Asian American Studies 20 Final

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Critical Reflections on 4/29/1992 and Beyond

Roundtable discussion among lawyers; discussing respective outlooks on the causes of the 1992 LA riots.
They juggled the ideas of cultural, economic, ideological, and media causes. Arriving at a consensus, they put forth a structuralist argument -- the cultural conflicts within the riots were the manifestation of structural forces: pre-existing racial narratives, lack of ethnic agency, and insufficient white political accountability.

Remembering Sa-I-Gu

"Sa-I-Gu brought fundamental changes to Korean American identity, consciousness, and discourse in Los Angeles and beyond."
"Los Angeles riots of 1992 served as an impetus for fundamental changes in search of the Korean American self-identity and provided guidance for the future direction of community."
"After Sa-I-Gu, Korean Americans became active in city politics and proactively involved in multiethnic and multiracial coalition building in Los Angeles."
Summary: Korean Americans took to political action after the 1992 riots and realized how economically dependent African and Korean Americans are on each other.

Sa-I-Gu: Finding Myself in the Midst of Chaos

"Newscasters described the LA riots as a Korean-black conflict--a riot that was sparked by the tension between the two groups."
"As scholars began to examine the LA uprising, it also provided a face and voice for Korean Americans."
"It propelled many of us in Asian American Studies to take action and be engaged in the public discourse that shapes our ethnic identity, communities, and scholarship."
Summary: Sa-I-Gu awakened many 1.5 and second generation Korean Americans to challenge cultural misrepresentation of their community through academia and political mobilization.

Fire, Then Ice

"The real legacy of April 1992 is the same... economic rot, political neglect that equates with racial neglect, deep civic anger amongst black residents about both."
"Blacks and Koreans are no longer at a standoff... But that's because the two groups have moved further apart, not closer together, geographically and economically."
"After a burst of attention around a news event [1992], the world ultimately moves on from black problems, while black people lapse back into familiar isolation and sense of other-ness."
Summary: The world has moved on from 1992, to the point that we are politically and culturally detached from the issues that were and still are very prevalent in our national community.

Riot, Remembrance, and Rebuilding

"To the extent that group solidarity, collective movements, and coalition-building efforts are all cultivated and fortified out of a strong civil society, Korean Americans are a decidedly different kind of demoi today than they were twenty years ago."
"Korean Americans were notably more likely to hold to this view [linked fate] than their other Asian American counterparts... Progress and transformation might be gauged by [changing] racial attitudes."
"... the devastating fires of Sa-I-Gu have produced a loamy and fecund soil for personal discovery, community organizing, political mobilization, and, ultimately, a remarking of what it means to be Korean and Asian in the United States."

From an Ethnic Island to a Transnational Bubble

"Korean Americans do not live on an ethnic island."
"The most significant Korean American response to the civil unrest was the emergence of a new leadership that would shatter ethnic insularity for political participation and grassroots engagement."
"Korean Americans in Los Angeles made the transition from an immigrant community... to a bona-fide American ethnic community."
After the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, "the flow of [transnational capital] from Seoul to Los Angeles increased dramatically... reinvention of Koreatown as a new site for SK investment."
"Korean Americans did not need political engagement and grassroots coalition building to find a voice in Los Angeles -- what they needed was South Korean money."
"For Korean Americans who experienced the civil unrest and continue the... labor of building interracial coalition, it is difficult to be seen and heard above the bright lights and the loud din of transnational spectacle."

The Fruits of Demographic Change

"That's how I see Los Angeles: we're inevitably lurching toward a more inclusive culture even though there are those who still find inclusion and diversity threatening.. [conservative whites, i.e. Fox news]"
"I don't think that we'll be reliving the riot / uprising of 1992... because those who by living their private lives affect the public sphere; they make LA a fascinating and welcoming city and their numbers are growing. These folks thrive on diversity."
Example: Pulitzer Prize winner, Jonathan Gold.
"Food, arguably, has become the most powerful metaphor of miscegenated civic and cultural identity... these inclusionary trends in food will continue as well as appreciation of the distinct culture we're developing here."

Fire in My Heart

"But why is property so important? Who owns you or me? / Are we restless thieves or anxious liberators? Hit the brakes man: / feeling a feeling / I never had before, and there's no right word for it... / For this fiery uprising in my heart that knows no boundaries / As I head into the smoke."
Riot/Uprising as both an indication and agent of change.

Smoke and Mirror: Urban Journalist

"Poverty, racism, and the surging crack epidemic fueled gang-related activities a couple decades later."
"As Los Angeles was promoted as a melting pot of cultures, it was starting to be better described as a simmering boiling pot."
"Cultures clashed, misunderstandings led to larger disputes, and confrontations between ethnic groups became even more apparent."
"The images that I have captured can now be preserved for future generations, as a historical testament to the neglected people, lives, and events that are very much part of the City of Los Angeles."

Sa-I-Gu: Twenty Years Later

"This paper emphasizes the role of the mass media... I would argue that we habitually remember the virtual mass-mediated experience before our own lived experience."
"Journalism can obscure everyday violence by fixating on insignificant stories."
"Twenty years have passed, and the dominant media's coverage of systematic, structural social injustices is still lacking."
"The root of good reporting, whether writing a news story, a novel, or a sociological ethnography, has to be in larger, deeper historical connections and intimate interactions between and within different communities."

The Fire Next Time?

