Free Copies of Janet Wong’s Book for APALA MidWinter Social Dinner Attendees!

Exciting news: acclaimed author and APALA member Janet Wong is generously donating 30 copies of her latest book, “This Next New Year” (Chinese bilingual edition), which will be made available to attendees of APALA’s MidWinter Social Dinner on January 25th!

Cover of "This Next New Year" by Janet Wong

“This Next New Year” by Janet Wong

APALA and CALA members Minjie Chen, Kai Li, and Paul Lai worked on the Chinese translation when Janet asked for volunteers last year and now you can see the fruits of our colleagues’ work! (For a description of the book, see its Amazon listing for more details.)

Not only will you hear from up-and-coming authors Ellen Oh and Soman Chainani and have the opportunity to pick up signed copies of their books, but you could also receive a free copy of Janet Wong’s new book just in time for the Lunar New Year! They won’t be available anywhere else at ALA and supplies are limited, so hurry and register to secure your copy!

Reminder: Early bird registration ends today, Friday, January 17th.

 

Early Bird Registration for APALA MidWinter Tour and Social Dinner Ends Soon

Dear APALA Members and Friends!

Early bird registration for APALA’s MidWinter tour and social dinner ends on Friday, January 17th! It’s not too late to still take advantage of the reduced rate!

On Friday, January 24th, we’ll be visiting the Asian Arts Initiative, where we’ll hear about SAADA from Samip Mallick and Philadelphia’s Asian American community (in particular, their Chinatown) from Amanda Bergson-Shilcock of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians and Mary Yee of Asian Americans United. We will be serving lunch catered from Philadelphia Chutney Company. Learn more at http://www.apalaweb.org/apala-tour-and-talk/

On Saturday, January 25th, we’ll be hosting authors Ellen Oh (The Prophecy Series, originally The Dragon King Chronicles), Soman Chainani (New York Times bestseller The School of Good and Evil) and publisher Phoebe Yeh of Crown Books for Young Readers. (Phoebe is allegedly the first Asian American woman in publishing to have her own imprint.) We’ll be meeting at Karma Restaurant & Bar at 5:30 for dinner with our guests. Learn more at http://www.apalaweb.org/meet-ellen-oh-soman-chainani-and-phoebe-yeh-at-the-apala-social-dinner/

Please register at http://www.apalaweb.org/resources/registration/ We will have great food and company and a healthy dose of Asian American activism and solidarity. Also, please encourage people to sign up and spread the word!

APALA Tour and Talk

APALA Tour and Talk

Friday, January 24th

12:00-3:00

 

Please join us at the Asian Arts Initiative to learn more about Philadelphia’s Asian American community! We will be hearing from Samip Mallick of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA), Amanda Bergson-Shilcock of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, Mary Yee of Asian Americans United, and Gayle Isa of the Asian Arts Initiative. (Thanks to the Asian Arts Initiative and SAADA for generously hosting this event!)

 

Lunch will be served (catered by Philadelphia Chutney Company).

Please register at http://www.apalaweb.org/resources/registration/

 

Asian Arts Initiative

1219 Vine St

Philadelphia, PA 19107

http://asianartsinitiative.org/

Directions from Loews Hotel: https://goo.gl/maps/BQH4i

 

12:00 -1:00 –  Lunch and welcome from Gayle Isa

1:00 -1:30 – Talk by Samip Mallick

1:30-2:00 – Talk by Amanda Bergson-Shilcock

2:00 -2:30 – Talk by Mary Yee

2:30-3:00 – Explore AAI

 

Gayle Isa, founder and executive director, has been an active participant in Philadelphia’s arts and culture community for 20 years, beginning as an intern and evolving as a staff member at the Painted Bride Art Center. She has been a Douglas Redd Fellow focused on arts and community development, and has served on the boards of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and the National Performance Network. She currently is a board member of the national Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists and serves on the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs and the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council. In 2011, she became the first Asian American appointed to serve on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Gayle was once an aspiring taiko (drum) player and is now focusing her creative energy on learning to be a new mom!

