Two Asian-American bloggers discussed the creation and impact of their websites that cover cultural politics, media, pop culture and current events Wednesday.
Eliza Noh, Ph.D., a Cal State Fullerton Asian-American studies professor, led the event and was joined by representatives from the two blogs, Angry Asian Man and 8Asians, at the Titan Student Union.
Phil Yu, founder and editor of Angry Asian Man, said the blog covers current events along with more unique stories that point out incidents where racism is involved, raising debate and discussion among readers.
Yu gave an example of this type of incident in a recent blog post about a Chinese restaurant in Kuwait that relied on the “good ol’ slant eye” to advertise its Chinese cuisine.
“Whoever thought up this ad thought the best way to advertise the restaurant was to pull his eyes back, which I like to call the … international gesture for ‘ching chong,’” said Yu.
He added that most Asians growing up in America are familiar with this gesture in some form and know that it is never used in a nice way.
Readers do not have the option to comment on the blog posts, but they can email thoughts or questions to Yu.
When Yu began Angry Asian Man in 2001, he said he did not have a set plan or intend for anyone to read the blog. But overtime it gained readership and became a success.
“Some of the people who read the site come because it has a certain voice, and I’d like to think it’s the same voice I’ve maintained for twelve years,” Yu said.
Jocelyn “Joz” Wang, editor-in-chief and CEO of 8Asians, said blogs and other social networks act as an avenue of expression for Asian-Americans.
The blog includes guest posts where readers who are passionate about certain topics can share their views.
Wang described the blogs as an “ethnic press,” a term that ten years ago only meant a newspaper was in a different language.
Today, Wang said the term “ethnic press” can be seen as a form of alternative media, where the language remains the same, but the writing style and material are geared towards specific ethnicities.
“What we do look for is somebody with a voice, or a strong opinion,” said Wang. “It’s about more than the facts and figures, but about the spirit.”
The blogs also include posts on successful Asian-Americans in the entertainment industry, serving as a way for Asian-Americans to identify with role models.
Koji Steven, a regular contributor to 8Asians, said he had a difficult time finding a role model that he could relate to when he was younger.
“I was doing research on what it was like growing up Asian-American when I was a kid versus now,” said Steven. “I had to look at pornstars as the only Asian-Americans that I could remember … and now it’s not perfect but things have changed so much.”
By writing on the blog, Steven can now show readers about influential leaders.
During the lecture Noh shared a couple of videos. One included a student going on a rant about Asians in the school library and another was a member of the Asian-American community responding to racial remarks made in the first video.
These videos raised the discussion of whether or not the bloggers were still angry about these types of issues after blogging about them for years.
Yu said there are college students who are not aware of these incidents and through the blog posts, they are beginning to question and address these issues.
Moye Ishimoto, an 8Asians editor and recruiter, said she has changed her views in what it means to be an activist. She added that it is something she believes will happen to everyone with time.
“I was very angry too when I was your age, but now I’m not so angry because I’m older and you just get tired,” said Ishimoto.