Nearly 100 Indian-American candidates are running for office in the 2018 mid-term elections, an astonishing and encouraging number. (ABC News)
The Northwest Asian Weekly notes that “relative to other racial groups, AAPIs have some of the lowest voter registration rates, with only 56 percent of people who are eligible to register having done so as of 2016.” It is unclear if minority voters will be “angry enough to come off the sidelines” though a new poll of African-American, Latinx, Native-American and Asian-American voters appears to show they are more motivated this election season. (US News)
The city of Santa Clara has been forced to split into 6 voting districts, after a lawsuit filed by Asian Americans “proves at-large voting hurt Asian candidates” (CBS News, KPIX Channel 5) This ends an “at-large election system that…led to an all-white City Council for generations” (San Jose Mercury) Previously, all voters elected all council members across the whole city, so though Asian residents made up 40% of the population, about the same proportion as Caucasian residents, perhaps due to higher white turnout, no Asian candidate ever won a seat on the council.
New York City's plans to diversify its top high schools by changing the admissions process has provoked enormous controversy among the Asian community. Admission to nine special public schools, including famous institutions such as Bronx High School of Science and Stuyvesant High School, are currently by competitive exam. Though only 16% of New York public school students are of Asian descent, they make up 62% of students who enter these special public schools, according to The New York Times.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s has proposed reserving spaces for students from certain high-poverty schools “which tend to have a high share of black and Hispanic students,” but his eventual plan is to “eliminate the test entirely.” Asians have the highest poverty rate in New York City and many feel the tests are an unbiased way for students to gain admission. As City Councilwoman Margaret Chin put it, “For many families, particularly low-income immigrant families, the specialized high schools are the only pathway to a world-class education." Other Asian American commentators believe the mayor's proposal is an anti-racist measure that the community should support in the interests of social justice.
Jiayang Fan reports on the issue from a first-person perspective in “Why Asian-Americans Feel Powerless in the Battle over New York’s Élite High Schools” in The New Yorker.
Harvard has filed a response defending its admissions policies against a group that has sued the university for discriminating against Asian American applicants. (Bloomberg)
Building an Inclusive AAPI Community
NBC America has launched all five of filmmaker Patrick G. Lee’s videos on “Searching for Queer Asian Pacific America” and LGBT history: www.nbcasianamericapresents.com/searching
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation published “Coming Out: Living Authentically as LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander Americans” a guide to the challenges a person “of Asian or Pacific Islander descent may face while coming out, including language barriers and family expectations.” Read the guide here: http://www.hrc.org/resources/coming-out-living-authentically-as-lgbtq-asian-and-pacific-islander-america
National Public Radio reports on the challenge of caste discrimination among South Asians immigrants.
Asian Americans have been enlisting in the military in growing numbers. Between 2004 and 2016, the number of Asian American officers in the army has grown by 41%. (Nikkei)
Vietnamese-American actress Lana Condor stars in the new Netflix romantic comedy “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” based on a book by Jenny Han. (Hollywood Reporter) Many of Netflix's romantic-comedy offerings this summer are more diverse. Watch the trailers on YouTube (here and here)
Crazy Rich Asians will be coming out later this summer. The Guardian previously asked if it will be a “game changer” for Asian American representation. Awkwafina, one of the actresses in the film who has Chinese and Korean heritage, also stars in Oceans 8 alongside well-known Indian-American actress Mindy Kaling.
Yoshi Sudarso plays an Asian American cowboy in an Indonesian film.
Stanford alumnus Viraj Mehta ’18, MS ’18 won third place in College Jeopardy, but as an Asian American, also had to deal with backlash online.
Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University PhD student and naturalized American citizen, is being held captive by the Iranian government. His story was featured in The New York Times. His wife, Hua Qu, and local Princeton families are working for his release. They have set up a website at https://sites.google.com/view/freexiyuewang
Politico reports on how Silicon Valley organizations, companies and individuals are being targeted by Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies, who have been known to recruit or apply pressure to Chinese students and immigrants.