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The Asian American Student Organization ZINE
03 June 2020 @ 05:09 am




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The Asian American Student Organization ZINE

When I was about five years old, I came home from school one day and proudly announced that I no longer wanted to speak Tagalog, one of my native languages. I had learned English and Tagalog, one of the main dialects of the Philippines, at the same time; they were both my first language. My reasoning for wanting to stop speaking in Tagalog was because the language was “ugly.”


Painting by Marissa Trierweiler '11

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The Asian American Student Organization ZINE

Film, television, print, and music; media is all around us. It is easy to disregard how prevalent media and popular culture are in daily life, and often, consumers are unaware of the influence that media has on them, from the minuscule to the most noteworthy. By acting as a powerful apparatus, media helps to establish, perpetuate, and reinforce beliefs and stereotypes about racial-ethnic, social, and cultural groups in order to further subjugate them, unintentionally or otherwise. While those who produce media, particularly those involved in television and film, have become more and more aware of issues of representation that stand both in front of and behind the camera, we still see new films and television shows produced that propagate the dominant ideas of the hegemony under which a culture operates. Over the past several years, we have seen a rise in films that attempt to approach racial-ethnic stereotypes with a critical lens, some successful, and others not. I have chosen here to focus on Asians and Asian Americans in film. In recent years, several significant projects have discussed Asian and Asian American stereotypes in such a successful way that they have taken to the mainstream. Because media in general interacts with its audience, it is safe to say that what we see on screen is often a reflection of how we as a whole think and approach any given issue. Do the Right Thing (1989), Better Luck Tomorrow (2003), and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) are all examples of films that portray and question stereotypes and prejudices about the Asian diaspora.


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The Asian American Student Organization ZINE



On Feb. 2, 2009, Hussain Turk, a Kalamazoo College sophomore, attended “Israel 101,” led by the Hillel Organization, a Jewish student group on WMU’s campus. He came alone and in protest with a sign that read “AmeriKKKa Funds Israeli Terrorism.”

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The Asian American Student Organization ZINE

Maayong aga Lola Oding! Kumusta ka na?...Lola, it’s Amber – your granddaughter from the States. I love you – Palangga ko ekaw.” I don’t know if she can remember me because she’s 100 years old and it’s been 7 years since I last visited her.

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The Asian American Student Organization ZINE

The flickering of CNN on an empty chair
various bulges and caverns remain where thighs, buttocks,  and tailbone once relieved the stress of  three flights of stairs and San Francisco hills painful when you weren’t
shuffling across the moss carpet you achieved zen
stacking coins so neatly you valued each cent
because each coin promised “Liberty” stating“In God We Trust”
heavy words now tossed to blind men in alleys forced into cheap trinket machines marked “Made in Japan”  chopsticks and rice seemed reason enough to be associated with the Rising Sun the setting of your feet grown cold as you lay propped in pillows led me to ask why you’re teeth were kept in a cup of water and you said “Don’t smoke.” 
 I only four at the time I gazed into your hazy eyes which I know seen a lot but you were no spy
“God” knows you were born in California and
Buddha knows if I had not been an Ise tourist, my incense burning may have meant something
your somber poker face, a mask for all expression
I wonder where did those wrinkles come from  because
I hear you used to make jokes I hear Grandma fell in love with you this way
beauty queen of the barracks some say, samurai and rice patty, did you say
well I laughed through salty eyes when they scattered your ashes at sea
whispering a memory of youthful poses captured
forgotten memories fraying, I ask how one smiles in both joy and fear
in shades of black, white, and Topaz.

1/6/05
edit 11/30/07



Note: This piece was published in The Cauldron, the campus literary magazine, in the Spring of 2007.