Samip Mallick is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA). Mallick has a M.S. in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Illinois, a Bachelors degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan College of Engineering and has done graduate work in Ancient Indian History at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. He was formerly the Director of the Ranganathan Center for Digital Information (RCDI) at the University of Chicago Library and previously also worked for the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). http://www.saadigitalarchive.org/

Amanda Bergson-Shilcock is the director of outreach and program evaluation at the nonprofit Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, an economic development organization serving immigrants. She coordinates data collection and analysis, enabling the Welcoming Center to use hard evidence to support its decision making. Amanda’s experience with public libraries stretches back to 1990, when she began as a teenage page at Ludington Public Library in Bryn Mawr. More than two decades later, she continues to be employed at Ludington as a weekend reference assistant. Most recently, Amanda designed and oversaw the Welcoming Center’s pioneering study of immigrant technology usage, Digital Diaspora. http://www.welcomingcenter.org/


Mary Yee, Parent and Community Involvement Consultant. Mary has been involved in planning and advocacy for Philadelphia neighborhoods for over 35 years. While working with Asian Americans United, she became involved with the Education Law Center (ELC) in 1985, as a representative of the plaintiff’s side in an advisory group to develop policies and programs to remediate a civil rights suit (YS v. School District of Philadelphia) filed by ELC against the public school system. The suit on behalf of limited English proficient Southeast Asian refugee students alleged unequal access to educational programs and services. Her work in educational advocacy has included a 12-year stint at the School District of Philadelphia working on ESOL/Bilingual program issues, compliance and equity, language access, and family engagement. More recently, she worked at Foundations, Inc. providing technical assistance to out-of-school time programs. She is pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Pennsylvania in Reading/Writing/Literacy.

APALA Midwinter Events [UPDATED]

APALA Midwinter Events

Reminder: Early bird registration ends today, Friday, January 17th.

Please find a list of our events and activities for the 2014 ALA Midwinter Conference. Registration for a visit to the Asian Arts Initiative on Friday and for the APALA Social Dinner on Saturday is now live at http://www.apalaweb.org/resources/registration/.

 

Friday, January 24th 

Asian Arts Initiative
1219 Vine St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Directions from Loews Hotel: https://goo.gl/maps/BQH4i

12:00 -1:00 –  Lunch at Asian Arts Initiative, catered by Philadelphia Chutney Company
1:00 -1:30 – Talk by Samip Mallick of SAADA (South Asian American Digital Archive)
1:30-2:00 – TBA
2:00 -3:00 – Tour of Asian Arts Initiative

Register at http://www.apalaweb.org/resources/registration/

7:30 – 9:30PM – Executive Board Meeting, PCC-115 B

Saturday, January 25th

 1:00 – 2:30PM – APALA Committee Meeting, PCC-118 C

5:30 – 8:00 – APALA Social Dinner (w/ special guests Ellen Oh, Soman Chainani and Phoebe Yeh)

Karma Restaurant and Bar
114 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 925-1444
http://www.karmaphilly.com/

Directions by subway: https://goo.gl/maps/NAjmm
1. From the Loews Hotel (1200 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19107), walk to 13th St Station (about 1 min , 299 ft)
2. At the 13th St Station, take the Market-Frankford Line towards Frankford Trans Ctr to 2nd St. Station 4 min (4 stops)
3. At 2nd St Station, walk to 114 Chestnut St (about 3 min , 0.1 mi)
Fares are $2.25 one way (exact change) or buy a token for $1.80 (see http://www.septa.org/fares/transit/index.html)
One day passes are also available for $8 and $12: https://shop.septa.org/index.php?target=categories&category_id=12

Fielding the “What Are You?” Question by Anna Coats

I am half Indian Guyanese Hindu and half Hungarian Dutch Welsh Cherokee Catholic. My maternal great-grandparents emigrated from India to Guyana, a then British colony in the West Indies / South America that is predominantly Asian Indian. My mother immigrated to the United States when she was 19. When I was born, a Hawan, or religious ceremony, was held to welcome me into the Hindu world.

