Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Jon Stewart + Bill Moyers = heaven

I just saw Bill Moyers' interview with Jon Stewart, and it's everything I have been wanting journalists to say for the past 6 years. Oh wait, Jon Stewart isn't a journalist, he's a political cartoon (by his own admission!)

Two liberal icons, doing what they do best. So cute! Moyers says the only reason he's on PBS is because he applied to be a correspondent on the Daily Show, but he was rejected. Stewart says that the show has standards, and anyone with as much journalistic experience and credibility as Moyers cannot be on his show. Stewart compares Gonzales to a pinhead and his relationship to Bush to DeNiro in Goodfellas.

Also compares the DC press corps relationship to DC establishment and the Bush administration to the Harlem Globetrotters playing the DC Generals: they play each other every week, they know they have to play each other, and they are accustomed to the game.

Stewart also discusses what he was thinking when he was interviewing McCain recently: "Are his long enough to connect with me if he reaches across?" The moment in which John McCain calls Stewart "my friend" is such a steely-edged one that I could hear the flash of anger in McCain's voice.

Stewart tells the truth about the Iraq War: "So they have a really delicate balance to walk between keeping us relatively fearful, but not so fearful that we stop what we're doing and really examine how they have been waging this."

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Stupid joke: a guy with a pantyhose mask

I saw this on youtube, and I thought it was one of the stupidest pranks I've ever seen. Some British comedian/talk show host thought it was funny to go into stores and restaurants wearing a black jacket and a pantyhose mask over his head. He calls it a "bit of an experiment." "I reckon it's really discriminatory, I reckon it's a really good look. Recently I've taken to wearing one as a fashion statement."

He knows the first thing people associate with this getup is a bank robber, and yet he thinks it's funny to go into convenience shops, noodle restaurants, book stores, etc. like this. Horrified store employees and owners run away, shriek, cower under tables, and one guy calls the cops. Many of the employees are Asian. One guy says, "You are a robber, you are robbing me!" The idiot comedian says, "No, I just want some noodles."

The guy is lucky he:

1) Didn't get arrested;
2) Didn't get shot;
3) Didn't get beat up for pulling such an incredibly childish prank.

Who on earth wouldn't react like the scared store owners? This isn't a funny joke, it's just sick. Sick to be playing it for laughs when in reality, convenience store employees work long hours, and those who have been held up and shot at probably wouldn't have hesitated to shoot him. And then the idiot would be dead and a horrified store owner would be charged with murder because some fool thought it was "funny" to conduct an experiment.

I don't understand the limited mental capacity of some folks.


May Day 2007

Tomorrow is May Day, and you can show your support for immigrants (Asian American and otherwise) everywhere by joining a rally or march. Check out a partial calendar here.

A recap of what we're fighting for when we say "immigration reform":
-strengthen family reunification
-a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants
-restoring due process and ending the raids
-fair labor standards

Here are some selected news clips from around the country in honor of the event:

Edison, NJ - Asians a political force in Edison
Remember Korean American Mayor Jun Choi? His election has gotten a bunch more APIAs involved in local politics, some running on opposing slates.

Boston, MA - Proposal for Non-Citizen Vote Could Affect Boston’s Asians
Sam Yoon and other progressive Boston City Councilors proposed a bill that would allow green card holders to vote in municipal elections. If passed, that could translate into as many as 20,000 more Asian American votes, which would dramatically alter the city's political landscape.

Wash, DC - Immigration bill triggers Asian American uproar
Filipinos with close relatives in the United States now have to wait from five up to 20 years for immigrant petitions to push through. But now, the White House wants to scrap the practice altogether, triggering a howl of protest from the immigrant community here.

President Bush will reportedly move for the elimination of all family based immigrant visas as part of "draconian measures" to reform the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA).

That's all for now folks. Tomorrow promises to be excellent weather, so go out and support your parents, friends, neighbors, and co-workers by marching for justice.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Fmr. US Attorney Carol Lam honored

As Attorney of the Year by the San Diego County Bar Association. The Bar Ass'n claims that it's non-political, but

The background is that Lam was one of 8 US Attorneys fired nationally by Republicans in the Department of Justice for not being enough of a partisan hack. (She is a registered Republican btw...or was. I'd switch parties after being treated like this.)

She conscientiously did her job and prosecuted white collar criminals. She came under attack when she DID HER JOB and investigated former Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham for his acceptance of over $1 million in bribes and for his involvement with disgraced GOP uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The official line is that she was fired for not hunting down enough undocumented immigrants (cos the GOP would rather prosecute those who have very little money rather than their corporate cronies) but she was one of eight outstanding and highly qualified individuals who had been given very high reviews from the DOJ.

Anyway, it's nice to see a fair and impartial APIA woman getting her due, even though she lost her job. We need more public servants like her in high positions.

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Ice cream resentment

You know how when you're really looking forward to eating something that's been very well hyped, and the sense of craving overtakes you and you get there, and well, it doesn't quite perform the way you expected? Today this happened to me.

I recently ate some nationally acclaimed ice cream, which is supposed to be made of the highest quality ingredients. Real ice cream is supposed to be like walking on clouds, better than sex. it's supposed to hit the taste buds and run all over your tongue, tickling and enticing your nerve endings.

This ice cream is supposed to be the standard bearer of gourmet sorbets and gelatos. I ate it like a pityfuck. I had two scoops, one of vanilla, and one of spicy chocolate. I dug into it seeking validation but there was no rhapsody, no symphony of flavors, no joy. I ate the vanilla seeking redemption, a floral bouquet but its simple flavoring left me mechanically bobbing my head up and down, chewing.

I wanted to inhale the chocolate, wanting richness and heat, spices and complexity. Instead it was just cold and unfeeling, a sad and unfinished performance if ever I saw one. for something that was supposed to have chilies in it, spices were remarkably absent, as though a fling had found some discarded cinnamon and half-heartedly tossed it on. Not even surface heat like the slickness of two bodies pressed against each other.

Frustrated that it didn't taste better and that I had paid so much for it, I gripped the cone tightly, wishing it would yield more flavor or something to make the rote experience more enjoyable. Mechanically I bit into it, watching it diminish before my eyes. Begrudgingly I grasped the cone harder, twisting it into my mouth, aching for some kind of payoff, when it collapsed. It was empty inside, none of the vanilla having sunk into its tip.

