The 2015 edition of The Best American Poetry published a poem titled The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve written by Yi-Fen Chou. However, it was discovered that the actual person behind the feminine Asian name is a White male named Michael Derrick Hudson. He claimed that he wrote under Yi-Fen Chou pseudonym because his poetry was rejected over 40 times when he submitted his poems under his real name.
Asian Americans around the country are in uproar over Hudson’s actions. Professor Timothy Yu of University of Wisconsin-Madison spoke out against Hudson’s additions to “yellowface” racism and people’s ignorance of “political correctness”.
People are also upset with Sherman Alexie, the editor of the edition, because he kept the poem in the edition even after learning about Hudson’s identity. He also acknowledged that he originally looked for a diverse voice for the publication and the name, Yi-Fen Chou, initially drew his attention to the poem.
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Asians and Asian Americans have one of the lowest voter’s registration in history. But recently, presidential debates have put Asians and Asian Americans in the spotlight—and not in a positive way.
Donald Trump, front runner of the GOP, proposed to end birthright citizenship. Jeb Bush, another GOP candidate, added to the controversial topic by bringing up the term “anchor baby”.
An “anchor baby” is in reference to children who are born to a noncitizen mother on US soil in order to gain citizenship or legal residency. Jeb Bush then further clarified that he meant Asians—not immigrants, but just Asians. United States v. Wong Kim and the 14th amendment protects anyone born in the United States and their citizenship. Yet, Jeb Bush continues to target and use the term, “anchor baby”.
In response to Jeb Bush’s statements, Asian Americans around the country have been posting on twitter, using #MyAsianAmericanStory, and expressing how “anchor baby” is discriminative terminology. Donald Trump has also voiced his thoughts on twitter as well. Hilary Clinton took a more actionable role by hiring Lisa Changadveja, daughter of Thai immigrant parents, as her AAPI Outreach Director.
The term alone creates a “xenophobic fear to further isolate immigrants” as Congresswoman Judy Chu stated.
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Simon Tam, founder of the Asian-American punk rock band—The Slants, came by Indiana University Bloomington as the Keynote speaker for the first ever Indiana Asian American Conference. He spoke briefly about the current ongoing case involving the band’s name—The Slants. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board deemed the name to be “disparaging”, but nevertheless, the band continues to fight for their First Amendment right.
The Slants is not the only case out there facing the same accusations and restraints. The football team, Redskins, is also considered falling within a “disparaging” group. The federal statute prohibits marks to be registered if deemed “disparaging”, meaning that the trademark law will not stop people from infringing on Redskins goods but they are still allowed to use their name. The cases go much deeper than trademark law; it questions those groups’ rights to the First Amendment. The government allows promoting private speech, including tax exemptions for churches, schools, etc. However, the government will not allow the freedom of speech if it considers the speech to be seen as itself speaking. Generally, the government does not want trademarks, including The Slants, to publicly associate itself with the government’s views.
The Slants case will be heard on October 2. Their case will set precedent.
What are your opinions on the matter? Some of you even had the opportunity to listen to Simon Tam’s story. Leave your comments below!
Hawaii’s population composes of over 70% non-white and over 50% Asian or Pacific-Islander. Yet consistently in movies, such as The Descendants, 50 First Dates, Blue Crush, Pearl Harbor, the cast excludes people of color—the very people who live there; therefore, dubbing the term “whitewashing”.
The new movie, Aloha, directed by Cameron Crowe has been accused of “whitewashing” the cast. The cast includes Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, and John Kransinski. While the cast is comprised of well-known award winning actors, none of them represents the Hawaii Natives. Emma Stone was casted to play Allison Ng, a ¼ Chinese, ¼ Pacific Islander, and ½ Swedish pilot. Her physical image of blond hair, blue eyes, and freckles, begs the question: Are you sure she’s supposed to be Asian?
Aloha was supposed to be a film capturing an aspect of “the spirit of Hawaii”. But critics wrote about the film’s many shortcomings. Of course, Hollywood, in general, has been known to whitewash casts in the past.
Remember to leave your comments, and let us know your opinions as well! Below, is a news article for reference and a Youtube link to Comedian David So’s opinion.