What does it mean to be Asian American?
Dispatches from Asian America
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Who are Asian Americans? Are they the remnants of the "yellow peril" portrayed in the media through stories on Asian street gangs, unscrupulous political fundraisers, and crafty nuclear spies? Or are they the "model minority" that the media present as consistently outranking European Americans in math scores and violin performances?
In this funny, sobering, and always enlightening collection, journalist William Wong comments on these and other anomalies of the Asian American experience. From its opening tribute to the Oakland Chinatown of Wong's childhood to its closing tribute to Tiger Woods, Yellow Journalist portrays the many-sided legacies of exclusion and discrimination. The stories, columns, essays, and commentaries in this collection tackle such persistent problems as media racism, criminality, inter-ethnic tensions, and political marginalization. As a group, they make a strong case for the centrality of the Asian American historical experiences in U.S. race relations.
The essays cover many subjects, from the personal to policy, from the serious to the silly. You will learn a little Asian American history and a lot about the nuances and complexities of the contemporary Asian American experience. If there is an overriding theme of these stories and essays, it is the multi-faceted adaptation of ethnic Asians to the common American culture, the intriguing roles that they play in our society, and the quality of their achievements to contribute to a better society.
Bill Wong's high school journalism teacher took him aside during his senior year and told him he would have to be "twice as good" to succeed at his chosen profession. Succeed he did, and "twice as good" he is. As Darrell Hamamoto remarks in his Foreword, "'Chinaman,' Chinese American, Asian American; any way you slice it, Bill Wong is one straight-up righteous Yellow Man."
"One of the advantages of having a writer of Bill Wong's talent around is that we don't have to depend upon intermediaries and go-betweens to give us insights about issues affecting Asian-Americans. He is often entertaining, and ironic, but underneath it all is a serious mind devoted to shattering myths about one of our fastest growing minorities."
"It is about time that America meet William Wongan icon in journalism whose experience as a second generation Chinese-American has given him a unique lens through which life in America can be examined. For almost two decades, his columns in the Oakland Tribune and other San Francisco bay area newspapers have captured a different kind of reality about some of our most important social, cultural, and political moments. Wong's readiness to share his family, his community, and his conscience allows readers to cross a bridge into the world of Asian America. Whether it is an analysis of the 1996 campaign finance scandals or a perspective on how parent pressures and bi-cultural conflicts can play out in a young Asian American teen's life, Wong's skillful weaving of humor, irony, and poignant portrayals of the circumstances make each story linger long past the final sentence of his essay."
"...an anthology of Wong's best writing from the last decade and a half, covering an impressive array of topics and tone."
"[Wong] uses essays, columns and commentaries to provide an insider's view of the mosaic of experiences of Asian Americans."
The 3 June 2005 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle featured a column by William Wong about bigotry in the 49ers' training videos.
Series Foreword by Darrell Y. Hamamoto
1. Hometown: In the Shadow of San Francisco
2. Family: From Agrarianism to Cyberspace
3. History: From Exclusion to Confusion
4. Immigration: Huddled Masses
5. Identity and Acculturation: Visibility Invisible
6. Anti-Asian Racism: Forever Foreigner
7. Class: Yin and Yang
8. Affirmative Action: The Myth of Meritocracy
9. Gender: He Said, She Said
10. Race Relations: Why Can't We All Get Along?
11. Politics: A Seat at the Table
12. Crime: Bang, Bang, You’re Dead
13. Stars: I AM Somebody
In the series
Mapping Racisms, edited by Jo Carrillo, Darrell Y. Hamamoto, Rodolfo D. Torres, and E. Frances White.
The books in Mapping Racisms, edited by Jo Carrillo, Darrell Y. Hamamoto, Rodolfo D. Torres, and E. Frances White, assess the changing nature and meaning of racialized social relations in the United States. Although many of the works in the series are expected to be cultural, socio-economic, and historical studies devoted to a single ethnic group, the editors are especially interested in manuscripts that explore comparisons among these groups and analyze contemporary expressions of racialized relations and identities in the context of demographic shifts, changing class formations, and new forms of global dislocation. The aim of the series is to publish books that are analytical and rigorous, but at the same time appealing to a general audience.