So many calories consumed, and no delight. It wasn't scandalous, not even luscious. Throwing away the sticky remains, I left with a semi-sour taste on the tongue, a grudge and a lesson learned.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Daddy Bush: "There may be a little Bush fatigue."

Newsflash: I'm sure that your son (the loser alcoholic that no one thought would be in the White House - everyone thought it would be Jeb) being president means you have to curtail your words, but let me say it for you and the rest of the country -

There is not just Bush fatigue, there is Bush disappointment, Bush resentment, Bush anger, and well, apparently in Dubya's inner circle, there's a lot of Bush denial.

Americans are sick of Bush and Cheney and we want change and true leadership. We want it so bad we can taste it. In fact, many of us wind up eating the spoiled products of Bush's war on food safety - first they came for my spinach, then they came for my pet's food and then that made it into my food again (pork.) Now they are coming for my chocolate, and there's no one to save my love! Don't mess with my chocolate!

But all fun aside, that's the reason why Bush's numbers are in the 30s, that's why there's renewed excitement about our Democratic field, that's why we're going to win in 2008. I can taste it, and it's as delicious as the Americone Dream.


Speaking of Colbert, here's his segment with Mike Huckabee, both of whom are dissing Mitt Romney's "I've been a hunter forever" moment.

And Spitzer pulls a "do you know who I am?" moment . . . to get a photo with Sanjaya, our collective well-coiffed papaya.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A good provider is one who leaves

In all this talk of immigration to the United States, we sometimes forget that it's part of a larger globalization. Jason DeParle of the NYTimes has an article looking at the Filipino economy and how their main export of migrant laborers has torn apart families while allowing them to live at a higher standard. Additionally, he examines the political impact of these workers who send home $1 Billion a year, with welcome home parties being thrown in their honor after years abroad.

DeParle looks at the Comodas family, which has become a family of expats, working to maintain the generations that stay. It's heartbreaking to be sure, and he doesn't even linger on the many instances of employer abuse/rape/theft. Filipinos in Saudia Arabia and other countries, including the United States, are sometimes treated like slaves - forbidden to leave their employers' domicile, paid less than what they were promised, and yet, many return for more.
Emmet would make 10 times as much as he made in Manila. He would also live 4,500 miles from his family in an Islamic autocracy where stories of abused laborers were rife. He accepted on the spot. His wife, Tita, was afraid of the slum where she soon would be raising children alone, and she knew that overseas workers often had affairs. She also knew their kids ate better because of the money the workers sent home. She spent her last few pesos for admission to an airport lounge where she could wave at the vanishing jet, then went home to cry and wait.
Why? Because they get paid more than at home. So they endure the years of not seeing their children grow to ensure that their kids are being fed, even though upon their return, their children don't fully acknowledge them as parents.

Increasingly, other Asian countries like China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and India . It would be fascinating to read some sociological studies of the long-term impacts of such broad swathes of the population being absent.

Already, there is a movement afoot to grant migrant workers the right to vote in their home country's elections - Mexico and the Philippines, and some European countries are at the forefront. There is also a concurrent move to allow these migrants the right to vote in their countries of employment, but I think that this is far off esp. here in the US.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Postsecret has me fuming

Now, i love postsecret, i love that it's a public forum for people to get their deepest secrets off their chests. I wonder if some of them aren't totally fabricated, but I still read about every week.

It's like therapy for people who don't want to share these stories with their shrinks.

So what do i see today?

And the response is only worse.

-----Email Message-----
Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2007 3:33 PM
Subject: Asians Scare Me

Don't worry, after VT, we have more reasons to be scared than you do.

Sorry, come again?!?!

Did you go walking around in fear every time you saw a white boy with a hoodie after Oklahoma City? No?

Then you're racist. Just because one person, an individual who is NOT representative of the millions of other people who happen to share his skin tone, commits a crime, doesn't mean that EVERYONE is suspect.

I'm not saying that Frank Warren, the site owner and creator of postsecret, is racist. He most likely put it up there as an educational thing, and I would respond via email, only I can't find an email to respond to.

The thing about postsecret is that it's a melange. There's someone who writes on a postcard:

US Internment camps exist. I helped to build the REX 84 facility . . .UNDERGROUND.

I hadn't heard of it so a quick wiki turned this up:

Rex 84, short for Readiness Exercise 1984, was a plan by the United States federal government to test their ability to detain large numbers of American citizens in case of massive civil unrest or national emergency. Exercises similar to Rex 84 happen periodically.[1] Plans for roundups of persons in the United States in times of crisis are constructed during periods of increased political repression such as the Palmer Raids and the McCarthy Era. For example, from 1967 to 1971 the FBI kept a list of persons to be rounded up as subversive, dubbed the "ADEX" list.[2]

...Rex 84 was mentioned during the Iran-Contra Hearings in 1987, and subsequently reported on by the Miami Herald on July 5th, 1987. [5]A number of websites and alternative publications that span the political spectrum have hypothesized upon the basic material about Rex 84, and in many cases hyperbolized it into a form of urban legend or conspiracy theory. Nonetheless, the basic facts about Rex 84 and other contingency planning readiness exercises--and the potential threat they pose to civil liberties if fully implemented in a real operation--are taken seriously by scholars and civil liberties activists.

Holy moly. Well, let's hope the national level of hysteria doesn't go there again.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

How to taint a debate

AAAAAAAARRRGH. This video from the American Family Association drives me crazy. Supposedly the video is by an unknown author. It begins with a "concerned student" asking "Dear God, why didn't you save the schoolchildren of [many communities, ending in blackburg, Virginia]?"

Dear student, I am not allowed in schools. Sincerely, God.

How did this all get started?

A long winding illogical torrent follows including this gem:

Dr. Benjamin Spock said, "We shouldn't spank our kids when they misbehave because their personalities might be warped and we might damage their self esteem." And we said, "and expert should know what he's talking about, so we won't discipline them anymore."

The speaker manages to weave in how giving kids condoms in schools, teaching sex ed, allowing abortions, etc. caused school shootings. Rrrrright.

FYI, the AFA is one of the most powerful and influential conservative Christian organizations. They are behind the whole "Bring Back Christmas, Not Happy Holidays" campaign, and they sought to eradicate the National Endowment for Arts. They are anti-gay, and they bashed Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison for using a Koran to swear in on, instead of a Bible.

