Chinese American Now
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Chinese American Now
Websites dealing with contemporary issues and news relevant to Chinese America
Curated by John Jung
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Taking Back Chinatown

Taking Back Chinatown | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
On a typical day in Manhattan’s Chinatown, the streets hum with the bustle of sidewalk vegetable markets and the idle prattle of wrinkled elders—a subdued but gritty din that seems to never change.
John Jung's insight:

"Serve the People, a one-room exhibition now at New York Chinatown's Museum of Chinese in America, that revisits the cultural turn that branded New York’s Asian America as an overlooked moment in New York and Asian American political histories. The collection features posters, publications and leaflets, of the Asian American activism of the 1970s, much of it donated by the Museum of Chinese in America."


.".... Chinatown today is no longer a hotbed of Marxist insurgency. The first flash of radicalism has long since faded, migrating to college campuses and other neighborhoods. But in Corky Lee’s photographs and the Basement Workshop’s dog-eared prints, the Asian American movement’s coming of age remains suspended forever in its polyglot ephemera."

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"self-made": finding cultural identity in Chinatown | Spacing Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

"self-made": finding cultural identity in Chinatown | Spacing Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
John Jung's insight:

Edmonton's Chinatown is 'split' into a north and a south section with a gap created by urban changes.  Fung notes "... physical planning in this case, is not as important as the social planning aspect of this neighbourhood.  To design only towards cultural ornamentation and aesthetic answers just a third of our conversation."

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A look at Boston's historic Chinatown

A look at Boston's historic Chinatown | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
John Jung's insight:

The face of Boston Chinatown, as in other major cities, has undergone changes, not all for the better.  Not surprisingly (not mentioned in the article) suburban Chinatowns or ethnoburbs have developed as alternatives.

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History of the Chinese Americans in Metro Detroit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

History of the Chinese Americans in Metro Detroit

As of 2002 Ethnic Chinese and Chinese American people are second largest Asian-origin ethnic group in the Wayne- Macomb- Oakland tri-county area in Metro Detroit. As of that year there were 16,829 ethnic Chinese, concentrated mainly in Troy, Rochester Hills, and Canton Township. As of 2012 Madison Heights also hosts a significant Chinese community.

Ah Chee arrived to Detroit in 1872 and established a laundry business. Ah Chee was the first Chinese person in Detroit.[4]    At one time Detroit had its ownChinatown.[1]  In the 1920s Detroit had 300 Chinese laundry businesses and 12 Chinese restaurants. Helen Zia, author of Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, wrote that during the 1920s the Chinese business community in Detroit had its peak.[4]

 Much of the Chinatown was demolished in the 1950s so the Walter P. Reuther Freeway could be built.[5] In response Chinatown moved to an area in the southern Cass Corridor.[6]

The highly educated ethnic Chinese who moved to Detroit after the Immigration Act of 1965 moved to suburbs, bypassing Detroit and the Detroit Chinatown. The previous laundry and restaurant owners who had children who, instead of staying in the Chinatown, moved to Metro Detroit suburbs and to other cities and moved away to attend universities.[4]    Zia wrote that by that decade, the "shrinking base" in the Detroit Chinatown "reflected the diminished role of the merchants."[4]

John Jung's insight:

A study by Metzger, Kurt and Jason Booza: "Asians in the United States, Michigan and Metropolitan Detroit." Center for Urban Studies,Wayne State University. January 2002 Working Paper Series, No. 7  wisely cautions that: "While the Asian presence in this country was once symbolized by Chinatowns in major cities, the 2000 Census reveals that there are now as many as five distinct Asian national-origin groups with more than a million residents... it is time to recognize the very large differences that exist between the Chinese, Indians, Filipinos, and other major Asian groups."

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Chinatown Paper Dolls: Kwei-lin Lum

Chinatown Paper Dolls

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Chinatown Paper Dolls [Kwei-lin Lum]  Explore many generations of Chinese-American history with this captivating collection of paper dolls.
John Jung's insight:

A brief "fashion history" of Chinese America with paper dolls!

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The Evolution of the Model Minority Myth

The Evolution of the Model Minority Myth | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it

Alice Wong Guest Blogger for AsAmNews:    

This is  a 2-part interview with Dr. Ellen D. Wu about her new book.  

John Jung's insight:

History professor Ellen D. Wu discusses her new book, Evolution of the Model Minority Myth with blogger Alice Wong and points out that:.

"I think it’s important for young APAs to know our collectively history for a number of reasons. First, we have a duty to acknowledge the struggles of our predecessors who labored to make our society a more open and inclusive one—to the point where some people can even claim (though untrue) that we are “post-racial.” Second, understanding that the model minority was a fairly recent creation drives home the point that racial ideas, racial categories, and racial assumptions are invented by people, not facts of nature. 


