Posts tagged ‘race’

April 27, 2008

“Average Asian”

Haha, someone else who knows how I feel sometimes.

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August 22, 2007

An Asian-American perspective of Affirmative Action

From “Model Minority”:

Asian American status in affirmative action

Because of their high degree of success as a group, Asian Americans do not benefit from affirmative action policies the way other minority groups do. In fact, most schools routinely choose lower-scoring applicants from other racial groups, including European Americans, over Asian Americans, in an attempt to promote racial diversity and to maintain some proportion to the society’s racial demographics. [11]
A 2005 Princeton study showed Asians (not whites) bear nearly 80% of the cost of affirmative action in college admissions. Nearly four out of every five spots given to any other race in an affirmative-action regime would go to Asians in a purely merit-based system. 1


From “Affirmative Action Bake Sale”:

Asians not counted as minorities

Asians are generally not included in the minority-discount category in bake-sales because they do not benefit from affirmative action policies. For example, some schools have had restrictions on the proportion of Asian students admitted, in favor of lower scoring students of other racial groups.1 African-American Dr. Walter E. Williams, a libertarian professor of economics at George Mason University further elaborates that:

“A minority group is not (counted as) a minority if, as a group, it is successful. Asian median family income is $55,525, the highest of any racial group in America. More than 44 percent of Asians age 25 and over have bachelor’s degrees; the rate for all other Americans was 26 percent. Other indicators of group success include low crime rate and high family stability.” [1]

From “Affirmative Action in the United States”:

Libertarian view

Some free market libertarians argue that employment discrimination is only made possible by pervasive market failures. Under a regime of highly competitive labor and goods markets, companies would not be able to afford to hire on any basis other than merit. According to Libertarians, this would render affirmative action unnecessary.
Regardless of the willingness to pay and profitability for private persons or groups to discriminate, other libertarian-oriented persons further argue that affirmative action and non-discrimination policies violate individual rights of freedom of association and the enforcement of such statues violate individual freedom of speech. They argue that such central authority to dictate moral and social improvement is a power that will be fought over on all sides and ultimately cause more harm than good. For example, private female-only gyms have been forced to hire male workers, American colleges have discriminated against Asian students (on the grounds that they are “overrepresented”), and in Washington DC, individuals have been forbidden to advertise that they wish to share an apartment with another Democrat, homosexual, or with someone of similar faith. They conclude that application of affirmative action and anti-discrimination laws to the conduct or property of an individual or a private group is a threat to civil liberties.[20]

Centrist view

Certain people have a different point of view about specifically first world affirmative action which, for lack of a better word, will be referred to as “centrist” here. They claim that affirmative action makes sense, but only to the point where it helps the disadvantaged members of minorities, as opposed to the middle and upper class. They believe that affirmative action, as it is now, is not fulfilling its original purpose (to bring minorities out of poverty) as the vast majority of minorities, in the first world at least, are already middle-class. There have been cases of middle-class minorities receiving better jobs or college acceptance rates than whites of equal or lower income or social standing. According to this point of view, affirmative action should be eliminated and joined with the normal welfare system that helps both whites and blacks that are lower-class. They believe that affirmative action should only be used to bring the lower class, not a specific racial group, out of poverty. This view is particularly associated with the liberal academic and author Walter Benn Michaels. [21]