Anyway, this video irritates me because whether or not school prayer is allowed in public schools is not what's turning these kids into angry, alienated killers. Nor is safe sex. These kids need people to look out for them, to try to open them up and connect with them, the way his English professor Lucinda Roy tried to do. She was so concerned about his disturbed writings, and concerned for the other students in his class, that she pulled him out of the classroom and taught him one on one. She tried and tried to alert the school officials, and they did nothing.

That is a fault of the administration, which failed to listen, and then failed to act. I can't believe this video tries to insert all these ideological arguments that are entirely unrelated. It makes a mockery of the tragedy.

Jeremy spoke in class today

Apparently Seung Cho had difficulty speaking when he was a child. Not speaking in Korean or English - just speaking. He was diagnosed with autism, and he was severely picked on as a child, which sounds a lot like the Columbine killers' background. Dailykos has more.

Killer called a "textbook case of a school gunman":

In high school, Cho Seung-Hui almost never opened his mouth. When he finally did, his classmates laughed, pointed at him and said: “Go back to China.”

As such details of the Virginia Tech shooter’s life come out, and experts pore over his sick and twisted writings and his videotaped rant, it is becoming increasingly clear that Cho was almost a textbook case of a school shooter: a painfully awkward, picked-on young man who lashed out with methodical fury at a world he believed was out to get him.

“In virtually every regard, Cho is prototypical of mass killers that I’ve studied in the past 25 years,” said Northeastern University criminal justice professor James Alan Fox, co-author of 16 books on crime. “That doesn’t mean, however, that one could have predicted his rampage.”

When criminologists and psychologists look at mass murders, Cho fits the themes they see repeatedly: a friendless figure, someone who has been bullied, someone who blames others and is bent on revenge, a careful planner, a male. And someone who sent up warning signs with his strange behavior long in advance.

Regan Wilder, 21, who attended Virginia Tech, high school and middle school with Cho, said she was sure Cho probably was picked on in middle school, but so was everyone else. And it didn’t seem as if English was the problem for him, she said. If he didn’t speak English well, there were several other Korean students he could have reached out to for friendship, but he didn’t.

As Hillary Clinton says, it takes a village. It seems that the village failed him, and he failed us.

Some people have commented on wishing for the "good old days" of stereotyping against Asian Americans when all we had to worry about was William Hung or the model minority. It's funny because these can be considered minor stereotypes - not as harmful to be seen as a bumbling, comical nerdy Asian than a menace to society or a drug dealer or a welfare queen.

That Seung Cho literally explodes the model minority myth.

But I think it's more complicated - if anything, part of his anger might have grown out of being bullied as an easy target - a shy Asian American kid with glasses who didn't speak and when he did, it was haltingly, as though with a mouth full of marbles.

A lot of us were that kid - the one who got picked on, who had to go to speech therapy. Part of junior high and high school is making it out of that gauntlet, that meat grinder; then we spread our wings and we grow out of adolescent and preteen awkwardness. Do we look back with anger? Perhaps. I'm not sure my friend will ever forget being stuffed in a locker, nor will I forget having my books stolen and put in the men's washroom. But almost all of us grow out of it, and there's only the .000001% who do go schizo, and an even smaller percentage that goes supernova. And part of this is just about the broader experience of not being a specifically Asian American nerd, but about the difficulty of being a nerd at all in a youth culture that doesn't prioritize that.

So it goes full circle - why isn't he called the "alienated geek killer" or the "lonely killer" since it seems that so many of these school shooters feel completely shut off? Again, the village failed. When we are so engrossed in our lives, sometimes we overlook the kids who by their very silence are crying out for help and attention because the loud obnoxious kids are the ones who attract our attention, in a form of "the squeakiest wheel gets the grease." My friends who are teachers tell me this is their exact experience - they can't spend as much time as they would like with the introverted kids because they have to prevent Charlie from throwing the hamster out the window or Billy from cutting off Sabrina's hair.

So then we as a community trust that someone else is taking care of silent Bobby, that he'll make it through okay. And when we do that, and Bobby keeps doing the trust fall, thinking that sometime, somewhere, someone will catch him -- well, no one is ever there. So that's when he stops relying on anyone, walls himself off, and goes ballistic much to all of our horror.

Anytime I hear of a really quiet kid who brings a gun to class, I think of Pearl Jam's song "Jeremy" and its stirring opening chords, and its eerie lyrics:

At home, drawing pictures of mountain tops
With him on top lemin yellow sun, arms raised in a v
And the dead lay in pools of maroon below
Daddy didnt give attention
Oh, to the fact that mommy didnt care
King jeremy the wicked...oh, ruled his world...
Jeremy spoke in class today... (2x)

Clearly I remember pickin on the boy
Seemed a harmless little fuck
Ooh, but we unleashed a lion...

Seung Cho spoke in class, and the question is whether we hear him, and all the other forgotten silent kids. I'm not putting the blame on his parents necessarily, but rather I ask us all: How many Jeremys are there that we could help just by showing a little attention and by taking an interest in their welfare?

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Xenophobia, anger, and healing

Unsurprisingly, there is a youtube video by someone who calls themselves "fuckorean" which lambastes a Korean newspaper's political cartoons for making light of the situation.

"The life of 33 people was killed at one time, our excellence of firearm technology was shown again. The event was used for FTA criticism."

Then it goes to a picture of Seung Cho's face and writes, "Is he an American? Know shame!!!"

Does anyone read Korean, is this an accurate translation? And Cho did a terribly vile thing, but he was an American.
In other related news, apparently Cho sent a video package to NBC of pictures and a rant. One of the pictures seems inspired by Oldboy, the very dark film by Park Chanwook. I haven't watched it, since I have no heart for gory films, or for watching people eat live octopi. But I hear the film is very disturbing. Naturally, not everyone who has seen the film goes out and massacres people, so the director should not be at fault.

Apparently, Cho also calls the Columbine shooters "martyrs." He's so angry and disturbed looking in these photos, so cold. An icy rage and defiance shoots out through the photos, most disturbing is the one where the viewer gets to see the barrel of a gun close up, and I couldn't help but think of the kids who saw that in real life and the terror they must have felt.

Here's a snippet of his rant:

You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my conscience. You thought it was one pathetic boy’s life you were extinguishing. Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people.

