's permanent collection.
Helping us celebrate the launch of Hyphen's Issue 24 -- The Survival Issue -- is hip hop group DLRN.
Call me old-fashioned or idealistic, but there is something really touching about the Four Freedoms paintings Norman Rockwell produced during World War II. Though we live in a different political landscape today, those freedom are no less alive than they were in the 1940s.
Alabama's House Bill 56 -- which prohibits businesses from making contracts with undocumented workers -- shows early signs of hurting industries across the state.
When an event begins with something like, “Yes, it’s meant to be racist and discriminatory,” you can probably guess that some people are going to be upset. That’s exactly what UC Berkeley’s Campus Republicans did with their pay-by-the-race bake sale.
Portraiture Now: Portraits of Asian American Encounter -- an exhibit featuring the works of seven contemporary Asian American artists -- runs through October 14, for free, at the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
Want to see more Asian American faces in the mainstream media? Here are three great Asian American film projects that could use your support.
Like many people from Northern Virginia, I’ve often resisted the label of being called a Southerner. Yes, Virginia did secede with the Confederacy during the Civil War. And yes, many of our roadways are named after Confederate generals and military folk. But, being from Northern Virginia, the idea of Southern hospitality and gentle mien is as foreign to us as discretion is for the unfortunately named Anthony Weiner.
This Chinese American cinematographer's creative genius would garner him 10 Academy Award nominations and two wins – at a time when he also came head to head with anti-miscegenation laws and strong anti-immigrant sentiment.
From “anchor babies” to “tourism babies,” the wee ones just can’t seem to catch a break.
In the last year, the news media has been peppered with stories about illegal immigrants sneaking across our borders to have children and then staying in the country to raise them as US citizens. Cue the arguments about anchor babies not paying taxes, depleting US resources, making a mockery of the Constitution, et cetera.
Hyphen writers Victoria Yue and Mic Nguyen take a look at the disproportionate number of Asian Americans on Yelp as compared to the general population. Based in Chicago, Victoria is addicted to random personal anecdotes and Red Mango’s discontinued Tangonium yogurt. Michael lives and writes in Brooklyn, and is championing a new food pyramid in which every step is pizza.
It was curiously fun, and now they’re both hungry.
Having missed the memo on outdated racial stereotypes, social critic Caitlin Flanagan keeps the fear alive in her recent article in The Atlantic, where she discusses the paranoia that Western white ‘good mothers’ have about all these gosh darn upstart Asian robots taking Junior’s place at Yale and how it’s all because of these insane Asian women parceling out switchings like cough lozenges.
Though I now live in the perpetual grey wasteland that is a Midwestern winter, my thoughts turn frequently eastward to my home state of Virginia. Besides boasting a relatively milder winter season than the Midwest, it’s also the proud exporter of tobacco, ham and peanuts. (Making us also proud contributors to US rates of cancer, obesity and nut allergy.) In recent months, it’s added another exciting item to its list. No, it’s not the nationwide proliferation of Five Guys. I’m talking about immigration crackdown.
While national attention is focused on giving undocumented students the opportunity to go to college, Asian American students face the peculiar dilemma of being too over-achieving to qualify as a minority, despite making up less than 5 percent of the US population.
When I was in grad school, one of our journalism instructors told us that we were not, under any circumstance, to begin a story with “Who hasn’t…?” as this invites the reader to say, “Well, no, actually, I haven’t grown a giant carnivorous plant that developed a taste for roast turkey but ended up munching on the family dog. So this story must not pertain to me.” Then you lose the reader, lose your job, lose your house, lose your dog in a freak flesh-eating plant accident, etc. It’s all very dreary.
This picture is from a Thanksgiving Day meal at the Rohwer Relocation Camp’s staff mess-hall in McGehee, AR, 1942. Though accurate population statistics were hard to come by, due to the constant movement in the internment of Japanese Americans, Rohwer is estimated to have held about 8,475 people at its peak. Almost 30 percent of those were children.
One of my college friends works for the Foundation for the National Archives -- which, just by the way, is like the coolest job on earth, because she basically spends all day looking at pictures of history. Knowing my fascination with Asian American history and culture, my former suitemate will often send me images that she thinks I’d be interested in. This has been going on for several months, and it occurred to me that other people might be interested in them, too.
Coming from a rather short family (even by Asian standards), losing track of my family members in public places has become something of a tradition. Our usual solution involves using a jump-look technique, which consists of 1. jumping and 2.quickly scanning over the tops of the aisles for other jump-lookers, aka the people you came into the store with. If you ever see people popping up and down aisles like flailing psychotic prairie dogs in a Best Buy, well, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve just spotted my family.
