Now that the Pew Research Center announced that Asian Americans are the “highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States,” and since the buzz on the Democratic victory is the changing demographics of the American electorate, I was hoping that the national media would include our voice more in the coverage of the elections last night. Nope. Not yet.
We may be fast-growing, but at just 3% of the electorate (a number that flashed onscreen last night, during one of two mentions of Asian Americans) there aren’t enough of us casting ballots yet, I guess. Reappropriat created a terrific spreadsheet of Asian American voters in some states, including Colorado, with a blank column for people to fill in numbers for their state last night.
It bugs me that Asian Americans are so often still left out of the national conversation about racial issues, as if we don’t matter. Obviously, given the growth curve of the AAPI community, we will matter in time. But Hispanics will be the population getting the most attention — and wielding the most electoral power — for some years yet. Continue reading →
This is what a politician looks like when the media have him under an intense spotlight for a controversial statement.
Nice work by 9News investigative reporter and 9 pm anchor Kyle Clark, who contacted me yesterday to confirm that Republican Congressman Mike Coffman had indeed sent a surrogate to attend an Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month event over the weekend that Erin and I emceed.
What was Coffman thinking, baiting birthers and saying “in his heart, Barack Obama is not an American” to a room of conservative donors?
Rep. Coffman published a mea cupla in The Denver Post in which he flatout retracts his birther statement and says it was a “boneheaded” thing to say:
Last Saturday, at an event in Elbert County, I made an inappropriate and boneheaded comment. I misspoke and I apologize for doing so. I have never been afraid to admit when I am wrong, and I was wrong here.
More importantly, I was also wrong in another respect. I should never have questioned the president’s devotion to our country. The president and I disagree on many issues â€” his approach to health care, jobs and energy independence, to name a few. But disagreeing on these issues was not license for me to question his devotion to our country.
I believe President Obama loves this country and wakes up every morning trying to do what is best for our nation, even if I disagree with his approach. To question the president’s devotion to our country based on the fact that we disagree over policy issues was wrong of me and I am sorry.
That’s progress. Kudos to Coffman for coming clean. It’s still a bizarre statement, so we’ll see if it’s enough for the public — and the media — to move on.
President Obama never fails to inspire with his speeches, and for me, especially his speeches in support of the Asian American community. The video above is from his speech in Washington DC on May 18 at the 18th Annual Gala of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.
And while I’m at it, I’m embedding Obama’s historic interview yesterday with Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America” yesterday, during which he states that he now fully supports gay marriage. Here’s the entire segment and a transcript.
Although I’m sure he and his staff weighed the political pros and cons of making such a statement and decided the cons may not significantly affect his re-election campaign (it may help it, particularly with independent swing voters), I think it took some guts to say it. And for GLBT people everywhere, I can’t imagine the power such a statement of support from the President of the United States must convey.
If you watch the video, it criticizes the yahoos who turned the lunch menu into political commentary about dishonoring those who died at Pearl Harbor 70 years ago. But the text is much more ambivalent and invites readers to get worked up into a frenzy, even with its headline spotlighting “Japanese Food.” Come one, teriyaki chicken? Yeah, it’s Japanese but it’s hardly un-American. Nothing to convene a new HUAC investigation over.
OMG — no one should have any Japanese food on Dec. 7. For that matter, we should have any German or Italian food in addition to Japanese food, on Memorial Day or Veterans’ Day. And don’t forget Korean and Vietnamese food… oh wait, there were Koreans and Vietnamese who were on our side. God forbid, if anyone gulped down any sushi yesterday, they’re traitor bastards.
The Asian American blogosphere is all abuzz, and with good reason. The White House has more AAPIs in high places (the Cabinet) than ever in history. And yesterday, President Obama signed an executive order restoring the President’s Advisory Commission and White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, who is Chinese American, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will serve as co-chairs.
The the commission was originally created during the Clinton administration, but it expired during George W. Bush’s presidency and was not reauthorized. That alone says a lot about Bush’s view of AAPIs as a force in this country, I think. It also says a lot about Obama’s empathy for and understanding of AAPIs as a people who are woven throughout the fabric of American society.
As part of the ceremony, Obama also paid tribute to the South Asian celebration of Diwali, the end of the harvest season in India and Nepal.
The video of the ceremony is above; here’s the full text of President Obama’s speech: Continue reading →