I am an American, not an Asian-American. My rejection of hyphenation has been called race treachery, but it is really a demand that America deliver the promises of its dream to all its citizens equally.
Within the model minority rhetoric, Asian Americans are represented as “good” minorities and African Americans are represented as “bad” minorities. Here, the achievements of Asian Americans are used to discipline African Americans. As model minorities, Asian Americans achieved the status of “honorary Whites”. Again it is important to point out that the honorary whiteness of Asian Americans was granted at the expense of Blacks. It is also significant that as “honorary Whites,” Asian Americans do not have the actual privileges associated with “real” whiteness.
We cannot educate white women and take them by the hand. Most of us are willing to help but we can't do the white woman's homework for her. That's an energy drain. More times than she cares to remember, Nellie Wong, Asian American feminist writer, has been called by white women wanting a list of Asian American women who can give readings or workshops. We are in danger of being reduced to purveyors of resource lists.
It was hard for me to do the show (All American Girl) because a lot of people didn't even understand the concept of Asian-American. I was on a morning show, and the host said, 'Awright, Margaret, we're changing over to an ABC affiliate! So why don't you tell our viewers in your native language that we're making that transition?' So I looked at the camera and said, 'Um, they're changing over to an ABC affiliate'.
There have been, in recent years, many Asian American pioneers in the public eye who've defied the condescendingly complimentary 'model minority' stereotype: actors like Lucy Liu, artists like Maya Lin, moguls like Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. They are known, often admired.
For me, I'm just trying to be the best at what I do. I'll wave an Asian American flag if I get that opportunity. I'm not hiding or trying to discredit my background or anything, I just haven't had the opportunity.
Kusewera, an organization that fosters orphanages in Africa and the Philippines and encourages through creative play and education. Anything and everything that supports cancer research. East West Players, the oldest and biggest Asian American theater in the U.S.
I think we have to really focus on the issues much more than we may have in the past. I think we have to seek to create coalitional strategies that go beyond racial lines. We need to bring black communities, Chicano communities, Puerto Rican communities, Asian American communities together.