Also see Part 2 of the interview: 

http://www.asamnews.com/2013/11/26/what-the-model-minority-myth-means-in-the-21st-century/

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Soft Film 軟性電影: Edward L. Park: The Original Chinese Charlie Chan

Soft Film 軟性電影: Edward L. Park: The Original Chinese Charlie Chan | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
John Jung's insight:

Great bit of detective work on this post reveals that the first Charlie Chan was Edward L. Park, who would later work at the Angel Island Immigration Station as an interpreter. His wife and two daughters were also early Chinese American actors.

 

Park, unlike the later Charlie Chan played by non-Chinese Warner Orland, even got to speak a bit of Chinese in this film clip. Note the shots of Grant Avenue in San Francisco starting at 1:15 mark.

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Paul's Kitchen hangs on as City Market Chinatown fades away

Paul's Kitchen hangs on as City Market Chinatown fades away | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
The surrounding neighborhood has changed a lot since Paul's Kitchen opened in 1946, but the Chinese restaurant clings to the past.
John Jung's insight:
Profile of an long-term American Chinese restaurant in L.A. That is one of the last of its kind.
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The Killing of Vincent Chin Trial Reenactment

The Killing of Vincent Chin Trial Reenactment | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
The true story of a case that began with a brutal attack in Detroit in 1982 and which has become infamous as the single incident that led Asian Americans to ...
John Jung's insight:

"The true story of a case that began with a brutal attack in Detroit in 1982 and which has become infamous as the single incident that led Asian Americans to organize as never before. Performed at University of California Hastings College of the Law, in the Baxter Appellate Law Center."

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"9-Man" is an independent feature documentary about an exceptionally athletic Chinese-American sport in N.Y. Chinatown

"9-Man" is an independent feature documentary about an exceptionally athletic Chinese-American sport in N.Y. Chinatown | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
John Jung's insight:

Ursula Liang, film maker:

""9-Man" introduces the history of the game and a diverse cast of modern-day characters — from 6'7" Olympian Kevin Wong to a 91-year-old pioneer — combining vérité footage and interviews with never before seen archival footage and photos sourced directly from the community. Pivoting between oil-spotted Chinatown parking lots and jellyfish-filled banquet scenes, the film captures the spirit of nine-man as players not only battle for a championship but fight to preserve a sport that holds so much history."

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Lenora Lee Tells Stories of Human Trafficking Through Dance

Lenora Lee Tells Stories of Human Trafficking Through Dance | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
Growing up, dancer and choreographer Lenora Lee went to youth groups and summer programs at the Donaldina Cameron House in...
John Jung's insight:

Making history come alive through an interpretative dance performance!

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Chinatown - Salinas

Chinatown - Salinas | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
Chinatown is a six-block 29-acre urban infill site that is located in the center of the City. To the immediate west across the tracks is the Intermodal Transportation Center and to the immediate south also across the tracks is the old downtown.
John Jung's insight:

Will the future of Salinas' Chinatown improve?  In the 1970’s, the City of Salinas began to revitalize the downtown district.  As a result, marginalized individuals were steadily pushed northward toward Chinatown.


The railroad tracks between downtown and Chinatown areas further isolated Chinatown from the rest of the City of Salinas.  The video on this site discusses the current situation and analyzes future prospects.

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Movie House, and an Era, Go Dark in Chinatown - New York Times (1998)

They used to come for the stilted Cantonese dialogue and overwrought action sequences. Gnawing on dried squid or watermelon seeds in the dark, they lived vicariously for two hours and forgot their
John Jung's insight:

For decades, Chinese immigrants flocked to Chinatown's eight or so Chinese-language movie theaters because the movies delivered about the only entertainment around and because the theaters afforded a sense of community and comfort.

 

But New York City's last Chinese-language theater, the Music Palace, was demolished and faded into history.

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Four Largest Chinatowns of Canada: (English with Chinese subtitles)

Four Largest Chinatowns of Canada: (English with Chinese subtitles) | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
Part 1 of 4. Chinatown Canada digs deep into the heart of the most influential Chinatowns across the country. The four 30 minute episodes feature Victoria & Vancouver, Calgary & Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal.
John Jung's insight:

Outstanding documentary with 30 min. episodes on the past, present, and future of each of Canada's 4 largest Chinatowns. Although there are many similarities among them, especially with respect to the history of their origins, there is considerable difference among their future prospects.