Why am I posting this? Well, with going back to school next week and hearing a discussion about affirmative action on The Ed Norris Show right now, this is a side to the debate that I do not hear people talk about!
When I first moved from Dayton, OH to Baltimore, MD in the mid-nineties, my parents had to fill out some paperwork to transfer me to the school system here. They did it all and I had nothing to do with it. I remember when they were done, they had a talk with me. They said an issue came up that hadn’t been talked about when we lived in Ohio. They didn’t know what to put down for me under the Race Category. Should they put down Asian, Caucasian, or Other? (There was no choice to put down more than one or specifically what you are if you’re multi-racial). The school counselor strongly urged them to put down Asian because this would stay on my records for years and this would supposedly help me greatly as far as getting into college. The counselor also told them to tell me I should always put down Asian on my applications to colleges in the future, so that I would have an easier time being accepted. I was slightly surprised at this because I had rarely (if ever) even heard about affirmative action until that day. I would have put down Asian regardless of all this, but now I was told this was my only choice. I just said that was fine and that was the end of it. It was done.
Fast forward a few years to my senior year of high school. I was in a class and we were having a heated debate about affirmative action. I was the first non-Caucasian person to raise my hand. When the teacher called on me to discuss this, there were these comments from classmates that went: “Of course, you like affirmative action. You benefit from it.” This was before I started talking. Then I told them something that surprised them. I said that I thought being Asian-American actually hurt my chances of getting into college more than if I were any other race. I told them the reasons I felt this way (the reasons that are stated above) and almost everyone told me I was crazy. At the time, I didn’t have the facts and figures to back up my claim. I hadn’t even heard anyone else state they thought this was true and I had certainly never read an article on this. My teacher, on the other hand, agreed with me fully! And this teacher almost never said what his opinion was on any topics. He usually stayed neutral. But he let the class know he thought I was right in this matter. He said he had known this for years. He said he knew college professors who had told him this was true. He knew Asian-American students in the past who should have been accepted to colleges but were rejected, while students of other races (including Caucasians) were accepted to those same schools and programs during the same time even though they were much less qualified.
Of course, I am not trying to re-enforce the stereotype that all Asians study hard and get good grades. Yes, I was always a good student who was on the Honor Roll/Dean’s List and took higher-level classes (Honors, Gifted/Talented, Advanced Placement, etc). But I have been told for years that for an Asian,  I’m not that studious. (Of course, that is an annoying statement). I don’t excel at math! I don’t stay at home every weekend to study – I have a social life. And this describes a lot of other Asian-Americans, not just me.
But the fact of the matter is, as a whole, we get high scores. I have heard jokes from friends that they hardly see Asians in Baltimore, but when they go into their college library, they see the most they’ve seen in their lives. (Meaning there is a much higher percentage of Asians in college than there are Asians in the general population).
I’m not saying we’re a smarter race. I’m just pointing out facts here. I think a big part of it has not only to do with the fact that standards in schools are higher in many other countries outside of North America, but also that a select population comes to this country from Asia. Think about it. It’s a lot harder for someone from Asia to move to this country than it would be for someone who lives in a neighboring country. Driving here is a lot easier and cheaper than flying here. The languages are a lot different from English than Spanish vs. English or Italian vs. English.  This makes it a lot harder to learn the language. (I know not all Asians are immigrants. There are some who have been here for years and are second, third, etc. generation. But you get my point). So you’re not going to get as many Asians coming to this country as you would of people from counties which are closer. You’re going to get those who really want to come here and work hard to do so. You’re going to be more likely to get the “top” people of their communities because they are the ones who have a strong work ethic and a drive to succeed.
Here’s my point. Asian-Americans are discriminated just as much, if not more, as other “minorities” do right now. We have been treated unfairly in this nation’s past. Sure, most public schools do not teach this. They talk about how African-Americans or Jewish people have had it hard, but they usually skip all the stuff that happened to Asians (and other groups). But just because they don’t teach it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen! If you don’t know, look it up. I’m not going to say that we had it as bad as slavery, but there were some major injustices. We were segregated. Most people I talk to aren’t even aware of the internment camps, which happened as recently as the 1940s! This wasn’t talked about in school. We celebrate Black History Month, but do any of you know when Asian Pacific American Heritage month is? Did you even know it existed at all? Because I didn’t until I was curious and looked it up on the internet about ten years ago. The ch word or the g word is spoken on television but the n word or the k word are almost always bleeped out. I could go on and on about discrimination of Asian-Americans (and I probably will in a future post), but the point is this: Affirmative Action was put into place to help “even out” the injustices of discrimination. But this hurts us and if you believe in affirmative action, I would think you would agree we have been discrimated against and therefore should benefit from this. Right? I am making sense here?
I believe if we are going to keep Affirmative Action, things need to change. Not only because of the Asian-American issues. But it seems like some of the wrong people are benefiting from affirmative action. I hear reports about how many privileged, African-American students from well-off families (who don’t  need as much assistance) will be able to use this to their advantage while poorer, under-privileged African-American students who are much more disadvantaged are turned away even though they are intelligent, hard-working, and well-achieving students. This has been said about other minority groups. So who are we really helping? We might be hurting people more than we are helping certain others.
We can have the debate whether or not affirmative action should exist at all. But that’s another discussion. If it is going to exist, it needs to adapt to the changes of society. Rules about other things change based on changes in the world and changes in time and affirmative action should also be adjusted accordingly. Just exactly how should we change things? That’s a complicated matter that doesn’t have a simple solution. All I do know for sure is that something does need to be improved.