My paternal grandmother was Hungarian; her parents immigrated to the United States, met while here, and my grandmother was born in Queens. My paternal grandfather’s ancestors have been in the United States since the 1500s and, as best as we can tell, they were Dutch and Welsh, with a little bit of Cherokee. My grandfather was born in Missouri. When I was born, I was baptized to welcome me into the Catholic world.

It is normal for people to question me about my race and/or begin talking to me with the assumption that I am XYZ race. Sometimes, when strangers mistake me for one of “their own people,” this leads to cool conversations. Usually, having to explain myself all the time is exhausting.

The following are real conversations I’ve had over the past twenty years while fielding the “What are you?” question.

 

STRANGER1: “What are you?”
ANNA: “I am half Indian and half white.”
S: “India Indian or Native American Indian?”
A: “India Indian.”
S: “What part of India is your family from?”
A: “My family is actually from Guyana.”
S: “Isn’t that in Africa?”
A: “No, you’re thinking of Ghana. Guyana is in South America.”
S: “I thought you said you weren’t Native American.”

 

STRANGER2: “What part of India are you from?”
ANNA: “I’m from New Jersey.”
S: “But you look so Indian! You must be from India.”
A: “My family is from India.”
S: “I thought so. This is what I meant. Where is your family from?”
A: “My mom is actually from Guyana. Her grandparents immigrated there from India.”
S: “Ew, Guyana? Never mind. . .”

 

ANNA: “I’m half Guyanese and half white.”
ACQUAINTANCE1: “You’re Guyanese?!”
A: “Yes.”
A1: “You don’t look Guyanese.”
A: “What does a Guyanese person look like?”
A1: “Well, now that I sit here and talk with you I can see that you’re Guyanese but I can’t see by looking that you’re Guyanese.”

 

COWORKER1: “What are you?”
ANNA: “I am half white and half Indian.”
C1: “Dot or feather?”

 

PATRON1: “Do you have some Indian connection?”
ANNA: “Yes, I am Indian.”
P1: “You are Indian??!”
A: “Well, I am mixed. I am half Indian and half white.”
P1: “But you don’t have an Indian name. How can you be Indian??”
A: “My name is Indian.”
P1: “No, it is not.”
A: “Have you ever seen the movie Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa? Shah Rukh Khan’s character was in love with [an Indian] girl named Anna.”
P1: “That girl was Christian. Anna is not an Indian name.”

 

FAMILY FRIEND: “In Guyana we have a dish called ‘cook up rice.’ It’s made by—”
FAMILY MEMBER: “She’s Guyanese! Don’t try to explain to her what cook up rice is like she doesn’t already know. Do you know who her grandmother is?!”
FF: “You’re Guyanese?!”
ANNA: “Yes.”
FF: “You don’t look Guyanese.”

 

ACQUAINTANCE2: “The problem with Guyanese women is they have dark skin, they wear such red lipstick, and they dress so provocatively, but you don’t look Guyanese at all. There is nothing wrong with you.”

 

STRANGER3: “What are you?”
ANNA: “I am half Indian and half white.”
S3: “India Indian or Native American Indian?”
A: “India Indian.”
S3: “What part of India is your family from?”
A: “The Mumbai area.”

 

PATRON2: “Do you have some Indian connection?”
ANNA: “Yes, I am Indian.”
P2: “You are Indian??!”
A: “Well, I am mixed. I am half Indian and half white.”
P2: “Oh, I thought your husband was Indian or something. I saw your 24K bangles so that’s why I was asking.”
A: “I thought you were asking because I look so Indian.”
P2: “Yes,” the questioner gasped, as if seeing for the first time. “You do!”

