Japanese Soft Power and FOB Week 10 post -Ting Wei Yang

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Avril Lavigne one of the pop stars that we talked about in class. Her music video Hello Kitty, set in Japan, is using Japanese  people as props in her music video. She’s basically using Japanese people’ exoticism to pull people to watch her video. Apparently she really likes Japan since she put up this post about how much she loves Japan. The reason why Avril Lavigne loves Japan so much it’s because it is over loaded with cuteness. Yes! I mean Hello Kitty and Pokemon along with other thing such as K-ON cartoons, Sailor Moon, Rilakkuma plush toys and the most popular social network LINE. LINE itself produced so much hype because of the cute stickers that provide with the messaging application. This is Japan’s way of taking over the world and letting them be seen. Japan has this soft power, “the ability to indirectly influence behavior or interests through cultural or ideological means”, that they can use to take over the world.

This week in Fresh Off the Boat Eddie was introduced to a new friend, Phillip. I thought this episode was pretty racist. I personally think that when the principal of the school call Eddie in to his office and said that he’ll be a leading one of the new students. Eddie automatically assumed that this new student is Asian, and he was right. I thought that the act of placing the Asians together like they know each other is very racist and that they did not even bother asking Phillip, although we later figured out that he was adopted by a Jewish family and he is totally different from Eddie. The racist part was that everyone in the school assume that they’re best friends because they are both Asian, but in reality Asians come from different backgrounds and it should not be assumed. Like the presentation we had in class today, every person is different and every Asian is different.

Extra blog post 2 – Ting-Wei Yang

Exploring my Taiwanese American self identity

This past weekend has to be the weekend I actually identify myself as Taiwanese American. From March 5th to March 7th, I attended the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Student Association (ITASA) West Coast Conference (WCC). Being the president of Taiwanese American Student Association (TASA) I feel the obligation to attend the conference. I did not know I would get so much out of this two day conference!

The theme, “To Infinity and Beyond”, seeks to inspire attendees to take the Taiwanese American identity and strengths above and beyond with our dreams and aspirations.

As we attend the first event as “space cadets” we enjoyed some awesome Taiwanese food then we had Dan Lin as one of our keynote speaker. Dan Lin is the CEO of Lin Pictures, a film and television production company with an overall deal at Warner Bros. Since his company’s formation in 2008, Lin has produced films that have grossed over $2.0 billion in worldwide box office sale. He most recently produced the blockbuster The LEGO Movie. Dan’s speech was very inspiring and the one thing I got from his speech is that jobs are not created for you, rather, you are responsible for making your own job in a company.

Dan Lin’s speech was only an inspiration that Taiwanese American has a space in the world. The workshops that we had during the conference are the tools that helped us with this Taiwanese identity.

For the first workshop session, I attended Karin Wang’s Advancing Justice: The Asian American history. This workshop was ran by students because Karin could not make it that day but I still think that it was very well ran. In the workshop, multiple incidents of Asians in America forged a new identity as Asian Americans in their struggle to recognize their human rights was posted on the wall in order and we were asked to comment on them. This workshop helped me recognize the social injustice that people face and that we should fight for our own justice.

The second workshop is making a zine. A zine is where one reflects on their experience and memories and in magazine form. I expressed myself by focusing on Taiwanese food and how they are delicious and not stinky.

Going through these workshops helped me figure out my Asian American, more specifically, my Taiwanese American identity.

Seaweed to share

Today in class, one thing that really stuck out to me was the whole talk about bringing a stinky lunch and feeling embarrassed about it. Even though I never had that experience, I can remember a time in 3rd grade where one of my friends, who I believe is Taiwanese, would always bring seaweed and rice for lunch. At first I use to think that it smelt kind of bad and sometimes wanted to move away from him, but once he offered me one, I tried one and loved them. After that experience, I was the one wishing I had the stinky lunch. I was always asking him to share some of his lunch and I would let him have some of my chips. Every time he brought something new, I wanted to try it. It was nice to have a nice little trade system set up. It’s crazy to think that a simple memory like that has stuck with me so long because it seemed so insignificant at the time, but almost 13 years later, I can still remember that instance in the cafeteria. As an eight year old who had yet to try this type of Asian food, I consider myself lucky to have been exposed to this food because it let me realize I liked something at such a young age. If I would have had to wait until I was older, I would have probably stuck my nose up to the experience and rejected it because it was different than what I was use to. Since I was exposed at a young age, it allowed me to make my own judgments about the food without much of an outside influence. After all this happened, I kept being friends with the guy, and we ended up being our high school’s home coming king and queen!

