The subject of race isn’t new to Alhambra Source but it has been a hot topic of discussion on the site the past few weeks. Readers responded to stories about ESPN’s recent ethnic slur, a trio of Asian-American YouTubers and shifts in Alhambra’s racial diversity.
Community Contributor Joe Soong’s criticism of ESPN’s recent headline – “Chink in the Armor” – had readers questioning the sports network’s coverage of Asian-American athlete Jeremy Lin’s popularity. The network has since fired the reporter and publicly apologized for the slur, but many feel that treatment of Asian Americans still has a long way to go.
“Thanks Joe for calling out ESPN,” commented Jimmy T. “There is no reason why an editor of an international media company, mistake or not, get a pass for using a commonly known racially derogatory term in a press headline that reached millions of readers.”
“Asians need to be more vocal and assertive when they are being demeaned and marginalized by stereotypes in the media,” wrote Marian.
But one reader may have felt the topic was being blown out of proportion. “Italians say ‘Cin cin!’ when they toast,” wrote Robert Kim. “‘Niggard’ is an actual word (meaning stingy, of Norse origin–look up definition). Joe, you'll need to lodge formal protests with the Italians and to the Nordic language for originating ‘Niggard’. Do you have the telephone numbers for them?”
While ESPN’s racist headline was a cause of concern, newest YouTube sensations The Fung Brothers (featuring Jason Chen) are quickly becoming a source of pride for Asian Americans in the SGV. The trio’s hit video “626” is an ode to the area’s many boba shops, authentic Asian eateries and late-night hang out spots.
“So Asians can play ball AND rap humorously,” commented Jesse Chang. “Sports and pop culture has done in a few weeks what a bevy of doctorates, law degrees, medical doctors and engineers haven't been able to do in gaining mainstream popularity! :P”
The Fung Brothers also came up in a comment on a story about the growing imbalance of racial diversity in Alhambra. While a recent USC report argues that multiracial cities are more beneficial to residents, Elizabeth Chou writes that Monterey Park’s Asian majority is actually beneficial to the city as a whole.
“Exhibit A for why it's wonderful is in that 626 Fung Bros video,” she wrote. “Maybe there needs to be a critical mass of a particular culture to produce the best that culture can offer. Yeah, maybe a few more generations in we'll all be clamoring to be like Pasadena or South Pasadena where Trader Joes are as ubiquitous as 7-11s (people don't seem to realize that immigrant groups assimilate alarmingly fast and a culture can easily be lost within a single generation, so I don't think anyone really needs to worry about how we can't speak English or can't adopt American values), so I'm going to enjoy this while it lasts.”
Another reader asked whether having a racially balanced community actually makes a significant difference in race relations. “It depends on many things from the races involved (number of family generations, religion, education levels, median income tied to local economies, etc.),” wrote John Garcia. “Having more diverse racial contact can indeed be beneficial, but contact in itself doesn't create harmony.”