July 18, 2007

L.A.M.E. – Gwen Stefani sues.

Taken from: http://omg.yahoo.com/gwen-stefani-sues-forever-21-over-fashion-logo/news/1052

(CLICK HERE to view the lawsuit against Forever 21)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (July 17, 2007) — It appears Gwen Stefani doesn’t “Heart” Forever 21.

Gwen’s Harajuku Lovers fashion line is suing popular retail outlet Forever 21 for trademark infringement, claiming the clothing chain allegedly stole designs from the Harajuku Lovers line, Access Hollywood has learned.

In papers filed in Los Angeles Federal Court, reps for Gwen’s Harajuku Lovers claim Forever 21 is marketing, promoting and selling products featuring a design “virtually indistinguishable” from Harajuku’s signature heart/box logo.

The lawsuit claims Forever 21 “changed a couple of words in the Heart/Box Trademark, which are inconspicuous and likely to go unnoticed by a consumer.”

Specifically, the lawsuit claims Forever 21 used the design but changed the word “Harajuku” to “Forever” and the word “Lovers” to “Love.”

As a result of the chain using a similar image, Harajuku has allegedly “suffered and continues to suffer damage to its business reputation.”

Gwen launched the accessory line in 2005 to coincide with her Harajuku Lovers Tour.

 


Here’s what I think:
1). How about Asians and Asian-Americans sue Gwen for defamation of character? Those stereotypical, “Harajuku” girls are a disgrace, a minstrel show, and just plain horrible. She practically has them made up in Yellow Face. (Don’t tell me “Well, they are getting paid well to do this”. Prostitutes are also getting paid, but that doesn’t make it right. Maybe if Asians had more fair opportunities in the entertainment industry, they wouldn’t feel the need to do this). I could go on and on about this topic. But many others have done so far me already: 
Margaret Cho’s Blog Entry 
Several entries about the this on Disgrasian (Disgrasian’s Myspace profile lists her as the worst offender).
Salon.com article
The Gwen Stefani Rant! – Livejournal entry (Yes – Caucasians from Europe are upset about this, too!) 
Free The Gwenihana Four 
There are many other articles, blogs, and sites regarding this issue, but you get the point. 

2). Gwen is guilty of ripping off others, making this hypocritical. 

Sure, many if not most celebrities have copied something from others, but Gwen is worse than most. When I first heard No Doubt, the first thing I thought about Gwen’s voice was “Oh great, another female ska singer who tries to sing just like that. Boring!”.  

