Asian-Americans in Print

THE ASIAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY AT BINGHAMTON THROUGH THE EYES OF ASIAN OUTLOOK MAGAZINE

Asian Outlook: 1988
y Editors: 1988 - Cherry Chow, Ki Jung Sung y ASU Merger 


ASU ± (CASU, KSA, ASU, China Night) ± Merger in 1988 Practical reasons, agitate for funding, better guest speakers
Ù

KSA and CASU received unfair treatment in terms of budget, office space and respect 

Sense of Asian-American community trumping individual ethnic identities.

y Asian-American population at Binghamton triples from

1983 ±1988 

3% - 9% of school

y Asian Outlook a collaborative effort between ASU, CASU

and KSA y Thoughts on establishing Asian Studies at BU

Interview with former SA EVP Philip Hom, 1988
y

Were you the first in your family to go to college? How important was a college education to your parents? 

As in many immigrant families, I was the first to go to college. Having my sisters and I succeed academically and attend college was very important to my parents, who both immigrated here with grade school educations. I was a political science major and have no regrets. Any major that teaches you how to write well and think critically is a good major. The merger into one unified ASU was necessary. Before the merger, there were at least four Asian student associations on campus. Because the Asian population on campus was only around 10%, it was difficult to get sufficient funding for the groups, and it was even harder because there were so many groups. The year before I ran for EVP, I served as the assistant EVP to John Liu, who is now the New York City Comptroller. It was during Liu's term that the Asian groups merged into one ASU and I thought it was important to be there to help protect student rights and shape policy, but also to help the new ASU become the strong voice for all Asian-American students that we all hoped that it would become.

y y

What was your major? How do you feel about your choice? 

What was your opinion on the ASU merger? Did you feel that it was necessary? 

y

What motivated you to run for SA EVP? 

y

State you opinion on the unity and cohesion of the Asian-American community during your time at Binghamton. 

Because there were so few of us, the Asian-American students were very cohesive. Many of us knew each other and were good friends. It was this cohesiveness and trust that allowed the leaders of the various Asian groups to agree to give up some of their autonomy and become one ASU. I do not think the merger would have been possible without the personal friendships among the leaders of the various groups.

Phil Hom interview Part 2
y

How do you think you were perceived on campus as a high profile Asian-American student leader? 

Other than my skin color, I do not believe that many people perceived me as an Asian-American student leader, but just as a student leader. When I was on campus, I lived in Newing College and most of my friends were not Asian American. Even when I lived off campus during my junior and senior years, my room mates were from my former residence hall and none of them were Asian American. I did spend a lot of time with my friends from the Asian student groups and I am still friends with many of them.

y

In your article for The Asian Outlook in November, 1988 you mentioned that the number of Asian-Americans at Binghamton had tripled in the past 5 years. Was there tangible hostility or resentment on campus to this increase in numbers? 

I think that even with the increase, the number of Asian-American students was still small. I was never the target of any overt racism on campus, but I do remember some friends complaining about some problems.

y

How did external factors (i.e. the SA, Administration, International politics) affect AsianAmericans at Binghamton? 

When ASU first merged, the Administration gave us an office in the basement, which seemed like it was a former broom closet. But, it was was better than the offices we had, which was none. The SA didn't really pay attention to the Asian students until John Liu encouraged many of us to run for SA representative positions. I think seeing so many Asians on the Student Assembly made some people uncomfortable. I loved my time at Binghamton. I think I grew a lot as a person while at Binghamton and made many life long friends. I have spent much of my time after Binghamton working in politics and government and I believe that many of my experiences on campus, from knocking on doors while running for EVP, to chairing the student assembly, to working with Binghamton's many diverse student groups, help me cope with people even today.

y

Do you have anything else you want to say about your time at Binghamton? 

y

Phil Hom is now the Deputy General Counsel at New York City Comptroller's Office

Structure of the ASU Board of Directors ca. 1990
y President y Vice President y ASU intake chair y ASU social chair y ASU evaluation chair y Committees (eliminated in 1991) 

CASU, KASA, PAL committees Filipino-Am, Korean-Am, Chinese-Am, Thai-Am, Japanese-Am, Viet Am

y Cultural Representatives (ditto) 

y Committee at Large

Important Issues: Early µ90s
y 1989 - Ethnic identity versus Asian-American identity  Cultivating a community, broader unity y 1990 ± Boycott of Korean grocery stores by African-Americans

in NYC - John Choe y 1991 - Asians in Greek life 

Ù

Generally negative, accusations of tokenism against ³white´ frats ³Brotherhood´ and ³sisterhood´ among Asians
Precursor to AGC?

y Intercultural dating ± Barbara Yau  Stereotypes about Asian groups relate to int¶l relations
Ù Ù

Vietnamese men ³violent´ because of the war Chinese and Koreans can¶t date due to anti-China sentiment etc. 



