Asian Americans Today and Community Activism Sucheng Chan Yen Le Espiritu Steve Park “The Fall of the I-Hotel”
Assignment for Thursday1. Reading Espiritu and Park2. Bring in or identify something that you think is an example of an Asian American cultural production (art, music, performance, video, cartoons, etc.) to share with the class . . . You will be invited to share what it is and relate it to ideas from the readings.
What are the five largest Asian ethnic groups in the U.S. in the order of their population size?
How does the population of Asian Americans compare with that of other ethnic/racial minorities in the U.S.? CA?
Per Capita Income in 1999 by Ethnic Background Total Population $21,587 Total Asian $21,823 Total NHPI $15,054 Other Asian $20,699 Asian Indian $27,514 Hmong $6,600 Pakistani $18,096 Bangladeshi $13,971 Indonesian $18,932 Samoan $12,160 Cambodian $10,366 Japanese $30,075 Sri Lankan $27,428 Chamorro $17,583 Korean $18,805 Taiwanese $25,890 Chinese $23,756 Laotian $11,830 Thai $19,066 Filipino $25,890 Malaysian $19,895 Tongan $10,680 Fijian $14,745 Native Hawaiian $17,697 Vietnamese $15,655 Per Capita Income *NHPI is abbreviated for those who identified themselves as Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Table 1. Per Capita Income by Ethnicity in 1999 Source: U.S. Census Bureau Summary File 4, SF4-PCT 130. http://www.aamovement.net/viewpoints/ninjasdragons2.htm
Contemporary Issues (Chan) • Model minority myth – critique similar to Mia Tuan’s; debate is partly over economics, partly over ideology (167-171) • College admissions anti-Asian bias • Asian American studies • Asian American cultural production • Political participation and empowerment • Electoral politics: HI, mainland, SCC • Community-based activism: redress and reparations (JACL, Nisei representatives); anti-Asian violence (American Citizens for Justice); San Francisco I-Hotel
Historical Context of I-Hotel Struggle 1907 – rebuilt after 1906 earthquake 1920s-1930s – Manilatown spanned 10 blocks along Kearney Street from California St to Columbus Ave; off-season home to 20,000 Filipino immigrants, Filipino-owned restaurants, barbershops, pool halls 1960s – the Financial District takes over much of Manilatown; elderly Chinese and Filipino live in residential hotels for $50 per month 1979 – I-Hotel demolished; International Hotel Citizens Advisory Committee appointed by Mayor Feinstein, opposes commercial building that excludes low-income senior housing Two blocks of Kearney dedicated to honor Filipino immigrants. http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2004/07/28/BAG357U2TN1.DTL&o=2
The site of the original hotel, at Jackson and Kearny streets, sat empty from 1979, when the hotel was razed.Chronicle file photo, 1997, by Brant Ward / h ttp://www.sfgate.com/cgibin/object/article?o=2&f=/c/a/2005/07/22/WBGOHDPSQH1.DTL&type=printable
International Hotel Senior Housing will provide 88 studio apartments, and 16 one-bedroom apartments for a total of 104 units of quality Section 8 federally subsidized which allows occupants to pay only 1/3 of their monthly gross income. Housing developed by Chinatown Community Development Center.Courtesy of Chong Partners Architecture 1994 – The Chinatown Community Housing Corporation secures funding from the Housing and Urban Development to build and operate 105 units 1994 – The Roman Catholic Archdiocese purchases the property and sells rights to build I-Hotel to Chinatown Community Development Center (property mgmnt grp) 1995 – International Hotel Senior Housing, Inc is formed by International Hotel Citizens Advisory Committee and CCDC
The 14-story New International Hotel Senior Residences is under construction at Kearny and Jackson streets.Chronicle photo by Kim Komenich 1960s-1970s: commercial expansion torn down more than 4,000 low-income units in favor of high-rise buildings (including the famous Transamerica Pyramid and the Bank of America's world headquarters) and parking lots; 4 out of every 5 low-cost residential hotels in the area were gone by end of the 1970s. http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2004/07/28/BAG357U2TN1.DTL&o=0
Low-income seniors will find a home at the rebuilt hotel, which also gives a nod to its Manilatown roots. Chronicle photo by Katy Raddatz • 2005 – Hotel completed • 104 studio and 1br apts for low-income seniors • No more than 2 ppl/unit • Head of hh at least 62 yrs • Total hh income <$45,250 for 2, $39,600 for one • Former residents priority • Lottery for others • 2,400 community and activity center http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?o=1&f=/c/a/2005/07/22/WBGOHDPSQH1.DTL&type=printable
I-HOTEL RETURNS / The new International Hotel rises 15 stories on Kearny Street and includes 88 studio and 16 one-room apartments. Construction took two years.Chronicle photo by Mike Kepka / http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2005/08/27/BAGEJEDHSN20.DTL&o=1
Cultural Resistance and Cultural Production as Community Activism “The civil rights and ethnic studies movements of the late 1960s were training grounds for Asian American cultural workers and the development of oppositional projects. . .unified by a common goal of articulating cultural resistance.” Espiritu (98)
Cultural Resistance and Cultural Production as Community Activism “Given the historical distortions and misrepresentations of Asian Americans in mainstream media, most cultural projects produced by Asian American men and women perform the important tasks of correcting histories, shaping legacies, creating new cultures, constructing a politics of resistance, and opening spaces for the forcibly excluded.” Espiritu (98)
A Theory for Community Activism • The ideological dimension of Asian American oppression – examples? • “Cultural symbols” / “controlling images” are generated by the dominant group to help justify the economic exploitation and social oppression of Asian Americans over time. So to fight such oppression, one must also challenge the ideological dimension (“cultural symbols” or “controlling images”)