When the U.S. drops the "mother of all bombs" on Afghanistan as a worldwide message, it's time for a little sobering perspective.
Maybe we could take a little more time to treat all people with a little more respect, fairness and dignity in our everyday lives. Person to person. And certainly, corporation to consumer.
Which brings us to the viral bombshell of a story that won't die.
If United, or anyone else, thought the dragging of Dr. David Dao was a short-term headline that would go away with a simple apology, they were sorely mistaken.
Dao's tale is bigger than anyone thought. It's soon to become the last stand for the modern global consumer.
Dao, the 69-year-old man dragged off a United flight so that the airline could seat its own employees, has hired Thomas Demetrio, a top-notch personal injury lawyer based in Chicago. At a press conference Thursday, Demetrio made it clear how he saw things.
Demetrio didn't think the case was about race, even though Dao in one of the now numerous cell phone videos could be heard asking if United was asking him to leave the plane because he was Chinese. (At the press conference, Dao's daughter, Crystal, clarified that Dao immigrated from Vietnam.)
To further his point, Demetrio shared with the media an e-mail he'd received from someone suggesting that Dao was the "modern day Asian Rosa Parks."
"I don't think that's the case at all," Demetrio said. "What happened to Dr. Dao could have happened to any one of us."
Demetrio said Dr. Dao "has come to understand that he's the guy to stand up for passengers going forward."
In other words, he's the universal little guy.
But race did come into play in one significant way when Dao told Demetrio how he felt about the dragging. On one of the phone videos released, Dr. Dao was seen crying out, "just kill me, just kill me." A reporter asked what Dao meant by that?
"I asked him that question; here's what he told me," said Demetrio. "He said that he left Vietnam in 1975 when Saigon fell. And he was on a boat. And he said he was terrified. He said that being dragged down the aisle was more horrifying and harrowing than what he experienced in leaving Vietnam."
If there's a lawsuit coming, and indeed there is, I don't think United stands a chance.
As a writer on race issues in America, I've often wondered what one factor in our society could become our common ground and end the pain of discrimination. Twenty years ago, I thought age would allow us to see beyond race. The ageists of the world have proved me wrong. In Dao, a 69-year old loving father with multiple grandchildren, I think we have the answer.
He's the battered consumer in this angry, short-tempered society, standing up to the corporation.
Race? Not primary. It may have helped the Chicago Airport cops to see him as an "other" so they could drag him away with zeal. But basically, race is irrelevant.
Dao was a seated ticket holder, a profit center to the corporation. And when it didn't need him anymore, it violently bullied Dao and treated him like crap.
We can all relate to that. It's what I thought on Monday when I first heard the story.
Now Dao is poised to become the one who fights for what all consumers deserve.
Demetrio said there were three things every consumer should demand: fairness, respect, and dignity. "That's it," Demetrio said. "I hope [Dao] becomes the poster child for all of us."
It's not the position that most Asian Americans willingly seek out. Most hold on to the stereotype--unless you are chosen, and it's beaten out of you.
And then there's no other option but to speak up. You take a stand, and become what I've long called since my Asian Week days: a "Public Asian."
Dr. Dao wasn't at the press conference.
Demetrio said he was at a secure location and appreciated if the media would leave him alone. Ultimately, Dao will return to Louisville, but probably by car. Said Demetrio: "He has no interest in ever seeing an airplane."
Hear bits of the media conference in Ep.9 of the ALDEF podcast, Emil Amok's Takeout.
I also interview an Asian American from Kentucky, Mimi Hwang. She talks about the local reaction to Dao, who lives in the Louisville area, and gives her own perspective as a business owner and as someone who has experienced what it feels like to be bullied due to her Asian background. It happened to her family in 2015. She also says that while the Dao story is empowering, the micro-community of Asians has little voice and no support from social justice organizations.
I even mention if the community has heard from Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation, who happens to be the wife of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell.
No, Hwang said. But she'd welcome Chao's support in the community.
1:54 The Shriek
5:08 “I am not going…”
5:34 Thomas Demetrio, Dao’s lawyer
5:53 Rosa Parks?
6:13 Opening of Press conference
11:58 Dao’s the guy
12:25 On United CEO’s Apology
14:20 Crystal Pepper, Dao’s daughter
15:46 On seeing Dad dragged on video
16:00 Dao’s injuries
17:41 “Just kill me.”
