Amoeblog

May Is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 28, 2008 04:19pm | Post a Comment
ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

Even in a multicultural, polyglot city like Los Angeles (which has the largest population of Asian-Americans (1.4 million) in the country and where the percentage of the population which is Asian-American is roughly twice that which is black) most discussions of race appear continue to be framed in the outmoded, bipolar terms of  black and white.  For example, whereas a lot of people and many organizations honor Black History Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is by comparison almost completely unrecognized except by some Asian-American organization and individuals.

The centuries-long struggle and strife of blacks in America is well-documented and worth honoring -- many have suggested that Black Americans invented the Civil Rights Movement (some Native Americans might take issue with that). Asians, like other non-whites, have also been subjected to legal segregation, racist violence, widespread discrimination and harassment. So why is it that the Asian-American experience is so... obscure? I hadn't even heard of its existence until I was hipped to it by reknowned Asian-American rights activist, Ngoc-thu Thi Nguyen.


CONTINUED PREJUDICE AGAINST ASIAN-AMERICANS

According to polls, 23% of Americans are admittedly "uncomfortable" voting for an Asian-American to be President of the United States. This is in contrast to 15% compared with an African-American candidate and 14% compared with a (presumably non-Asian) female candidate. Just as many Americans used to fear that Catholics ultimate allegiance was to the pope, a lot of Asians are suspected and viewed of holding allegiances the Asian countries of their ancestors, a view which fuels the "perpetual foreigner" stereotype.


PERPETUAL FOREIGNERS

Asian-Americans are typically descended from more recent immigrants than the white or black population. Last year, coming up with movies to showcase for APA Heritage Month resulted in the suggestion of Chinese Kung Fu movies the distinction between Asians in Asia and Asians in America remains a lot harder for non-Asians than distinguishing African-Americans from Africans or white people from Europeans partly because America loves imported Asian movies and Korean dramas but Hollywood continues to be incredibly uncomfortable with Asian-American leads or ensembles. To date there've only been a handful of Asian-American television series. Even more troubling to me is the fact that many Asian-Americans born in America speak of "American food" and "Americans" as something separate and exclusive of themselves.


BIPOLAR DISCUSSIONS OF RACE 

America's understanding and discussion of racial issues has almost always been overwhelmingly and frustratingly bipolar.  Look at the focus of most conversations about the current Democratic Party elections despite the fact that Asian-Americans are second only to Jews in their per capita political donations. This simple and distorted view exists despite the fact that other groups, such as Asians and Native Americans, have always been central to our country's history. The conversation has always been and remains, still, "black and white."


THE MODEL MINORITY

Asians are often paternalistically referred to as the "model minority" -- a special minority position that seems to involve the allowance of systematic marginalization. It's like saying "here's a gold star for not rocking the boat. We wish all minorities were so well-behaved." It suggests that (even though Asian immigration is growing at the highest percentage of any racial group) the fact that Asian-Americans are the least likely racial group to report crimes against themselves is to be commended. And even though rare modern instances of blackface provoke outrage, yellowface (whether literal or metaphorically practiced by Asian-American actors reduced to playing into stereotypes) is still not a big deal.


NON-MODEL MINORITY ASIANS

I have to assume that the term "model minority" doesn't  apply to all Asian-Americans, right? As a whole, Southeast Asian people including Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Filipinos and Hmong in the United States are, socio-economically speaking, much more aligned with Native Americans, Blacks, and Latinos. Anecdotally speaking, they seem less likely to be fetishized by both pop culture (appearing in advertisments, films and TV less often than East Asians) and non-Asian exoticists struck with so-called "Yellow Fever." And what of South Asians? For whatever reason, if one speaks of Asian-Americans of South Asian ancestral origin as being Asian-Americans (which they, of course, are), many non-Asians will react with confusion or even attempt to correct you. Anyway, enough of my musings on race... here's a brief history of Asian-American Immigration to the Americas.


*****

TIMELINE OF ASIANS IN THE AMERICAS




CIRCA 15000 BCE

A group of proto-Asian hunters walks from Northern Asia to the Americas on a land bridge.


   
Inupiaq dancer                    Yupik girl                      Inuit girls                   Alutiiq dancer                  Aleut boy

CIRCA 5000 BCE

The last great wave of prehistoric migration from northern Asia to the Americas. These settlers go on to develop into the Inupiaq, Yupik, Inuit, Alutiiq, and Aleut peoples (among others).


   

Obi 2

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, March 31, 2008 11:25pm | Post a Comment
Main Entry:
obi 
Pronunciation:
ˈō-bē
Function:
noun
Etymology:
Japanese
Date:
1876
: a broad sash worn especially with a Japanese kimono

OK, part 2 of our trip through Obiland begins with a Boston classic, along with its promo sticker sheet...



A trio of 80's classics. I'm sorry, but Pete Burns was always scary...


 
This Al Kooper Obi was used in a series of albums related to him via production and such...



My favorite Obi from this batch. Is Prince the drug!? Or does looking at him make you feel drugged??



A batch of pro proggers and their respective Obi's. The GTR LP has the flap folded into the jacket opening type variation on the classic band/sash type Obi.....



Disco does Obi, love the Fro-pickish image on the Three Degrees...



HOT Obi action below!



Of course, Kiss had some amazing Obi action.  Their early albums had artwork that mixed perfectly with the Obi, and of course Gene had the Samurai thing going on...It may seem that I'm a bit of a Kiss fan as they've appeared in a couple of blogs, but I'm not really.  It's just that they were so dead-on in the marketing department that they have many great examples of album related design works...

Obi 1

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, March 30, 2008 11:05pm | Post a Comment
The art of the Japanese Obi strip has always held a special spot in my heart.  I remember visiting a bandmate's house back in 1989 and getting a peek into his older, cooler brother's bedroom.  He was a musician who had reputedly jammed a bit with Caterwaul;  I was very impressed!  On his walls, in shiny import bags, were dozens of Japanese issue LPs with Obi strips, a sight I'd never seen before.  For me, the obi is like cool neon on a bar front.  It's an enticing advertisement- promising something exotic, cryptic and sexy.  Even if it is just an 80's Elton John record... something which, in reality, is none of the above.  The Obi is meant to be disposable, hence the flimsy design. That's why the people who covet Japanese issues pay so much more for certain LP's with intact Obis.  Older LP's are especially difficult to find with the Obis intact.  Anyhow, here's a two parter for you, all from a recently priced out collection- some of which are currently hanging on our walls or awaiting for you in our vinyl bins...



A popular Obi design uses a band photo or artist head shot. These are often used on later press runs when an artist has a body of work, all of which can be adorned with the same band/artist image.



Below are a batch of records with "series" obi's. Usually used to push a batch of like minded groups. Among the other releases in the Hard Attack '85 series were Iron Maiden Live After Death 2xLP & Aces High 12" as well as Saxon Innocence Is No Excuse LP (the one with girl and the apple).  I really love the guitar humper on the Free record...











































More artist image-adorned Obis.  Love the redundant Aerosmith...



and finally, a couple of beards and a couple quite familiar with the concept...

GRAFFITI YOKOHAMA, JAPAN: PART 6

Posted by Billyjam, February 23, 2008 10:13pm | Post a Comment
         


          


           


                                



       

GRAFFITI YOKOHAMA, JAPAN: PART 5

Posted by Billyjam, February 20, 2008 01:54pm | Post a Comment
        

         

         

         

                                       

        


As with all previous Graffiti in Yokohama pics - all of these were shot by Acco - over last few months
BACK  <<  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  >>  NEXT