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Elaine Low's posts

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After months of campaigning by immigrant and LGBTQ rights groups, Nicoll Hernández-Polanco was freed from her detention by ICE. Her story, written by Kris Hayashi of the Transgender Law Center, is a story of a young woman who escaped the broken immigration system, and how she was criminalized and psychologically tortured simply for being young and transgender.  

Kris Hayashi | April 29, 2015 - 11:41am


Connect with us to pitch a story, apply for a staff position, or let us know how you'd like to be involved. All positions are volunteer, you'll receive payment in the satisfaction that you're contributing to an organization ensuring Asian American voices are heard, perspectives are told, and faces are seen.

Mia Nakano LGBTQ | June 29, 2014 - 4:16pm

Only Asian American On 'ANTM 11' Looks Like A Lot Of Fun

I'll admit, just like Sylvie, watching "America's Next Top Model" is one of my guilty pleasures. Terrible but true. At any rate, the only Asian American on this cycle of ANTM looks like a helluva lot of fun.

Although I can't quite tell what she means when she says she's "not your typical Asian American girl" (in response to another model asking her what it's like to be the only "Oriental" on the show), she does look like a pretty kickass alpha female, who proclaims somewhere around 0:15 that she's "dynamic" and "magnifying," whatever that means. In any case, fingers crossed that she represents well. Here's hoping Sheena makes it far and shows those judges that Asian American women can be both assertive and beautiful in our own right.

At very least, she probably won't be another Gina Choe and have some sort of meltdown/identity crisis on national television.

Newsflash: Reporter Discovers West Still Romanticizes East

So I read this story in the Washington Post yesterday about the continuing trend -- and something of which most Asian Americans are at least tacitly aware -- of Westerners still liking their Chinese stories ancient and mystical, with a dash of opium, despite all the modernization China has undergone in recent decades.

Armani Ad Campaign Hires First Asian Model

According to New York Magazine's fashion blog, Japanese model Takeshi Kaneshiro will be the first Asian model to appear in Emporio Armani's fall ad campaign. The half-Chinese, half-Japanese model joins the ranks of soccer superstar David Beckham in strutting his stuff in his skivvies on a billboard. I know, it'd be more heartening if it was an Asian American model, but let's hope this step toward diversification is one that'll open doors to more leading men who happen to be Asian American. 

New Asian American Cartoon Premieres on Nicktoons Tonight

threedelivery.jpgDescribed by the New York Times review as "somewhere between 'Flower Drum Song' and 'Scooby-Doo,'" "Three Delivery" promises to deliver. Apparently, the storylines and characters are set in Chinatown, San Francisco, featuring two boys and one girl who were orphaned and now work at a Chinese delivery (bear with me), but their Asian background almost seems incidental.

The kids speak with American accents and aren't pigeonholed into the usual "cute Asian," "nerdy Asian," "thug Asian" stereotypes. They surprisingly seem portrayed as -- well, normal Asian American kids growing up in the Bay Area (who happen to fight evil). And according to the NYT reviewer, all the show's writers don't seem to be Asian American. Huh.

Just caught a teaser clip or two on YouTube, and it doesn't look too bad. Sure, it employs all that exotic, ancient Chinese kung-fu mystical magic potionry hoo-ha, but hey, the main characters' names are Sue, Tobey and Sid. I'll give it a chance. Baby steps, baby steps.

"Three Delivery" will air regularly on Nicktoons, Fridays at 7:30p.m. EST.

Asian American Activist and Writer Helen Zia gets Married

Spotted this on the New York Times homepage a few minutes ago. A story on same-sex marriage, and who was that familiar face in the story's accompanying photo? Why, Helen Zia! Full story here at the New York Times. She and wife Lia Shigemura aren't featured in the article, but I thought it was refreshing to see Asian Americans on the front page of the NYT.

Indian American Comedian to Co-Star in "The Office" Spinoff

Just read this report from the New York Observer, which says Indian American MTV writer Aziz Ansari has been cast in the new spinoff of NBC's "The Office." Ansari is currently an executive producer, writer and performer on the MTV show, "Human Giant," and has made cameos in shows like "Flight of the Concords." According to Variety, the "Office" spinoff may borrow minimally from the current cast, instead introducing characters on "The Office" before moving them on to the new show.

The spinoff's writing team will also include Alan Yang, "South Park" comedic writer, according to the Observer. You can read more on Aziz Ansari in this Gelf Magazine feature story.

Not Just An Ethnic Writer

The New York Times Sunday Book Review takes a look at Nam Le's "The Boat" this week, a collection of stories that isn't solely about that first trip to America. Frankly, I find it refreshing. Asian American literature, and ethnic literature as a whole, shouldn't just be about the Great Immigration Story (a genre which, in my opinion, often pigeonholes us as being perpetual foreigners). It should be about all aspects of life, and all things creative.

As one of Le's characters says in the opening story, "You could totally exploit the Vietnamese thing. But instead, you choose to write about lesbian vampires and Colombian assassins and Hiroshima orphans -- and New York painters with hemorrhoids." Ditto.

To read the full NYTimes review, click here.

Jhumpa Lahiri as Subtle as Her Writing

Thumbnail image for Jhumpa Lahiri.jpg
The gallery was packed, and even though I made sure to get to the Swedish American Museum half an hour early, I had trouble finding a seat. Man, I was excited to see Jhumpa Lahiri read from her new book, "Unaccustomed Earth." I'd never attended a reading before, and didn't quite know what to expect.

The day it was available I had rushed over to the indie bookstore near my office and preened the shelf for the nicest looking copy there, gushing to the bookseller about how excited I was that they were hosting a reading the next week. She seemed less than ecstatic, giving me a polite smile as she rang up the sage hardcover.

Still, I was concerned about the other Lahiri fans who would be in attendance. Would they, too, be wearing shirts with Lahiri's face printed on the front? Would a neon or black posterboard stand out better? Should I be the one who coordinated the synchronized "We love Lahiri!" shouts from the audience?

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