The State of Asian America: Activism and Resistance in the 1990s

The State of Asian America: Activism and Resistance in the 1990s

The State of Asian America: Activism and Resistance in the 1990s

The State of Asian America: Activism and Resistance in the 1990s

Synopsis

A series of essays that give voice to contemporary Asian-American activism, offering thoughtful, radical analyses on a range of pressing issues, including: the 1992 L.A. uprising, the protest against the Broadway musical Miss Saigon, anti-Asian and domestic violence,

Excerpt

Glenn (a white supremacist): I'm not going to shoot anyone who's not Chinese! Now --

Pastor (Glenn's follower): But maybe ... I am?

Glenn: No race is -- based on color -- OK, well, maybe that can change, but -- genetics! It's firmly rooted in genetics!

Linda (an Asian American woman): Scientifically, that's not true either.

Glenn: Then it's faith! As long as you believe you're white, you'll never turn Chinese!!

With my 1993 play Face Value, I sought to question the mythology of race. The plot hinges on two Asian Americans who go in white face to disrupt the opening night of a Broadway musical in which an Anglo actor has been cast as a Chinese. Obviously, this premise recalls the Miss Saigon casting controversy of 1990, when the British actor Jonathan Pryce was cast as a "Eurasian." In Face Value, matters are further complicated with the arrival of two white supremacists, who believe the lead actor actually is Asian, and kidnap him for stealing jobs from white people. The result is a farce of mistaken identity, suggesting that race is a construct that has no inherent meaning other than that which we choose to assign it.

Face Value was thoroughly panned in its Boston tryout, and closed on Broadway in previews. Though I concede the play had . . .

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