 

COWORKER2: “What background is ‘Coats’?”
ANNA: “What?”
C: “What background is ‘Coats’?” My coworker stared at me intently.
A: “Oh, I’m mixed. I’m half white and half Indian. The Dutch part of my family Anglicized their last name.”

 

ACQUAINTANCE3: “What kind of food do you cook at home?”
ANNA: “Just about everything.”
A3: “No, what kind of food do you cook at home?”
A: “Just about everything. Recently I’ve been cooking a lot of Korean and Persian food at home but I also cook Indian, Thai, Hungarian, Italian. . . just about everything.”

 

ACQUAINTANCE4: “What nationality are you?”
ANNA: “I am American.”
A4: “No, I mean what nationality are you?”
A: “I am American.”
A4: “No, I mean where are you from?”
A: “I am from New Jersey.”
A4: “No, I mean what is your background?”
A: “You mean what is my ethnicity?”
A4: “Whatever, you know what I mean.”

 

FRIEND1: “I hate the way Asians act like they’re better than everyone.”
ANNA: “What?! We are Asian!”
My friend considered this. F: “Wait a minute, how are you Asian?”

 

COWORKER3:  “Someone asked you if you were Puerto Rican?! You don’t look Puerto Rican. You look Chinese.”

 

NEIGHBOR: “Are you half black and half Jewish? One of my friends is half black and half Jewish and you look just like her.”

 

CLASSMATE1: “Can we hang out? I just started seeing this Egyptian guy and I need someone to teach me how to cook real curry.”

 

CLASSMATE2: “Did you hear that some Indians bought the old abandoned Pizza Hut and turned into some sort of Indian vegetarian restaurant? I’m telling you, those people are taking over. It’s like the town isn’t even ours anymore.”

 

ANNA: “When I die, I want to be cremated. It just makes sense with the limited amount of land on the earth.”
BOYFRIEND1: “Of course you will be cremated. You are Hindu. You were born Hindu and you will die Hindu.”

 

ANNA: “I know it’s Christmas Eve but I don’t want to go to church.”
AUNT: “You are going to church because it will make me happy.”
ANNA: “But I will not be happy. I’m not Catholic and I don’t like going to church.”
AUNT: “Oh yes you are. You were baptized and confirmed Catholic, and you are going to church.”

 

STRANGER4: “You look so exotic. Can you teach me Spanish?”

 

STRANGER5: “You know, I love Indian food.”

 

STRANGER6: “I’d love to get to know you better. One of my friends married a white woman.”

 

FRIEND2: “You don’t look white at all. Do you really pass for white in New Jersey?”

 

UNCLE:  “Is that Mexican guy still after you? I bet he’s really proud of himself thinking he got himself a white girl. Boy, is he in for a surprise!”

 

BOYFRIEND2’S FATHER: <<exclaimed after getting through a slow checkout line>> “I hate Indians! I wish they would all go back to where they came from!”
The boyfriend later comforted me, “My dad didn’t mean what he said before. And anyway, he doesn’t think about you as Indian, so he didn’t mean you.”

 

DATE: “If we had children together they would be ¾ Indian. It is important to me my children are raised with Indian values so they will know they are Indian.”
<<later in the same conversation>>
D: “You are not Indian. You are too far removed from the motherland. Why do you think you are Indian??”

 

I find it interesting that when a white person asks some form of the “What are you?” question, they usually focus on my Indian half, defining me as an exotic other. This is not just limited to white people; in a country where white is the norm, black and Hispanic people also usually focus on my “exotic” Indian half. In my experience, East Asians usually do not question my answer. However, when an Indian person asks me some form of the “What are you?” question, they usually focus on how I am not Indian, how white and American I am, also defining me as an exotic other.

It is not as though people cannot visualize a multiethnic and multicultural person; I stand before them. This leads me to question, “Who gets to define race, ethnicity, identity, and group inclusion? Does it matter?”

 

group picture of family members at a wedding

Photo courtesy of the Coats/James/Markulin family. Author’s parents, 1st row, far left, with family.

Group photo of people standing at a wedding.