Uhm, definitely not sane. Creepy and deluded.
the NYTimes has an article about how difficult it is for schools to notify parents of their children's mental illnesses because they have to have the child's consent. The instant i read the headline, I thought of Elizabeth Shin, an MIT student who utilized campus mental health services and wrote serveral suicide notes before burning herself alive in her room. and sure enough the article brings up her sad story. Her parents sued the university and won an undisclosed amount. On the other hand, GWU and Hunter College were sued for disclosing student's status and for barring them from their own dorms. So how can universities best help the students who they serve in loco parentis?

His parents seem really normal - the definition of the Asian American immigrant's story - own a laundromat, moved to the suburbs. His sister went to Princeton. People who want to pin this on Cho being a 1.5 generation American, son of immigrants, should remember the courageous professors and students who died who were also immigrants. Professors Liviu Librescu and G. V. Loganathan. They contributed so much to this country, and to teaching a future generation of leaders. Don't judge all immigrants and sons and daughters of immigrants on this one guy's actions, just as you shouldn't judge all Koreans and Korean Americans based on this.

And one last thought - Cho actually wound up killing a fairly high number of Asian Americans - Professor Loganathan, Parthahi Lombantoruan, Henry Lee, Minal Panchal. This seems to refute Kenneth Eng's glee at Cho shooting 32 blacks and whites. Indeed, Cho did not seem to discriminate in who he shot - whites, blacks, Latinos, APIAs. My heart goes out to all the families and friends of the deceased, and to the whole VT community. May healing commence and sorrows subside, and community bonds grow stronger.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Devil town

Just finished watching the season finale of Friday Night Lights. Needed something to get my mind off of stuff. It's a great show that I never ever ever thought I would get hooked on, but I love the main actor Kyle (loved him in Grey's Anatom too), and the relationship between him and his wife.

It's so real, and the way it's shot sometimes from the viewer's perspective, as if we're in the room with those boys as coach walks in after they win state, well, i sorta feel the admiration welling up in my eyes too. Plus I'm a sucker for great songs, and the lyrics to Bright Eyes cover of Daniel Johnston's "devil town" is so catchy, it has implanted itself in my head.

I was living in a devil town,
didn't know it was a devil town,
Oh lord it brings me down about the devil town.

All my friends were vampires,
didn't know they were vampires.
Turns out I was a vampire yself
in the devil town.

I looked for some versions of the original and I found this blog by a venture capitalist in NYC: A VC.

Yeah, you might wonder what an organizer is doing reading venture capitalist blogs, but this one at least has some good taste in music. Weirdly, he has the same taste in music as a friend of mine in junior high, down to the Ween, which I'm excluding from the "good taste"category. And he writes concisely with smart analysis about issues that i know little about. Besides, I learn the most by reading a wide range of perspectives.


A sense of community and community broken

I can't work, times like this I am just seeking meaning, and having a community like APIAblogs is comforting. We're all trying to process this together. cynical has a copy of an insightful email by a Philadelphia woman.

And I just read Andrew Lam's thought piece, Let it be some other Asian, and he is spot on. Unfortunately, regardless of what specific ethnicity the shooter is, people who are small-minded will take out their anger on APIAs indiscriminately. I've been confused for a Korean, Mexican, Vietnamese and Filipino (and all this in non-hateful settings prior to this incident), and I have friends who are Korean who have been called gook or chink. To the world, we all look the same, so the Korean American students on VT's campus are correct to fear backlash, being doubly victimized - dealing with the fallout of nearly being shot at, and then fearing being tainted with the same psychopathic brush as the suppose shooter. They are leaving campus because they are fearful for their security, not from a shooter (who is already dead), but from some random individual on the street, or even their own classmates. For them, the sanctity and safe space of college will most likely remain shattered, in a double breach of trust. Will they ever truly again feel like part of the Virginia Tech community?

I ask this because when 9-11 happened, my Muslim friends at universities across the country told me of their fears of walking across campus at night, of being lumped in with the terrorists, of being physically harmed. Some of them never quite regained their sense of peace, whether they were undergrads, grad students or professors. It is the distrustful look in your neighbor's eye, one day after some national incident happens, when the day before hellos were cheerfully exchanged. It is in the cold hard stares of strangers, evaluating your threat level.

So I hope the media is careful in reporting to say that the victims were not just white.
And I wonder about that photographer that the police have pinned down in a photo, the one on the angryasianman site. I can't help but think: Was he pinned down because he was Asian?

Now onto notoriously messed up Kenneth Eng. angryasianman posted a video by Kenneth Eng (is this really him? It sorta looks like the guy who was on FOX) and he says that the massacre was "the funniest thing I've ever read in my life. The instant that I saw that it was 32 students murdered, I knew that it was an Asian guy, even without reading it. I tell you, I'm laughing at the death of your people. Let's see, 31 white or black people murdered, I'd say that's pretty much 5 times better than the Chai Vang murders."

Eng;s casual humor, the flippant chuckles. It totally creeps me out. The weird thing is, reading Cho's plays, I got the same sense of hostility towards humanity that I read in Eng's works in asianweek. Also, Eng fails to mention how several victims were Asian American. If we needed any confirmation about how deranged Eng is, look no further than this brief and chilling video caption: "we win."

Kenneth Eng, I don't know who you think won. This is not a race war. This is 33 people dead, and part of it could have been prevented if the university had acted quicker. This is reality, and in real life, a whole campus is shell-shocked, a nation grieving. People of all colors, including Asian Americans, are going to have to try to piece their lives together afterwards, to fix what has been so devastatingly broken.

As I understand it, your hatred of whites and blacks stems from getting beaten up. I am sorry that you were beat up and mistreated. But don't you see that by mocking the deaths of these 33 innocents, you are pouring gasoline all over the flames and just inciting more anti-Asian violence? That you are helping to perpetuate the cycle that you detest? These people were INNOCENT. You would also probably consider yourself innocent, back then.

I understand that you write to express yourself and your frustrations, your anger. As a fellow writer, I understand that need to voice your thoughts. But here is my sincere plea: please stop. Stay at home, take a breather, go on vacation. Spend time with your family. Do yoga, or find some constructive way to work out your issues. Don't add hate to hate.

