Why an Asian American Reality Conference?

from the NY student publication Harmony 1970

America sees its Asian population as being the exotic representative of the quiet, hardworking, diligent Asian countries we studied in elementary school. We have no crime, no unemployment, no broken families, no social problems. We'll go through school and become businessmen, physicists, chemists, doctors and engineers. In short,all is milk and honey. But the reality is different ••• 

Being diligent and hardworking didn't keep over 100,000 Japanese- Americans out of American concentration camps. If one is a Chinese immigrant, it's hard to build up a new life or save money for the future when you can't bring your wife with you or you're taxed to the breaking point. Being hardworking didn't prevent the formation of Chinatown ghettoes. The health department refuses to acknowledge that TB is running rampant in Chinatown. Our communIty organizations have taken to lining their own pockets and neglect the purposes for which they were established.

We don't have a crime problem. Who are we kidding? Denying the existence of gangs has already cost the life of one boy in Chinatown. How many more before we really move against the problems? The Chinese are stoic people, they say, then why is it that the Chinese have a suicide rate three times the national average and a growing drug problem.

A handful of us escape from Chinatown to an ambiguous and anomic white suburbia and grow up ashamed of the color of our skin and the slant of our eyes. In school all that is said of us is that we worked as laborers to build the transcontinental railroad. Oh yes, then we're pretty good at getting shirt collars clean and cooking exotic foods.

This conference will discuss in workshops the why's and wherefore's of the multitude of problems which face us as Asians but go on further to suggest possible solutions. We have gone too long with negative self-images of ourselves. If we are ever to hold our heads up high as real men and women, we'd better start NOW to throw off the weak emasculated image of the Asian male and the exotic sex goddess vision of the Asian women. If you have had or have questions about your identity and place in a white society, we'll be seeing you at Pace College on December 5th and 6th.

John Lee

Publicity Committee

Tentative List of Workshops

An exact schedule of activities through the Chinese Clubs of your school or through the information numbers on flyers and posters at schools and Chinatown.

  1. Women's Workshop
  2. Stereotyping-Racism
  3. Community Orientation
  4. China and Japan Perspective
  5. Third World Coalition
  6. Indochina
  7. Street People Perspective
  8. Asian American History
  9. Asian and Social Service Problems