Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | asian american
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Erin and I have great respect for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders' need to preserve our traditional heritages -- they enrich our lives and help give us our sense of identity with the countries of our ancestors. I think too few young Asian Americans hold on to their ethnic heritage. At the same time, we're not just about kimonos and martial arts and traditional music and dances, and don't appreciate that outsiders (white people, mostly) view us through the exoticized filter of our cultural and social traditions. That's why, during her tenure as editor-in-chief of Asian Avenure magazine, Erin sought to paint Denver's AAPI communities with a broader palette. Major stories were about AAPIs in politics, the popularity of Anime with non-Asians, Asian Americans in the U.S. military, multi-racial Asian Americans and even how Asian Americans are excelling in hip-hop dance. Erin also wrote this month about Namita Khanna Nariani, the founder of Mudra Dance Studio, who's a terrific example of how AAPIs can synthesize their respect for traditional culture with the modern energy and pan-cultural richness of being Asian in America.

Erin and I have seen Barack Obama speak three times. We were at Invesco Field for the climactic speech he gave during the Democratic National Convention in Denver. We were in the audience for his interview with CNN during the Unity Conference of journalists of color in Chicago in July. And, almost two years ago, we attended a rally in Aurora, Colorado, we were entranced by his public-speaking ability when he stumped for Ed Perlmutter, the Democratic Congressional candidate in our district. That was months before Obama officially announced his intention to run for President of the United States, but Erin knew right then and there she'd vote for thr guy. I held out for some months, cynically thinking that because of his race, Hillary Clinton would be the more likely Democrat to win over voters. How wrong I was. We met Ed Perlmutter the other day, when he and San Jose Congressman Mike Honda, a leader among Asian American pols, came to Sakura Square in downtown Denver, campaigning on Obama's behalf (Perlmutter is also on the ballot, but although he wasn't leaving anything to chance, Erin and I had honestly never even heard of his GOP opponent). The two men were in the area trying to ignite interest for the election in the Asian American Pacific Islander community.

Update Nov 3: The Boulder Police Department now says there was apparently no knife involved in the assault against the Asian American as described below, but the victim was threatened with being "cut." The police are also investigation another assult made the same night, Oct. 30: a gang rape of a woman by four men. Although neither crime occured on...

I wrote an article for Asian Avenue magazine, about mixed-race Asian American Pacific Islanders. The print edition, which is available at 500 locations around Denver, has lots of photos with it. The article highlights some of the issues facing people of multiple racial heritage in general: the lack of acceptance by either side of your racial background; the disruption...

Asian American ad man and marketing guru Bill Imada comments on Ad Age's lively "Big Tent" blog (he's one of a group of contributors) about how the LPGA is requiring English language proficiency for foreign golfers on the LPGA tour.
For those of you who do not follow golf nor sporting news, LPGA leaders recently decided to require their non-English-speaking members, many of whom have been on the LPGA Tour for two years or more, to be proficient in English before they are allowed to participate in LPGA-sanctioned events. In other words, the LPGA is asking its card-holding members who participate in the golf tournament circuit to be able to pass an exam in English or face suspension from LPGA play. Well, the last time I checked, the LPGA is an organization that has sponsors based in the U.S. and other countries. Its membership is truly international and includes 121 golfers from outside of the U.S., representing more than two dozen countries. And, while the LPGA has its roots in the Western Hemisphere, it has benefited heavily from the growing interest in golf in a number of major industrialized countries as well as developing countries around the world -- including nations in Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Rim. Requiring that its members and players be proficient in English makes no sense. And the thought of suspending members who aren't proficient in English seems unnecessarily harsh and, even worse, discriminatory and unlawful. The LPGA should be ashamed of itself.

Here are DNC-related "tweets" from my Twitter feed, which shows up in my Facebook updates and also in a widget on my blog pages. Some videos, too: Above, emcee Tamlyn Tomita ("Joy Luck Club," "Come See the Paradise," "Picture Bride," Karate Kid II") introduces Mee Moua, the historic first-ever Hmong American lawmaker, a state senator from Minnesota, during the APIAVote Gala at the Marriott City Center. The week began before the convention itself, with a Saturday night Media Kickoff Party that was the city's show of excess to 15,000 journalists from around the world. I bet there were over 5,000 jrounalists, maybe 10,000, who attended the evening at Elitch Gardens amusement park. The admission was free, the rides were free, there was free food and drink everywhere, and even the arcade games were free, and the staff handed out stuffed animal prizes to anyone who played anything. The next day, Sunday, was an Asian American Summit organized by a Denver committee, which featured speakers including Congressman Mike Honda. The session was a first step towards organizing Colorado's AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander, which I'll try to use as my standard acronym when I'm not spelling out Asian American) community to participate in the political process. Monday night, the first night pof the convention, was the APIAVote Gala.

Super Cr3w, the Las Vegas-based group of b-boys that includes Asian Americans, has won the top honors for the second season of producer Randy Jackson wildly popular show, "America's Best Dance Crew," on MTV. Congrats to the six-man group. We took a break from incessant Olympics viewing to watch the live MTV season finale program last night, and were holding our breath. An astounding 39 million votes were cast for these two finalists, a reflection of how huge the hip-hop dance culture has become. We wanted the other finalists, SoReal Cru from Houston, because they're all Asian Americans, two of the members are women, and one of the members said poignantly during the season premiere that their parents expected them to be lawyers and doctors but they wanted to pursue their passion for dancing.

. Saw this via Angry Asian Man (a daily must-read): Young Asian Americans are proving they can dance, and not just on MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew." This cool video is performed by FarEast Movement but created by Wong Fu Productions, a trio of Chinese Americans from UC San Diego who started making cool content online in 2003 and now run...