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Chinese Immigration and the Chinese in the United States

Information about NARA facilities nationwide.
John Jung's insight:

Looking for immigration files of family members who immigrated from China?  This resources is invaluable for searching archival records related to the history of Chinese immigrants in the U. S.  Don't try your research without studying this resource first!

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Charlie Chan Links

Charlie Chan Links | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
A collection of useful Charlie Chan links.
John Jung's insight:

"Make no mistake: Charlie Chan is an American stereotype of the Chinaman."          Yunte Huang, Author of Charlie Chan.

 

Charlie Chan is dead, or at least should be. The fictional inscrutable Chinese detective and his ersatz Confucius sayings are laughable and he is seen today as a Yellow Uncle Tom by many.

 

But from an historical perspective, the shift from the evil Dr. Fu Manchu image of Chinamen to the portrayal of an intelligent and non violent sleuth who always solved the crime represented a dramatic change in images of Chinese, even if it had racist undertones.

 

These links to Charlie Chan films, televison, and comic strips provide much material that both reflected and influenced  public attitudes toward Chinese during mid 20th century,  Although a fictional character, Charlie Chan had an influence  on perceptions of Chinese Americans that still lingers today in the minds of many Americans.

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A History Of Indentured Labor Gives 'Coolie' Its Sting

John Jung's insight:

The term "coolie" has changed in meaning over time and place. It had long been used a slur against low-wage, immigrant laborers in the United States.


Due to the fact that the laborers were Asian — 9 out of 10 workers on the railroad were Chinese and the remainder were Irish — and because the workers would labor for low wages and live in substandard living conditions, the word "coolie" became a derogatory code for "Asian" (both East and South) in the United States. The workers were a prime target for criticism by labor leaders, politicians and ordinary citizens, who believed the foreign laborers were depressing wages and unfairly taking jobs.


Today, the word "coolie" has largely faded from use in everyday life. (No one, for example, would dream of calling an anti-immigration measure an "anti-coolie" law today.)


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Flo Oy Wong at The Luggage Store

Flo Oy Wong at The Luggage Store | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
Flo Oy Wong: The Whole Pie opened last week at The Luggage Store Gallery. This is a particularly appropriate venue for showcasing Wong’s work.
John Jung's insight:

Chinese American history has been portrayed visually to promote social justice through the creative eye, mind, and art of Flo Oy Wong through her long career.

 

"The retrospective Flo Oy Wong: The Whole Pie, cosponsored by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) and curated by Pamela Wu Kochiyama, Darryl Smith, and Laurie Lazer, shows how Wong’s unflagging commitment to social justice has materialized across a forty-five year artistic career."

 

"Wong is a teller of unspoken (or unheard) stories that bring people together. Her multilayered work combines everyday materials (rice sacks, items of clothing, suitcases, beads, envelopes, snapshots, flags, sequins, newspaper clippings) and mundane expressive vernaculars (stenciling, stitchery, cooking, cutting and pasting) to voice historically muted narratives that sometimes affirm, sometimes contradict, and always unsettle our received ideas about who we are — individually and collectively. She dismantles barriers that separate us from aspects of our selves, families, histories, and communities."

 

"Food is a recurring theme (and sometimes a medium) in Wong’s work. It appeals for its associations with exchanges around the family table, ritual significance, centrality in community celebrations, and its cultural specificity. Food, like art, nurtures. For Wong, because of her family’s reliance on the restaurant business, food was the source of economic as well as physical survival; it was the currency of her relationships not only to her family members but also the wider Oakland Chinatown community. The iconography of the rice sack enabled Wong to intervene into both her own family heritage and racist stereotypes of Asians. But what about pies, the dominant trope of the current exhibition? Where did this idea originate?"

 

     "In 2009, I was completing an art residency in Madison,        Wisconsin.  On my last day, I visitedthesoon-to-open Children’s Museum. One of the directors gave a friend and me a tour. Sheshowed us an area where the children would be making pies. She said that the museum was looking for professional artists to contribute art pies for a permanent exhibit."

 

"She also wanted to tell stories about diversity in America’s heartland, in cities like Madison, Council Bluffs, and Omaha. With the help of a friend from Nebraska, she began researching the histories of ordinary citizens whose lives are not recorded in books. By the time her show opened at the RNG Gallery in Council Bluffs she had created four more pies."

 

Wong invited seventy-five artists to create pies for her current Luggage Store exhibition in San Francisco, which coincides with her seventy-fifth birthday. The long list of artists whose pies are now on display at the Luggage Store attests to Wong’s reach as a community builder and cultural activist.

