Keep on Wondering...

What are the connections between social and historical forces and the representations we see?
Why is yellowface still acceptable? When and how did yellowface turn into whitewashing?
How do these representations create and/or perpetuate stereotypes that are present in our world? What is the impact?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Asian-American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People by Helen Zia

I'm at a point in my life where I'm questioning my cultural identity - should I be Asian-American or an Asian-European-American or just check the Other box? I'm not sure who or what group I want to be tied to, or if I want to be tied to any particular group anyways.

Funnily enough, I didn't read this book to find out if I wanted to identify as Asian-American only. I read this as part of my Independent Study project at school (on Asians & Asian-Americans in the media) but I read this for a bit of context to base my studies in. I got way more context then I could even hope to find in at least 5 books.

Zia writes in a way that is compelling, informative, easy to read, and easy to understand. She takes us through everything, from the Chinese miners in the Gold Rush to the trials of the Vincent Chin murder, from saigu to the emergence of hapas, from the controversial casting of Miss Saigon to the reinvention of the Asian-American identity. An eye-opening read for everyone, not just Asian-Americans or kids who are questioning their cultural identity.

That being said, I'm just as proud of my Asian-American heritage as before, if not more so.

1 comment:

  1. Jasmine, I'm looking forward to hearing about any connections or parallels you see in Zia's book and what you know so far about the history of media representations of Asians and Asian Americans. Also, fun fact about Helen Zia, she lives in the Bay Area and was a plaintiff's witness for the recent Prop 8 trial.