"I was literally born again in the ashes of the nation's first media-fanned minority vs. minority bogus race war."
"Your generational mission is to open up the hidden secrets of 4/29 and pursue the truth and redress movement to bring humanity and honor to our 4/29 victims, who number tens of thousands."
"Overcoming this ethnocentric tribalism is the first step towards building a new fusion [multiethnic] majority in this city of no majority. It's time for honesty, candor, and courage..."
"Twenty years later, the greatest urban upheaval... has simply vanished from the local and national memory in the aftermath..."
"As we silently grieve for our fallen urban warriors in our own killing fields on this twentieth anniversary of Sa-I-Gu, we die a little but carry on with our daily life the only way, we, the people of Hahn, know by heart."

Legacy of Sa-ee-gu

Goodbye Hahn, Good Morning, Community Conscience
"For KA, Sa-ee-gu was a wakeup call to look beyond their insular ethnic enclave and to redefine their destiny in the multicultural and multi-ethnic society... as a cohesive, inclusive people in harmony with other ethnic groups."
"How easily time -- and people of Hahn -- forget. Today, L.A. Koreatown doesn't seem to remember Sa-ee-gu, or doesn't want to. Its inhabitants are in denial, having wiped away their embittered American Dream from their collective memory"
" 'Release the Hahn and use it to motivate ourselves to change the world so that rage and sorrow will no longer be the common bond among Korean Americans.' "
Sa-ee-gu's legacy is 'the first Korean liberation from the ancient affliction of Hahn."

Cultural Activism and Filipino American Rap Music in Post-Riot Los Angeles

"The critical and transnational race consciousness apparent in the music and activism of Kiwi and Bambu registers the profound impact of the 1992 Los Angeles riots on the working class youth of color who, in a way, were born out of that galvanizing event. Kiwi and Bambu experienced the chaos and frustration of the 1992 Los Angeles riots first-hand."
"The Foundation was an attempt to politicize Filipino American youth and engage them with youth across racial and ethnic communities."
"Their [Filipinos'] instrumental use of rap music as a consciousness-raising tool suggests how hip hop is being used to organize youth in the twenty-first century."

Latin-Korean Relations in Post-1992 Los Angeles Workplace

"I frame the comparison of their differential experiences around the defining axes of inequality in the US: race, citizenship, class, and culture. I examine how these axes of inequality impact racial minorities and their relationship with other minority groups."
"Therefore, the Korean-Latino relations are matters of 'respectful caution.'"
"Patron-client relations..."
ANYTHING WITH LATINO IN IT

The Twenty-Year Tale of Interpreting a Multiethnic Urban Uprising

"Los Angeles is now a 'majority minority' city, the
center of a new and vibrant multiracial immigrant
rights/labor movement, and home to a variety of
politicians of color equipped with grassroots organizing
experience..."
"...However, egregious inequality still exists in the
shadows of fortresses of transnational capital, urban
gentrification, and unrelenting white flight. As the city
continues to grow and sprawl, scholarship on the
uprisings should continue to elucidate and subvert, to
use Tomás Almaguer's words, the 'racial fault lines that
might reproduce those disturbing days that set the City
of Angels ablaze."

Food as a Site of Community Building for Asian Americans

Food has played a pivotal role in gathering people of different backgrounds and bringing unity among one another
Food as a means for survival -- food entrepreneurship becomes a form of ethnic economic integration in the US.
Food provides a culinary space that fosters community-building in K-Town for both the immediate neighborhood and all local Asian American communities.
Research on Noshi Sushi.

Asian American Artists

Art is a powerful tool for expressing the historical struggles and successes of a community. Three artists, Mine Okubo, Roger Shimomura, and Margaret Cho all utilize their respective forms of art to inform and influence their audiences. Though each of their experiences are unique, Asian American communities can rally behind the messages conveyed through their art.

Mental Illnesses and Disabilities in Asian American Children

Through this group's research, they have found that Asian American parents feel ashamed about their children's mental illnesses, a cultural taboo. Deeply-rooted values of Confucianism translate to parental expectations of educational success, which can bring disadvantages to youth mental health. Advocacy and discourse on this front is necessary to move Asian American communities forward.

Emerging Opinions of Asian Americans on Affirmative Action

Based on their study, there was a strong opposition at UCLA towards affirmative action policies. Over time, the definition of affirmative action has shifted -- these policies originally focused on increasing minorities' access to higher education, but now strive to diversify college campuses. As socioeconomic dynamics of Asian American communities change, their collective views on affirmative action also shift.

A Study of Asian Americans in the STEM Fields

Based on this study, the percentage of students going into the STEM fields can be stratified by both ethnicity and gender. Familial and cultural values often influence the intentions behind Asian American students who enter the STEM fields. Evidently, parental pressures play a heavy role in the educational experience of Asian American youth.

Asian Americans in the Job Market

This discussion section researched the role of Asian-sounding names and other cultural considerations for Asian Americans in the job market. The evidence concluded that qualifications and experience actually overshadowed race during recruitment, but, in a larger context, the Asian American community still faces racial discrimination in higher-level positions.

Asian Americans in the Music Industry: From YouTube to Greater Fame

Due to existing stereotypes, Asian American music industry hopefuls face tough ethnic-specific barriers that limit their opportunities. Because mainstream music industry tends to bar Asian American artists from entering, YouTube has become the alternative stage for Asian Americans to exhibit their talents and expand their music careers.

Asian American Athletes

The history of Asian Americans in sports has been limited by prominent family values, racial stereotypes, and discrimination. Asian Americans have been consistently stereotyped as more academically oriented than physically masculine. Emerging athletes like Jeremy Lin, however, steadily alter public discourse about Asian Americans in sports, redefining the Asian American sports community.

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