Afro Asia

Revolutionary Political and Cultural Ties Between African Americans and Asian Americans

August 1, 2008

Edited by Fred Ho and Bill V. Millen (Duke University Press)

Perhaps Kenneth Eng of the infamous AsianWeek "Why I Hate Black People" column would have had a greater context if someone had handed him this powerful anthology. Driven mainly by the life work of Asian American activist and baritone saxophone player Fred Ho, Afro Asia is strongest when exploring the fascinating and revolutionary political connections of the 1960s and 1970s. The second section contains two statements by Mao condemning racism against African Americans, an in-depth essay by Robin D.G. Kelly entitled Black Like Mao, which further analyzes the influence of Mao on the black revolutionaries in America, and a piece that examines the lives of Yuri Kochiyama and Black Panther Field Marshall Richard Aoki. Not to be missed are essays exploring the connection between black culture and martial arts and an excellent one about Asian Americans and hip-hop by spoken word artist Thien-bao Thuc Phi. Any contributions by or about South Asian Americans are conspicuously missing, especially when Vijay Prashad's book, Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting, (exploring the same topic) is referenced a handful of times. But still, Afro Asia is an important educational tool to understand the connections between these two communities. -Neelanjana Banerjee

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