19:06 The first 20 minutes of the whole conference (including a repeat of the first 6 minutes).
39:00 End of conference
41:48 Mimi Hwang at her martial arts studio, talk about the Louisville community where
Dr. Dao is from and about her own experiences with racism.
1:06:51 Emil’s conclusion.
Contact Emil at http://www.aaldef.org/blog, the site of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
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Emil Guillermo wrote for almost 15 years his "Amok" column for AsianWeek, which was the largest English language Asian American newsweekly in the nation. "Amok" was considered the most widely-read column on Asian American issues in the U.S.
His thoughtful and provocative social commentaries have appeared in print in the San Francisco Chronicle, SFGate.com, San Francisco Examiner, USA Today, Honolulu Star Bulletin, Honolulu Advertiser, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and in syndication throughout the country. His columns are seen in Asia and around the world, on Inquirer.net.
His early columns are compiled in a book "Amok: Essays from an Asian American Perspective," which won an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation in 2000.
Guillermo's journalistic career began in television and radio broadcasting. At National Public Radio, he was the first Asian American male to anchor a regularly scheduled national news broadcast when he hosted "All Things Considered" from 1989-1991. During his watch, major news broke, including the violence in Tiananmen Square, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the end of dictatorships in Romania and Panama. From Washington, Guillermo hosted the shows that broke the news.
As a television journalist, his award-winning reports and commentaries have appeared on NBC, CNN, and PBS. He was a reporter in San Francisco, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.
After NPR, Guillermo became a press secretary and speechwriter for then Congressman Norman Mineta, the former cabinet member in the Bush and Clinton Administrations.
After his Hill experience, Guillermo returned to the media, hosting his own talk show in Washington, D.C. on WRC Radio. He returned to California where he hosted talk shows in San Francisco at KSFO/KGO, and in Sacramento at KSTE/KFBK.
Guillermo's columns in the ethnic press inspired a roundtable discussion program that he created, hosted, executive produced, resulting in more than 100 original half-hour programs. "NCM-TV: New California Media" was seen on PBS stations in San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles, and throughout the state on cable.
Guillermo also spent time as a newspaper reporter covering the poor and the minority communities of California's Central Valley. His writing and reporting on California's sterilization program on the poor and minorities won him statewide and national journalism awards.
In 2015, Guillermo received the prestigious Dr. Suzanne Ahn Award for Civil Rights and Social Justice from the Asian American Journalists Association. The award, named after the late Korean American physician from Texas, recognizes excellence in the coverage of civil rights and social justice issues in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
Guillermo, a native San Franciscan, went to Lowell High School, and graduated from Harvard College, where he was an Ivy Orator and class humorist.
Thanks for listening to Emil Amok's Takeout!
Emil Amok's Takeout is the podcast/radio program of award-winning journalist and commentator Emil Guillermo.
Read his takes on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog at http://www.aaldef.org/blog
And at http://www.amok.com
On this episode, he is astonished by the sudden change in Trump. Yes, Syria is a grave situation. But Trump, the man of walls, the man who would chop off 24 million from Obamacare, and pass along any savings to his generals, has never shown anything but a tough, hard bottom-line approach to life. So forgive me for being skeptical of his jingoism because he was moved by the victims of Syria's Assad.
Let's see if Trump says anything at all about the Bataan Death March.
It's iconic and yet, no one really knows a whole lot beyond the name. The Filipinos in America know how important it was. And now a move is on to make sure it's in the California high school curriculum. April 9 marks the 75th anniversary of the death march where 10,000 Filipinos lost their lives compared to about 650 U.S. soldiers. Daniel Gonzales, professor of Asian American Studies at SF State University is interviewed. (At 9:30).
Bonus material: "Ghost in the Ship" flopped in its opening week. And we know why! Jenn Fang's favorite anime growing up has been blasphemed by Dreamworks' live action approach. She said it's even worse than she could have imagined. Hear her discuss the problems. Spoilers? The movie comes pre-spoiled. (Starts around 54:00)
Comments welcome at http://www.aaldef.org/blog
If you liked what you've read or hear on the podcast, share with a friend. Or even make a tax-deductible donation on the blog page. AALDEF is a full non-profit serving the Asian American community.
