Inside ALIST: Christine McFadden
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.
I’ve spent the past four years of my life in a corner of the country where APA’s thrive. I graduated in June from Stanford University, nestled in Silicon Valley, where I majored in International Relations, minored in East Asian Languages & Cultures (Japanese), and studied abroad at Oxford University. I’m an incoming graduate student at Stanford (’13), studying East Asian Studies with a focus in US Relations with East Asia and Japanese Nationalism. I currently write from Seoul, South Korea, where I’m working at an organization under the auspices of UNESCO (and where nobody believes that I’m Asian). I’ve spent the past (nearly) three years working as a contributor/correspondent for the Pacific Citizen newspaper and have previously worked as a Desk Editor for the Stanford Daily, an intern for the Portland Tribune and an intern for KOIN Channel 6 news (Portland).
I grew up half-Asian (or a “hapa haole”) in a predominantly Caucasian area of Portland, Oregon. My mother is half Japanese, half Chinese, and my father is (so far, to our knowledge) Scottish, Irish, French, German, English, Czech, and (we think) Native American. I’ve experienced every round of questioning and confusion that mixed kids go through, and to be honest, I’m still figuring it all out. I can, however, tell you with absolute certainty that I love live music (The Strokes!), Johnny Depp movies, and red bean milk tea.
I grew up admiring American heroes rarely emphasized in schools: Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi, Minoru Yasui, and Mitsuye Endo — all monumental APA civil rights leaders who made their presence known in the face of extreme adversity and racism in a nation they called home. While there is no immediate threat facing APA’s like the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII, I still believe in carrying on the momentum of the APA presence and keeping all of their voices alive — both for the benefit of the next generation of APA youth and for threatened minorities everywhere.
All that said, you definitely don’t have to be Asian to take an interest in this magazine, just like how you don’t need an MBA to read The Economist or have an avid love of sharks to watch Shark Week on the Discovery Channel (but let’s be honest — you’d be crazy not to watch Shark Week). We simply hope that something in our magazine catches your eye, no matter what your interests, hometown, or ethnicity.
As a Managing Editor and founding member of the ALIST team, I look forward to the promising future this magazine holds. Thank you for coming to our website — I encourage you to subscribe to our print issue as well and to help us spread the word about ALIST!