asian americans

Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People
Helen Zia, Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2001
ISBN: 0374527369
Asian Americans have only recently emerged as a cohesive, self-identified racial group. Now, award-winning Asian American journalist Zia traces the changing politics and cultures of this significant but disjointed group of people by examining the incidents that helped galvanize them. Drawing on both family stories and public events (everything from the Vincent Chin affair to the boycott of Korean American–owned stores in Brooklyn) Zia surveys the history of Asian Americans, the rapid development of their new political force, and the unique issues they face.

Asian American X: An Intersection of Twenty-First Century Asian American Voices
Aran Han, University of Michigan Press, 2004
ISBN: 0472068741
This refreshing and timely collection of coming-of-age essays, edited and written by young Asian Americans, powerfully captures the joys and struggles of their evolving identities as one of the fastest-growing groups in the nation and poignantly depicts the many oft-conflicting ties they feel to both American and Asian cultures. The essays also highlight the vast cultural diversity within the category of Asian American, yet ultimately reveal how these young people are truly American in their ideals and dreams.

The Life and Times of a Hyphenated American
Young Park, iUniverse, 2006
ISBN: 0595375375
Writing about the past helps to explain why I am discontent and continuously angry. I am reminded that America is a society dominated by religious fundamentalism and racism.

After a time, I rejected the White American world and went to Asia, seeking another basis for my identity. My identity is still in question. I cannot become an Asian and although I was born in this country, I am not accepted as an American citizen. As my birth certificate clearly states – I am not of an accepted racial color.

Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans
Ronald Takaki, Back Bay Books, 1998
ISBN: 0316831301
This popular history of Asian Americans based frequently on primary sources, shows how they have made their presence felt in America from the early 1800s. Their immigration has been marked by the cruelty of forced labor, poverty, and intense prejudice. Many had come searching for a better life after hearing tales of gold nuggets on city streets, money on trees, and the famed “gold mountain.” Instead, they found the endless chopping of sugar cane, the sweat of laundries, the backache of building railroads. Later generations discovered the lack of opportunity despite prestigious university degrees. This is fascinating reading, highly recommended.

Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White
Frank Wu, Basic Books, 2003
ISBN: 046500640X
Often provocative and always thoughtful, this book addresses some of the most controversial contemporary issues: discrimination, immigration, diversity, globalization, and the mixed race movement, introducing the example of Asian Americans to shed new light on the current debates. Mixing personal anecdotes, social science research, legal cases, history, and original journalistic reporting, Wu tackles Asian American stereotypes like “the model minority” and “the perpetual foreigner,” and shows how these seemingly innocuous concepts have harmed individuals and damaged relations between communities. By offering new ways of thinking about race in American society, Wu’s work challenges us to make good on our great democratic experiment.

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