Saturday, March 03, 2007

Asian Week and ethnic separatism

I've written about AsianWeek before, when the publishers of that periodical complained about Adam Carolla's racist mocking of Asians.

AsianWeek apparently has some racial issues of its own.

But people of Asian ethnic background, whether born in the US or not, need to come to grips with the implications of the very existence of a publication like AsianWeek. Do Asian-Americans believe in assimilation to US society, or do they see themselves as a permanently separate community with different interests than the rest of us? 

When non-Asians look at the English language AsianWeek, all they see are pictures of Asian faces and all they read is supposedly of particular interest to that group, as if Asian-Americans need to define themselves as apart from and different than the rest of US society. But the American ideal is assimilation, not separatism for its ethnic groups.

The matter of city government mandating the continued survival of Japantown is also problematic, since it turns out that the population of ethnic Japanese in that neighborhood is only 10%. That shows that Japanese-Americans are in fact assimilating to US society and that the only reason for trying to "save" Japantown is because it's a good marketing strategy for businesses in the area.

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