Members of NYU Generasian, NYU’s Asian-American publication, as well as other interested students, congregated to hear Phil Yu, creator of the blog Angry Asian Man, speak on the media representation of Asian-Americans on Feb. 10.
Based in Los Angeles, Yu has gained recognition from media outlets such as CNN and The New York Times for his commentary on racial, cultural and sociopolitical issues relevant to the Asian-American community.
CAS senior and Generasian editor-in-chief Evelyn Cheng said she was excited about Yu’s arrival and its potential impact on Generasian’s work.
“Yu and his Angry Asian Man blog are an excellent example of what Asian-Americans can do to express themselves in an Internet age,” Cheng said. “Through this event, I hope that Yu can inspire Generasian with the possibilities and give us concrete steps on how to build an excellent online presence.”
During his presentation, Yu highlighted recent events both negative and positive for Asian Americans, including figure skater Ashley Wagner ‘s representation in the Olympics over Asian American Mirai Nagasu and the potential for Vivek Murthy to become the next surgeon general.
Yu discussed the first event that brought a high-level of readership to his blog. In 2002, Abercrombie & Fitch released a line of T-shirts with racist Asian caricatures. Yu posted the images and contact information for the company’s corporate headquarters on his blog. Soon, Asian-American student groups in California and across the United States were using his blog as a jumping-off point for their protests.
He mentioned he did not expect to receive such a reaction to his blog, and he is glad to use the site to create community.
“One of the interesting things about running the blog for this many years has been being invited to speak publicly to students, to interested people,” Yu said. “I did not anticipate that when I started, but to come and to meet people who read it in a public and personal way is weird but very cool.”
Yu explained he was attempting to shatter people’s perceptions of Asians in the United States with the title of the blog.
“We’re considered the model minority, passive, we keep our heads down, not stand up and speak out even when it’s within our right to do so,” Yu said. “It’s not an emotional anger, it’s a righteous anger. It’s a right for us to be vocal and have a voice.”
CAS senior Jessica Tu said Yu’s talk gave her hope for the future of Asian- and Pacific-American blogging.
“I think what stood out to me the most was his description of mobilizing the community and how, in order to unite the Internet community, you have to go forward with what you want to write about and what you want to create discussions about,” Tu said.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 11 print edition. Anjana Sreedhar is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]
*Correction: A previous version of this article said Evelyn Cheng is an editor-in-chief of Generasian. She is the only editor-in-chief of the publication. Additionally, NYU Generasian is NYU’s Asian-American publication. NYU Asian-American Publication is not a student group.
WSN regrets these errors.