(I posted this on a regular wordpress acount to begin with https://manewalt.wordpress.com/category/uncategorized/
shows the time stamp of when

Who is included and who is excluded?

A blog post for Week 1, of AS AM 1118 at UCSB by Erika Martinez

Being a student in the Global Studies Major, I have had the privilege of coming in contact with a diverse history that is often ignored in elementary teaching. While I am not Asian American, I recognize that these spaces are first and foremost safe spaces for those who are constantly being oppressed due to the experiences recounted in class.

I believe that it is very important to be media literate, and we should be constantly be critiquing and questioning the images being sold to us by those who are in control of the media. I am also a media scholar, and my biggest contribution to class is that I have had a lot of experience in being one of those who manipulates media. I have participated in the back-end of a few elections, and it is why I find it very easily to question what is presented at any time. Not to say that all media representations are false, but I believe it is important to question the author.

This class is a great space for all of these discussions. Most importantly, it helps to go beyond the answer of “who is included and who is excluded?” by giving us the history of an entire people that has been excluded again and again in the history of American people. I am very excited for the rest of the quarter, and I am looking forward to being more informed on a history that will expand my world-view.

History Hitting Home Hard

Jap_Hunting_License_Button-Open_Season_No_LimitTN kdgeorgeww2usathisistheenemyToday’s lecture on the brief overview of Asian American History concerning the early immigration of and American action against Chinese and Japanese peoples was a bit of a wake up call for me. As an Asian American student of a later generation, this brief yet powerful history lesson hit pretty close to home. It was eye opening for me, and I realized that there was so much more legislative and social action against Asian immigrants far before I had any previous knowledge of, beginning in the 1800’s. Yes, I knew about the Chinese Exclusion Act, but of no previous racial discrimination. Learning about the Asian archetypes in a classroom setting was so different than the way that I have seen them portrayed in my own personal life, from being taunted, microagressed, or witness to racial aggression based on prejudice and stereotypes. Given my personal experience, I thought it would not be anything new to learn about these stereotypes, but learning about them in a formal setting with examples from both early film and classic movies, actually hurt a lot more than I anticipated. It reminded me of the feeling I had when I first took a Black Studies class that taught about typical Black archetypes like the Mammy, Uncle Tom, the “coon” and the Jezebelle. It made me sick to my stomach to think that the racial discrimination, profiling, and categorization of Chinese and Japanese immigrants happened to my great grandfather, while the photo of the house with the sign that claimed “This is a White Man’s Neighborhood” was nothing new, it suddenly felt so much more personal once I learned more in depth the history of legislative and social events that lead to those kinds of Anti-Asian sentiments during the time my grandfather was a younger age than I am now. I’m still pretty sick to my stomach. But it’s made me really thankful that I have the privilege to learn about my own history and to understand that the discrimination and racism that I have experienced in my lifetime is of a different kind of that of the past, but it is strongly rooted in the Anti-Asian feelings and actions that were taken in the past, and a lot of that progression and change of what looks like has been translated and evolved through film and media.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget the image of “Fu Manchu” or un-hear the ominous music that played accompanying the image of the Fu-Manchu on-screen, or forget about all of the anti-Japanese war posters I saw today. In one lecture, I understand more about the importance of remembering and learning more in-depth about this history, whereas last week I only saw the importance of being critical of the present.

It’s a bittersweet feeling.

What Does Race Have to Do with Me?

As a Chinese woman born and raised in China for 18 years, race had been a foreign concept to me. There is no race in China, only 56 ethnicities, or so as I have been told. From the pieces that I gathered from the TV shows and talk shows, I learned that American born Chinese are called “ABCs” and they are like “bananas” – wearing yellow skin but thinking like a White person. I also learned that ABCs are cool, partly because they speak perfect, sexy English, partly because they always look so damn good. (I am thinking about ABC celebrities in China and Taiwan, like Wang Lihong/Leehom, Wu Yanzu/Daniel, Wu Jianghao, etc.) From those shows, I also got two binary, conflicting views of the U.S. One view said that America is a great melting pot, the pioneer of freedom, equality, and democracy; people of all races live a happy and middle class life here. Guess what? The other view said that the America is a dangerous place, where guns are legal and discrimination against Chinese Americans is still prevalent.