You might know about Japanese Americans incarcerated during WWII, but did you know the U.S. also rounded up Japanese Latin Americans, mostly from Peru.
They were held and imprisoned in the U.S. to be used as pawns of war. About 2,200 were rounded up.
On Emil Amok's Takeout, I talk to two survivors, Art Shibayama, 86 , and Blanca Katsura, 86. Both were 12-years old and living in Peru when their families were taken from their Latin American homeland and placed in a camp in Texas.
Recently, Shibayama brought his case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at the Organization of American States. The hope is to force the U.S. to give a proper apology and reparations equal to the Japanese Americans who were interned during WWII. Because of their foreign status, Japanese Latin Americans were offered a fourth of what Japanese Americans received.
2:00 Emil's take on Trumpcare defeat
5:00 How to Fix Obamacare
8:00 Art Shibayama calls it kidnapping.
14:20 Blanca Katsura felt she was without a country.
16:11 Phil Tajitsu Nash, civil rights activist and AALDEF board member talks about the significance of the case before the IACHR.
To support our podcast, go to the blog at http://www.aaldef.org/blog
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And please subscribe for free on iTunes, where you can rate and review our show and help more people learn about the issues we talk about on the show.
Thanks for downloading and listening to Emil Amok's Takeout!
In an exclusive interview, host Emil Guillermo talks with Profs. Scott Kurashige and Emily Lawsin about their discrimination lawsuit filed against the University of Michigan.
See more on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog, http://www.aaldef.org/blog
The lawsuit paints a broad picture of discrimination and exclusion at the school that Kurashige previously documented in his writing and in the media. The suit alleges his outspokenness on exposing the school’s discriminatory demographics (e.g., only 4.1 percent Black, 4.6 percent Hispanic, 0.2 percent Native American in 2015; only 4 percent of students from low-economic status in 2014) led to his termination as director of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Studies Program in 2013.
Kurashige, a tenured professor and a winner of the American Historical Association’s Beveridge Award, alleges he was blacklisted by colleagues and forced to resign in 2014.
Lawsin was also harassed for attempting to expose discriminatory practices at the school. While on protected leave to care for a baby with Down syndrome in 2015, she alleges the school began layoff proceedings that turned into a move to terminate. Lawsin has since been barred from teaching her classes for the winter 2017 semester.
Their lawyer, Alice Jennings said the university had no cause for action against Kurashige or Lawsin.
“As is usually the case where an individual is championing the rights of others and refuse to accept racial and sex discrimination aimed at them, the institutional process, by individual leaders or administrators, creates pretextual allegations against the person or community of persons to give a logic to their discriminatory or retaliatory actions,” Jennings told me.
Jennings continued: “I think what occurred with professors Kurashige and Lawsin is precisely what occurs in an academic culture that is systemically racial and sexist and geared to perform in a protect manner against people of color who will not allow themselves to be undercompensated, -evaluated or humiliated, degraded and treated with disrespect, where others — non-people of color, similarly situated are treated more favorably.”
“We will vigorously defend the university against this lawsuit,” University of Michigan spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald said in media reports.
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Thanks for listening to Emil Amok's Takeout
In Emil Amok's Takeout, host Emil Guillermo, writer on the Asian American Legal Defense and Educaton Fund blog (www.aaldef.org/blog) talks about the new travel ban.
Even sanitized, the ban is an attack on Muslims and Muslim Americans.
Beyond the travelers it specifically bans, it authorizes a provision to create a data base of foreign nationals in America and the crimes they commit.
A score card! What better way to criminalize an innocent community. It's another wrongheaded attempt by Trump 45 which will only alienate and anger Islamic people, not just from the six countries in the ban, but all Islamic countries and the communities where they live in America.
Good job, Trump!
Emil also talks to Deepa Iyer, author of the book, "We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim,and Sikh immigrants shape our multi-racial future."
Iyer says immigrant communities are already in fear. She denounces the travel ban, and talks about how it fans xenophobia in the U.S.
Specifically, she talks about the shooting death in Olathe, Kansas, where one Indian engineer was killed and a second on injured in February.
Iyer says the killing has impacted the Indian community, which she says is "becoming woke."
Go to Emil Amok's bio at http://www.aaldef.org/blog
It's not every day an undocumented person gets to sit in the chamber of power and listen to the president.