As a fellow Asian American, I ask you to stop, because the Korean American students on campus
are already leaving for home, afraid of death threats and anti-Asian violence. The Korean consulate has also expressed fears of hate crimes. National Korean American groups have responded by setting up a fund for the victims, and want to prevent innocent Asian Americans from being harmed as part of the backlash. As a community, we really ARE being doubly victimized, and the answer is not to indiscriminately hate, or to turn that hate back on ourselves.

Because there is an APIA pride that doesn't have to be destructive or demeaning. One that celebrates our history of struggle and accomplishments without diminishing others'
. One that unites in peace and harmony, and that works to improve relations through respectful dialogue and understanding. Please find some outlet that doesn't ricochet back onto us.

Better yet, as your fellow human, I ask you to seek some therapy. Something to deal with the rage that flows out of you like a volcano. Because the simple truth is that murder is not funny. And your nonchalance about human lives lost scares me. Each life is valuable, each life worth living. No life is minute. I don't want to see you wind up like Seung-Hui Cho. I don't think any
one does, but the stuff on your youtube makes me worry.


Chicago returns - Naisy Dolar

Polls are closed. I'm watching the ballot count for Naisy Dolar versus Bernie Stone here tonight. Just a scant 500 votes between them, and 11 precincts left....c'mon, Naisy!

11:05pm update: It's hotting up. 36 of 45 precincts in and Naisy's gaining, 48.19% to Stone's 51.81. Only 321 votes to cross that gap. Sweet! Btw, I'll be updating through the night. Looks like another sleepless one.

11:25p update: shoot, Stone's pulling away with 42 of 45 precincts in, 53.22 to Naisy's 46.78, and almost a 700 vote spread :(

Results are in- Dolar lost, but ran a very respectable race against the Chicago machine and a 20 year incumbent. She fought the good fight. Understandably, I don't have much in me for political analysis right now cos the violence has got me down. But I hope she will run again. She represents real hope, and real change.

Alderman 50th Ward 45 of 45 precincts counted 100.00%

Bernard L. Stone
5,965 52.93%

Naisy Dolar
5,304 47.07%

Total 11,269

On violence

So the suspected Virginia Tech shooter was Korean American, a 23 year old English major. Angryasianman has a good roundup of the articles, so I'll just let you go over there. Asian Nation has an interesting analysis about the hype surrounding his Asian identity.

I don't know how one kid wound up feeling so lost and alone and angry that he decided to shoot so many of his peers, but the psychic trauma that the VT community must be experiencing is immense. Last night I kept reading the articles and the available information, trying to make sense of seemingly nonsensical violence.

I live in a city where the crime rate has gone up, where kids murder each other in broad daylight with nary a thought, as if killing were an extracurricular and each kill a notch. These kids are in the minority of the minority, but we also need to focus on how to help the kids who are trying to stay afloat.

I read in one of the articles that Cho Seung-Hui, the suspect, enjoyed playing Counterstrike, as if that made him a murderer. So many of the guys I know play Warcraft or Doom or Counterstrike or Age of Empires or Grand Theft Auto or any number of games where people slaughter people in the name of harmless entertainment. And I believe that it is mostly harmless, a vent for frustration and a way to pass the time. I've played Age of Empires and GTA before and enjoyed them, I've played Doom once and not enjoyed it. But loads of kids play Counterstrike and they don't go shooting up their schools.

It's not the video games, it's the lack of community. Maybe if this kid had some friends or felt like he fit in more, he wouldn't have gone on this senseless rampage. I am not trying to excuse his actions, I just wonder at what crucial point, and how some intervention might have turned him off this path.

I wish I had some answers but all I have are disjointed thoughts, and hopes that VT will soon be on the mend.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Intellectual dishonesty

I had a long discussion with someone that resulted in them claiming that i am intellectually lazy and that I have been intellectually dishonest. I agreed fairly readily with the first assessment but not so much with the second. I am not as rigorous in my thought as I would like sometimes, because I am so busy sometimes I don't have time to process so i take shortcuts, like not sometimes editing (more so recently.)

I think it's definitely true of my blog, which I haven't been giving as much tender nurturing care. I've noticed that recent posting are less about the personal and the political and more just summaries or wrap ups. And I could do it, but I think that would be cheating the purpose of me having a blog, which was to expel my inner frustrations and thoughts, to reconnect to the creative side of me that seemed to take a dive when i signed up to be a door to door seller of social justice. (The intellectual dishonesty of the Cause, Inc. is a topic for another day.) And it would be intellectually dishonest to say that I haven't noticed the declining daily readership, but if I sacrifice quantity and eyeballs for quality, then so be it. when I look back over my 250+ posts over the past year and a half, I would prefer to see some flowers glistening here and there than a steady progression of cowpies.

So unless I am in a super-snarky mood, I resolve to cut down on the posts that are just drive-by postings. And write more thoughtful pieces about politics. because it's easy to just get involved in the horserace and forget the larger picture, which is about the progressive changes that I think we can accomplish under a Democratic administration. Because i think they will restore some normalcy and decency to the office, and they're better on civil rights and liberties and immigration. Because we'll have a stronger America. I don't think it will be a cure-all but it'll make progressive change easier in some ways. In other ways harder because we'll be inclined to give them a pass on issues when we should be holding their feet to the fire.

Perhaps I should have titled this post intellectual honesty. I resolve to be more intellectually honest with myself and my blog.

Craven McCain leaps to support 2nd Amdt right after Virginia Tech massacre

If you needed any further evidence of how desperate and craven John McCain is (apart from abandoning the McCain-Kennedy comprehensive immigration reform bill which has carried his name for at least two congressional cycles), and apart from abandoning the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill which passed, look no further.

Many of us have heard of the tragedy that happened at Virginia Tech today where a gunman shot and killed 33 people on the campus. Virginia Governor Tim Paine canceled a scheduled trade tour to come home. Even Dubya has expressed his sorrow, albeit through his spokeswoman Dana Perino. But McCain, he immediately leaps to defend Second Amendment rights: "I do believe in the constitutional right that everyone has, in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, to carry a weapon," he said."

THe article starts out this way: "Sen. John McCain says the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech does not change his view that the Constitution guarantees everyone the right to carry a weapon. "We have to look at what happened here, but it doesn't change my views on the Second Amendment, except to make sure that these kinds of weapons don't fall into the hands of bad people," McCain said Monday in response to a question.