It was not until I came here that I realized that not all ABCs are cool and pretty. They don’t all earn so much as to be qualified as middle class. Some maybe “banans,” some are pretty Chinese still! As for the binary, conflicting views of the U.S., neither of them depicts the whole picture. As Michael Omi and Howard Winart argue, the system of racial meanings and stereotypes, of racial ideologies are so essential to the US society that even though the specifics of racial meanings have changed over time, the system remains. They further argue, it has become so central to the US cultural that it is naturalized and materialized into people’s common sense. In other words, Americans rely on the system of race to gain information and make quick judgments about others. Such common sense passes along from generations to generations, and is hardwired into our brains (through schemas) to help us organize information and understand unfamiliar cultures or people. Some of the common sense may travel beyond the border, get twisted, and reach the other side of the world. Obviously, I used my common sense to get an idea about “ABCs” when I was in China. As you can see, the common sense can be very wrong.

The system of race is so powerful yet so subtle that we cannot really see how it operates unless we have some critical knowledge to decode its manifestations. Americans have been socialized into the system of race since they were born, and it has become a natural part of their everyday life. But as a Chinese and foreigner, what does race have to do with me? For all my life before I came here, I had known myself as a Chinese, or a Cantonese. Asian or Asian American never sounded like an intimate identity to me. I want no “bananas.” But as soon as I got here, I was identified by others as Asian. I was required to put Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islanders on personal data on GOLD because there was no “Chinese”. Can I refuse to be racialized and just be somebody from Canton or Guangdong? Maybe I can, on a personal identity level. But it’s impossible to stop others from using their common sense to make quick judgments about my race and my ethnicity. They may not know that I am a Chinese foreigner by purely looking at me; surely they will quickly put me to the box of Asian/Asian American unless they get to know me more. What follow are all other kinds of assumptions (read: stereotypes) that their common sense can muster to understand me, and at a institutional level, these assumptions about being an Asian/Asian American carry real consequences, such as discrimination in housing, employment, education, etc.

So, why does race have to do with me, a foreigner? Because, it affects how others think about me, and how I will be treated on both personal as well as institutional levels. The system of race, like a machine, will catch me, turn me into its parts, and make me work for it, whether I like it or not. That’s how powerful it is.

by Angel (Ruiqi) Ye

Week 1

Having never taken a formal class in Asian American Studies, I came into this class only knowing my own experiences as an Asian American. As the first entry of my blog, I’ll recount a few of my tales.

My parents immigrated from Taiwan to study here and ultimately build a life and family. I was raised in a rather diverse, liberal community, so many of the problems that Asian Americans have to face didn’t hit me until later in life. In fact, my first two friends were black and whiteand I didn’t even speak English! I grew up thinking that people were just people, until I began to be treated differently. Schoolmates would say that I looked so Asian, especially with my “nerdy” glasses. My good grades were attributed to my Asianness instead of my own motivation to do well in school. Fast-forward a little and suddenly I was competing with my entire school to see who could be the smartest Asian. Racial inequality and competition to be successful hurled us into a game we never asked to play, but we felt like we had no choice but to play it. Most of us were born and raised in that town for our whole lives and only had glimpses of what it was like to grow up in other kinds of demographics.

By that time, I was aware that my Asian-Americanness was perceived as existing, but not fully welcome or understood. I’d seen enough pop media to understand that Asians were seen as bad people, crazy people, people to be feared and never understood. Hardly was there an Asian character portrayed by an Asian person who spoke, dressed, behaved, or thought like any real person. But the lack of an accurate Asian American role model in the media made it difficult to see what the real world was like for Asian Americans. What does it mean to be Asian American? In what context? What kinds of problems do I still have to face as an Asian American and how do I become aware of the issues that I may even be perpetuating?

Luckily, when YouTube came around, I discovered nigahiga, KevJumba, Wong Fu Productions, David So, and many other Asian American content producers. They discussed anything from Asian stereotypes to Linsanity, all while keeping their videos entertaining. Their videos shed light to how I could be Asian in America and gave me hope that I wasn’t to be forever alienated like in the movies.

More recently, The Fung Brothers became popular on YouTube and created videos that tried to more accurately represent Asian Americans. They, too, discussed stereotypes and Linsanity, but their channel seemed to follow a pattern. The Fung Brothers showcased what we eat, how Asian parents act, what Asian girls and guys like, and even different types of Asian girls and guys. Though these videos are entertaining and relatable, I feel like they operate under the same system of categorizing people, creating new stereotypes that, yes, we relate to, but should not leave as the final word. Asians don’t all simply fall into 18 different types and certainly don’t all like the same things. Though the categories they introduce may be diverse, the fact that there are categories at all makes me question. How do Asians share narratives and create content without taking one step back? Is there a compromise in this dynamically shifting movement?