AFTER 1989: Race After Multiculturalism

The '90s are back! Although they're being resurrected as the age of Cosby sweaters, animated gifs and 16-bit Nintendo soundtracks, the 1990s were stranger and more complex than youth culture nostalgia. As the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Cold War came to a close, the US found itself in the age of multiculturalism, premised on the belief we could all just get along, and a decade divided with tense, often surreal, racial spectacle. The Asian American Writers' Workshop presents an alternative racial history of the 1990s through a feisty five-part event series that's part symposium, part late night talk show, part Youtube nostalgia-fest.

Are Asians Black?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 7PM
Museum of the Chinese in Americas, 215 Centre Street, New York, NY
$5 Admission; Tickets for sale at door


Featuring: LISA ARRASTIA (principal at United Nations International School), PAUL BEATTY (White Boy Shuffle, Tuff), EDDIE HUANG (Cooking Channel), NICHOLAS LEMANN (The Big Test), KAI MA (New American Media award-winner), WESLEY YANG (New York Magazine)

Exhibits: “Those Asian American Whiz Kids,” “Meritocracy,” “The Chinese Take-Out Joint”

We all think we know the answer to this question—Asians are not black, right? But in the nineteenth century, one California court actually determined that Chinese Americans were black—since they were not, after all, white. This panel—titled after Janine Young Kim’s seminal essay, itself a ‘90s product—discusses how Asians and Blacks have been positioned as not just different, but set against each other, whether in the L.A. Riots or college admissions. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the LA Riots/LA Uprising/Sa-i-gu, but what’s often unremarked upon is how quickly a Black-White conflict (the LAPD vs King) transformed into a multiracial one, enfolding Latino residents and Korean shop owners. Novelist Paul Beatty (White Boy Shuffle) and AAWW’s Kai Ma (former editor of Koream Journal) present about the Riots, as we show video footage from Visual Communications. Blacks and Asians were also pitted against each other during the ‘90s debates over college admissions, consisting of attacks on affirmative action (Prop. 209) and right-wing tracts (The Bell Curve and The End of Racism) that set blacks against an Asian American model minority stereotype. These will be discussed by educator Lisa Arrastia (author of Starting Up: Critical Lessons from 10 New Schools), Columbia Journalism school dean Nicholas Lemann (The Big Test: The Secret History of American Meritocracy) and Wesley Yang (New York Magazine and 2011 Artist Fellowship recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts). Chef Eddie Huang (Baohaus, Cheap Bites on the Cooking channel) talks about Chinese take-out joints, name-checked by Jadakiss, as a site of black-Asian interactions.

A project of The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, where we’re inventing the future of Asian American intellectual culture. This presentation is co-sponsored by Artists & Audiences Exchange, a NYFA public program, funded with leadership support from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).

  1. fullyassembled reblogged this from after1989
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  3. hidekincredible reblogged this from after1989 and added:
    I wish I was in NY for this.. Did anyone go?
  4. gonznyc reblogged this from after1989
  5. blasianlikeus reblogged this from after1989 and added:
    Asian American Writers Worshop presents “After 1989: Are Asians Black?”
  6. jesstify reblogged this from after1989 and added:
    An interesting talk at the moca about the historical pitting of Asians against African American communities throughout...
  7. after1989 posted this