Abstract: Civil Rights

AAPI Nexus: Civil Rights Volume 2, Number 1 Winter/Spring 2004 Abstracts

Asian American Civil Rights Advocacy and Research Agenda After 9/11
By:  Karen K. Narasaki and June K. Han

Abstract: This article discusses the anti-immigrant sentiment after 9/11 and focuses on Asian American’s research agenda and advocacy plans to identify the problem and offer suggestions to mitigate it. The aftermath of 9/11 resulted in discrimination and violence against minorities, and therefore adversely affected their economic conditions and limited their opportunities. 9/11 also exposed the lack of adequate system of research and data regarding Asian Americans that would be necessary to influence the nation’s legislative institutions. The introduction of governmental policies to increase national security is explored as inefficient, biased and complicate existing major problems that immigrants face. 9/11 resulted in increased racial profiling, which highlights the government’s lack of policies protecting immigrant rights. 9/11 affected the immigrant issues of legalization, voting rights, employment discrimination, language barriers, legal services, and the effects of welfare reform.

Asian Americans are People of Color, Too … Aren’t They?
Cross-Racial Alliances and the Question of Asian American Political Identity
By: Claire Jean Kim

Abstract: Asian Americans are involved in cross-racial community and advocacy coalitions. The article explores the barriers and problems that people in these groups encounter, which impede their progress in sustaining impactful and influential agenda and decisions. The central problem behind this is Asian American’s ambiguous political stance, thereby making coalition partners apprehensive. Asian American’s lack of definitive political identity and how they relate to other racial background pose as a problem to coalition building. A brief look to one of the earliest Asian American immigrants to the US shows that even from the very beginning Asian Americans have occupied a highly ambiguous position in American society. Discussed is the central question of what Asian Americans are fighting for in terms of social justice. Asian Americans need to discuss their political identification and agenda as a way to sustain cross-alliances and to have a secure future in American society. Asian Americans as an internally diverse group explain the difficulty of having a unified voice representing our political stance. Two Asian American grassroots organizations with clear political identities are explored.

Checking Southeast Asian American Neoconservative Renditions of Equality: An Analysis of the Brian Ho Lawsuit
By: Peter Nien-chu Kiang

Abstract: This article is based on a briefing paper commissioned by the Harvard Civil Rights Project for a Roundtable on Emerging Asian American Civil Rights Issues held in Cambridge, Massachusetts in October 2002. I was asked to address whether subgroups within the Asian American population have been adequately served by pan-Asian American agendas, particularly in relation to civil rights advocacy, and to highlight specific instances that show both positive and negative dimensions of those dynamics. In response, I chose to focus on Southeast Asian American (Cambodian, Hmong, Lao, Mien, Vietnamese, etc.) populations who, by measures of socioeconomic status, persistent poverty, and quality of life, are the most poorly resourced ethnic constituencies within Asian America. Through analysis of issues related to educational equity, policy, and development, both nationally and locally in the state of Massachusetts, I describe ways in which Southeast Asian American realities have been neglected or ignored. In light of the ethical and empirical consequences of failing to intervene proactively in this local and national commitments have had sustained impact. Finally, I suggest some ways to account more faithfully for the needs, interests, and visions of Southeast Asian American communities in the development of pan-Asian American civil rights agendas.  Underlying my argument are commitments to equity and justice rather than identity and representation per se.

Articulating Race – Asian American Neoconservative Renditions of Equality
By: Rowena Robles

Abstract: This article discusses race-based policies in education and the merit and racialization of groups. The issue explores the consequences of the Consent Decree of 1979. The Ho Lawsuit is discussed as reframing the issue from desegregation to affirmative action. The lawsuit legal battle created tension between politically powerful influential organizations such as the Chinese for Affirmative Actions. Thus the Asian American community becomes disjointed when some groups promote a political stance that is not beneficial to the entire community. Critical forum between the progressive and neo-conservative Asian American groups are needed. A debate is a good way to break through the stereotypes against race-based policies to uncover the misconceptions constructed by ‘color-blind’ rhetoric.

Asian American Demographics and Civil Rights
By: Paul Ong

Abstract: This article discusses the demographic trends that Asian Americans face and how it shapes civil rights issues. The decennial census is the most important aspect of this study. The census has become a tool for social and economic data and therefore influences the outcomes of policy legislation and political discourse. The census influence extends far beyond the political realm as it also helps private companies target potential markets. The census, however, also has critical flaws that need to be addressed to better represent demographic patterns. Asian Americans are an immigrant-dominated population, which affects political participation and voting rights. There is evidence for unequal access to public education, employment, and housing given to Asian Americans.