Heidi M. Pascual*
Publisher & Editor
* 2006 Journalist of the Year for the State
of Wisconsin (U.S.-SBA)
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|Phil Yu on Asian American media stereotypes:
The Response of an Angry
Language as the words “Ching Chong” covered her image with a tap of his slideshow clicker.
"I don't know about you guys, but for me growing up in Asian-America comes with certain burdens,” Yu said. “One
of those burdens is 'the ching-chong.’"
Yu then described a significant Jr. High experience that he could only summarize as “a drive-by ching-chong.” Yu
also discussed a recent example of “the ching-chong” with an offensive viral video made by former UCLA student
Alexander Wallace that was familiar to many audience members.
The blogger emphasized the potential strength of responding to offensive acts by showing successful video
responses for each instance. For O’ Donnell’s case, Yu showed spoken word poet Beau Sia’s response poem
that influenced O’Donnell’s apology. For Wallace’s video, Yu highlighted a musician’s humorous song response
that resulted in increased exposure for the artist.
Yu also tackled the issue of “white-washing” in Hollywood cinema with the 2010 movie release of “Avatar: The
Last Airbender.” As a Northwestern University graduate in the radio, TV and film major, Yu’s educational
background aids his media analyses and critiques.
Yu continued the discussion by showing a fan-base movement in response to the movie’s whitewash casting.
The movement cleverly coined the phrase “Racebending.”
In a post-interview, Yu expressed a desire to inform Asian Americans that feel helpless that the Internet provides
various avenues for being vocal.
“There are plenty of things to do to react and educate and stand up and speak out about things that we find are
inappropriate, offensive or detrimental to our community,” Yu added.
Next the popular blogger discussed his tracking of the representation of Asian Americans in primetime television.
His Powerpoint presentation showed Asian American actors smiling in squares Brady Brunch style.
Yu demonstrated the progression of Asian-American representation by crossing out actors whose shows were
cancelled and adding new smiling actors to the blocks.
The presentation became an open discussion with the introduction of the new television show “K-Town,” which
has been described by the New York Post as “the Asian ‘Jersey Shore.’” The resulting discussion included
commentary for the show’s potential to break the “model minority” stereotype.
Audience members also raised concern for the new stereotypes and the continued hyper-sexuality of Asian/Asian-
American women that the show poses.
“It makes us look pretty bad.” Yu said in light of the show’s negative potential despite intriguing appeal. “That said
I’m totally gonna watch it,” Yu humorously added.
The presentation then displayed prominent Asian-American YouTube celebrities, which Yu challenged the
audience to name. After one person fell one name short of completing the challenge, Yu noted the higher
familiarity with YouTube stars among the college-age audience compared to when he tested them earlier to name
the primetime Asian-American actors.
Yu was optimistic about the potential for better media representation given this stronger prevalence of YouTube
star recognition among the younger generation. According to Yu, YouTube celebrities effectively used the website
to cut out the middlemen who were media gatekeepers.
“This is the future of Asian American Media,” Yu added. “I would be remiss if I did not wrap things up with my boy
Jeremy Lin,” Yu said as he concluded his presentation. “Jeremy has also complicated the way that we talk about
race,” said Yu, referring to Lin’s cultural impact including the firing of a sports reporter who offhandedly used a
racial slur in coverage of Lin.
According to Yu, the firing demonstrated how many people didn’t have the language to discuss Lin’s success in a
sport commonly associated with a black and white paradigm. Yu noted how the situation led to the Asian-
American Journalist Association releasing a guideline for media outlets on how to talk about Jeremy Lin without
“If you would have read [the guidelines] and not known anything about it, you would’ve thought it was an Onion
article,” Yu added.
During the subsequent question and answer portion, Yu acknowledged how he is commonly perceived as being
oversensitive in his posts.
“I’m OK with it seeming like I’m pissed off about lots of different things if that draws attention to an issue that isn’t
being looked at,” Yu said. “Honestly, all the things that I feel like I’m complaining about and I’m angry about are
things that require change, systematic change,” Yu later added in reference to the need for Asian Americans to
find allies in other racial groups, including Caucasians.
Yu explained in a post-interview that he chose the blog title, AngryAsianMan.com, because it’s “provocative” and
“People who know me know that I’m a pretty even keeled, normal, chill guy,” Yu said.
Overall, his calm demeanor led to his presentation being viewed as a comedian performing a set of social
commentary on serious issues rather than a rant.
Along with addressing social issues for Asian Americans, his presentation emphasized the Internet’s potential in
creating powerful responses. In light of this possibility, Yu uses the slogan “stay angry,” which he described as
meaning, “stay vigilant, be aware and be active.”
Marlon Eric Lima is a student at UW-Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication; a First Wave Hip-Hop
Theatre Ensemble - Scholar; and a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
By Marlon Eric Lima
The creator of AngryAsianMan.com,
Phil Yu, addressed Asian-American
issues for his talk on the University
of Wisconsin-Madison campus on
April 26th. UW-Madison’s Asian-
American Student Union held the
event as part of their weeklong
celebration for Asian-American
Despite his popular blog title, Yu
spoke with a calm composure and a
AngryAsianMan.com owner/blogger Phil Yu; Phil Yu reminds his audience to
stay angry.—Photo Credits: Danny Hwong;
(L-R) Audience enjoying Yu's humor-laced presentation; AngryAsianMan.com:
owner/blogger Phil Yu discussing the offensive Abercrombie and Fitch
shirts that incited the 2002 protest
light-humored delivery that allowed audience members to better cope with the offensive issues he addressed. Early
in the event audience members felt comfortable laughing at the ignorance fueling the issues.
The popular blogger’s presentation was a discussion of the social situation in the U.S. from the perspective of an
Asian-American who is socially aware and consequently outspoken.
Yu began with reviewing the recent blog posts on his website before delving into the site’s early history. After
describing how his blog received heavy attention for covering a 2002 protest against offensive Abercrombie and Fitch
shirts, Yu recalled the moment he recognized the blog’s potential for creating activist change in the community.
Yu introduced the
discussions of media
representations of Asian
and Asian Americans with
a picture of Rosie O’
Donnell while lightly
asking, “Does anyone
know why she has joined
us this evening?”
He gave a game show style
approval for the correct
guess of her controversial
mockery of the Chinese