Ideas emerge of classmates as ³Asians´ rather than individual ethnic groups Individual cultural groups blamed for enforcing divide

Concerns About the Future
y Worry about the future of ASU ± Kit Kwok  



Kit Kwok was the president of CASU as well as SA EVP during his time at Binghamton
Wasting potential and little direction for the future Too much emphasis on parties and mixers
Ù

ASU used to have parties in Mandela Room


 

Derisively called ³humping and bumping parties´ by activist members Too social? Crisis as only unifier Subgroup separation causing disunity Rebuttal: ASU needs to attract more people by being sociable, we are hosting ECASU so we are activist too
Ù Ù

y Kwok¶s perspective in 2011 (interview)
³ASU is what you guys make of it. It should address your needs now.´ ³I think my role was to try to represent the community, to give it a voice. To make sure that the wider community was aware of issues that were important to us. As a minority you continue to have to assert yourself to make sure you are heard. ´ 

Kit Kwok now works for DLA Piper UK LLP, Shanghai

Guest Speakers and Events
y Fall 1988 


10/12/88 ± Dith Pran , survivor of the Cambodian genocide 10/27/88 ± Liz Young, President of Asian American Professional Women, Speaking workshop 2/4/89 - Helen Zia, press secretary for Vincent Chin case speaks on campus 3/3/89 ± Asian Day ± Mandela Room 3/25/89 ± ASU Participates at ECASU @ Hunter College
Ù

y Asian Awareness Month, Feb and March 1989 
 

Coordinated by Paulenier Lee

y Fall 1989 
 

ASU Basketball Team, intramural sports (picture) Fall 1990 ± First ASU GIM
Ù Ù

addressed by SA President, 100 people in attendance Co-hosted with ISO, LASU

11/8/90 ± Don Kao ± Counselor of Chinatown Reach Project

Asian Student Union Intramural Basketball Team, 1989

Notable Events
y Origin of the Philippine-American League 

2/16/89 ± ASU general meeting discusses addition of a Filipino committee to ASU
Eileen Nano ± leader of movement to establish a Philippine Organization Ù Noreen Figuroua ± PAL Committee President
Ù 

March µ89 ± First instance of AO Conscience, PACS (Philippine American Cultural Society) becomes defunct, PAL joins ASU
Ù

Lengthy meeting exemplifies struggle between remaining independent of ASU

y Events 


³Brown Rice´ ± PALC¶s (PAL) radio show March 1990 ± PAL¶s first Tinkling Workshop

Asian Underground Radio Show

Mariott¶s Racist Chinese Food Night/Subsequent Protests

March 1 - 2, 1991
y ³Fu Manchu´ racist decorations to go along with y y y y

stereotypical ³Chinese ³ food (2/21/91) Requests to remove the decorations go unheeded First of other clashes with Marriott John Choe leads student coalition of ISO, Hinman College Council, SA, BSU and ASU Three Demands 
 

Apology printed in all campus media Cessation of ³ethnic´ food nights Consultation with cultural unions if there are future ethnic food nights

SUNY Binghamton hosts 13th annual ECASU March 1 - 2, 1991
y y y y y

³Speak up, speak out; end marginalization of our communities´ Coordinators ± Paulenier Lee and John Um Keynote ± Yuri Kochiyama Protest related to the Dickinson/Marriot incident Elsa Eng, John Liu respond to Dickinson dining hall protest at ECASU turning militant 


Criticize outside radicals, urge new direction for ECASU Blame radicals for inciting the violence

y September 16, 1991 ± ASU withdraws from ECASU in protest

over the events that transpired at ECASU ¶91. 
  

ASU not put on mailing list Tensions + misunderstandings Apology demanded, silence for four months, ECASU execs do not visit to apologize as promised Relations re-established in March µ92

13th Annual ECASU Conference at Binghamton

ASU Struggles to Maintain an Activist Identity
y April 22, 1991 ± Alpha Sigma Nu racist pledge event 

³take pictures of Oriental girls´ in Hinman
Invading suites, questioning RAs about Asian residents Ù Pledge master Manny Blander received suspension
Ù 



Racist comments made ASU debate to press charges or to let ResLife deal with it
Is ASU too radical? Ù Decide to not press charges
Ù

y September 1991 ± Solidarity weekend 


Harsh criticism of ASU for not attending Concern over ³conservative apathy´

y Spring 1992 - President Michelle Lin notes a change in

attitudes about ASU from party animals to concerned individuals. All time low in participation

First Asian-American Microconference Fall 1992
y AO News editor Amy Kuo AS AVP John Choe

organize an Asian Empowerment mini-conference y ³An agenda for the 90s´ y Speakers 
 

Fred Teng ± Asian-American Financial Society Bill Chong ± AAFE Daphne Kwok ± Exec Director of OCA

Interview with former AO Editor in Chief, ASU Academic Vice President John Choe
y

Were you the first in your family to go to college? How important was a college education to your parents? 

