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.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

TIDBITS: APIA-owned hotels and followup on Park Ave Peerage

Hyphen brought up the issue of APIA owned hotels and a growing movement to rebrand some hotels as "American owned" in contrast to the desi-owned hotels.

Time wrote a good article, and very relevant. My friend's parents own a hotel in the South, and they have definitely encountered racist guests.
As the Indian share of the market has grown over the years--members of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) now own 37% of the U.S. hotel industry--AMERICAN OWNED signs keep popping up outside motels around the country. While this seemingly innocuous phrase may appeal to many customers, it can also be intended as code for "not owned by immigrants," an attempt to divert business from upstanding first- or second-generation citizens whose ethnicity distinguishes them from most of their small-town neighbors.
I'm not sure what the problem with owning a hotel is, or what staying at an Indian American-owned hotel means, except that it's xenophobia creeping into daily consumerist life. Just like the China-free label and Chinese goods hysteria, it's another iteration of "Rising Sun" phobia.

On the other hand, there is a whole new reality TV show (Welcome to the Parker) that I am sorta addicted to because it features the staff of a South Asian American owned hotel, and consequently virtually all the main characters are APIA, including one very cheeky member of the kitchen who has to keep delivering huge buckets of ice to some creepy dude who puts it in his bathtub. (I kept thinking it was for some black market organ harvesting operation in a hotel room, a la "Dirty Pretty Things.") I think this is the most APIAs I've ever seen on TV at once! (What is up with the website mostly featuring white people though?)

Of course, this is the glamorous Hollywood tabloid version of an APIA-owned hotel but I thought I would put it out there.

In other South Asian American news, James Kurisunkal made his way from anonymously blogging NYC socialite life from his dorm room at University of Illinois at Urbana Champagne to being outed in New York magazine to landing an internship there, to the creme de la crop of media - being featured in a NYtimes profile. Bully for you, James.

PS: I'm starting a new blog section called "Tidbits" to report on previous stories and tie up some loose ends and bits and pieces - stuff that wouldn't be a full blog post all into one. Think of it as a tutti frutti blog post.

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