Her clothing, accessories, and make-up is just generic copying of cultures: 
-She stole generic trends from subcultures: She normally dresses like your typical teenaged alternative culture chick (punk/rude girl/goth/raver/freak/etc) who hangs out at the mall or at show. Yes, we dressed like this before No Doubt’s “Tragic Kingdom” came out. To most of the mainstream culture unaware of the alternative scene, Gwen was original and some even thought she invented this style. The truth is, a lot of this was already out of style and overdone in the subculture, and Gwen re-hashing it a couple years later was just a joke to us. Even in middle school, I thought Gwen’s style was equivalent to when Seventeen magazine put out articles/pictures about “How to dress like a rock chick”.  Her style is not very original and it’s watered-down.
-She has stolen from Jamaicans, African-Americans, Latinos, and Asians. (See the article above “The Gwen Stefani Rant!” for some evidence of this if you don’t remember or just plain didn’t notice this before). 
-At red carpet events, she wears very typical 1940’s fashion or complete Marilyn Monroe rip offs. This is much of what the L.A.M.B. (L.A.M.E.) line has. Wal-Mart and cheap mall stores (such as Rave, Divah, and Forever 21) have been selling basically the same things as L.A.M.B for years and for much cheaper.
-Her Harajuku Lovers line of clothing is a bad rip-off of clothing and accessories that already exist in Japan! She does a bad job of just copying off styles that already exist – either clothing sold in stores in Japan or looks that real Harajuku girls created themselves. Calling her dancers “Harajuku” girls is an insult to the real ones. 

Yes, I realize she’s not the only fashion designer or singer to steal things from others. But don’t sue a company for doing the same thing when you are guilty of it, too. Gwen most likely would never admit that she steals ideas.
 At least Forever 21 is known for being a cheap place to buy knock-offs. Which brings me to my next point…

3). Almost every designer gets their ideas stolen.

We could discuss whether or not it is right to sell knock-offs at an affordable price so that the less wealthy can afford the clothing. And we could discuss whether or not the designs were even stolen from her clothing line since the designs already existed before she created her line.  
But let’s just pretend that she did create completely original designs. How often do you  hear about real, reputable, respected high fashion designers suing? You rarely, if ever, hear about them doing this. So why is Gwen – not a reputable or highly respected designer – doing it?

Miranda (Meryl Streep) from “The Devil Wears Prada” explains it like this:
“This… ’stuff’? Oh… ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff.”

A cheap-looking tank top that I’ve basically seen being sold at Divah, Rave, and Forever 21 four years ago is being sold  by L.A.M.B. for 138.75. Pathetic.

Maybe if Gwen was ever an actual rude girl or punk in the first place, she would not only be more original, she would sell her clothing more affordably. Then again, she did grow up a rich, spoiled girl  from Orange County and only ever joined a band because her brother, Eric, started the band and wrote most of the lyrics before leaving the band.

 

June 25, 2007

I changed my ethnic background on Myspace

I decided to tweak my Myspace profile under the ethnicity category.  Although I am more Asian than anything else, I just didn’t feel totally honest having that as my official race on my profile.  I feel like I am excluding other parts of my close family who are also a big part of who I am by just putting down one race. However, I do not want to put down “Other” as my ethnic background, either.  I put down EurAsian, Hapa, Caucinasian (I’m Irish/British, 1/8 American Indian, and 1/2 Korean, among other categories) and Amerasian (which is arguable since there are different definitions for the term “Amerasian”).

Some people think it might be ridiculous to have these terms for mixed races. They might think it’s going too far or getting too specific. But really, would those people feel comfortable denying one of their parents or grandparents?  Those people also probably don’t realize or forget that Hispanic is an ethnicity that is a mix of other ethnicities (Amerindian, Spanish, sometimes African/Black descent).

Taken from http://www.projectrace.com/aboutprojectrace:

About Project RACE

Biracial and multiracial people do not have a box to check on forms. Being forced to choose only one race forces us to deny one of our parents. It also requires us to do something illegal, since we are defining ourselves as something we are not.

Multiracial people should have the option of recognizing all of their heritage. “Multiracial” is important so that children have an identity, a correct terminology for who they are. “Other” means different, a label that no person should bear. Also, without proper racial and ethnic classifications, multiracial people are “invisible” in the health care system.

Mission Statement

Project RACE advocates for multiracial children and adults through education, community awareness and legislation. Our main goal is for a multiracial classification on all school, employment, state, federal, local, census and medical forms requiring racial data.