Tell Me More With Jeff Yang

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Check out the conversation with Jeff Yang on NPR - a lot of interesting topics. I don't agree with everything and I wish when talking about "that article" Yang would have stated something like "We have to be careful about stereotyping all Asian Americans from one poll in one state" versus the answer he gave - but either way - definitely worth a listen and there's still a lot of good info to chew on:

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has a very real chance of becoming the nation's first black president when voters head to the polls two weeks from today.

The prospect of such a historic feat fostered the ongoing Tell Me More series: "What If." The program has had discussions with distinguished influential thinkers, political figures and artists probing just what would it mean for old stereotypes, expectations and fears?

Jeff Yang, an American writer and business-media consultant who is currently the "Asian Pop" columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, offers the latest installment to the series.

But Yang has looked at the idea differently — turning it on its head, in fact. He recently wrote a column posing whether Obama could be the first Asian-American president?

He explains that some "tropes" about race specifically have begun to become detached from biology. In that vain, he says, that the tropes that qualify someone to be called Asian-American are apropos for Obama. To name a few: They are well-educated, often at the most elite colleges and universities in the country (Obama attended Occidental College and finished his B.A. at Columbia before getting a law degree from Harvard); they aren't born rich but lead very comfortable lives, usually being professionals of some kind (Obama taught Constitutional law, was a senator in the Illinois legislature, and then the U.S. Congress); they have exotic, often hard to pronounce names (Obama often makes fun of how his name sounds to Americans).
Listen to the full interview down at NPR.