Of all the disgusting moves, he chooses to pander to the NRA. I have a huge project due tomorrow, so I wasn't going to blog, but this made me throw up a little. It outrages me that he won't even reconsider gun control measures. Every other candidate has some message of grief and sympathy for the Virginia Tech victims and families and friends, and McCain feels the need to spew forth this piece of bile. It makes me so angry, I can't think straight.

Update: Ugh, i keep getting angrier and angrier about this. What happened to normal pandering and showing appropriate sympathy?!? What is this messed up version of McCain's? I need to stop now.

Reappropriate is doing regular updates, this is just my one cent on the thing. I share a lot of her feelings and worries. First, I grieve with the friends and families of those affected. Second, I question why it took so long for the administration to notify students - even calling all students in the dorms wouldn't have notified everyone, but it would have been a start. Other options that immediately run through my mind, like pulling the fire alarm, wouldn't work since it would only have pooled all students outside and turned them into sitting ducks. But there's also the whole-building megaphone or broadcast anouncement that always accompanies any fire drill.

And as for the suspected shooter being Asian American, I think of the jokes that comedians will be making for months afterwards, but first I think of all those dead kids. We cannot defend criminal actions even if they are committed by members of our community, and let it be said that every community has its bad apples. I hope that if he is the guy pictured, and that if he isn't dead yet, that he get lots of psychiatric counseling. [Update, the guy pictured is a student photographer who got too close. The shooter is dead, although it's not clear whether that's by his own hand.] It's inexcusable that he was gunning for his girlfriend, but then to shoot down over thirty innocents? He must be seriously mentally ill. This is where it crosses the line from being a crime of passion to psychosis. My thoughts are heavy tonight, and lie with the victims and their families.

Let the grief, and then the healing, begin.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Mayor Fenty holds an API issues forum

1) Newly elected Mayor Adrian Fenty (D-Washington DC) recently held the first APIA townhall meeting, and from the photo, it looks packed!

This is pretty exciting because Fenty was the very progressive candidate who swept the 7 person plus field, and knocked out the incumbent Anthony Williams. Williams had presided over certain things like the absolute Disneyfication and gentrification of Chinatown, which caused long-time residents and business owners to be forced out. Really, it created a shell of Chinatown, with Ann Taylor shops advertising women's clothes in Chinese characters, and a skateboard shop with exotic looking lettering.

Hopefully Fenty will listen to what the community wants, and act on it.

2) Asian Americans voted overwhelmingly against Michigan's affirmative action ban, aka Prop 2, which passed last year. According to a survey by AALDEF, Arab Americans voted 75% against, and Asian Americans voted 78% against the measure. Nice to see that my Michigan brothers and sisters aren't easily swayed by the sophistry of Ward Connerly.

3) Lastly, I'm keeping an eye on the election returns for Chicago's 50th Ward - Naisy Dolar's trying to unseat Alderman Bernie Stone, and apparently a rising tide of early voters could make the difference. Apparently 20% of the early ballots in Chicago came from that district. The indicators are good for Naisy - this piqued interest could mean that her supporters are really coming out in force. Naisy's campaign would have a high impetus to do early voting turnout because many of her supporters can't afford to take hours off to vote, since they have small businesses, or work multiple jobs. Additionally, early voting banks voters, as opposed to the struggle that a first time immigrant voter might have at the poll site with poll workers from the machine. On the other hand, early voting is one of the more sophisticated techniques, so first time voters might be intimidated. But I can't really see Bernie Stone's campaign being this savvy.

We'll see, cos this is Chicago where dead men vote and votes count twice. . .

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Uncommon wonder

Joshua Bell, a renowned violinist, plays in the Washington DC Metro like a common panhandler. Do people recognize him, or stop their busy lives to appreciate the beauty of his music or the Stradavarius he brings into the station?

This is a beautifully written, cute experiment by the Washington Post: Pearls before breakfast.

The acoustics proved surprisingly kind. Though the arcade is of utilitarian design, a buffer between the Metro escalator and the outdoors, it somehow caught the sound and bounced it back round and resonant. The violin is an instrument that is said to be much like the human voice, and in this musician's masterly hands, it sobbed and laughed and sang -- ecstatic, sorrowful, importuning, adoring, flirtatious, castigating, playful, romancing, merry, triumphal, sumptuous.

So, what do you think happened?

Apparently, few few people wondered about the virtuoso performance. So sad, and a reminder to appreciate beauty in our lives, and to wonder.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

McDonald's to pay farmworkers an extra penny per pound

The amount sounds trifling, until you consider that this would almost double their current salaries. Currently the workers make 40 cents per 32 pound basket. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a Florida-based farmworkers union, managed to get the nation's largest fast food chain to agree, after numerous allies from former President Jimmy carter and the National Council of Churches supported the farmworkers.

A well-earned victory for David over Goliath. Their next target is Burger King (already got Pizza Hut/Taco Bell on board.)

Asian American made to wear White House Easter Bunny costume of shame, and other tidbits

I think I've written about Eugene Huang before. He's a WH Fellow and a pretty accomplished guy. Apparently the poor guy has no sense of humor and was made to wear the bunny suit as punishment. (Maybe because he was Democratic Governor Mark Warner's Secretary of technology.) Momma, don't let your babies grow up to be WH Fellows under opposing administrations. You might wind up weeping over the shameful things they force your baby to do . . . The wonkette comments attached will alternately enrage and bemuse you. What's really priceless are the photos . . . I hope he wasn't planning on running for office anytime soon, because it's only about 2 levels up from Guiliani as Ziegfried Folly.

Wonkette also has a priceless graphic on moms in Congress, which shortchanges Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-Baby Farm) a few dozen. Pareene, I'll have your babies any day.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Prop 209 fallout?

Well, here's more interesting news from the flagship school of the UC system: They sent out more admissions letters this year than last.

Admission to Asian American students remains virtually unchanged, accounting for 4,158 of the freshman class. The number of white students, however, has increased 8 percent since 2006.

The number of underrepresented minority students, including African American, American Indian and Latinos, increased 4 percent for a total of 1,620 students.

So it's interesting to note that it's not necessarily Asian Americans "stealing" spots from underrepresented minorities. In fact, I'm not sure how the number of white students and underrepresented students can increase, and APIA acceptances can increase 1% - what else is left?

UCLA also saw an increase in African American admissions. A rather remarkable one at that - from almost 250 to just under 400.

