A behind-the-scenes look at ALIST Magazine, brought to you by editors, writers, photographers, and everyone else who’s been working to make this publication possible.
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Hollywood’s Long Shadow
Today, Hollywood’s influence around the world is so ubiquitous that I dare say tens of millions of non-Caucasian kids around the world have wished at one point or another that they had a different hair color, different eye color, higher cheekbones, and narrower noses. I remember spraying lemon juice in my hair as a teenager to get brown and blonde highlights, per the instructions in Seventeen magazine.
Fortunately, because I grew up in Singapore, I had the tireless Singaporean media showing me people who look like me, playing characters ranging from heroes to villains. My idols were as much Andy Lau as Tom Cruise, and I am proud of my heritage and culture. For our children growing up in the U.S., they may not have that balance.
More disturbing than Hollywood’s narrow and stereotyped portrayal of Asian Americans is the phenomenon of ‘whitewashing’ Asian roles. Shockingly, white actors are wearing make-up, pretending to be Asians, like in the upcoming movie Cloud Atlas. I thought the days of The Good Earth – a 1937 movie about a Chinese farm woman in China, with an all-white leading cast – were behind us. Maybe not. Alternatively, Hollywood is re-writing scripts to change a lead Asian character to a white American one, like “We Mortals Are”. The implicit message that Hollywood is sending to me seems to be some part of, or all of the below: (more…)
Like a diamond in the rough, the Asian American community has endured exclusion acts, concentration camps, discrimination, and hate crimes, emerging today as the highest earning ethnicity in the United States, according to the 2010 Census. Starkly contrasting this achievement, however, is the representation of APA’s in leadership positions in most industries, which is conversely (and perplexedly) lacking. According to Forbes, APA’s consist of only 1.5% of Fortune 500 CEO’s despite a 5% overall US population representation. Asian Americans are additionally the second fastest-growing minority, and yet I can barely recall more than a handful of movies featuring Asian American leads.
How can we fix this?
Part of the ALIST mission, as I see it, is to give credit where credit is due. We spotlight successful Asian Americans in a limitless array of fields, and it is my personal hope as a Managing Editor of ALIST that this magazine will serve as a step forward in increasing Asian American representation and leadership across the board. (more…)
“This is going pretty smoothly.” That’s what I typed to Angela Ju, ALIST Digital’s managing editor, at 1:20 AM on the morning of our site launch. Three hours later, instead of celebrating a successful launch, we signed off, exhausted from a mountain of problems that crept up as we got close to launch.
Our site was in development for nearly three months but even so, there were fundamental issues with the site that we still can’t fix. I’m typing this just 15 hours after we unveiled the site into the 4 AM darkness. To make matters worse, I’m working on an urgent project for my main job and won’t be able to look at lines of code until that’s finished.
Because of some underlying issues, things like our RSS feeds and XML structure are sporadic (very important things) and Facebook Open Graph doesn’t work (which means you won’t see text and image previews when you share to Facebook). But these will be fixed sooner than later. (more…)