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ImmigrationProf Blog

ImmigrationProf Blog | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
Information about the Law Professor Blogs Network.
John Jung's insight:

Chinatown is an essential part of our heritage and history. But Chinatowns are on the verge of disappearing. The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) embarked on a three-city land-use study of Chinatowns in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia to identify the people, buildings, and institutions that currently compose these neighborhoods to help each community better plan for sustainability in the coming years.

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Ethnic Historians and the Mainstream: Shaping America's Immigration Story: Alan M. Kraut, David A. Gerber, Professor Virginia Yans, Deborah Dash Moore, Dr. John Bodnar, Barbara M. Posadas, Dominic ...

Ethnic Historians and the Mainstream: Shaping America's Immigration Story [Alan M. Kraut, David A. Gerber, Professor Virginia Yans, Deborah Dash Moore, Dr. John Bodnar, Barbara M. Posadas, Dominic A. Pacyga, Timothy J.
John Jung's insight:

This new book demonstrates the vital contributions of  11 "ethnic historians" who present different perspectives than the old school history,  "A profession once dominated by white male Christians predominantly of northern and western European heritage and heterosexual in orientation..."  

Each chapter deals with a different ethnic group, and is deserving of recognition, but of particular interest to Chinese American history is the insightful autobiographical chapter by Judy Yung, who describes the difficult journey of her immigrant parents, her experience growing up as a Chinese American in San Francisco, and her career development as a leading scholar and activist in researching the history of Chinese women in America.

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9 Things About Asian American Christianity

9 Things About Asian American Christianity | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
Asian Americans are accelerating in their role in participating and shaping the future of the American church at large.
John Jung's insight:

D. J. Chuang analyzes trends in Asian American Christianity. One of his caveats is that Asian American subgroups are not the same: 


6. 42% of Asian Americans self-identify as Christian, that is, 22% Protestant and 19% Catholic. Note that these survey results also indicate that 75% of the U.S. general public self-identify as Christians.


Take a closer look at the numbers across ethnic lines, and you'll notice something very different for each ethnic group. As the chart illustrates, the most churched are Filipino Americans and Korean Americans, with a majority of Filipino being Catholic and Korean being Protestant.

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Asian-American Lawyers Act Like '22 Lewd Chinese Women'

Asian-American Lawyers Act Like '22 Lewd Chinese Women' | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
The re-enactment of a 19th-century Supreme Court case shows parallels to modern immigration debates.
John Jung's insight:

 For the past seven years, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's annual convention has featured dramatic re-enactments of historic trials involving Asian-Americans.

 

The latest courtroom drama by the Asian American Bar Association of New York is22 Lewd Chinese Women based on the 19th-century Supreme Court case Chy Lung v. Freeman, which involved a group of women from China who sailed to San Francisco without husbands or children.

 

California's commissioner of immigration deemed them as "lewd and debauched," and a state law banned the women from entering the U.S. unless each paid $500 in gold. The state law was ruled unconstitutional in 1875 by the Supreme Court, which reaffirmed that immigration laws are for Congress to decide.

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Chinatown New Orleans

Digital Edition
John Jung's insight:

Excerpt from chapter on New Orleans Chinatown by Richard Campanella, a Tulane University geographer and noted author on the New Orleans landscape. He describes the origins of the thriving Chinese community and Chinatown that developed around the 1870s on the 1100 block of Tulane Street. When it was demolished in 1937  a smaller Chinatown emerged on the  500-600 blocks of Bourbon Street, but today little or no traces of it exist.

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Remembering the Destruction of Denver’s Chinatown

Remembering the Destruction of Denver’s Chinatown | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
John Jung's insight:

Denver once had a thriving Chinatown in an area called "Hop Alley."

"..., today there is no evidence that Chinatown ever existed in what is now the Lower Downtown (or LoDo) Historic District—apart from a small plaque placed by Lower Downtown District, Inc., on the site of a building at 20th Street between Market and Blake.

 

Indeed, it would be difficult to imagine that LoDo, with its high-priced condominiums, upscale boutiques, and gentrified neighborhoods, once housed a thriving working-class Chinese-American community.”

From “History of and Memory: The Story of Denver’s Chinatown,” William Wei in Western Voices: 125 Years of Colorado Writing, Colorado Historical Society, 2004

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Military history of Asian Americans - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Military history of Asian Americans - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia | Chinese American Now | Scoop.it
John Jung's insight:

   An overview of the contributions of Chinese and other Asian Americans to U. S. military forces.  For Chinese Americans, it has been estimated that between 12,000[83] and 20,000[84]  men, representing up to 22 percent of the men in their portion of the U.S. population, served during World War II.[10]

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