UC Davis' Asian American admissions dropped:

Students from underrepresented groups -- American Indian, African American and Chicano/Latino -- account for 19.1 percent of California students with freshman admission status who stated their ethnicity. Last year, the figure was 17.3 percent.

The percentage of African Americans rose from 2.8 percent last year to 3.1 percent this year among students who stated their ethnicity. American Indians continue to represent 0.6 percent of admitted students. Chicanos and Latinos account for 15.3 percent this year, compared with 13.8 percent last year.

The percentage of Asian American students declined to 41.3 percent of this year's admitted students who stated their ethnicity, compared with 43 percent last year. Caucasians continued to represent 37.9 percent of admitted students who stated their ethnicity. Those who identified with other ethnic groups account for 1.6 percent of all admitted students stating their ethnicity, compared with 1.8 percent last year.


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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Newt Gingrich es un idiota grande

Damn, I have to get some work done soon but I saw this video and it was too hilarious not to post. Ladies and gents, I give you Newt Gingrich lecturing Latinos on his "English first" philosophy . . . in retarded 2nd grade Spanish while looking like a dweeby pig. (It's the beady eyes sunken into layers of fat.)

The back story here is that he said the U.S. should abolish bilingual education so that people aren’t speaking “the language of living in a ghetto.” Then he tried to back track from the criticism by saying, "“Now, I’ll let you pick — frankly, ghetto, historically had referred as a Jewish reference originally."

Perhaps the funniest line is when he stutters in very fractured Spanish: "This is an expression of support for Latinos and not an attack on their language. I have never believed that Spanish is a language of people of low income."

Wrong, mister. You not only attacked the Spanish language, you bayoneted it. Repeatedly. With. Each. And. Every. Slow. Syll. Uh. Bull.

At the end, Gingrich says, "It was not my intention to offend the Latino community and I hope you accept this communication that I am offering you from a sincere heart."

Except that most normal people would say, "Please accept my sincere words of apology." Now that I look at it, I'm not sure that the person who edited his video has a good command of English! It's like they ran the Spanish through a WASPifier and then tried to translate it back into English via altavista babelfish.

Plus he tries to make amends by saying that he has been trying to learn Spanish and that the president and spokesman of Gingrich Communications have also learned Spanish. This is no better than claiming to have token Latino friends in the wide, wide world of pander.

As kos says, it hurts! it hurts! But surprisingly it hurts less than MC Rove. Only because it gave permanent ear damage. Now watch Ken Mehlman's carefully built Latino outreach machine crash and burn. Crash and burn baby, cos as inept as Democrats are sometimes, the Republicans just organize the masses for you.

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Naisy receives district Congresswoman's support

Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!!!!! Naisy Dolar, progressive candidate for Chicago's 50th ward, and possibly Chicago (and Illinois') first Asian American official who isn't a judge, just got the endorsement of Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. Schakowsky represents the 50th ward, grew up in the 50th ward, and has HUGE credibility there, so this is a MASSIVE get. She is also a diehard progressive. Naisy is running against 79 year old incumbent (some might say petrified piece of wood) Bernie Stone, who wants to hand the seat over to his daughter. His campaign is so old school and out of touch, they printed campaign shirts with the following slogan: ''It's the Stone Age, and Age = Wisdom.''

Seriously. Naisy is running a campaign full of heart and enthusiasm about the future, and Stone's people are stuck in the Stone Age?!? His slogan just trumpets staid, status quo ways of thinking. Who's going to get psyched about that?

Stone is deputy mayor under the iron grip of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley Jr, so this will be an interesting test of political machines. Naisy was the Asian American liaison for Daley, and she received absolutely no help from him or his machine. When Schakowsky got her start, she ran a very lean grassroots campaign against the good ole boys club, and she alludes to the similarities she sees between her first and Naisy's current campaign. Schakowsky tells a cute anecdote about how when she won her first primary, people told her, "We thought the machine was going to win." Jan then says, "Well, actually, the machine did win. It was a new machine. A machine of ordinary people like myself, like Naisy, of grassroots residents who put together a new machine."

Apparently Schakowsky had been asked to stay neutral, which she did for the primaries, but she couldn't remain so in the general runoff, so she told Bernie Stone of her decision.

Just watching the youtube clips, it really seems like Naisy's skills as a campaigner have really improved. I am so enthused - Naisy does have a new machine behind her - she got the endorsement of Greg Brewer, who many thought would be the most potent challenger during the primaries. She has grassroots groups like Citizen Action and after Brewer released them, SEIU, AFSCME, and Democracy for America.

She also has the two biggest newspapers - the Tribune and the Sun-Times behind her. It sure looks like a new day could be dawning in Chicago, one where Asian Americans, Muslim Americans, and immigrants are truly and well represented.

Asian American news briefing

1) From UConn's student paper, we have an op-ed about how Abercrombie and Fitch explouts not just racial stereotypes but its own workers in Asia, who are paid less than minimum wage and work in sweatshop conditions. Choice quote:
After the closure of the Saipan factories, Abercrombie managed to avoid controversy for a while - until they ran a line of clothing with cartoons that depicted Asians as fat, rice-eating, laundry washers under slogans such as "two Wongs make it white!" There was a massive backlash from the Asian-American community, which confused the folks at Abercrombie. "We personally thought Asians would love this T-shirt," said Hampton Carney, a spokesman for a New York communications firm working for Abercrombie. [emphasis mine.]
Right, because I've always wanted a company that caters to rich preppy white kids determining my tastes in clothes. Yup, A&F read my mind. I've always wanted to be a whitewashed Asian American who idealized and sexualized scantily clad white teens frolicking in nature's own good green juices, wearing shirts that demean my ancestors' history in the United States. A&F , with it s husky males and their prominent bulges, can tell me how to whitewash my own peoples anytime, and I'll willingly submit to their capitalistic, raptor-like gaze. I've always wanted to be a modelminority that suits up and complicitly models racist, self-hating slogans that are so catchy, so pulse of America, so edgy and right now that I . . .

Want to rip their fucking posters down and burn them.

They deserved the $40 million class action discrimination lawsuit, and the newer $2 million suit for overtime was a slap on the wrist. I never wore Abercrombie, and I never will. As Riley would say "Pay what you owe."

