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Asian Americans and Latinos are the fastest growing minority groups in the country. Particularly in North Carolina, Asian American population has grown more than 80% from 2000 to 2010 (see Advancing Justice’s recent report on the Asian American demographic in the South here), while Hispanic/Latino populations has grown more than 110%, according to the US Census. This growing demographic could have particularly important implications for politicians in the days to come.

Often headlines choose to highlight differences between Asian Americans and Latinos, focusing on language like “Asians overtake Hispanics as largest US immigration group” and reinforcing the “model minority” myth that effectively renders Asian Americans as a political tool against affirmative action.

Lost in translation is common history and solidarity that these communities have shared and common challenges they continue to face.

To bring to the forefront “real clear moments of collaboration between Asian-Americans and Latinos,” NPR’s Latino USA has put together a special report in the form of an hour-long podcast called “Hyphen-Americans.”

Particularly poignant in the podcast, editor-in-chief of Hyphen magazine (a publication focusing on Asian American issues) Abigail Licad summarizes some political collaborations among the Asian and Latino communities in the past including working together on labor movements in the early 20th century (among one of the most iconic collaborations being between Cesar Chavez and Larry Itliong) to collaboration in the undocumented youth movement in recent years.

Listen to the Latino USA podcast here:

News

API VoteAs ballots are cast all over the state today, it is important to remind voters and poll workers about Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act which allows voters to get language assistance at the polls. The relevant North Carolina statute states that any registered voter who has trouble reading is allowed to be assisted in the voting booth by any person of their choice, except a candidate for office.

Unfortunately, poll workers are often not trained to comply with this law. This lack of knowledge and training results in voters not being able to get assistance from a person of their choice and, in worst case scenarios, can result in a voter not casting their vote due to a lack of language assistance.

Many ethnic groups face these language challenges at the polls but a new report put out by Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) puts a spotlight on the language problems faced by Asian Americans, since their vote could affect the outcome of the midterm election. According to the report, 32.65% of the Asian American population in North Carolina has limited English proficiency. A 2012 post-election survey of Asian Americans found that turnout among those who had difficulty speaking English was nine percent lower than those who are English proficient. Overall, in 2012, eight percent of Asian Americans who have difficulty speaking English cited language barriers as a reason for not voting. Read More

Lunch Links

For your Wednesday lunch today-

Science:

  • Bill Nye, my childhood science mentor via PBS, debated Ken Ham last night on the science of evolution vs. creationism. Ham is the president of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, where the debate took place and was livestreamed. Um, yeah. Mashable has a recap here.
  • You can also watch the debate on youtube, embeded below.

  • We have our own share of science-deniers here in the Tar Heel state… The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences denied to show a documentary Shored Up, about the impacts of climate change on places like our lovely Outer Banks, also one of my personal favorite places in the world… But hey, you can still catch it tonight at NCSU or tomorrow at Full Frame Theatre in Durham. More here from WRAL.
  • Trailer below.

Health and Technology:

  • Rumor has it Apple hired an expert on sleep research, Dr. Roy J.E.M. Raymann, onto its team developing the ‘iWatch’ project. So I guess you better watch out cause soon Santa will not be the only one who sees you when you’re sleeping. More here from The Telegraph.
  • Read More

Lunch Links

On August 15, 1945, 68 year ago today, Japan surrendered to the Allied forces, signaling the end of World War II. For attitudes domestically in the U.S., WWII brought out the best and the worst in us. From the same president who brought us the Social Security Act and other saving elements of the New Deal also came Executive Order 9066, which imprisoned some 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry into relocation camps, the majority of whom were American-born citizens.

Exclusion Order posted to direct Japanese Americans living in the first San Francisco section to evacuate. Photo from National Archives.

Exclusion Order posted to direct Japanese Americans living in the first San Francisco section to evacuate. Photo from National Archives.

In face of blatant adversity and discrimination, Japanese Americans remained loyal to Uncle Sam, heeding the call-to-arms and fighting in the European theater during WWII. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a unit of mostly American soldiers of Japanese descent, went on to become the most decorated regiment in the history of the U.S. Military, earning the nickname the “Purple Heart Battalion.”

Unfortunately after the war, Japanese Americans continued to face prejudice. Some lost their homes, their businesses, and others unwelcomed in their former communities.

Attitudes have certainly changed since then, reparations and apologies issued. But the brush of the “perpetual foreigner” remains.
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Uncategorized

A group of Asian American “DREAM Riders” from California, Illinois and Virginia will be traveling across the country in the next 2 weeks in a “national effort to build a unified Asian American voice for comprehensive immigration reform.”

They will be stopping tonight at 630pm in Charlotte at The Asian Library for a community forum “What’s ‘Asians’ got to do with it?” to address how immigration reform impacts the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The forum is hosted by the Southeast Asian Coalition, United 4 the Dream, and the Latin American Coalition.

More information about the “DREAM Riders” tour across America here: http://krcla.org/en/Dream

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