I was the first in my family to graduate from college and eventually earn a Masters in Public Policy. Growing up, my parents emphasized educational success and often sacrificed to ensure that I had opportunities to succeed. I studied History. It has served me well. In addition to providing context and perspective to current events, the discipline of History emphasizes critical reading, analysis, and writing -- all important skills that are in demand, especially in government and politics. Yes and No. As a student activist, I understood the key issues of concern on campus and how media could be used to raise awareness and mobilize others. But that's the easy part. Managing a complicated project like Asian Outlook with all it's responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming -- especially when there were few people I could call on for advice at the time. At the time I joined the Asian Student Union, a great deal of effort had already been invested in bringing together the various Asian American cultural groups and developing unity around issues of common interest. I saw my role as furthering this unity agenda by highlighting areas that still needed work, like the need to establish Asian American studies and oppose anti-Asian bias on campus, as well as building greater solidarity with other people of color.

y

What was your major? How do you feel about your choice? 

y

Did you feel ready to take over as Editor-in-Chief of The Asian Outlook in the fall of 1990? 

y

How did you view your role as a leader in the Asian-American community on campus? 

y

State you opinion on the unity and cohesion of the Asian-American community during your time at Binghamton. 

We all came to Binghamton with a different understanding of our role and responsibilities in society. To the extent that divisions existed in the Asian-American community, it originated from our particular biases. What positions do we take in relationship to the larger White community versus our Black and Latino brothers and sisters? Should higher education reproduce the existing status quo or should students work to expose inequalities (perhaps undermine our own elite privileges)? Should men and women treat each other differently than what we had witnessed in our parent's generation?

Interview with former AO Editor in Chief, ASU Academic Vice President John Choe
y

Describe how you felt about the use of racist caricatures in the dining halls. How did your peers (both Asian and non-Asian) react to this? 

Understanding the history of Chinese "coolie" caricatures as well as the extensive discrimination faced by Asian immigrants to the U.S., I first felt sick and then angry that my university and its contractors would be so clueless about using these demeaning symbols to sell "diverse" food in our dining halls. Most of my peers were supportive of my position, but there were a few (both Asian and non-Asian) who shared the university's cluelessness. There were some who took the side of Marriott, the multi-billion dollar corporation running our dining services at the time, even after they apologized and changed their policies in recognition of their mistake.

y

How did external factors (i.e. the SA, Administration, International politics) affect Asian-Americans at Binghamton? 

At the time, the lack of equity in SA cultural funding, the failure to provide real office space to the Asian Student Union, and the Administration's inability to incorporate Asian-American studies into the curriculum were all issues that helped galvanize AsianAmerican students on campus. External events, like the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles and the first Gulf War, were divisive and polarizing moments for many groups on campus. At the time, ECASU was open to students critical of the status quo. Hosting ECASU at Binghamton help transform many of us by providing important links to struggles faced by Asian-Americans outside our campus and reducing the sense of isolation we felt on campus. It was where I first met revolutionary Yuri Kochiyama, heard about police brutality from members of the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence, and where I started the path I'm walking now. In today's hyper-capitalist society, a college degree is often the determining factor between a life of privilege or poverty. Students come to Binghamton because it offers a low-cost quality education and a stepping stone into the middle class -- not to "become political" or ruffle the feathers of those in power. However, I would argue that learning often takes place outside the classroom and that "politics" is ingrained in everything we do (and if you don't master it, politics will master you). Do well in your classes, but also take advantage of the opportunities at Binghamton to explore the issues you care about most. It sounds like a cliche, but your passion could become your career.

y

Do you feel the hosting of ECAASU ¶91 was a pivotal time for Asian-Americans at Binghamton? 

y

Do you have anything else you want to say about your time at Binghamton? 

y

John Choe is now the Director of Policy at Office of the Comptroller, City of New York and previously worked as the Chief of Staff for former City Councilman John Liu

Jon Choe expresses dismay over the lack of cooperate among Asian Americans on campus