Photo courtesy of the Robert/Chandra/Barrios family. Author’s parents, 3rd couple from the right, with family

 

 

 

image of Anna Coats

Anna Coats
Children’s Librarian at East Rutherford Memorial Library
Rutherford, New Jersey

 

Editing assistance provided by Melissa Cardenas-Dow and Raymond Wang.

 


Resources

National / Racial Identity

Bald, Vivek. Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2013.

Bald, Vivek, Miabi Chatterji, Sujani Reddy, and Manu Vimalassery, eds. The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power. New York: New York UP, 2013.

De Castro, Aníbal, Mark Kurlansky, Junot Díaz, Edwidge Danticat, and Julia Alvarez. “Two Versions of a Dominican Tale.” New York Times. 31 Oct. 2013.

Dewan, Shaila. “Has ‘Caucasian’ Lost Its Meaning?New York Times. 6 July 2013. Web.

Flint, Woz. “What Makes a Latina?HuffPost Latino Voices 22 July 2013. Web.

John, Anna. “A War of Tweets Erupts over Latest Miss America.” NPR Code Switch. 16 Sept. 2013. Web.

Pendakur, Vijay. “An Open Letter to Asian American Parents.” Vijay Pendakur: Higher Education Blogger, Speaker, Consultant. 7 Oct. 2013. Web.

Purkayastha, Bandana. Negotiating Ethnicity: Second-Generation South Asian Americans Traverse a Transnational World. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2005.

Raushenbush, Paul Brandeis. “Prabhjot Singh, Sikh Columbia Professor, Attacked in Possible Hate Crime (VIDEO).” HuffPost Religion. 22 Sept. 2013. Web.

Wilkinson, Tracy. “Dominican Republic Citizenship Ruling Stirs Outcry across Caribbean.” Los Angeles Times. 13 Oct. 2013. Web.

 

On Being Mixed

Bean, Cathy Bao. The Chopsticks-Fork Principle: A Memoir and Manual. New Jersey: We, 2002.

Fulbeck, Kip. Half Asian, 100% Hapa. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2006.

 

Overcoming Stereotypes

Banaji, Mahzarin R. and Anthony G. Greenwald. Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People. New York, Delacorte, 2013.

Milstein, Sarah. “5 Ways White Feminists Can Address Our Own Racism.” HuffPost Women. 24 Sept. 2013. Web.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Ed. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1988. 271-313.

Yawson, Ama. “When It Comes to Fighting Stereotypes, I Want My Kids to Dare to Be Impolite.” The Atlantic. 4 Nov. 2013. Web.

 

West Indies

Bahadur, Gaiutra. Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture. London: Hurst, 2013.

Lai, Walton Look. Indentured Labor, Caribbean Sugar: Chinese and Indian Migrants to the British West Indies, 1838-1918. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1993.

Naipaul, V.S. An Area of Darkness. New York, Vintage: 1964.

Naipaul, V.S. The Loss of El Dorado: A Colonial History. New York, Vintage: 1969.

 

 

APALA Mentoring Program 2014 Deadline Extended!

The deadline to apply to become a Mentor or Protégés is extended to January 10th, 2014!

We would like to invite you to be part of the 2014 Mentoring Program as a Mentor or a Protégé. The APALA Mentoring Program seeks to provide professional and personal development, inspiration, and encouragement through a supportive mentoring relationship. The program helps new and future librarians by providing coaching and guidance in their careers. Mentoring builds relationships between future librarians and professionals to enhance communication and leadership in APALA, ALA, and other library associations.

  • Protégés are librarians with no more than 3 years professional experience or library school students. Protégés must be or agree to become APALA members.
  • Mentors are APALA members who possess at least 3 years professional experience and are active in professional library associations.

For more information or to apply visit: http://www.apalaweb.org/membership/mentoring-program/ The application deadline is January 10th, 2014

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me (Paolo) at pgujilde@gmail.com.

Thank you and we are looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks!

Paolo

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