Little Tokyo - Los Angeles
March 23, 2013
More than 200 people attended a summit yesterday in Los Angeles, provocatively titled "Beyond the Bad and the Ugly." The meeting was appropriately named as it took aim at the continued use of offensive images, ethnic slurs and stereotypical caricatures of Asian Americans in American media, and its impact on just about every aspect of American culture, politics, education and society.
AsianConnections.com applauds Jeff Yang, Wall Street Journal Online writer of the "Tao Jones" column for organizing this first summit devoted to the problem, and enlisting public dialogue and empowerment. Yang brought together activisits, bloggers and others to examine the issues and encouraged people to take action against the negative stereotypes and portrayals of Asian Americans in the media.
Stereotypical images of Asian Americans in the media have negatively impacted the lives of Asian Americans for more than a century.
Yang told LA Times writer Anh Do the event is "the culmination of a dream, seeing people not only talking about these issues - but doing something about it," "The point is to empower everyone, telling them, "Change is happening, and it's happening inside - with us."
The March 23, 2013 summit officially kicks off Jeff Yang's new book he co-edited with Parry Shen, Keith Chow and Jerry Ma, Shattered: the Asian American Comics Anthology (Secret Identities). SHATTERED’s 2013 tour, will take Yang and his co-editors Parry Shen, Keith Chow and Jerry Ma to select cities and college campuses in the East, West and Midwest (contacts are listed below if you wish to book a SHATTERED tour event).
Featured sessions at the "Beyond the Bad and the Ugly" Los Angeles summit March 23, 2013:
[SPONSORED BY NEW YORK UNIVERSITY’S A/P/A INSTITUTE The Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU brings together accomplished scholars, community builders, and artists from New York City and beyond in interactive forums, reflection, and new research. www.apa.nyu.edu]
In 1914, Sessue Hayakawa became the first Asian American actor to break through on the silver screen, appearing in movie pioneer Thomas Ince’s silent classic The Typhoon, and launching a career as one of the most popular and well-paid stars in the nascent Hollywood industry, albeit in roles that consistently depicted him as villainous, violent and manipulative. As he put it himself, “I want to be shown as I really am, and not as fiction paints me….My one ambition is to play a hero.”
Ninety-nine years later, Asians and Asian Americans have a much greater presence in U.S. popular culture — but they are often represented in ways that Hayakawa would recognize and lament: Silent thugs. Sexless nerds. Predatory temptresses, calculating conspirators and impossibly strange foreigners.
Organized by Jeff Yang, Wall Street Journal Online columnist and editor-in-chief of the new graphic novel anthology SHATTERED (http://siun.org/shatteredbook), which uses the medium of the comics to explore and explode unyielding stereotypes of Asians in pop culture, BEYOND THE BAD AND THE UGLY gathers together some of the brightest and most interesting Asian American creators, and critics, activists and academics in a unique one-day summit that begins by looking back at the heritage of Asian images in American media and society, and ends by looking ahead — discussing new ways to prevent distortions and present more vivid, humanized, three-dimensional portraits of Asians and Asian Americans to a wider and more accepting audience.
The Summit will take place from 9 am to 6:30 pm at L.A.’s Japanese American National Museum — a natural home for an event focused on the power of perception over the Asian American community’s destiny. It will be followed by SHATTERED’s official book launch cocktail reception featuring live performances and signings by its creators.
Tickets for BEYOND THE BAD AND THE UGLY will cost $15 for students, $25 for general admission and $35 for VIP admission, which includes reserved seating and a free copy of SHATTERED: THE ASIAN AMERICAN COMICS ANTHOLOGY (a $21.95 value!).