But that's what happened to Angie Kim.
Emil Guillermo talks with Kim, a community organizing fellow at the Minkwon Center for Community Action in Flushing, Queens, NY.
Brought to the U.S. at age name by her parents from South Korea, Kim qualified for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals program (DACA), in 2012.
It gave her the right to get a work permit and stay in the U.S. Now 32, her future is in jeopardy, as President Trump has yet to say what will happen with DACA recipients. In recent days, some DACA recipients have been apprehended by ICE under new broad guidelines.
Kim, invited to the speech by Congresswoman Grace Meng, didn't get a shout out like the widow or Ryan Owens. Kim shares her thoughts on the politics of the night and how she uses her activism to deal with the fear she faces as the only undocumented person in her family
Emil Guillermo write for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog. He is an award-winning journalist who was once an NPR host, newspaper columnist, and TV reporter.
See his work at www.aaldef.org/blog
Or at www.amok.com
Emil Amok on the Speech. amok.com March 1, 2017
It wasn’t exactly a State of the Union, more like a Trump state of mind.
But that means the best thing you could say about Trump45’s address before Congress is this: At least the TelePrompTer didn’t break.
If it did, who knows what we would have seen on speech night.
Or “Twitter Trump”?
That’s the Trump who has been the real enemy of the people.
But this speech was slightly more tempered. Milder. And he didn’t veer off wildly.
The president showed us all— he could read!
And just for doing that, 78 percent of viewers in a CNN/ORC poll gave Trump positive marks.
Now that’s something Trump understands. Ratings.
Governing, however, has been a mystery. But now Trump will learn from experience that if you give a political speech that’s long on promises on things like jobs, education, infrastructure, and Obamacare, without a stitch of detail on how to keep those promises, let alone pay for them, ratings can go up.
And maybe he’ll start acting normal?
That’s something both to welcome and to fear.
Welcome because he’s not 100 percent in your face.
Fear, because he’s figured out how the game works.
And that of course, makes Trump more dangerous than ever.
There were two things specifically I was looking for in the speech, that left me pretty disappointed.
Though Trump began the speech talking about Black History Month and civil rights, he really could have condemned the threats to the Jewish Community Centers and the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries much stronger than he did.
And he could have dwelled on the shootings of Indian Americans in Olathe, near Kansas City. One man, Srinivas Kuchibhotla died. Another Indian American was wounded.
A Caucasian man, Ian Grillot,24, was wounded trying to disarm the shooter, another Caucasian male, Adam Purinton, 51, who started it all by hurling racial slurs at the Indians.
These are the kind of things Trump45 has brought out in America since the start of his presidency.
We should have seen a passionate denunciation of these acts. Instead, rump simply read the prompter then bathed in the shower of self-congratulatory applause.
It was as if just by being gracious makes him a hero.
But what did Trump do since he’s taken over?
With his anti-immigrant, build-a-wall, nationalistic rhetoric, he has given a segment of America a signal that hate is OK in America.
Trump’s victory unleashed all that on America.
But the president acknowledged it with just a single line: “While we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”
It didn’t seem sincere. Not after the first 40 days. It seemed hollow.
He didn’t even mention the Asian Americans by nationality or name.
It was just a shooting in Kansas City.
Not good enough.
Of course, later in his speech, Trump milked another sentimental moment to honor Navy Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens, who died in Yemen during a raid last January.
The military is always a safe bet. So honor a Gold Star family, and deplete the domestic budget in favor billions for the military.
But for the Jews, or for the murdered Indian immigrant?
Trump gave them short-shrift.
It’s the reason Trump’s big pre-speech “leak” that he would be calling for a bi-partisan immigration reform seemed just like an insincere tease.
After the travel ban fiasco, and the new ICE policies that have resulted in round ups of undocumented immigrants around the country, a real push for a compromise on immigration would have been a great headline.
But there was “no there, there.”
Not when Trump’s speech contained more talk of a border wall, references to “illegal immigrants,” and borders as “lawless chaos.” And then, as he is likes to do, Trump mixes border security with national security and all that entails, and creates for us all one big fear: “Radical Islamic Terrorism.”
And he used that exact counter-productive term, once again, despite advice to refrain.
By the time he got around to his pitch for a bi-partisan immigration “compromise,” Trump had no credibility with minority communities and those close to the immigrants who are living in fear.