Asian-American Studies
y March 1993 ± First Asian studies course  SOC280B/HIST280H ± Asian American History and Society  Taught by Cornell grad student - Krishendu Ray y 600 signatures on a petition y Plans to expand to Asian lit y ³Post Coloniality´ ± Professor Biswarup Sen  Use of Ronald Takaki¶s book  Understanding model minority  Edward Said

Spring 1993 ± cont¶d
y 15th ECAASU at the University of Pennslyvania  AO members describe difficulty in coordinating to get to Philadelphia  Describe racism in Philly
One student intentionally tripped Ù Racist anti-Asian slurs
Ù

y Vietnamese Student Association founded  Founder: Phuong Nguyen y Who Killed Vincent Chin? Screened on campus

Christine Choy speaks on campus

Fall 1993 ± Ethnic studies
y Microconference  Empowerment thorough education, importance of AsianAmerican studies  Yuri Kochiyama speaks y AAS ± ³Post Coloniality´ ± Prof Biswarup Sen  Use of Ronald Takaki¶s book  Understanding model minority  Edward Said¶s orientalism

Oct 16, 1993 ± Second Asian American Empowerment Conference
y Adjunct lecturer of Asian-Am lit at Hunter College y y y y

Robert Ji-song Ku talks on Asian-American literature Obstacles to Asian American women Asian American¶s and civil rights Gays and lesbians in the AA community Bruce Yamashita ± disenrolled from marine officer school because of heritage 
 

Only one person of color in graduating class Clear discrimination Assertion that minorities were inferior officers

AO reports on the start of Asian American studies at Binghamton and the efforts of Amy Kuo

Student life - 1993
y BU Japanese Association constitution approved by

ASU ± October 19, 1993   



Chinese character for BUJA¶s logo means ³samurai person or spirit´, pronounced busha To help Japanese international students, promote Japanese culture Founders ± Yumiko Yamamoto, Toshiko Furuta GIM ± 30 people

y Silver Spoon ± multicultural kitchen  Marriott gets guarantees for orgs not to serve Asian food there as Asian food makes money for Marriott

Spring 1994 ± Asian American Studies
y Intro to Asian-American Literature  Timothy Young from Cornell - books
The women warrior ± Maxine Hong Kingston Ù America is in the heart ± Carlos Bulosan Ù M. butterfly ± David Henry Hwang Ù Obasan ± Joy Kogawa
Ù

y East Asian Studies absorbs Asian American studies  Asian American studies track

Spring 1994 ± Student Life
y Movie about the book ³Rising Sun´ workshop by Amy Kuo  Offensive stereotypes about Japanese, yellow peril  Discussion of cross cultural stereotyping y Workshop to support striking workers at ³Silver Palace´ in

Chinatown 
 
Ù

Only unionized restaurant in Chinatown 40 workers locked out for refusing to sign new contract
Reduction in wages from $8.42 to $2.90 for dimsum cart pushers and waiters

CAAAV (Committee against Anti-Asian violence), CSWA (Chinese staff workers association) involved

y PAL ± intramural basketball squad, Sunday afternoon radio

show with DJ Flip and Special K y VSA ± mentoring program at the YMCA for AmerAsian children 

VSA and PAL ± holiday dinner + Santa Claus for Southern Tier children

Spring 1994 - Student Life cont¶d
y Chinese New Year celebration by CASU 
   

Singing Chinese class under Prof Zhang Hong performs Modern Dance ± Janet Jackson Lion dance Chinese opera Karaoke until 12:25

y AO comes out only once during Spring ¶94 due to budget crisis by

ASU 
  

Overspent to bring ³Chen and Dancers´ to Binghamton ($8k), limited turnout
Ù

No subgroup vote

ASU - 3,000 in debt forces cuts, such as eliminating an issue of AO Amy Kuo asserts subgroups should help to cover shortfall Nelson Mar (ASU president) believes subgroups have right to spend money allocated to them

y AO writer Jae Min Han criticizes Margaret Cho¶s All-American Girl

sitcom as culturally starved and sells out Korean culture

Fall 1994
y October ¶94 ± Korean language at

BU ± Professor Samuel Lee 

Also minister at Korean Baptist church

y November ¶94 AO Issue ± Asian

American¶s ± People of Color or Honorary Whites? y 10/17/94 - Amy Kuo resigns over ASU¶s ³social´ image and lack of direction 

Sends shockwaves through ASU and sets off reflection over ASU¶s direction

y PiDeltaPsi chapter is first Asian

Greek fraternity at Binghamton 
 

ASU president (Ronny Chow) one of the founding brothers Language workshops Charity work with the World Relief Fund

Asian American Empowerment Conference 1994 

Tackling internal strife ± subgroups make presentations, commentary by former presidents Liu, Lin, Chow, Mar
³Magic wand´ approach to empowerment ± John Choe Ù ASU is perceived as weak because it is weak from within ± Vivien Ranada former AVP
Ù 

 

Kinding Dindaw ± Filipino dance Fashion show features two female students kissing, subtle proLGBTQ themes Under attended VSA ± ³What¶s Vietnamese´ BUJA ± ³Everyone is allowed´ how diversity makes BUJA strong KSA ± Unity among Koreans on campus PAL ± Black, brown, yellow ± what are Filipinos?

y Workshops 
  

HIST280E ± Asian American History gets a new professor (1994)

Spring 1995
y First Asian themed eatery on campus - Manchu Wok at food

court y ³My Grandparents are not cows´ ± AO writer Supriya Nair addresses comments about Hindus and Indian-Americans that she hears during class discussions  

 

³Hindus become cows when they die´
Lack of support for community service events ± World Relief Concern over ASU strife BUJA also concerned about ASU¶s slights

y 11/17/94 - VSA secedes

y Kobe Earthquake ± PAL, PDPsi, BUJA host acapella concert, raise

$783 y A.C.E module ± Asian cultural enlightenment residential community in Onieda hall 

African-American resident and ASU board member criticizes anti-social Asians refusing to mix with non-Asians living there

1996 - 1997
y ASU AVP quits and endorses someone better for the job, sense that

y y y y y

AVP is an important position to maintain the quality of ASU programming Professor Nayan Shah joins BU ± Race and Sexual Politics in the US Attempted elimination of the VPMA October 97 ± Lisa Yun interview, speaks on joining BU, growing up in Vermont. 5 Asian American Greek Organizations December 97 AO Issue ± Asian Americans and Gender 


Commentary on Denny¶s incident at Syracuse, similar situation at Binghamton, Denny¶s as a racist franchise Binghamton incident not violent but students forced to sit in a corner with poor service

y FIND ¶97 at Bing 10/25/97 ±reexamining the Filipino Diaspora

Professor Lisa Yun, 1997

2000 Hate Crime Incident
y Beating of Jon E Lee by members of Binghamton

Wrestling team y Administrators fails to notify parents in timely manner, mismanage situation y Cohort of Asian American activists, led by ASU President Peter Van Do and others stage takeover of administration building 


Demand better resources and funding for Asian American students Multiethnic student group coalition

y Issues covering this incident missing from archive

2002 - 2009
y Less commentary on Asian American issues 

Asian Outlook switches to Asia-centric focus Asian American fashion Japanese Anime/Korean culture wave Prominent role of creative works Role of Greeks in ASU Apathy Social Issues Stereotyping

y Increased focus on culture 
 

y Commentary on BU campus: 
  

y Front and back pages printed in color y Asian Outlook 20th anniversary observed Spring 2009

2009 ± 2010 Activism revitalized
y Battles to defend multiculturalism and the position of Vice

President of Multicultural Affairs 


Student Association dominated by anti-multiculturalism representatives EIC William To receives standing ovation for speech defending the VPMA AO Staff Writer Calvin Prashad commentary on Robert Spencer¶s anti-Islam hate speech Vandalism of prayer rug in Muslim Student Association¶s office
Ù

y Rising Islamaphobia on campus (groups funded by AIPAC) 


Soaked in flammable liquid

y Binghamton Review criticizes cultural groups 

AO rebuttal: lacks understanding of the diverse nature of cultural groups

y Campus wide protests against the use of racist slur against Asian

American SA executive
Ù 

Go eat a f**king dog

Co-editors William To and Calvin Prashad lead protests at Spring Fling 2009, responsible parties resign their positions.

2010 ± 2011 The Future of Asian Outlook
y Circulation: 800 ± 1000 issues y New standards 
 

Complete redesign and digitizing the magazine by Conscience Editor Kelvin Chan AO Co-editor in Chief Jeffery Hwang applies AP Standards of editing to magazine Issue themes:
Ù Ù Ù

International Students¶ views on BU and studying in America Top 40 Things Asian Americans Should Know Appreciation of Asian Mothers (Mothers Day 2011)

y New cohort of activists 


2010 ± AO hosts national API House Party teleconference call with API leaders AO represents Binghamton ASU at ECAASU (UMass) for the first time in recent memory
Ù

AO represents Binghamton at two other major Asian American student conferences at Cornell and Syracuse 

Active in campaign against SA incorporation/consolidation of the SA branches into an executive
Ù

Another attempt to eliminate the VPMA 

Supported the Black Student Union in demanding an apology made by the SA Financial Council
Ù

BSU called ³welfare group´ by unnamed representative