2) Cosmetic surgery: On the topic of objectifying Western standards of beauty, the SF Chronicle has an article about "ethnic correctness," a new movement in plastic surgery, especially epicanthelial (eyelid) and nose surgery, to keep certain ethnic looks.
However, there is a new "look East" movement underway -- a growing Asian social consciousness in the United States and Asia. Plastic surgeons have begun to develop techniques to preserve ethnic characteristics and retain their identity. The changes are more subtle: The nose is no longer as pointy, and doctors are not removing as much fat near the lower eyelid, in order to avoid the Caucasian look.
Cos that's a hell of a lot to pay to erase your identity.

3) Beware the yellow peril! Chinese spies abound - look all around you - that shifty-looking guy on the subway could be stealing state secrets while you snore away. Well, the official line is that "China's spying overwhelms US Counterintelligence" but another answer could be that they're understaffed because everyone got sent to Iraq.

A cynical person would look at the situation and say that they are already trying to set up the next scrapegoat, the next big terror since Americans are rapidly losing trust and faith in the bush administration's lies. So scare 'em straight, yeah?

Well, a cynical person might say that, but I'm obviously an optimist.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Trickle down effects of affirmative action ban

A little story about a tony public high school in the heart of Beverly Hills:
n 1969, when nearly every student at Beverly Hills High School was white, school officials went looking for some help diversifying the campus. They found it in the polyglot Los Angeles school system that surrounds the tony, iconic city.

Under a system of "diversity permits," the high school began enrolling scores of minority students from Los Angeles each year. For decades, the permit program aimed to bring in a deliberate mix of black, Latino and Asian students from outside the city limits.

Today, however, the vast majority of the students enrolled with diversity permits at Beverly Hills High are high-performing Asian students.

The dramatic shift stems from California's stringent anti-affirmative action law, approved by voters in 1996. Concerned with running afoul of the sweeping ban, Beverly Hills school officials have followed what amounts to a "don't ask, don't tell" policy on the diversity permits. Students who apply are not allowed to identify their race or ethnicity.
You've seen it at the flagship university level, now watch it happen at the high school level. What's next, offering "diversity" positions at elite preschools?

No, don't laugh, I'm sure it's happening in Manhattan right now...

McCain auditioned with flip-flopper-in-chief

Well, going back to the topic of McCain's sharp deflation like a lead balloon, apparently Senator Kerry said today that when he was running for president in 2004, McCain's top aide, John Weaver, talked about joining Kerry as his veep candidate.

I don't want to over-predict here, but this could be like putting the McCain campaign's feet in concrete boots. His campaign manager put out a press statement citing disappointment with their fundraising figures, with a paltry 12.5 M to Mitt Romney's $20M.

Jonathan Singer who conducted the interview with Senator Kerry describes McCain's acts as political treason to Republicans. I don't think that's off the ball, and this most recent relevation only undermines McCain's credibility as a GOP candidate. In fact, it probably answers a question by the folks over at Hotline: "Why aren't institutional Republican donors giving to McCain yet?" Because they dont trust him farther than they can throw him, and the primary voters smell a wolf in sheep's clothing as much as we do.

McCain' staff is already rebutting the idea that they would come crawling to the guy who was portrayed by the GOP as the "flip flopper in chief."

It doesn't surprise me that the top tier GOP funding has been so lackluster compared to
Dems or that potential GOP stars are having a hard time (Huckabee raised all of a half million), or that many GOP diehards are voting Democratic because they are incredibly disgusted with the Bush/Rove smear machine and its inability to govern (see Grog's post over at newsblog.)

I would be supremely unenthused with these guys if they were my party's choices as well. Luckily, our top three are rockstars in in their own way.
(Hat tip politicalwire.)

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Census senses you

I'm overdue on some thought pieces, as I've been getting slammed with work, work, and personal stuff (nothing bad, just busy.) But I saw an article about how the US Census sold out Japanese Americans during WWII on angryasianman and couldn't help but comment. The Los Angeles Times' article gives credibility to the long-held suspicion of many in the Japanese American community that in 1943, the Census Bureau turned over confidential information including names and addresses that allowed the US government to quickly locate and intern Japanese Americans.

Why does this relevation matter? Because it could still be happening today. The Bush administration could be using the same faulty arguments to gain access to info on Muslim Americans.

Apart from this being a terrible breach of confidence, and a terrifying proposition that Alberto Gonzales has the goods on you and where you live regardless of your citizenship status, it undermines the very trust and nonpartisan nature of the Census. (Although, I wouldn't be surprised if this is how the Bushies are compiling their hit list a la Nixon.)

Look, I have friends who have been Census workers. They have found it very difficult to get an accurate count of immigrant communities, because Latinos, APIAs, and other immigrants are TERRIFIED that if they fill out a Census, the info will promptly get turned over to BCIS (the new and improved INS - unofficial motto: "less questions, more deportations.")

Okay, you might ask, and why does this matter?

The short answer is that Census figures are considered the most accurate representation of our nation's population, and as such are used to determine federal budgets. If you remember the whole brouhaha in 2000 over adding in different ethnicities and allowing people to check off multiple boxes about race, many major civil rights groups were concerned that if the numbers of X racial group were originally 20 million, that counting hapas and those of mixed heritage would dilute their numbers (and perceived power) to say, 3 million mixed and 17 million X Americans. Then federal funding for health care, education, etc. that depended on Census figures would be reduced accordingly. One of the most important functions that Census numbers are used for is drawing Congressional districts and the Voting Rights Act (especially Section 203). There are some congressional districts that have been drawn to more or less ensure that a minority candidate will win the seat. Additionally, S 203 of the Voting Rights Act states that if a certain percentage of people in a district are monolingual in a given language (Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc.) then the county has to provide translations of all elections materials and ballots so that they can also vote. So if minorities are under-counted in a district because they're scared to return the forms, it could have huge repercussions that they wouldn't be able to vote for candidates that would represent their concerns. And so the cycle would continue.

Oh, and by the way, all Census workers were specifically trained to tell people with these concerns that the US Census does not share individual information with other government agencies. So the Census workers and the people polled were lied to. And if I recall correctly, the Census has to put this disclaimer on its posters, and its pamphlets and reports. So it's a pretty big deal.

P.S. If you think that this blog post title is corny, you may be correct. Nonetheless my limited resources of wit are currently being pulled in 4 other directions, like a very taut piece of laffy taffy. Mmmmmm. Nothing like going bananas!

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