Immigration has always been humanitarian based for political or economic reasons for the immigrant. The benefit to the U.S. has always been the extra.
Trump’s idea is for a merit-based immigration. He wants to cherry-pick the best, because the best will make money for Trump, the U.S., and that’s all he really cares about.
Once again, he could have made a better case had he mentioned the Indian man who died in Olathe, that suburb of Kansas City.
His name was Srinivas Kuchibhotla. He was a tech worker at Garmin, the gps company.
He was one of the immigrants Trump likes.
But not enough to mention in a major speech.
There were other glaring things Trump said. Like calling education the “civil rights issue of our time.”
Really? So is that why Betsy DeVos–the voucher queen hell bent on destroying public education–the new secretary of education?
And what about that travel ban? After the speech, Trump cancelled again the announcement for the new executive order that was to supercede the one held up by the court in Washington state.
Reports had it that Iraq would come off. Would other countries be added?
I worry for the Philippines.
This is the week the militant group Abu Sayyaf, home based in the Philippines, revealed a video showing the beheading of a 70-year-old German hostage.
Trump didn’t mention it at all.
But it was in the subtext when Trump said, “We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America—we cannot allow our Nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.”
Stated or unstated, you knew that the beheading in the Philippines, reported in the New York Times on speech day, could potentially be more fuel for Trump’s xenophobic fire.
And this was a toned down speech.
So if you hear people praise Trump about this speech and the polls giving him good marks for his performance, don’t be fooled.
All he did was stick to the TelePrompTer.
And act presidential. Remember, he’s all showbiz.
It’s still the same old Trump.
In this episode, recorded days before the announcement of Trump 45's new travel ban, journalist and commentator Emil Guillermo talks to Erika Lee, the director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. She's the author of the book, "The Making of Asian America."
If you’re Asian American, not a visa overstay, nor a DACA recipient, you may have your head down and not be paying attention to all the new proposals on immigration and border security.
But a new proposal could impact Asian Americans and their families and friends.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has proposed this idea: to collect private social media from Chinese visitors entering the U.S. on tourist and business visas.
National security is again the stated fear, even though there’s little evidence to justify such an invasion of privacy.
This unfair scrutiny based on race and national origin could result in unjust harassment, detention and should be a chilling reminder to Asian Americans whose ancestors were the first major group to be targeted and banned from the U.S.
“These types of actions do affect Asian Americans,” historian Erika Lee, director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota, told me on the AALDEF podcast, “Emil Amok’s Takeout.” “Asian immigrants are the fastest, not only immigrant group in the United States, but the fastest growing undocumented immigrant group in the United States. So they are directly impacted by these interior enforcement and border security propositions and policies.”
Collecting information from Chinese business and tourist visa holders could just be the beginning of a greater overreach by the government.
On the week when a new revised travel ban is expected, Lee warns: “If any of our international relations with Asian countries get even more rocky, who knows who will be added to the travel ban.”
Lee adds: “I don’t think that class status or national origin protects new Asian immigrants from these policies. But certainly as Asian Americans, whose families have lived through (the consequences of previous bans like Chinese Exclusion), the need to act up is imperative. The need to talk about solidarity, and show solidarity couldn’t be more clear.”
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Thanks for listening to Emil Amok's Takeout
Feb. 19 is the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin Roosevelt. It was the start of a nightmare for Japanese Americans who were rounded up and placed in internment camps during World War II.
How did it happen? And could it happen again to another group?
Phil Tajitsu Nash is an Asian American history professor at the University of Maryland, a civil rights lawyer, and a board member of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
He talks about how Roosevelt came to sign 9066 despite information that should have negated any sense that Japanese Americans represented a threat.
He also talks about how the internment personally impacted his family.
Read more on the blog at http://www.aaldef.org/blog
Virginia Beach dentist Allan Bergano, an Asian American of Filipino descent wasn't going to go down without a fight.
A city road widening project was forcing him to move. But after spending more than $400,000, he went to the city for relocation costs and was denied.
Officials said there decision was final. There would be no appeal.
Bergano sued the city in Federal Court. But it wasn't easy.
It was his sense of the historical discrimination faced by Filipinos in America that kept him focused on the fight.
Listen to the podcast. Read his story on the AALDEF blog, http://www.aaaldef.org/blog