James Kyson Lee participated in McDonald’s guest speaker series Saturday at the Canaan Vision Center in Glenview Illinois. Hyphen was invited to act as a moderator for the event. Here are some excerpts from his appearance.
Thanks for joining us today, James. ... This morning’s topic is focused on “Following Your Passion.” Can you talk about what made you want to follow your passion and pursue a career in acting?
I might be dating myself here (chronologically, not like, romantically, because that’s weird), but the bulk of my childhood was spent growing up in the Age of the Supermodels. The mile-long legs, high cheekbones and bedroom eyes of Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, and Christie Brinkley formed my earliest standards of beauty. Even the heroines of my imagination were of that All-American cast: Nancy Drew in all her incarnations; twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield and their adventures in Sweet Valley; the Tanner sisters from Full House.
Hyphen blogger Victoria Yue talks to NBA rookie Jeremy Lin and challenges him to a game of one-on-one.
Last month, Rich Cho of the Portland Trail Blazers became the first Asian American General Manager in the NBA. Rich kindly took time from his busy work schedule to talk candidly to Hyphen about his passion for sports, his love of sushi and the three things he’d bring with him on a desert island.
So I was on Facebook the other day and noticed a link posted by a friend I went to college with: Is Virginia the Next Arizona? My friend, now a law student at Ohio State, had prefaced the link with: “Be careful.”
I have a friend who drinks hot coffee through a straw. The first time I saw her stick a straw through the lid of her coffee cup, I honestly thought that she had made a mistake.
“It’s the best way to drink coffee, ya’ll!” she said cheerfully (she’s a Southern belle).
Naturally, I was quite dubious about her claims. But I was curious, so one day, I, too, put a straw in my coffee.
Oddly enough, she was right. A straw makes it much easier to drink when driving because you don’t have to tilt your head back. Depending on the type of lid, a firmly wedged straw helps keep the coffee from spilling out. And, if you’re of the easily-amused persuasion, you can blow bubbles into your drink. By the end of the quarter, the majority of coffee drinkers in our class had spiked their cups with green and orange straws.
Okay, so I realize that the headline doesn’t actually make that much sense when you see the DREAM acronym spelled out, but I can never resist a good (or bad) pun. DREAM stands for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which is a proposed federal legislation that would permit undocumented immigrant students, who are otherwise law-abiding citizens, a chance to apply citizenship.
This was supposed to be a post about the latest chapter in the immigration saga, but I got sidetracked by an octopus. I might have a college degree, but I also have the attention span of five-year-old in an aquarium. Here’s what’s on my radar:
I’m not really what you call a “sports person.” I can’t tell the difference between a hockey run and a basketball goal, and have trouble distinguishing between offense and defense.
If the United States were a high school that all the states attended, then Arizona and Nebraska are competing to be the Drama Queen of the 2010 Immigration Dance. It’s like Mean Girls, except no one gets a piece of Lindsay Lohan’s crown and there’s no cheery “We’re all the same, so let’s treat each other with respect” message at the end.
Just in time for the summer, Arizona is introducing a new term to mainstream vernacular: “anchor babies.”
Sure, the term conjures up images of tots in little sailor caps, playfully dumping sand on each other and trying to maneuver little plastic boats through makeshift moats. But on the political scene, “anchor babies” is a term that could not be farther from the image of a happy toddler in the sun. It’s used to refer to children of undocumented imnmigrants who were born in the US -- children who are seen as “legal weights” holding the "illegal" parents in America.
When FlashForward goes off the air this summer, we won’t just be seeing the last of one of the very few Asian American leading men on a TV show; it will also be end of one of the even fewer depictions of Asian American men in interracial relationships on network television.
As a progressive feminist-type, I am obligated first to say that beauty pageants are appalling, superficial, etcetera. As a closet girly-girl, I am fascinated by them, in kind of the same way my inner bad-ass is with tattoos. So yes, I watched Miss USA on Sunday, and it was awesome. But initially, I wasn’t that impressed by Rima Fakih of Dearborn, Michigan, who won the title of Miss USA 2010. Don’t get me wrong: she looked amazing. But what was with her weird interjections in the middle of answering her question?
Admit it: you let out a giggle when you saw a cautionary sign translated to read “The Little Grass Is Sleeping. Please Don’t Disturb It.” And you're smirking at the photo.