Jun 17, 2017
00: Open, intros, Emil comments on news, including the week's
gun violence and the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
14:35 Karthick Ramakrishnan, UC Riverside, School of Public
Policy; AAPI Data
15:52 Interview begins
1:01:20 On bias against South Asians
1:02:49 On Vincent Chin Anniversary
1:07:10 Emil reads his Father's Day Essay
Emil Guillermo: Who is Asian American? On AMEMSA, Vincent Chin, and
my Amok Monologues for Father's Day. PODCAST EXTRA: Karthick
June 16, 2017 11:57 AM
Say Asian or Asian American, and people think
Most people know that's not the case, but that tends to be the
prevailing stereotype. And not just among whites, blacks, and
It's harder when even Asian Americans believe in the
"East Asians need to recognize that Southeast Asians and South
Asians are Asians too, " Karthick Ramakrishnan told me on Emil
. "If you combine the Southeast Asian and South
Asian categories, all these nationalities together, they're the
overwhelming majority. East Asians are now a minority within the
Asian American category."
Ramakrishnan is Professor of Political Science and Associate
Dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of
California, Riverside. He directs the National Asian American
Survey, which recently revealed the jaw-dropping finding that some
Asian Americans don't consider South Asians as Asian
Previously, I spoke with his NAAS cohort Jennifer Lee about
this survey question here
In my interview with Ramakrishnan, we discuss who has the
power to define who is Asian, and how the "Asian American" umbrella
is being threatened. Is an AMEMSA--Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim,
South Asian--category inevitable?
"If you're brown and someone thinks you're Muslim, you get a
different racial experience," Ramakrishnan told me on Emil
Amok's Takeout. "That's what "AMEMSA" captures.
But what happens then to the broad Asian American category of
21 million and growing when 5 million South Asians can't identify
and adopt a new category?
Ramakrishnan also talks about how the NAAS findings may
explain why there wasn't a massive mobilization from Asian
Americans to protest the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla earlier
While Vincent Chin's murder inspired the activism of Asian
Americans 35 years ago, the ire over the Kuchibhotla hate crime has
not had a similar impact on the community. Ramakrishnan said it
should have, and the fact that it didn't reveals Asian America's
implicit and explicit biases.
"It's kind of a game of whack-a-mole," Ramakrishnan told me.
"Unfortunately, when particular parts of our community are getting
whacked, other parts of our community don't stand up nearly as much
and are not nearly as vocal as we should be."
Uh-oh. We're reverting back to the other prevailing
stereotype. Non-boat rockers. Just get on the boat. Don't miss it.
Get off the boat. Just don't rock it.
But maybe we should. The upcoming 35th anniversary of Vincent
Chin is the time for some reflection.
In 2014, I
about how the entire community should use the days
Chin was in a coma from June 19 to June 23 to think about what it's
like to be Asian American.
We are coming up to that time.
It's a wide ranging Emil Amok's Takeout, including a
special treat: I read my annual Father's Day essay, part of a story
in my "Amok Monologues: A short history of the American
Filipino--NPR, Harvard, Death on Mission St.," which I'm premiering
at the San Diego International Fringe Festival, June 23 to
Buy your tickets here:
If you're in San Diego, come on by! It's another part of my
exploration of the solo performance form. It's funny. It's
tragic. It's amok!