Asian Americans and U.S. Civil Rights Movements (video)

Posted on December 7, 2020 by PLT Staff

Lecture given by Jane Hong at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA (November 11, 2020). The lecture begins at 7:40. Hong discusses the “model minority” trope and how the category “Asian American” has become more complex and contested with time. She connects these concepts to the United States’ troubled history of preventing Asian immigration and citizenship through legislation. Hong then explains how Asian American activism in the late 1960s and 1970s was influenced by and is unique from the African American civil rights and antiwar movements. A Q&A session, which follows at 43:15, addresses the lack of literature and media coverage about Asian American groups and movements, how the fluidity of racial identity impacts citizenship and inclusion, the role of religion in Asian American activism, and Asian American participation in the civil rights movement in the American South. To find a listing of all our Occasional Lectures, click here.

Excerpt: “The model minority [trope] is about Asian Americans, but if you actually read between the lines, it’s ultimately not really about Asian Americans…. It’s a way that some political leaders, social scientists in the 1960s…tried to use the model minority as a critique of African Americans. So, in some ways, the model minority’s not even necessarily ultimately about Asian Americans. They’re kind of like this tool that’s used at various times. So, I think that’s another reason why perhaps people don’t know much about this history because usually if it’s talked about at all, it’s talked about in relationship to other groups or other struggles or other issues that aren’t even ultimately about Asian Americans. Part of my work is an attempt to redress that.”

  • Video Information
  • Date Recorded:December 2, 2020
  • Location Recorded:Charlottesville, VA
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