Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Long Duk Dong Revisited on NPR

If we needed another reason to pitch in and not tune out during the next interminable on-air fundraising drive...

Hat's off to NPR's All Things Considered for its story this week, Long Duk Dong: Last of the Hollywood Stereotypes?, reported by Alison MacAdam.
Okay, maybe for most Villagers, the story will be preaching to the converted. But it's gratifying to hear the story explored in a more-or-less mainstream media forum like this, since most of us have long, long ago given bothering to try to explain to people, "What's wrong with the Donger". The story includes interviews with the ill-fated JA actor, Gedde Watanabe, and the publishers of Giant Robot.
Happily, NPR has also annotated the online version with both a discussion forum and a "Donger and Me" comic strip by one of the editors' old favorite artists, Adrian Tomine (see Tomine's Shortcomings).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Release: NAPAWF Denounces Ad Campaign for "Chinese Laundry" Fusion Restaurant

March 18, 2008

METRO WASHINGTON, DC - The National Asian Pacific American Women's
Forum (NAPAWF) joins community members and activists in expressing
deep objection to an ad campaign printed in February and March of this
year to publicize a new Asian fusion restaurant owned by Chow Fun Food
Group, Inc.

A print advertisement in last month's Providence Monthly magazine
signaled the upcoming opening of Chinese Laundry, an Asian fusion
restaurant in downtown Providence, RI, built on the site of a former
Chinese laundry business that closed six years ago. The advertisement
prominently featured a black and white image of a faceless nude female
torso with traditional Chinese characters tattooed down the side of
her body, and a black banner containing the text "see what you are
missing" across her breasts. A bar of text across the top of the
advertisement read, "good things come to those who wait." Earlier this
month, the advertisement was again printed in Providence Monthly, this
time with the words, "the wait is over." See www.napawf.org/blog to
view the actual advertisement.

In an apparent response to public objection to the advertisement led
by Asian American activists, Chow Fun Food Group owner John Elkhay
recently announced that the ad campaign will be pulled.

This is only a first step. NAPAWF denounces the Chow Fun Food Group
for leveraging, in this marketing campaign, the lowest common
denominators of Asian female exoticism and the commodification of a
generalized Asian culture. NAPAWF is also disturbed by the flippancy
with which the restaurant appropriated the name "Chinese Laundry"
without recognition of the significance that line of business played
in Chinese American history and oppression.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Chinese Americans were
largely forced to enter the laundering business due to intense
discrimination that closed the door of opportunity to most other forms
of work. Chinese Americans came to be associated with the laundry
business because, as with railroad work during the mid-19th century,
it was one of the few available industries that Chinese workers could
enter into to pursue a livelihood. Mr. Elkhay clearly missed the mark
in naming his restaurant "Chinese Laundry" to "honor the time honored
traditions of those before us," as Mr. Elkhay has stated.

Similarly, the advertisements' evocations of passive, faceless
hypersexuality resurrect the struggles that Asian American and Pacific
Islander women have historically fought against. For centuries, Asian
American and Pacific Islander women have been represented as objects
of submission, foreignness and sexual exoticism. The advertisement is
proof that this "orientalism" continues today.

NAPAWF calls on Mr. Elkhay to take seriously his own proclaimed desire
to respect the cultures that he seeks to profit from, by acknowledging
their histories and realities rather than by packaging them into
offensive and oppressive pop culture quips. We urge Mr. Elkhay, as a
successful business owner, to wield his powers of publicity in ways
that are constructive to dismantling, rather than propagating, culture
and gender oppression.

Send a message to the Chow Fun Food Group! Go to
http://www.petitiononline.com/providen/petition.html to sign a
petition calling on Mr. Elkhay to issue a formal apology and
discontinue this "business practice."

Please contact Bonnie at bchan@napawf.org for more info or if you would like to get involved in
local campaign efforts.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Campus Lockdown: Women of Color Negotiating the Academic Industrial Complex

Saturday, March 15, 2008, 10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Michigan Union, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
For more information & to register online: http://www.woclockdown.org/

Campus Lockdown: Women of Color Negotiating the Academic Industrial Complex is a conference organized by undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Michigan. Its aim is to promote dialogue on the politics of women of color scholarship in a post-Proposal 2 (anti-Affirmative Action) environment. Women scholars of color from universities across the country will participate in critical discussions of a host of issues relating to politics, pedagogy, and campus climate for women devoted to pubic scholarship. The conference is intended as an organized community forum space and all attendees are encouraged to contribute to the day's ongoing conversations.

Piya Chatterjee, University of California, Riverside
Angela Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz (via teleconference)
Rosa Linda Fregoso, University of Southern California
Ruthie Gilmore, University of Southern California
Fred Moten, Duke University
Clarissa Rojas, San Francisco State University
Haunani-Kay Trask, University of Hawai'I

CO-SPONSORS: University of Michigan Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies Program, Center for the Education of Women, Department of History of Art, Department of Women’s Studies, Division of Student Affairs, Michigan Student Assembly, Museum Studies Program, Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs, Students of Color of Rackham Native Caucus, William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center, Women of Color in the Academy Project

Thursday, March 06, 2008

"Asian-Pacific American Women's Wall of Fame"

It's back! Our annual Asian American Village Women's History Month commemoration of the APA women who have made history, these pages and a difference.

Help us keep this annual, ever-growing, Villager-built tradition alive by adding your own "brick".

Tell us:

Which APA women do you feel have made the most meaningful difference in shaping our lives, our community and nation -- and why?
This year, we're going to try taking nominations here through the blog, so please leave us a comment with your nomination. And PLEASE, don't just a send us a name that's already on the Wall -- instead, tell us why you nominate her and what is remarkable about her. Use purple prose, add links, whatever you like!

International Women's Day

http://womensvillage.blogspot.com/: "March 8 is International Women's Day

March 8 is International Women's Day

Visit the official IWD site to learn more, support it, get a logo link to display on your site.

Also added this week at IMDiversity.com:
Women's History Month Profile 2008
Annual Census release paints statistical portrait of U.S. women at work, school, home, business and beyond

More readings will be added to our Women's Village news section and in other villages throughout the month, including updates to the annual Asian Pacific American Wall of Fame at the Women's History Month @ Asian American Village and the Women's History Month - Latina Wall of Fame at Hispanic American Village, and more...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang on CTN TV

See our own Frances Kai-Hwa Wang moderating a book discussion group for William Poy Lee's The Eighth Promise as part of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads "China and America: Bridging Two Worlds" on Community Television Network (CTN) Access Ann Arbor (Channel 17)
Airing February 24, 26, 27, 28, 29; March 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 2008