Magnetic North – Home:Word [MV]

A beautifully made video for anyone feeling a little homesick as the holiday (and finals) season kicks in…

Magnetic North’s new music video for their soulful hip-hop song, “Home:Word”, featuring Taiyo Na, from their album of the same title. Produced by Wong Fu Productions, “Home:Word” tells a genuine story about an Asian American family’s domestic struggles. The song “Cold”, another song on the album, plays during the credits.

Wong Fu follows the video with heartfelt words:

Dedicated to our families.

Like the mother and daughter, we all have those moments where we neglect our parents, too busy living our own life, we often forget that on the other side our parents are working hard and have struggled to give us as good a life as they can.
Like the son, pressures from school can be the biggest struggle for young people. While it’s important, sometimes stepping away to find that true peace keeps us going. Whether it’s in art and photography, making videos, singing, dancing, or even video games with friends.
Like the father, jobs and financial worries can bring us down. Especially in these tough times, when so much is uncertain, the greatest gift we have is knowing that there is one constant, family.

Overrepresented or just Misrepresented?

So everyone has seen this article in the Washington Examiner about Asian American kids who don’t check the Asian American box when they apply to college.  I’m sure everyone has differing opinions about whether or not race should play into college admissions and whether or not this is unfair to Asian Americans.  On the latter point, I think no one, regardless of race, is going to suffer terribly because they can’t go to an Ivy League school—the go-to-a-name-brand school mentality we have in this country is kind of unhealthy.  Though maybe as the daughter of Asian American kind-of-like-hippies-but-they-thought-hippies-could-be-racist-sometimes parents, I’m biased.

But are all Asian Americans really hurt by affirmative action?  And how does the way we talk about this reveal our biases about race and what “Asian Americans” are?

What bothered me most was this article’s explanation as to why there are so many Asian Americans on college campuses…by quoting Amy Chua.  My heart is breaking:

 “’Chinese parents can say, ‘You’re lazy. All your classmates are getting ahead of you,’” Chua wrote. “By contrast, Western parents have to struggle with their own conflicted feelings about achievement, and try to persuade themselves that they’re not disappointed about how their kids turned out.’

Of course, not all Asian-Americans fit this stereotype. They are not always obedient hard workers who get top marks. Some embrace American rather than Asian culture. Their economic status, ancestral countries and customs vary, and their forebears may have been rich or poor.

But compared with American society in general, Asian-Americans have developed a much stronger emphasis on intense academic preparation as a path to a handful of the very best schools.”

I love how this article quotes a woman who makes sweeping generalizations about “Western” versus “Chinese” parents, then admits that this is a generalization, but then states the generalization is true because Asian Americans and their “emphasis on intense academic preparation.”  Comes to close to saying that all stereotypes about Asian Americans are true (even though they’re stereotypes).  Also, what does “Some embrace American rather than Asian culture” mean?  What is “Asian culture”?  Not sure if we all knew this, but Asia’s a huge continent.  Also, why can’t Asian American cultures be part of the larger American culture?  What is American culture if you exclude “ethnic” cultures?  Just white?

And while there are some Asian groups who on average immigrate with more money and become overrepresented at the colleges like Yale, not every Asian American group is overrepresented.  If all these groups share the same “Asian” culture, which pushes them to excel, then why aren’t they all “successful?

I think all this article proves is that we need to re-approach how we talk about Asian Americans and affirmative action before we start the conversation again.


Some Asians’ college strategy: Don’t check ‘Asian’

For years, many Asian-Americans have been convinced that it’s harder for them to gain admission to the nation’s top colleges.

Studies show that Asian-Americans meet these colleges’ admissions standards far out of proportion to their 6 percent representation in the U.S. population, and that they often need test scores hundreds of points higher than applicants from other ethnic groups to have an equal chance of admission. Critics say these numbers, along with the fact that some top colleges with race-blind admissions have double the Asian percentage of Ivy League schools, prove the existence of discrimination.

The way it works, the critics believe, is that Asian-Americans are evaluated not as individuals, but against the thousands of other ultra-achieving Asians who are stereotyped as boring academic robots.

Now, an unknown number of students are responding to this concern by declining to identify themselves as Asian on their applications.

For those with only one Asian parent, whose names don’t give away their heritage, that decision can be relatively easy. Harder are the questions that it raises: What’s behind the admissions difficulties? What, exactly, is an Asian-American — and is being one a choice?

Read the rest of the article and interviews by Yale students here: