discussion on Chinese culture

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: Fwd: Study Supports AA Hiring
Date: 9/30/96 11:54 PM

FYI, Tim Tseng
———————
Forwarded message:
From: newman@garnet.berkeley.edu (Nathan Newman)
Sender: AFFAM-L@CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU (Affam-L – News & Organizing Around
Affirmative Action)
Reply-to: AFFAM-L@CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU (Affam-L – News & Organizing Around
Affirmative Action)
To: AFFAM-L@CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list AFFAM-L)
Date: 96-09-30 11:06:06 EDT

_________________________________________________________________
Monday, September 30, 1996 7 Page E1 © 1996 San Francisco
Chronicle
_________________________________________________________________

ON ECONOMICS — AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Jonathan Marshall

If you believe the polls, Californians overwhelmingly support
Proposition 209, which would ban preferential treatment for minorities
or women in public programs, including university admissions.

Should the private sector follow suit, on grounds that hiring
preferences saddle employers with unqualified workers? Or should it
embrace affirmative action as a needed remedy against lingering
discrimination?

A new study by two Michigan State University economists — Harry
Holzer and David Neumark — sheds light on some of the economic
consequences of affirmative action, even if it doesn’t settle the
tough philosophical issues.

Their most significant finding: performance (measured by supervisors)
of most minorities and women at firms that practice affirmative action
is no worse, and sometimes better, than that of white men.

“The worst fears and strongest accusations against affirmative action
aren’t borne out,” said Neumark. “Affirmative action helps employers
seek out and find qualified minorities. We say quite strongly that
it’s hard to find (that) less qualified women and minorities (are)
being hired.”

How can a program that smacks of race preferences not undermine
standards? The answer, Neumark said, is that affirmative action simply
neutralizes continued discrimination. “Some qualified (women or
minority) applicants are being passed up; affirmative action says go
out and find them.”

Black men and women and white females hired under affirmative action
policies do tend to have less education than white males at the same
firms, supporting stereotypes about underqualified minorities.

But the same gap in education also exists at firms that don’t practice
affirmative action, the study found, suggesting that there’s a
widespread shortfall of schooling among some groups. The biggest
beneficiaries of affirmative action appear to be black men, who are 20
percent more likely to be hired at firms practicing affirmative action
than at other firms, and white females, who are 10 percent more likely
to be hired.

As some critics have alleged, affirmative action also appears to help
relatively more educated minorities. Thirty seven percent of people
hired by firms practicing affirmative action had college or graduate
degrees, compared with 25 percent of people hired at other firms.

The study was based on a survey of 800 employers from 1992-94 in
Atlanta, Boston, Detroit and Los Angeles.

Chronicle Search Feedback Chronicle Home Page The Gate Home Page ) The
Chronicle Publishing Company

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: “Dr Samuel Ling”
Subject: Re: What is Chinese culture?
Date: 9/30/96 8:13 PM

I would like to add a fourth dimension to what Fenggang has pointed
out — In addition to language, rituals and values, the fourth
dimension is the very immigration/assimilation experience of being a
Chinese on North American soil. The very experience of the immigrant
or the 2nd/3rd/4th/5th generation Asian-American growing up in
America qualifies as “Asian culture” or “Chinese culture,” inasmuch
as this experience includes some conscious or subconscious attempt to
integrate, sort out, resolve, etc. Chinese and American cultural
values, symbols and language usage. What do you think?

Samue.Ling@Wheaton.edu
Sam

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: 54YANG@CUA.EDU
Subject: Re: What is Chinese culture?
Date: 9/26/96 5:26 PM

DJ wrote:

> The question that arises with this issues is what exactly is Chinese
culture?
> What does it mean to be Chinese, and/or what are the esteemed values of
Chinese
> culture? Granted, culture is a fluid and changing thing, but surely there
are
> handles on it that can be grasped.

DJ asked very important questions for Chinese Americans in general
and for “Chinese American Christians” in particular. They are important
because many people, including Chinese Christians, perceive Chinese culture
and American culture contradicting to each other, and Chinese culture and
Christianity incompatible with eath other. These questions are really
a fundamental question – “to be or not to be,” more specifically, “to be
a Chinese or not to be a Chinese.”

I understand that many ABCs feel fed up with the Chinese cultural pride, and
desire to become “just American” or “just Christian.” “Chinese” for them
is only a biological fact. I think the proper label for these “Chinese”
is “Chinese descent” (huayi). Actually, there is a word “paranakan” in
Southeast Asia for these people. They have gone native, lost Chinese
language,
know little Chinese culture, and may marry non-Chinese. Paranakanization
is “becoming non-Chinese.”

Sam Ling’s article pointed out that there were some Chinese descents in
Southeast Asia even changed their Chinese family names and became
indistinguishable from local people. However, these people sometimes
continue to claim a Chinese identity.

Hon-Wai agreed with Sam Ling that the definition of Chineseness is a most
elusive business. It is true that the Chinese identity is elastic.
However, I feel there are two sides. From subjective side, anybody can
claim a Chinese identity as he or she will. Postmodernism would recognize
any of such claims as valid. However, there is another side — what other
people see you. “Paranakans” are not Chinese, or less Chinese, in the eyes
of Chinese in China and Chinese immigrants in Southeast Asia, and even in
the eyes of Chinese descents who still hold up Chinese culture.

Therefore, biological Chinese identity seems not the most essential Chinese
identity. What is most important is Chinese cultural identity. In other
words, you have to have some Chinese culture in order to be a Chinese.

Then, “what exactly is Chinese culture?” This is a question we need to
think about. Some scholars have been trying to define the core of Chinese
culture. Not only scholars disagree with each other, but also ordinary
Chinese may not agree with the abstractions of these scholars.
Nevertheless
these scholars provided us something to begin with. (I am writing my
dissertation chapter “Chinese identity: being and becoming” [tentative
title only]. The title of the dissertation is “Religious Conversion and
Identity Construction: A Study of A Chinese Christian Church in the U.S.”)
Based on readings of some scholars, I would like to approach the question
of Chinese cultural identity in three dimensions:

1. Chinese language. This is the most apparent symbolic marker.
2. Chinese cultural symbols and rituals. Some Anthropologists argued that
the core of Chinese culture is orthopraxy (correct behaviors) more than
orthodoxy (correct beliefs). The orthopraxy that anthropologists focused
included life and death rituals such as wedding rituals and funerals.
They found that all Chinese performed some essentially same or similar
rituals throughout of China and also among diaspora Chinese.
3. Chinese cultural values. Some humanities scholars argue that the core
of Chinese is orthodoxy, particularly, Confucianism (Tu, Weiming). In
other words, to be Chinese is to be a Confucian, or hold Confucian values,
such as “jen” and filial piety, etc. Other Chinese philosophers also
argued the centrality of Daoism (Taoism) and the importance of Buddhism
(Buddhism became an integral part of Chinese culture).

Then, examining the cultural Chinese identity of Chinese Christians in
America, what aspects of Chinese culture do they hold? What is your
Chinese cultural identity? Many ABCs lost Chinese language, learned
little or no Chinese rituals and symbols, and did not know much or anything
about Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism. What is their Chinese identity?

Now CAC list and other informed Chinese Christians told me that there
are some Asian-American churches which emerged in the last decade or so.
I haven’t visited these churches. For those who know these churches,
could you tell me something about the cultural identity of AA church
participants? I suspect “Asian-American” in this churches means “East
Asian descent,” not really including other Asians such as Indians
or Arabians. If so, is their identity more biological than cultural?
Are they descents of East Asians who have lost their ancestral language,
lost cultural rituals and cultural values. They come together just
because they all look similar — yellow skin and black hair, and also
because “Asian-American” is a category Americans use to refer them
without distinction. It is a group resulted from racialization,
both by themselves (internally) and by others (externally).

I have to make it clear that I personally do not think it is neccesary
to insist on maintaining Chinese culture or cultural Chinese identity.
A general identity of “American” or the universal identity of “Christian”
is just fine. My field is sociology, so I am interested more in
“what and why” than in “ought to be”. But as a Christian myself, I hope
my sociological study can be helpful for ministers and ministries.

Sorry for such a long posting. If you are not yet bored by now, I really
hope to hear your comments, responses, or self-reflection on your
own identity.

Fenggang Yang
Catholic University of America
54yang@cua.edu

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: “Gordon W. Marchant”
Subject: Homepage Revision
Date: 9/26/96 4:20 PM

I am so thankful to have discovered your forum, and I look forward
to participating in your discussions. I spent most of yesterday reviewing
your archives, and already I have incorporated some of your ideas into
ministry projects which I was working on.

I know this is bold, being that I am only a newcomer, but I think you
need to make some revisions to the homepage of the CAC Forum, which more
accurately reflects your purpose (which you clarify in the subsequent
digests).

On your page it states: “This web site serves
as a central information clearinghouse” for issues of interest to Chinese
American Christians …” Well, believe me! Your issues are also of
GREAT interest to non-Chinese Christians (who may or may
not live in America). I don’t want to make this sound like a
big thing, but as a non-Chinese pastor, who is attempting to
minister to brothers and sisters in the English (and Cantonese)
congregations of our Chinese church, I need all the help your forum
members can afford me.

Thus, I would suggest you re-word your web site description
to: “a central clearinghouse for issues of interest relating to Chinese
North American Christians…”. In your history page it also talks about
your forum being “limited to Chinese Americans (i.e., OBC/ABC/ARC).”
Could this please be updated?

In conclusion, I will follow the trend and properly introduce myself. My
name is Rev. Gordon Marchant, and I have been serving on the pastoral
staff of the South Calgary Chinese Evangelical Free Church for the past
five years. In actual fact, because of the scarcity of Cantonese pastors,
I have spend the majority of my time here as the one and only member of
our pastoral staff. As with many of you, my primary role is to care for
the spiritual needs of the English-speaking congregation, however, as much
as possible, I try to become personally involved in the lives of all of
our families. By God’s grace, it is my desire to manage the advantages
and disadvantages which I possess as a non-Chinese pastor, in order to
help our people be equipped to fulfil the great commission, here in
Calgary, and Canada, and around the world.

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: Fwd: AAASCommunity: East of California Registration (fwd)
Date: 9/26/96 2:04 AM

Dear CACers:

The following is FYI.

– Tim Tseng
———————
Forwarded message:
From: wliu@deans.umd.edu (William Liu)
Sender: owner-aaascommunity@uclink4.berkeley.edu
To: qapa-l@brownvm.brown.edu, eoc-ccom@gmu.edu, aapa@yuma.acns.colostate.edu,
aaascommunity@uclink.berkeley.edu, aaasposts@uclink.berkeley.edu
Date: 96-09-25 23:48:29 EDT

Forwarded message:
>From wliu@deans.umd.edu Tue Sep 24 15:26 EDT 1996
From: William Liu
Subject: East of California Registration
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 15:25:53 -0400 (EDT)

6TH ANNUAL EAST OF CALIFORNIA CONFERENCE
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND AT COLLEGE PARK
NOVEMBER 15-17, 1996

“BREAKING THE MOLD: RESHAPING ASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES
WITHIN OUR COMMUNITIES”

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

At the 6th annual East of California Asian American Studies
Conference, we hope to foster a better understanding of the roles that
students, faculty, and staff play in the overall development of Asian
American Studies. We believe that the development of leadership
ablities among our community members, and the interrogation of power
struggles within our groups will make our movement stronger.

As students, faculty, and staff join movements to establish Asian
American Studies, what crucial concerns and issues need to be
addressed? How can Asian American Studies programs best develop in
accord with the unique campuses and communities in which they are
situated? How can the resources and uniqueness of a campus and
community develop Asian American Studies programs? How can
communities develop strategies to organize better? What roles do
protests play? Additionally, what issues need to be addressed if, and
when, a campus agrees to a program? And, how can we monitor the
growth of Asian American Studies on campuses to use our resources
optimally? This conference hopes to create and sustain a dialogue to
help us address some of these issues.

PROGRAM
FEATURED SPEAKERS

Yuri Kochiyama Long time community activist
Dr. Shirley Hune Associate Dean and Professor of Urban Planning
University of California at Los Angeles

Phil Tajitsu Nash Adjunct Faculty, University of Maryland at
College Park

Dr. Gary Okihiro Director, Asian American Studies Program
Cornell University

WORKSHOP TOPICS

* Student development and student affairs in Asian American
studies

* Linking community agencies with Asian American studies with
speakers from the Organization of Chinese Americans, Japanese American
Citizens League, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Indo Chinese
Community Center, and the Washington D.C. Mayor’s Commission on Asian
Pacific Islander Affairs.

* Asian American Studies and Diaspora Studies
* Developing a workshop to educate High School and new students
about Asian American history.

############################
CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

November 15 Friday

Registration Starts at 4pm until 12 noon on Saturday

Opening Plenary: 7:00pm
Yuri Kochiyama
Phil Tajitsu Nash

November 16 Saturday

Breakfast 8:00-9:00am

Workshop I 9:00-10:30am

Plenary II: 10:45-12:00 noon
Dr. Shirley Hune

Lunch and EOC Caucus 12:00-1:15

Workshop II 1:15-2:45

Plenary III: 3:00-4:30
Dr. Gary Okihiro

Caucus I 4:45-5:45

Dinner 6:00-7:30

Final Film of the Asian 7:30-10:00
American International Film
Festival at UMCP

Fundraising Dance 9:30-2:00

November 17 Sunday
Breakfast 9:00-10:00am

Workshop III/Assembly 10:00-11:30

Caucus II 11:45-12:45

*****************************************************************************
REGISTRATION FORM
(Please no email regristration. Feel free to print
out and mail with monies)

Name:_______________________________________________________________

Home phone:_____________________________________________

Work phone:_____________________________________________

Male: Female:

University/College:_________________________________________________

Address:____________________________________________________________

City:____________________________________State:_____________________

Zip code:_______________________________________

Email address:____________________________________

Choose one: Undergraduate Graduate Faculty Staff

#########################
Housing

There is limited free housing available with students who live on
campus. This is available to students only. You will need to provide your
own
sleeping materials (e.g., sleeping bag).

1. I am interested in free student housing: Yes No
2. I prefer: Smoking Non-Smoking

###########################
Caucus

There will be two time slots for caucus meetings (Saturday and
Sunday). The caucuses are working sessions during which people can
discuss future organizing efforts and link up with colleagues.

Caucus Sign up form: (Please select all that are of interest).

Women’s issues:________________

Developing Asian American Studies at Colleges and
Universities:____________________________________

Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Issues:_____________________________

Ethnic specific Issues:__________________________________
Ethnicity:_______________________________

Organizing against Anti-Asian Violence:__________________

Working with University Administrators:__________________

Working with students at schools in your area:___________

Other:____________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________

I CAN HELP COORDINATE A CAUCUS IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS (or those
listed):_____________________________________________________________________
_

_____________________________________________________________________________
_

_____________________________________________________________________________

############################################################################
############################################################################

Conference costs include conference fees, breakfast (Sat./Sun.),
Dinner on Saturday Night, and the Dance. PRE-REGISTRATION ENDS ON
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 1996

COSTS: PRE-REGISTRATION ON-SITE

Students $15 $20
(Graduate/undergraduate)

Faculty/Staff $40 $45

If paying at the door :
Banquet $7
Dance $10

PLEASE MAKE ALL CHECKS AND PAYMENT TO: Asian Student Union-EOC

SEND ALL REGISTRATION MATERIALS TO: Asian American Studies Project
3109 Taliaferro Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

CONTACTS: Will Liu & Christina Lagdameo
(301) 405-0996
wliu@deans.umd.edu
aphasia@wam.umd.edu

PRE-REGISTRATION ENDS ON NOVEMBER 1, 1996 (FRIDAY)

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
$

HOTELS

Best Western: 1-800-442-1644 1/2 mile from campus
$69 Single
$70 Double

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Quality Inn: 1-800-221-2222 3 Blocks from campus
$75.95 Single
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================================================================
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*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: hwong@submaths.hku.hk
Subject: culture assessment
Date: 9/25/96 10:04 AM

Dear DJ and Tim,

I do not know much about Chinese culture. I agree with Sam Ling’s
observation that the definition of Chinese-ness is a most elusive
business. I am skeptical of generalization. I often find it
takes almost no effort to find a counter-example, among my Chinese
aquaintences, to the generalization offered.

I just want to interject my own observations and personal
experiences into your discussion.

> From: TSTseng@aol.com, on 9/21/96 10:17 PM:
> environments, she adjusted and became a bit more objective). I am very
> worried that many of us second-generation types are uncritically looking
> at our first-generation parents with the lens of White America.

DJ>>I admit that we all have lens that color our perception of reality, and
some
lens of varying thickness *grin*. When I think about the scenario of myself
going to China for instance, into a foreign culture and language, I
empathize
with how much of a challenge and sacrifice and difficulty it was for them; I
admit that I don’t have the courage to do it. But at the same time, I am of
the
opinion that if I were to be put into a foreign environment, I would be
responsible to learn to adapt to the new place and not retreat into my own
comfort zone; if I’m on new turf, I play by their rules.
——————————-
I do not want to discuss if there is a moral imperative that “if I’m
on new turf, I play by their rules”. I think it is smart to do so.

When I think about it, many Chinese immigrants
take a very conscious effort “to play by the rules”. My father, for
instance, when he visited the U.S. from Hong Kong, made a conscious
effort to curb smoking, even though he was a heavy smoker; and that
was bc he had a distinct impression that Americans considered it
impolite to smoke in public places. This is only a trivial example,
but when one looks at the right way, Chinese immigarnts do
conscsiously “play by their rules”. Does he have any ethno-centricism?
I bet he must have; and that is partly he has not come to appreciate,
as I have, the astonishing cultural and political achievements
of other nations. But then, if he is truly ethno-centric, he will not
respect other nations’ etiquette.

On the other hand, I am also upset by the very same Chinese who do
not play by the rules. It is my observation that most of my (Chinese
— I will skip this word henceforth)
immigrant friends cannot care less about elections (presidential
election may be the only exception). Some immigrants’
attitudes towards non-whites and non-East-Asians border on the
racist.

But then, I take Tim’s use of the word “racism” puts a heavier
emphasis on the institutional aspect. The phrase “blacks can have
racist attitudes but cannot commit racism” certainly has some truth
when the word “racism” is used in this way. Used in the same way, we
can also argue that the immigrants are not racists. Rather, their
racist attitudes proves the force of racism: our society has
spread the rumor, in a subtle manner, that blacks and Hispanics are poor
and criminals; so watch out!

So my problem with many first generation Chinese (and I am also one of
them, of course) is the general lack of commitment to the larger
local community and the politics of the nation. In that sense, I wish
they “play by the rules”; the rule of being an active and responsible
citizen.

On the other hand, there is much hyposcrisy in this sort of “playing
by the rules” language. I distinctly recalled how surprsied I was
when I discovered
that there is an American (Anglican) Cathedral in Paris. On the Sunday I
was there, the preacher was a bishop who was also an English man.
This, to us in the U.S., was a most understandable phenomenon. But then, I
recalled the fierce opposition more than 10 years ago the Chinese
Christians at Oxford faced, when they would like to set up a Chinese
church at Oxford. The evangelical Anglican clergymen opposed it on
the ground that a church should not be formed along ethnic lines. It
struck me as a disingeneous argument based on the creedal teaching of
“one holy catholic and apostolic church”. But it sounds like the
same as “:play by our rules if you immigrate to our countries”. It
can turn ugly, and is often hyposcritical. It is quite oppressive if
it is conceived as a moral imperative rather than a prudential
advice. I am glad that I have not heard this sort of demand in the
U.S. (personally); and I am sickened that I almost sometimes make the
same demand on other Chinese. I also notice, in this connection,
“play by their rules” is a rather effective way for immigrants to change
the behavior of other immigrants.

That is not to say I am pleased with the prevalent indifference among
most Chinese churches in the U.S.

These are only fragmentary observations; but it is these fragmentary
observations that prevent me from accepting easy generalizations.

On a dfferent issue, about remarks DJ raised in earlier messages.
He seemed to raise the question of the ethics of affirmative action.
He also seemed to voice the conviction that truth does not serve us,
but the other way round, however inconvenient it is (therefore, if it is
a fact that Chinese are racists, we better face it). I cannot agree
more on his second assumption (although I doubt if
proving the “fact” of Chinese racist attitudes is epistemologically
the same to proving the “fact” of big bang). On the first question, I
think it is a
fair question and should be discussed openly. It is my observation
that in many discussions concerning race and ethnicity, DJ’s concerns
have not been addressed adequately. I am a religious conservative;
but then, many Catholic bishops are
also conservative in that sense, but that does not prevent them from
being liberal in the classical, new-deal sense. I hope there can be a
vigorous discussion on these two areas in CAC; this should not harm any
social justice causes.

Hon-Wai

Hon-Wai Wong
Department of Mathematics
The University of Hong Kong
Pokfulam Rd., Hong Kong
tel: (852) 28578571
Fax: (852) 25592225
hwong@submaths.hku.hk

*end*
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: Tseng/Camcorder to visit Chicago
Date: 9/24/96 11:49 PM

Dear friends:

As part of the oral-video documentary history of Chinese-American Christians
which I am undertaking, I will be in Chicago between Fri. Nov. 8 (after 3
PM)
and Sun. Nov. 10th (before 5 PM). I will video-tape one-hour (or longer)
interviews with Chinese Christians in the area. I’m particularly interested
in inteviewing Christians who have exercized leadership in churches or are
knowledgeable about the history of Chinese Christianity in Chicago (I am
open
to interviewing even those who have not grown up in Chinese churches).
Also,
I’d like to interview Chinese Christian women. If you know of anyone who
fits any of these descriptions, please let me know so that I can arrange
appointments for interviews.

Thank you!

Tim Tseng

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: DJ Chuang
Subject: culture assessment
Date: 9/24/96 11:22 AM

> From: TSTseng@aol.com, on 9/21/96 10:17 PM:
> environments, she adjusted and became a bit more objective). I am very
> worried that many of us second-generation types are uncritically looking
at
> our first-generation parents with the lens of White America.

I admit that we all have lens that color our perception of reality, and some
lens of varying thickness *grin*. When I think about the scenario of myself
going to China for instance, into a foreign culture and language, I
empathize
with how much of a challenge and sacrifice and difficulty it was for them; I
admit that I don’t have the courage to do it. But at the same time, I am of
the
opinion that if I were to be put into a foreign environment, I would be
responsible to learn to adapt to the new place and not retreat into my own
comfort zone; if I’m on new turf, I play by their rules.

> If I juxtapose this statement with the one you made earlier, it sounds
like
> you’re saying that while culture is a product of a fallen and sinfal
> humanity, OBCs have more of it than ABCs do. After all, is not “direct
> communication” an expression of an American culture of individualism
where
> the face-to-face contacts are valued above all else? I think that on the
> whole Scripture reveals more of a communal way of relating. In any case,
I
> don’t think that culture is all bad. Fallen as it may be, we also need
to
> affirm aspects of our cultures which better illuminate God’s plan for
> humanity.

It’s my understanding that possibly some cultures have more illumination
and implimentation of God’s humanity plan. Culture is not all bad, but I
am willing to put all aspects of all cultures under scrutiny. Cultures
need to be redeemed and transformed by Christ..

Concerning “direct communication”, I derive its value from my impression
that God communicated directly to us, and how valuable it is to be
“face-to-face” with God, how honorable it was that Moses could meet with
God face-to-face… Granted, there is an aspect of mediated
communication, such as Christ being out priest & mediator, but he came
with the full expression of God, to directly show us who God is.

In bridging cultures and all its differences, I believe that all cards
have to be put on the table by all parties involved. You cited an
illustration of Blacks and Whites interaction, and the need for both to
be recognizing the various aspects of racism on both sides.. all of that
has to be communicated clearly, heard clearly, understood, apply
repentance and forgiveness, and then move on toward a resolution and
reconciliation.

DJ


* my page at http://users.aol.com/djchuang/ * John 2:17 *

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: DJ Chuang
Subject: Racial Reconciliation on 3 levels
Date: 9/24/96 10:59 AM

> From: TSTseng@aol.com, on 9/21/96 10:17 PM:
>
> An argument can be made for starting with God’s family first – and I
agree.
> Local congregations and individual Christians can make a difference for
one
> generation, but history shows that the energy level doesn’t last that
much
> longer (so we have to reinvent the wheel each generation). So that is
why
> evangelical seminaries, parachurch organization, and bible schools also
need
> to wrestle with their recruiting, hiring, and promotional practices and
put
> into place relatively longer lasting policies which will acknowledge
> institutional racism and attempt to remedy it (and the remedy is done not
by
> merely implementing policy from top-down, but by intentionally listening
to,
> responding to, and making underrepresented people’s voices a priority).
> Unfortunately, I see many evangelical organizations moving backwards on
this
> matter.

Right, that is the point, that racial reconciliation is a three level
effort, as I see it, that it starts with (1) personal one-on-one
involvement with people of other culture/races, (2) intra-church
activities like pulpit exchanges and joint services & service projects
(so that the church universal demonstrates commitment as an
institutional church), (3) community and political/ public policy
involvement. A big vision such as this of racial reconcilation indeed
has difficulty lasting past one generation, and it would take more
diligence on those who have caught the vision to not only participate
and carry out the vision, but to impart it to the future generation
(based on the 2 Tim 2:2 principle). I don’t think institutional policies
alone are able to carry out a vision beyond a generation; vision has to
be passed along personally, incarnationally.. now as an institution
attempts to bring a more equal racial representation, does that mean the
sacrifice of standards and qualifications? Is it right or fair to give
underrepresented people a greater voice than others? Is it not better to
give equal voice to each person, and expect each person to see and hear
the interest of all peoples? How do you see evangelical organizations
moving backwards on this?

> their White base of support. It is a historical reality in America, that

> with a few courageous exceptions – White Americans have never acted on
> authentically resolving the race problem unless it converges with their
> interests. Do I sound like a pre-millennialist yet?

You’re talking to one *grin*, a premillennialist; it can be said on the
whole that there is little historical evidence of any group of people
attempting something great without some form of personal interest or
benefit; even in charity efforts, there is the benefit of satisfaction
in the giver’s ability to help someone; but as the effort is sincere and
intentional to seek the other’s interest, it seems acceptable to me.
Philippians 2:4 says to look out _not only_ for your own interests, but
also for the interests of others. It doesn’t say the elimination of
personal interest.

DJ


* my page at http://users.aol.com/djchuang/ * John 2:17 *

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: DJ Chuang
Subject: What is Chinese culture?
Date: 9/24/96 10:42 AM

> From: TSTseng@aol.com, on 9/21/96 10:17 PM:
>
> DJ: >>However, this is foreign to Asian culture, it seems, where racism
is
an
> implicit part of being ethnically Asian, from what traditions I
understand..
> that to be Chinese is to be proud to be a Chinese, and likewise for other
> ethnicities. There is much ethnocentrism, and racial reconciliation is
more
> of a foreign concept, reinforced by language and cultural differences
(which
> may be there, but that doesn’t have to keep us apart). <
> Statements like this tend to make me uncomfortable since it stereotypes
us
> Asians as being innately ethnocentric. The fact that our world is
entering
> what some call the “Pacific Century” seems to indicate that overseas
Asians
> are becoming more cosmopolitan and open to differences

Timothy,
Several different issues I’d like to break-out into separate message
replies, in hopes of generating some threads of discussion among the CAC
here.

I would like to avoid stereotypes, especially those that are totally
untrue and unfounded; but in contrast, would it be stereotyping to
discover the trends and threads of a group of people or culture? The
above comment concerning ethnocentricity were stated in a book titled
“THE ASIAN MIND GAME”, and the author believed it to be prominent in
Asian cultures; I state it to ask for verification. Or the question can
be asked, how has the Chinese as a culture interacted with other
cultures and races in its history?

The question that arises with this issues is what exactly is Chinese
culture? What does it mean to be Chinese, and/or what are the esteemed
values of Chinese culture? Granted, culture is a fluid and changing
thing, but surely there are handles on it that can be grasped.

The other challenge that comes along with this is: what is Asian
culture? What are the common values between Asian cultures that makes it
distinct from other cultures, and what are those values that draw Asians
together?

To say it another way, in beginning dialogue among Chinese (and Asians),
the red flags of stereotypes are quickly raised; but the question
remains that I’ve not found an answer to– what is Chinese (or Asian)
culture, then? Would it be stereotyping to present the common traits of
Asians?

DJ


* my page at http://users.aol.com/djchuang/ * John 2:17 *

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: Fwd: AAASCommunity: Toll Free 1-888-API-VOTE
Date: 9/24/96 12:18 AM

Dear Friends:

Now that the election is just around the corner, it may be a good time to
urge our fellow Asian American Christians to vote! One hundred years ago,
the Supreme Court upheld legalized segregation which brought race relations
in the U.S. to a nadir until the post-WWII Civil Rights era. This is a
critical year for the future of race relations in the U.S. as
anti-immigration and mono-culturalist forces attempt to bring back the
America of the 1950s (a period in which as a racial minority, I am glad I
did
not live in). It is difficult, but I hope and pray that the multi-lingual
and multi-cultural drama of Pentecost and the concern for “the least of
these” inform believers when they go to the polls in November.

The following info may be helpful in the important work of enlisting voters.

In prayer,

Tim Tseng

———————
Forwarded message:
From: oca@ari.net
Sender: owner-aaascommunity@uclink4.berkeley.edu
To: oca@ari.net
Date: 96-09-22 20:15:57 EDT

==================================================================
* This is email from the News & Announcements list (AAASPosts) of
* the Email Network of the Association for Asian American Studies.
—————————————————————–
* For more information about the list and the AAAS Email Network,
* email a request to .
—————————————————————–
* For information about AAAS membership, email a request to
* our national office at .
==================================================================
For those with email access, please send all requests for voter
registration forms to oca@ari.net. Remember the deadline to register
for most states is October 7, 1996.

Please email this announcement to others you know, as well as
local mainstream and ethnic press, and community newsletters.

Thank you for your assistance!

—Christine Chen, Project Coordinator

National Asian Pacific American Voter Registration Campaign
“Raising Our Voices…Strengthening Our Involvement”
_____________________________________________________________

NEWS RELEASE
_____________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release: September 20, 1996
For Additional Information: Christine Chen, National Coordinator

Campaign Announces A Toll Free Number for Voter Registration

Washington, D.C. — The National Asian Pacific American
Voter Registration Campaign (NAPAVRC), announces a toll
free number, 1-888-API-VOTE or 1-888-274-8683. This new service
will allow members of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community to
call in to request information on how to get registered for the
upcoming elections.

Callers will also be able to receive information on upcoming voter
education and get-out-the-vote activities that are specifically
organized for the APA community. The deadline to get registered
for most states is Monday, October 7, 1996. Individuals will be
able to receive information and leave messages in English, Mandarin,
Cantonese, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian, and Hmong.

The toll free number is shown on posters which urge the APA community
to register by the October 7th deadline. These posters created by
the campaign and funded by a grant from the American Federal, State,
County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), are available in Chinese,
Korean, and Vietnamese, and have been distributed nationwide. With
the assistance of the ethnic press, the campaign also hopes to be
able to reach the readers and to motivate them to call the toll free
number.

“This new service will allow the national campaign to complement the
local voter registration activities that are being organized around
the country for the next few weeks. Currently, the APA population
has the lowest voter registration rate after becoming citizens, yet
the community has the highest rate of actual voting of any group.
herefore, voter registration is a high priority in this campaign,”
stated Dr. Michael C. Lin, National President of the Organization
of Chinese Americans (OCA).

Julia Keh, President of the OCA-Greater Los Angeles chapter commented,
“This campaign makes voter registration accessible to the APA
community. APAs who normally would not register because of language
difficulties can now do so. In early September, the OCA- Greater
Los Angeles chapter began using this toll free number in conjunction
with a local number on their public service announcement shown
during Chinese television programming. Since its first showing, the
campaign has received over 80 calls per day.”

Supplemental Information on the 1-888-API-VOTE Number

A caller first hears a greeting in English and is then asked to
select one of the following options:
Mandarin Press 1
Cantonese Press 2
Korean Press 3
Tagalog Press 4
Vietnamese Press 5
Cambodian Press 6
Laotian Press 7
Hmong Press 8

For messages in English, the caller should remain on the line.

After the selection, the greeting stated in that particular
language will ask callers to leave their name, address, phone
number, and the specific reason for calling. The NAPAVRC staff
will then process the information and respond through phone calls
or the mailing of voter registration forms and information.

###

The National Asian Pacific American Voter Registration Campaign
is a coalition of 19 National APA organizations. They are: Asian
Pacific American Labor Alliance (AFL-CIO), Asian Pacific American
Medical Student Association, Asian Pacific Islander American Health
Forum, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations,
Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Chinese American Voters
Education Committee, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
Institute, Filipino Civil Rights Advocates, Japanese American
Citizens League, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, National
Asian Pacific American Bar Association, National Asian Pacific
American Legal Consortium, National Association for the Education
and Advancement of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans,
National Association of Korean Americans, National Alliance of
Vietnamese American Service Agencies, National Federation of
Indian-American Associations, Organization of Chinese Americans,
Organization of Chinese American Women, and Southeast Asian Resource
Action Center.

National Asian Pacific American Voter Registration Campaign
c/o Organization of Chinese Americans
1001 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Suite #707
Washington, D.C. 20036

Tel:(202)223-5500
Fax:(202)296-0540
Voice Mail:(202)223-5523

E-Mail: oca@ari.net
World Wide Web: http://www2.ari.net/oca
================================================================
* AAASCommunity, the Discussion & News list of the
* Email Network of the Association for Asian American Studies
—————————————————————
* Coordinator:
================================================================

*end*
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: Note upcoming PBS broadcast
Date: 9/23/96 10:59 PM

Dear friends:

This week, PBS is airing a documentary on the Religious Right in
America. It is entitled “With God on Our Side: Rise of the Religious
Right in America.” I think it comes in two parts, with this week’s
broadcast covering 1950-1968.

If you have the opportunity to view this program, please write your comments
and observations on the CAC list. I’d be very interested in reading how
Asian American Christians react to the program! In the Denver area, it airs
on Friday, Sept. 27 at 9 PM (channel 6). Check your local listing for the
show.

Thanks!

Tim Tseng

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: Re: re: PK Racial Reconciliation Theological Summit Report
Date: 9/21/96 10:17 PM

Hi DJ:

In response to my PK report, your wrote (your comments are in <> ):

>>I believe they recognize that there is both personal and institutional
‘racism’, but the solution is not either/or, but both/and, that there needs
to be both one-on-one relationship building (done thru small group weekly
prayers, dinner for 8) as well as organizational & institutional involvement
(pulpit
exchange, choir swap, joint services, service projects). I’m not sure which
you would prioritize, or what it would look like to address both aspects of
racism.<>To only do the latter feels quite sterile and impersonal, and doesn’t get
to the heart, and that is the backlash that some Raleigh blacks are reacting
against.. that white churches do a ‘service project’ for the black church as
a ‘one-shot’ high-publicized “stunt” and there’s no follow-thru of sustained
personal relationship, nor is there an active integration between races as
such. So the tendency here is to engage personally first, while recognizing
the latter is necessary also, as the opportunity arises.<> there is much to learn by us as Asians on how they [blacks/whites]
are trying to put into deed the mandate of Scripture, that we would come
together as a Body of Christ, reflect a clear picture of heaven, and
show the world that we can be one in Christ. <>However, this is foreign to Asian culture, it seems, where racism is an
implicit part of being ethnically Asian, from what traditions I understand..
that to be Chinese is to be proud to be a Chinese, and likewise for other
ethnicities. There is much ethnocentrism, and racial reconciliation is more
of a foreign concept, reinforced by language and cultural differences (which
may be there, but that doesn’t have to keep us apart). <>I have learned much from the black/white racial reconciliation that would
be helpful in the Chinese church, as there are similarities of “tension”
between OBC and ABC, for instance; that if both would humble themselves, and
come to the table, recognize that culture is a product of fallen and sinful
man, that direct communication is necessary to understand one another, give
one another the freedom to express their pains and desires, that the basic
foundation in the authority of the Word be established, then the Chinese
church can make some tremendous progress!<>…something is truly happening in my community (although my church
doesn’t participate in it, I myself, I can, and hopefully by my personal
example, others will follow, as they see the fruit).. during this past
week of recovery from Hurricane Fran, we saw a community come together
out of shared humanity, no longer hindered by the shallow barriers that
have kept us apart in the past.<<

Amen, brother.

Thanks for giving me a chance to think more deeply about these issues!

Tim

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: Tseng intro
Date: 9/21/96 1:32 AM

Dear brothers and sisters:

DJ suggested that I provide a bio for the CAC webpage. Since this
discussion list is growing, I thought it would be a good idea to
re-introduce myself as well. So here goes:

Currently an unemployed Seminary professor, I taught church history at
Denver Seminary between 1994 and this past Spring. I hope to find a
teaching position by next year. My area of interest is Asian American
Christianity largely because of my sense of calling to minister among
Asian Americans, but also because serious scholarly work in this arena
has been scarce. I am currently trying to write a history of Chinese
Christianity in North America. This project has entailed everything from
looking for scattered documentation to interviewing contemporary Chinese
Christians.

I was born in Taiwan and came to the U.S. at the age of 2. I’m a PK –
my dad pastors (he is the senior minister at the Brooklyn Chinese
Christian Church in NYC which he founded and where I was nurtured). I
received Christ as my Lord and Savior at the age of 12 after a series of
fist fights with neighborhood kids who made fun of me because I was
Chinese. Throughout high school and college, I was not a very good
student (compared to my fellow Asian Americans), but by God’s grace
(Intervarsity Fellowship staff, Chinese Christian Fellowship at NYU,
Urbana ’81) I received a calling to be a minister (though I went into
the ministry kicking and screaming). I was ordained through the
American Baptist Churches, U.S.A. in 1988.

I spent a year at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary where persons
like Tony Campolo, Ron Sider, and colleagues helped me understand how
social justice issues (which started to concern me when I was exposed to
the world’s social problems at Urbana ’81) are integrated with theology
and faith. I then transfered to Union Theological Seminary in NYC in
order to be closer to my church (I pastored the English Congregation
during my studies), to be challenged by other theological views, to be
challenged academically, and to think about how to connect my faith with
social justice concerns. I again experience God’s grace at UTS through
faculty who cared deeply about the church and helped me understand
mainline Protestantism better. UTS surprised me by receiving me into
their doctoral program in Church History. My dissertation examined the
discourse of white Protestants during the turn of this century regarding
Japanese and Chinese immigrants. I worked with James Washington, a
specialist in African-American Christianity who sensitized me to the
deeper underpinnings of racism in American history and contemporary
society.

In many ways, I’m similar to Sze-Kar because I would be considered too
politically liberal for most evangelicals, but too theologically
conservative for the few remaining authentic liberals. Beyond my
academic work, I hope to encourage Asian American Christians to develop
a theology and praxis that is grounded in – Scripture, of course – but
also in the real needs and concerns of the Asian American communities.
In other words, I pray that Asian American Christians will find their
“voice” in my generation rather than echoing those of white mainline or
evangelical Christians. I also am continuing to wrestle with the
question of how the Church does social justice without: 1. losing its
own distinctive voice (i.e., without echoing political liberalism or
conservatism or losing focus on evangelism and discipleship as its other
central tasks) and 2. without simply talking about or applying
“band-aid” or “noblisse oblige” solutions (i.e., how to really empower
people).

Sorry ’bout the lengthy intro. Hope to hear from others!

Tim Tseng

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list CAC
From: “Andrew Y. Lee”
Subject: Request for Asian-American Survey
Date: 9/20/96 8:37 AM

Last month I sent out a request to CAC members to respond to a BRIEF
survey on Asian-American interpretation/theology. Your responses would
be very helpful for a paper I am writing. I would like to thank those
that answered. However, the number of answers that I received were not
sufficient so I am sending this out again in hopes that more surveys
will be completed this time.

If you are uncertain about the themes of an Asian-American theology or
believe that it is unnecessary, please indicate so on the survey. Those
are responses in and of themselves. If you would be so kind as to fill
this out within the next several days as my completion deadline is
rapidly approaching. . .Thanks!

If you do not work full-time in a church, please indicate this on your
survey.

Asian-American Theology

1. If you were not born in the United States, how old were you when you
immigrated here?

2. Where did you receive your theological training?

3. In your opinion, what are some of the themes in an Asian-American
theology?

4. To what degree is this reflected in your sermons/teaching?

5. Which book or section of the Bible is your favorite? Why?

*end*

anti-religious sentiments among Asian Americans

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: DJ Chuang
Subject: re: PK Racial Reconciliation Theological Summit Report
Date: 9/18/96 5:34 PM

> From: TSTseng@aol.com, on 9/18/96 1:02 AM:
> however, it became clear to me that PK’s agenda would focus on
> person-to-person relationships.
>
> While I believe that developing personal relationships with “men” of
another
> race is healthy and might lead to a common effort to end institutional
> racism, I’m skeptical.

Timothy,

Thank you for the summit report, and appreciate reading your thoughts.
Having been active among PK clergymen in the Raleigh area, where we have
a pastor’s group of about 50 men who gather on a monthly basis for
mutual prayer support as well as relationship building as a means of
racial reconciliation, I’d like to add and comment on how it works for
me as an Asian-American among whites & blacks. [background: I attended
the PK Clergy conf in Atlanta in February, on a 50-passenger charter bus
with other Raleigh pastors, where we had great fellowship; attended a
Pastor’s Prayer Summit for 3 days in March with some of them; attended
Promise Keepers in Charlotte in June; continue to meet with some of
these men, some of which are sporadic in attendance, but others are
consistent and actively engaged]

I believe they recognize that there is both personal and institutional
‘racism’, but the solution is not either/or, but both/and, that there
needs to be both one-on-one relationship building (done thru small group
weekly prayers, dinner for 8) as well as organizational & institutional
involvement (pulpit exchange, choir swap, joint services, service
projects). I’m not sure which you would prioritize, or what it would
look like to address both aspects of racism. To only do the latter feels
quite sterile and impersonal, and doesn’t get to the heart, and that is
the backlash that some Raleigh blacks are reacting against.. that white
churches do a ‘service project’ for the black church as a ‘one-shot’
high-publicized “stunt” and there’s no follow-thru of sustained personal
relationship, nor is there an active integration between races as such.
So the tendency here is to engage personally first, while recognizing
the latter is necessary also, as the opportunity arises.

Now for Asians, I believe there needs to be racial reconciliation among
us, between Japanese and Chinese and Korean and Vietnamese, and other
ethnicities. And the active-ness of the black-and-white racial
reconciliation which is more prominent in America (with its history of
slavery, civil war, affirm.action for instance), there is much to learn
by us as Asians on how they are trying to put into deed the mandate of
Scripture, that we would come together as a Body of Christ, reflect a
clear picture of heaven, and show the world that we can be one in
Christ.

However, this is foreign to Asian culture, it seems, where racism is an
implicit part of being ethnically Asian, from what traditions I
understand.. that to be Chinese is to be proud to be a Chinese, and
likewise for other ethnicities. There is much ethnocentrism, and racial
reconciliation is more of a foreign concept, reinforced by language and
cultural differences (which may be there, but that doesn’t have to keep
us apart).

I have learned much from the black/white racial reconciliation that
would be helpful in the Chinese church, as there are similarities of
“tension” between OBC and ABC, for instance; that if both would humble
themselves, and come to the table, recognize that culture is a product
of fallen and sinful man, that direct communication is necessary to
understand one another, give one another the freedom to express their
pains and desires, that the basic foundation in the authority of the
Word be established, then the Chinese church can make some tremendous
progress!

As I see black and white brothers identify themselves with the sins of
their ancestors and repent for them, and become intentional in action
and in deed, something is truly happening in my community (although my
church doesn’t participate in it, I myself, I can, and hopefully by my
personal example, others will follow, as they see the fruit).. during
this past week of recovery from Hurricane Fran, we saw a community come
together out of shared humanity, no longer hindered by the shallow
barriers that have kept us apart in the past.

DJ


* my page at http://users.aol.com/djchuang/ * John 2:17 *

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: Re: re: reconciliation
Date: 9/18/96 12:28 PM

Hon-Wai, you wrote:

>>you seem to think that there are other areas of denomination
reconciliation issue which you are think are important. Have I read too
much into it?<<

Yes, I do that there are other areas, but we did not spend much time
talking about them. In fact, what was equally clear was that the PK
leadership did not appear very interested in working with mainline
Christians. In the minds of many evangelicals, the gap between
"conservative" Catholics and evangelicals is narrower than the
insurmountable differences between so-called "liberal" Protestants and
evangelicals.

Re: Catholicism. There is also a "culture war" going on within the RC
communion in N. America. A generation of bishops (like Bernadine who
now has terminal cancer) supported the New Deal coalition and its push
for welfare. Like their "liberal" Protestant and Jewish counterparts,
they justified their political perspective by appealing to portions of
Scripture and their religious traditions which called for welcoming the
stranger, working for justice and peace, etc. Thus, the traditional
political liberals like Moynihan and Cuomo were given much Catholic
support. Today, the conservative, nativist wing within Catholicism has
become much more prominent and have not supported the Democratic party –
the traditional base for Catholicism. Thus, Buchanan and Michael Novak
have become outspoken conservative leaders.

I think that the resurgence of evangelicals in the Republican party
joined by the growth of Catholics who have abandoned the Democratic
Party represents a process of white racial formation. Among Catholics,
memories of their Italian, Polish, etc. immigrant parents or
grandparents have faded. Ethnicity for many of them has become largely
symbolic and a matter of choice (see Mary Waters, Ethnic Options).
Thus, when they saw the Democratic Party allowing Blacks and other
racial minority concerns to be discussed, they were turned off. After
all, as children of European immigrants, they believed that they were
able to "make it" without the help of affirmative action policies – so
why should Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asians want special
treatment? Thus, by joining ranks with other white ethnics on the
political front, a subtle and undefined racialized political block has
been formed with its origins in the Reagan administration.

What do you think?

Also, I'd like to pass on to you a note from a good friend of mine in
response to my report on the PK summit, Robert Hubbard – Prof. of Old
Testament at North Park Theological Seminary and nephew of the late Robert
Allan Hubbard (President of Fuller Seminary). – Tim Tseng
====================================
Tim:

Thanks for the summary. Very helpful and insightful. Evangelicals have
trouble with the transition from "personal" to "structural" evil (in
this case, racism), probably because of their privatistic approach to
spirituality and their "just-passing-through pilgrim" mentality with
respect to their relationship to the larger society. Ultimately, the
issue is whether PK will be able to face up to the economic and
political hegemony of whites and move toward promoting powering-sharing
with non-whites. Given human nature, only a work of the Holy Spirit can
make that happen.

Again, thanks for the update. Hope all is well with you. We're having a
lovely fall here. I'm getting ready for classes which start Sept. 30th.
Greetings to Betty, Nathaniel, and Benji.

Bob

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: DJ Chuang
Subject: re: reconciliation
Date: 9/18/96 10:33 AM

** message posted on behalf of Hon-Wai Wong **

From: hwong@submaths.hku.hk, on 9/18/96 2:52 PM:
—————————
Dear Tim,

A question more out of curiosity than anything:

when you write

> We spent some time discussion denominational reconciliation. But as we
> discussed it further on Saturday afternoon, it became clear that the
primary
> concern was how to include Roman Catholics into the PK umbrella.

you seem to think that there are other areas of denomination
reconciliation issue which you are think are important. Have I read
too much into it?

Talking about RC, I wonder what people think of the role of RC in
the current politics of racism and social justice? Clearly, a lot of
attention has been paid on “the culture of death” by the RC hierarchy
and this is also the concerns of many white evangelicals. On the
other hand, RC has maintained many social service programs, and
presumably, should have some sympathy for the “liberal” welfare and
economic policies. Given the huge number of RC members in this
country, I would like to know what influence the church is
exercising. (Both Patrick Buchanan and Moynihan are RC members!)

It is time to introduce myself. I grew up in Hong Kong until I
went to England for undergraduate studies, and then the U.S. for
graduate studies. I grew up in a fairly sectarian, non-denomnational
(excuse the oxymoron) church in HK. I called myself an evangelical,
and I still do sometimes. I am now a member of the Episcopal Church;
while I also join the activities of a fellowship group in a Chinese
church at central Jersey.

I consider myself quite conservative, more of a mix of the Catholic
and evangelical types of conservativism; to my dismay, this is
considered liberal by many Chinese Chrsitians I know.

I am a mathematician by training and I am spenidng this year at the
University of Hong Kong

Hon-Wai Wong

Hon-Wai Wong
Department of Mathematics
The University of Hong Kong
Pokfulam Rd., Hong Kong
tel: (852) 28578571
Fax: (852) 25592225
hwong@submaths.hku.hk

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: American give more to lotteries than chuches
Date: 9/18/96 1:02 AM

Now, for something a bit on the light side. An article from the Sept.
11-18, 1996 issue of _Christian Century_ (p. 846):

“in 1994 Americans spent considerably more on lotteries than they gave to
their churches, according to Associated Baptist Press. The press service
compared figures from a U.S. Census Bureau report – according to which $26.6
billion was spent by Americans on state lotteries – with figures from the
_Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches_, which show that in the same
period total contributions to churches by American congregations were $19.6
billion.”

Tim Tseng

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: PK Racial Reconciliation Theological Summit Report
Date: 9/18/96 1:02 AM

Greetings all!

The Promise Keepers’ theological summit on racial and denominational
reconciliation a week and a half ago (Friday-Saturday, Sept. 6-7, 1996)
turned out to be a good experience given its limited focus. Besides
myself, the only other Asian American in attendance was Dr. Bruce Fong
of Multnomah Bible School in Portland, Oregon. Daron Butler, a very
young Native American pastor represented that group. Dr. Danny Carroll
(Denver Seminary) – who is half Guatemalen and has spent most of his
adult life in Guatemala – I suppose, represented the Hispanics. Among
the Blacks were Malcolm Newton (Denver Seminary), Don Davis (Urban
Institute, KS), Dr. Bruce Fields (Trinity Evangelical), Dr. Harold Dean
Trulear (New York Theological Seminary), and Raleigh Washington
(co-author with Glen Kehrein of _Breaking Down Walls: A Model for
Reconciliation in an Age of Racial Strife_ Moody, 1993). Washington was
recently appointed the Vice President of Reconciliation for Promise
Keepers so it was his responsibility to prepare working papers for
racial and theological reconciliation and implement a curriculum for PK.

The presence of non-white PK staff workers helped to conceal the fact
that the majority of this group were White – most of whom I believe are
genuinely interested in racial reconciliation. Among the whites were
Dr. Dan Block (Southern Baptist Seminary), John Dawson, Dr. Walter
Kaiser (Gordon-Conwell), Dr. Ray Mitsch, Dr. Craig Blomberg (Denver
Seminary), Tom Claus, Dr. Craig Keener (Eastern Baptist Seminary),
Claude King, Dr. Grant Osborne (Trinity Evangelical), and Dr. Jim
Westgate (Mennonite Brethren Bibical Seminary).

Coach Bill McCartney opened our time together with a devotional, highlighted
by his confident statement: “I believe that I will see the end of racism in
my lifetime.”

Then we got to work. After being presented with the PK promo on their
commitment to racial reconciliation, we had an open discussion in which some
urged that structural/institutional racial justice also be emphasized. In
the end, however, it became clear to me that PK’s agenda would focus on
person-to-person relationships.

While I believe that developing personal relationships with “men” of
another race is healthy and might lead to a common effort to end
institutional racism, I’m skeptical. More often than not, efforts that
focus on individual attitudes and reconciliation are unable to remedy
the consequences of institutionalized racism and give the impression
that the race problem has been solved. Benjamin DeMott’s book, _The
Trouble with Friendships: Why Americans Can’t Think Straight about Race_
(1995), demonstrates this point vividly. The inter-racial intimacy
developed on-screen by the characters played by Danny Glover and Mel
Gibson assumes that racism is overcome through “friendships” (the
reification of the “some of my best friends are….” formula). In
essence, PK is recycling the same strategies that have been attempted in
the past. It didn’t work for the National Council of Churches (in fact,
there’s evidence that when mainline churches began to put more emphasis
on racial and other forms of justice, their members abandoned them and
joined evangelicals who up until the 1960s were struggling with
inter-racial marriages), so it takes a lot of confidence (bordering on
arrogance) to think that PK can do better. (Personally, I believe that
community based organizing and racial identity politics holds more
promise for really addressing the problems of injustice in our society).

One other comment about the summit. Though a few Native Americans,
Hispanics, and Asian Americans were represented, it was clear that the
race problem is still seen as primarily a Black-White issue. PK’s board
of directors and upper echelon leadership positions are predominantly
White with a good number of Blacks and virtually no others. Part of it
could be attributed to a general ignorance of other evangelical racial
groups, but I don’t yet have an explanation. I think PK is now trying
to broaden.

Nevertheless, I commend PK for attempting to address the race problem
more directly. Racial reconciliation is one of the 7 promises that PK
“groupies” are encouraged to commit to. Yet, there is concern that
over-emphasizing racial reconciliation would undermine the widespread
support that PK receives from White evangelicals. Many letters of
complaint have been sent to PK along the following lines:

1. No where in the bible does it say that racial reconciliation is mandated.
The passages talk only about reconciliation with God. Therefore, PK is in
danger of becoming liberal-social gospel by diverting attention from the
primary task of preaching reconciliation to God through Christ.

2. Why should I engage in reconciliation when I did not commit the sin of
racism? It was my ancestors who owned slaves, not me.

Given this antipathy towards something as minor as racial reconciliation, I
can only imagine what it would be like to talk about addressing
structural/institutional racial injustices!

We spent some time discussion denominational reconciliation. But as we
discussed it further on Saturday afternoon, it became clear that the primary
concern was how to include Roman Catholics into the PK umbrella.

Finally, I was struck by the use of military and crusading images by PK
staff workers (personally, I felt that there was a bit of “overkill”
:-). It actually made me feel a bit uncomfortable because of the subtle
ways certain cultural ideas of “masculinity” are assumed to be found in
Scripture and therefore true for every Christian man.

I will send to this list the final draft of the PK statement on Racial
Reconciliation (I think it sound good, rhetorically-speaking, but only
time will tell) when I receive it. In the meantime, I encourage
subscribers to share questions, comments, and thought over the
discussion list (don’t email me privately unless it really is a private
matter). I would be interested in hearing your thoughts!

In Christ,
Tim Tseng

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: DJ Chuang
Subject: anti-religious sentiments
Date: 9/12/96 7:46 PM

> From: Sze-kar Wan , on 9/12/96 6:58 PM:
> But I am concerned with 2d- and 3d-generation Asian-Americans, for whom
> anti-religious sentiments often pass for sophistication.

This “sophistication” is not limited to 2d- or 3d- generation, it seems
to me to be a common concept for Asian-Americans of any generation (or
perhaps even a common concept for all peoples, according to Romans 1).
They seem to me to pride themselves in being practical- minded instead
of religious, exception noted for Asians’ superstition tendencies. As
if, to say, they’re too smart for religion, they’ve had too much life
experience to not be gullible to be religious, much less fanatical.

DJ


* my page at http://users.aol.com/djchuang/ * John 2:17 *

*end*

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: Sze-kar Wan
Subject: Self-intro
Date: 9/12/96 6:58 PM

Dear CACers:

My hearty thanks to DJ (what does it stand for?) and Tim for getting
a heretofore dormant CAC-discussion off and running again–with vigor
and vitality. I have not been able to follow the recent discussion
closely since I’ve been away, but I am impressed with the quality and
quantity of the postings. The list server is a boon to our ongoing
forum.

Self-intro: Born in China, raised in Hong Kong and (since 15 yrs of age)
Boston. Came to the Lord at 16, right bef college, where I studied Math
and Computer. Have been in theology after a 2-yr stint as engineer, how-
ever, and am teaching NT at Andover Newton Theological School (since
1990). Not yet ordined but might one day in the Episcopal Church. Have
been involved in non-denominational Chinese Evangelical churches in Boston
until the power that be became suspicious of me bc of my positions on
women leadership (120% support, incl ordination and the works!), social
issues (let’s make the gospel work), etc. Am involved in an Episcopal
congregation in Boston ministering to recent immigrants from China,
Cantonese being the primary language, Mandarin the secondary. Bu I am
concerned with 2d- and 3d-generation Asian-Americans, for whom anti-
religious sentiments often pass for sophistication. On the Andover
Newton faculty, I am considered theologically middle-of-the road (perhaps
leaning right) but socially liberal; in the Chinese Evangelical circles,
however, (to my dismay) hopelessly liberal! Result: main circle (outsid
my small home church) among white, middle-class, mainline churches, from
which Andover Newton draws the majority of its students. Not the happiest
situation for me but am at peace for now with God’s arrangements.

Happy to make the acquaintance of you all!

Sze-kar (“SEE-KAH”) Wan

*end*

Posts in Sept 1996 a

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: Fwd: AAASCommunity: Grants Program of the Civil Liberties
Public Education Fund
Date: 9/10/96 1:33 AM

Here’s something which may interest the research oriented among us!

Tim Tseng

———————
Forwarded message:
From: dtn@ucla.edu (Don T. Nakanishi)
Sender: owner-aaascommunity@uclink4.berkeley.edu
To: aaascommunity@uclink.berkeley.edu (AAASPOST), assnaas-socal@uci.edu (So
Cal AAAS)
Date: 96-09-09 19:37:28 EDT

Hi, everyone–
As you may know, I am on the Board of Directors of the Civil Liberties
Public Education Fund. Here is a press release about our grants programs.
There is one category devoted strictly to research. I hope you will share
it with your colleagues, graduate students, educators, and members of the
community. I also hope you will consider applying.
Don Nakanishi
—————–
September 4, 1996

contact: Dale F. Shimasaki, Ph.D
(415) 356-5020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Details of Grant Program Announced

A grant program targeted towards educating the public about the
lessons
from the incarceration of Japanese Americans and legal resident aliens
during
World War II was announced today by the Board of Directors of The Civil
Liberties Public Education Fund.
The Board has announced that there will be two themes under the
grant
program–Education and Research. Establishing these categories will help
assure the Fund that a variety of projects are promoted by the Fund¶, stated
Board Chair Dale Minami. We are looking forward to receiving a number of
qualified applicants for these project categories¶.

Education Themes
In education, there are four key areas: (1)curriculum, (2)
institutional
and landmark initiatives, (3) community development and (4) arts and media.
Curriculum Initiatives. To make substantive progress in efforts to
incorporate the history and lessons of the exclusion and detention of
persons
of
Japanese ancestry as part of the education curricula from K-12 and
post-secondary educational institutions.
Institutional and Landmark Initiatives. To support the preservation
of
historic landmarks, development of commemorative monuments and cultural
institutions as permanent focal points, on-going catalysts for education and
repositories for culture and artifacts commemorating the exclusion and
detention
of persons of Japanese ancestry, including Japanese Americans who served in
the
U.S. armed forces.
Community Development. To affirm community efforts to provide a legacy of
remembrance for future generations, thus continuing a process of recovery
from
the trauma and stigma of the W.W.II exclusion and detention.
Arts and Media. To utilize a variety of media (including new
technology)
and the arts to creatively and strategically appeal to a broad American
public
while enhancing and enriching community based educational efforts.

Research
There are three categories under research programs: (1) research
projects, (2) National Fellow Program, and (3) Research and Archival
resources.
Research Projects. To encourage scholarly inquiry and projects
related
to the variety of experiences and impact of the exclusion and detention of
persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II, as well as its
relationship
to
the experiences of other populations, so that the causes, circumstances,
lessons
and contemporary applications of this and similar events will be illuminated
and
understood.
National Fellows Program. To support and to encourage the
development of
a new generation of scholars for this field of study, the Fund will award up
to
15 graduate fellowships of $10,000 each to support post-baccalaureate
students
from and array of academic disciplines and professional graduate school
programs.
Research and Archival. To increase the accessibility of essential
archival and other documents for scholarly research and public education in
libraries and other institutions, as well as through innovative technology.

Other Requirements
In addition to grant themes, the Board established three levels of
funding for the grants program:
1. Candlelight awards of up to $25,000
2. Torchlight awards of up to $100,000
3. Beacon awards of up to $250,000

Despite the limits on resources, the Board felt that it was important to
promote a set of diverse projects,¶ stated Vice Chair, Susan Hayase.
Having
grant categories for small, medium and large scale projects will help the
Fund
promote various educational and research objectives.¶
Generally, an applicant may submit only one application for a single
project under one of the CLPEF grant themes, Education or Research. The
Fund
seeks to fund a broad range of organizations and interests. Final decisions
will be made with consideration to the breadth and quality of the pool of
applications received. In addition to submitting an application on its own
behalf, an organization may participate in one or more consortium
applications,
either as the lead applicant or as a participant organization, provided
that
each application is for a different project.
The grant program is in compliance with Congressional legislation
authorized under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. In addition to the
creation
of an education program, the Board must publish the proceedings and the
testimony of the federal Commission on the Wartime Internment of Civilians.
Applications for the grant program are expected to be available
sometime
in October, 1996. To request an application packet, contact the East Coast
Office of the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund at 1730 K Street, NW,
suite
410, Washington, D.C. 20006. The phone number is (202) 653-2812. The fax
number is (202) 653-2815.

Don T. Nakanishi, Director
UCLA Asian American Studies Center
3230 Campbell Hall
PO Box 951546
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1546
phone: (310) 825-2974
fax: (310) 206-9844
e-mail: dtn@ucla.edu
Center’s web site: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/aasc

================================================================
* AAASCommunity, the Discussion & News list of the
* Email Network of the Association for Asian American Studies
—————————————————————
* Coordinator:
================================================================

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: Tim’s research survey (2d mailing)
Date: 9/9/96 2:58 AM

Dear CACers:

Apologies, but because we have several new persons on our discussion list,
I’m re-posting my research survey. Again, feel free to email your completed
survey. If you can distribute it widely to Chinese Christians you know, I’d
appreciate it (and will pay for photocopying and mailing expenses). Thanks!
– Tim Tseng
===================================
Chinese American Christian Survey
Summer 1996

Please take a moment to complete this survey. The purpose of this survey is
to gain a better portrait of Chinese N. American Christians today. All your
responses are strictly confidential and your name (should you choose to
provide it) will not be revealed to anyone without your permission. Written
comments in response to these survey questions are welcome!

Please mail your completed survey to me before September 30th, 1996. Thank
you!

Rev. Dr. Timothy Tseng
1401 East Girard Place, Apt. 268
Englewood, Colorado 80110
(303) 762-8163; E-mail: tstseng@aol.com

———————————————
1. Please provide you name in English and Chinese (optional):

2. What year were you born?_______

3. What is your sex? [ ] Male [ ] Female

4. How many years have you lived in the United States or Canada?

5. Which languages/dialects are you fluent in?
[ ] Conversational English
[ ] Conversational and written English
[ ] Conversational Cantonese
[ ] Conversational Mandarin
[ ] Conversational and written Chinese
[ ] Other:

6. In which neighborhood did you spend most of your childhood and teenage
years?
[ ] Urban
[ ] Suburban
[ ] Other (Please describe):

7. Describe your circle of friends during the following periods in your
life.
A. Before High School:
[ ] All Chinese or Asian
[ ] Mostly Chinese or Asian
[ ] Mostly non-Chinese or non-Asian
[ ] All non-Chinese or non-Asian
[ ] All Christian
[ ] Mostly Christian
[ ] Mostly non-Christian
[ ] All non-Christian
B. During High School:
[ ] All Chinese or Asian
[ ] Mostly Chinese or Asian
[ ] Mostly non-Chinese or non-Asian
[ ] All non-Chinese or non-Asian
[ ] All Christian
[ ] Mostly Christian
[ ] Mostly non-Christian
[ ] All non-Christian
C. During College (if applicable):
[ ] All Chinese or Asian
[ ] Mostly Chinese or Asian
[ ] Mostly non-Chinese or non-Asian
[ ] All non-Chinese or non-Asian
[ ] All Christian
[ ] Mostly Christian
[ ] Mostly non-Christian
[ ] All non-Christian
D. Since you finished your formal education:
[ ] All Chinese or Asian
[ ] Mostly Chinese or Asian
[ ] Mostly non-Chinese or non-Asian
[ ] All non-Chinese or non-Asian
[ ] All Christian
[ ] Mostly Christian
[ ] Mostly non-Christian
[ ] All non-Christian

8. Which church do you currently attend (give location also)?

9. Briefly describe how you became a Christian.

10. How long have you been an active Christian?
[ ] 0-3 years
[ ] 4-7 years
[ ] 8+ years

11. Briefly share your thoughts or beliefs about the following:
A. God

B. Jesus Christ

C. The Church

D. World/Society/Humanity

E. Being Chinese in North America

F. Being a Christian in North America

12. What are two of your favorite hymns, praise songs, or bible passages?

13. Which of the following Christian magazines do you subscribe to or keep
up with?
[ ] Christian Century
[ ] Christianity Today
[ ] Other:

14. Which general magazines or journals do you subscribe to or keep up
with?

15. List two or three books authored by an Asian American that you have
read
recently.

16. List some of the non-racial or non-ethnic specific Christian
organizations that you have been active in (e.g., InterVarsity Christian
Fellowship, Promise Keepers):

17. What non-Christian groups are you active in (e.g., OCA, athletic
leagues, labor unions, civic associations, professional societies)?

18. From the list below, prioritize what you consider the five most
important issues facing Chinese Christian North American today:
_____ The “Glass Ceiling”
_____ Abortion
_____ ABC/OBC issues in Chinese churches
_____ Religious freedom (fighting anti-Christian biases in society)
_____ Anti-Asian American violence
_____ Increasing wage gap between the rich and poor
_____ Corporate downsizing
_____ Sexism (discrimination against women)
_____ Decreasing buying power
_____ Survival of 2d+ generation of Chinese Christians in North America
_____ Welfare reform
_____ Generation X leaving church
_____ Other:

19. What do you consider the most satisfying aspect of being a Chinese
Christian in North America?

20. What areas do you think Chinese churches (in general) need to address
more adequately in the future?

21. Have you ever experienced racial discrimination? Please describe an
incident.

22. Have you ever experienced sexual discrimination? Please describe.

23. The survey is part of an on-going oral-video documentary history
project
which Dr. Tseng is working on. If you would like more information or would
like to be interviewed in greater detail, please provide your address and
phone number:
Your mailing address:

Your phone number:

Your Email address (if applicable):

[ ] Please send me more information about the oral-video documentary
history
project.
[ ] I would like to be interviewed in detail for the project.

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: Racial Discrimination in ministry?
Date: 9/9/96 2:37 AM

Dear CACers:

Someplace buried in my computer was this correspondence. Perhaps you can
help Rev. Max B. Surjadinata with his research? – Tim Tseng

================================
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 01:00:33 -0400
To: max@igc.apc.org
Subject: Re: 1995 anti-Asian hate violence incidents

I noticed your posting regarding seeking experiences of Asian American
ministers in white churches. Because I am about to embark on an oral-video
documentary project related to Chinese Protestants in the U.S. since World
War II, I’d be interested in connecting with people who responded to your
post. I think they would make exciting interviews for this project.
Thanks!

Tim Tseng
Assistant Professor of Church History
Denver Seminary
tstseng@aol.com

Dear Tim Tseng,

Thanks for your note. Indeed, I would be glad to share with you those
responses–if I get them. I am in the process of writing a biographical
piece, tentatively, called “From the Periphery to the Center and Back Again
— Reflections on Ministry from An Asian-American Perspective”.

At the moment, I am UCC pastor serving an African-American and Caribbean
congregation. While Asians have always been perceived as the ‘model’
minority
by the white majority culture, I am interested in exploring from other
ministers the ‘hidden injuries’ of race, including the subtle and
not-so-subtle manifestations of prejudice, racist attitudes against
Asians–specifically in parish situations. I know of experiences where an
Asian pastor was told by members of his church council not to visit a
parishioner because “he really can’t deal with Asians because he was a POW
during World War II. There are other instances, as I’m sure you would
concur…and I think these experiences are stories that need to be told, if
we are to be faithful in ministry.

With warm regards,

Max B. Surjadinata
Rev. Max B. Surjadinata
100 La Salle St., Apt.#21B
New York,NY. 10027-4778
212 222-1899
max@igc.apc.org
70540,2764@Compuserve

CAC Digest #12

CAC Digest #12 Covers Sept. 5, 1996

Dear CACers and guests:

Well folks, this is the last digest I’ll be doing! Remember to send your
messages to “cac@bccn.org” tomorrow. I look forward to jumping into the fray
rather than managing it.

A word of appreciation to DJ Chuang for enabling us to have a server. He’s
also trying to set up a web site. Anyone who wants to subscribe to the
Chinese American Christian list from this point on should contact DJ

I hope that this list will really move in a more pan-Asian direction (by
this, I mean that this list will be a large enough tent to discuss specific
ethnic concerns as well as broader ones affecting all Asian American
Christians). Perhaps CAC can be renamed the “Conversations of Asian American
Christians” list?

Afterwords, I’d like to put the word out to a broader audience. In the
meantime, please keep on inviting interested persons to sign up.

Finally, please pray for me. I’ll be taking part in a Promise Keeper’s
Theological Summit on Racial Reconciliation tomorrow and Saturday. I’m not
sure what to expect. Pray thatI represent Asian American brothers and
sisters well.

– – Tim Tseng

P.S. Here is a sermon/article written by Dr. Jim Forbes, my homily
professor at Union Seminary who really helped shaped my preaching style.
Forbes comes from a Black Pentecostal background and after many years of
teaching at Union, is now Sr. Minister at the Riverside Church in NYC. He is
very involved with the Cry for Renewal movement initiated by Jim Wallis
(Sojourners) and Ron Sider (Evangelicals for Social Action) as well as being
the spokesperson for SCUPE. Forbes is one of the foremost African American
preachers. He and the church history profs at Union helped me work through
my struggles with retaining my evangelical commitments. I hope you like the
sermon/article. It is written in the tradition of a jeremiad…

New Wine: Telling the truth of our need for transformation
Jim Forbes _The Other Side_ (July/August 1996): 8-11

According to the Gospel of John, Jesus’ ministry begins in a most
unusual fashion: with a party (John 2:1-12).
We all remember the story: The wedding reception at Cana in Galilee.
The whole community was gathered for the event – a grand celebration, a
social gala, a big block party.
But there was one problem which threatened to seriously disrupt the
festivities. According to John’s Gospel, Mary the mother of Jesus was the
first one to state it outright: “They have no more wine” (John 2:3).
I’m not sure how Mary knew. Maybe she detected a break in the normal
chatter and buzz. Maybe she heard complaints from those who waited in vain
for wine to be shared. Maybe she noticed people were getting irritated and
didn’t seem to be enjoying the reception anymore. Perhaps the families of
the bride and groom had broken up to opposite sides of the room, grumbling at
this inexcusable social blunder.
Somehow, Mary knew: the wine had run out. She also knew it was more
than a trivial oversight. Wine was not only crucial to this particular
wedding reception, it was an essential element in the daily lives of people
in Jesus’ culture. A staple of basic nourishment, wine was more frequently
drunk than water (which had to be purified). Often it was used medicinally,
either as a drink to soothe the stomach or as a purifying agent to cleanse
wounds. And on occasions like the festival in Cana, wine was used for mirth
– to keep the _joie de vivre_ high, to enhance community.
Maybe Mary saw the person responsible for the refreshments scrambling
around trying to figure out what to do. Maybe she noticed someone watering
down the last of the remaining wine to make it hold out a little longer.
But Mary definitely knew: the wine had run out. And she had the courage
to declare it.
I thank God for Mary, because she is a truth-teller. Many of us, when
there is a diminishment of what is essential for the good life, still keep
acting like everything is all right, still maintain a cheery face and a
smile, still try to keep others from knowing that if something isn’t done
soon, life itself will be threatened by the diminishment.
Hail to you, Mary, speaker of the truth. Something essential to the
community was lacking, and you had the strength to say it aloud: “The wine
has run out.”

We are challenged by Mary’s truth-telling. In our society today, we
must decide whether we too will have the courage to speak the truth.
Do we dare to stand up and say that something is missing in this grand
American reception, this wedding of the high ideals of democracy, equality,
and truth? Will we have the courage to say that there’s something lacking in
our good old American dream?
As I look at the state of our nation today, one thing is becoming
increasingly clear to me: The wine has run out.
When our leaders in Washington advocate proposals which balance the
budget on the backs of the poor, it’s obvious that the wine has run out.
When I read reports that New York City intends to crack down on welfare
programs in hopes that poor people will have to leave town, clearly, the wine
has run out.
When we close up the bowels of compassion in the name of fiscal policy,
in the name of relieving the poor of their dependencies, in the name of the
survival of the fittest, surely the wine has run out.
When we see increasing polarization between the races and discrimination
towards people because of different gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs
and theologies, the wine has run out.
Even in churches which claim allegiance to Jesus, we see the same mean
spiritedness. In Philadelphia not long ago, a church hung a large sign on
its door stating that those who are HIV-positive were not welcome. No one
would be admitted without a card verifying that he or she had been tested for
AIDS/HIV. I tell you: the wine has run out.
But we should not be overcome with worry and despair. Because whenever
the truth is spoken, we can find hope, even in situations of diminishing
vitality.
That is why I get excited when I read that Mary goes over to talk to
Jesus. “The wine has run out,” she tells him.
This is a confession of faith. Mary has reached the point of her
extremity and realizes that her resources are not adequate in that context of
need. So she turns to Jesus – who, she understands, has been sent into the
world to bring salvation. She speaks the truth to the one who has the power
to transform the current reality of diminishment.
Mary confessed her faith by bringing her need. That is what I believe
we all must do.
In my spirit I cry for what is happening in our nation. I cry when I
think of the cruelties in the Contract with America – and I cry because some
religious leaders claim that God is a signatory. Somebody has forged God’s
name on a contract that shatters the most fundamental aspects of covenant
relationship. We need a handwriting analysis that can reveal the forgery!

The story then takes a strange and surprising twist. Jesus, in that
moment of need, expresses reticence to be a saving presence. “Woman, my hour
has not come. What has that got to do with me?” Do we detect a sassiness in
his tone, a crispness between mother and son?
Was he implying that this is _just_ a wedding reception, a mundane
social embarrassment? “I don’t want to come out big here. I don’t want any
media blitz until I have clearly set forth the theology of the realm I have
come to announce.” Maybe he wanted to wait and inaugurate his ministry when
the lectionary reading was right – as in Luke 4, when he could use the
perfect Isaiah passage.
But in the end Jesus refuses to buy into false dichotomies that separate
the spiritual from the social. He knew that what was occurring at the Cana
reception was crucial to the heart of the gospel: people were being divided,
succumbing to hostility instead of love. So, this awkward social faux pas
was as good a place as any to being his ministry.
Mary, too, understood. She saw consent in his eyes – eyes she had
looked into since his earliest days. She knew that his passion to bring
wholeness could not be restrained, even in that setting.
“Do what he tells you to do,” she said. So they filled up the water
pots. Jesus also gave orders: “Draw some out and take it to the steward.”
When the steward tasted it, he was astonished. “Wow – most people
serve their inferior wine after people have drunk!” The New Revised Standard
version goes so far as to say “after the guests have become drunk.” The
standard procedure was to bring on the inferior vintage after folks had
loosened up just a little bit, after their discerning instruments had lost a
bit of crispness. “But here you have saved the best wine for the last!”
What a mighty miracle! Jesus has turned water into wine! The story
proclaims that God sanctifies and transforms the most ordinary things in our
lives. God takes what is necessary for our basic survival, nourishment, and
healing and makes it into something filled with joy.

But I want to pose the question: What precisely was the miracle? Was it
a biological transformation of water molecules that entailed rapid coloration
and mutation into alcoholic content with fruit chemicals as well? Was the
miracle that water magically became wine? Or was it that those who drank it
tasted a new wine – the most delicious and flavorful wine – in what had been
only water?
Let us ask Jesus: what was this miracle you performed? And Jesus will
ask us in turn: What miracle do you need? A biochemical transformation? Or
do you need a transformation of your own sensory perceiving equipment?
Maybe Jesus’ miracle in Cana was a little bit of both. But what
fascinates me about this miracle, what gives me hope for our situation today,
is not the change in the elements, but the change in the perception of those
who drank.
I have come to believe that the miracle may be the wine – or it may be
us. Which is my way of saying that, according to the gospel, through Jesus
we have become aware of a power that is capable of transforming the way we
see one another.
When we drink the new wine, all of a sudden instead of seeing a Black
person or a White person, we recognize a brother or a sister. Instead of
seeing a welfare mother, we see a member of our own family. This is the
miracle of the gospel: that it changes the way we see, it transforms our
perceiving instruments.
According to the Gospel of John, Jesus begins his ministry not saving
people from their sins – but from social embarrassment. That may sound like
poor theology, but when we grasp the message of the gospel, we realize that
what appears as merely social embarrassment is in fact our deepest sin: the
divisions that tear us apart. Both in Cana in Jesus’ day and in our society
today, this is the great sin from which we need salvation.
Any religion or any gospel, whether of the Right or Left, that does not
deal with the fragmentation in the body politic, and particularly in the body
of Christ, is mere water, not wine. Any religion that does not effectively
address the social divisions between the haves and the have-nots, between
Whites, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, and others, between gays
and straights – is not the real wine but a cheap imitation.
Such wine is incapable of transforming us. It is a saccharine religion
designed to make you feel good. Just because it’s sweet doesn’t make it
wine.
If it is not the real wine, if the real wine has run out, we must speak
the truth. We don’t need the deadly substitute of Kool-Aid. We need the
real thing, with its medicinal, healing qualities. Nothing short of the real
wine of transformation will suffice.

What was in those pots of water that Jesus instructed the servants to
fill was nothing less than an inexhaustible supply of divine love.
The story speaks of six massive stone water jars that may each have held
over twenty gallons. That’s a lot of new wine! It is also a biblical way of
saying that everything we need is provided if we tap into that divine love.
In the African American tradition, we often sing that great song, “Fill
my cup, let it overflow, let is overflow with love.” In the United States
today, we need to come before God, asking God for that divine love, letting
that love fill our cups and spill over.
We need to drink down that new wine, so that the divine love fills us,
transforming our racism, our sexism, our economic exploitation, our elitism –
all of the “isms” that keep us from being united in the body of Christ or in
the body of humankind.
Let us drink deeply. Let us experience the transformation. Then we
will lift a glass and toast to the health of ourselves and our society.

=====================
_The Other Side_ is an ecumenical magazine of Christian faith and vision.
Our purpose is to nurture and stimulate Christians to in their understanding
of the ways of justice, peace, and discipleship. Founded in 1965, _The Other
Side_ is a nonprofit ministry with no institutional or denominational
backing. Tax-deductible contributions from readers provide crucial support
for the publication of the magazine and related outreach ministries.
To Subscribe to _The Other Side_, call (800) 700-9280

CAC Digest #11: common experiences of Asian Americans

CAC Digest #11 Covers Sept. 4, 1996

Reminder: Beginning Friday, please submit your messages to “cac@bccn.org”.
All addresses listed above will be automatically subscribed unless I or DJ
are told to have you removed. Thanks! — Tim Tseng

======================================
{1} From Mike Seto, San Mateo, CA

Date: Wed, Sep 4, 1996 1:31* EDT
From: CBC4PMSeto
Subj: CAC reply
To: TSTseng

Tim,
We learned from the Asian American Baptist Ministers and Seminarians
conference that no matter what “Asian” brand we are there are common
experiences that all churches seem to go through as we move through the
generations. We who are Asian American, mainly English speaking, 2nd, 3rd
and 4th and even 5th generation Americans and Canadians is what most of the
“language and cultural” churches will be growing into and we have a history
that these others can look at as either a vision to embrace or even avoid.
We can also help, through our experiences, the transition into and
development of a viable English ministry in whatever language first
generation they may come from. It is true that most of our Japanese and
Chinese churches are into 3rd and 4th generations, we must be reminded and
compelled not to forget where we were and appreciate the immigrant culture
and pray for and support those who are seeking to serve Christ in those
areas.

My varied background in ministry has given me an interesting perspective that
most of my fellow Asian American pastors and ministers do not have. I have
served in multicultural mainline mostly white leadership churches in the
Alliance, Disciples of Christ, North American Baptist and American Baptist.
I have served Japanese with Nichigo ministries, churches moving toward
multicultural churches in United Methodist and American Baptist. I served as
campus minister for AACF at UC Davis for nine years, where most of the
students were ABC and English speaking Chinese American with a mixture of
Japanese, Filipino and Korean. Currently I am pastor of English ministries
in an American Baptist, Chinese church with a Cantonese ministry.

The mainline white church does not understand why we deem it necessary to
gather in our ethnic islands, what they don’t understand is that they too
have their own islands which seem to be gathered by a common
educational/economic background. It seems to me that the newly emerging
Asian American English only ministries are very much the same as many of our
white counterparts, based on the same educational/economic background. How
many blue collar Asian American churches do we have? Most of the Asian
American churches have the best and brightest gathered together, is it truly
Christ that draws them together or is it more their common interests,
possessions, education and economic status? I’m not sure that anyone has yet
explored this questions in any depth. On the other hand, in the Asian
language and ethnically homogeneous church, is it only the language and
cultural issues that draws us together? Should we should be seeking all men
and women to bring them to Christ, not based on our cultural and economic and
education expectations? If we look at the First Century model, there should
be a much broader spectrum within our churches even within our targetted
language and ethnic group or groups.

I think you got a nickel’s worth out of me.
Mike Seto

{2} Reply from Ken Fong, re: Digest #11 above

Ow and wow, Mike. You made my head hurt and my heart beat faster.
Thanks for spelling out some of the deeper, broader issues. Sometimes I
think that, in the name of pursuing all things AA, we deftly disregard
some of the inclusive/exclusive issues that have little to do with
generation or race and much more to do with sinful clumping tendencies.
I’m not sure what the answers might be, but I know that, for the most
part, I need to stay focused on the road directly ahead of my ministry
vehicle. I may definitely benefit from looking to either side or to
appreciate where I’ve come from, but if I am not first and foremost
focusing on what lies in front of me, I’m never going to get where God
wants my ‘vehicle’ to go. Currently, we’re attempting to expand the
‘capacity’ of this vehicle to be more multi-ethnic, more affirming of
biracial people, more empowering of women, more embracing of
down-and-outers.

Love to you and Lucky. Faith, hope and love…Ken Fong

CAC Digest #10

CAC Digest #10 covers Sept. 3, 1996

Dear CACers (and others – whose addresses I’ve added to sample the CAC-list):

It is exciting to see the responses to this discussion list over the past
month. I anticipate more responses to Jeanette Yep’s remarks – thanks for
letting me play “Devil’s Advocate.” I’m now reading Yen Le Espiritu’s
_Asian American Panethnicity_, which should provide more food for the fodder
on this issue.

I also appreciated the article that Greg Jao provided for us. I’ll give a
more detailed response later to the question of Asian Americans who do not
support Affirmative Action. But for now, I recommend Dana Tagaki’s study
_Retreat From Race_ which examines the Asian American struggle against
discrimination in the admission policies of Ivy League Schools and UC Berkley
in the 1980s. Tagaki’s book demonstrates that affirmative action policies
and discrimination against Asian Americans are two distinct issues which have
been blurred by neo-conservative advocates, leading to the impression that
affirmative action discriminates against Asians and Whites.

I’d like to turn the management of the list over to the automated server by
Friday, Sept. 6. So, unless there are any changes, beginning this Friday,
please send all your messages to “cac@bccn.org” and everyone on this
distribution list will receive your transmission automatically and almost
immediately (this way, you don’t have to wait for me to re-send it to
everyone).

Re: the name. Here’s my suggestion. For convenience sake, I’d like to keep
the name of the list “CAC-list” for now. As most of you are aware, our
conversations have almost never focused exclusively on Chinese churches,
anyway. So, I encourage everyone to add more persons, particularly
non-Chinese persons, to the list. Please explain that this list is moving
into a Pan-Asian direction and will likely change its name shortly. You may
add persons by giving their e-mail address to DJ Chuang
As soon as the list is up, there will be simpler
ways to subscribe individuals to this list.

Anyway, here’s a digest of additional messages (I’m sure you’ve all received
Sam Ling’s response to Jeanette Yep – if not, let me know). Happy reading!

Tim Tseng

================

{1} From Melanie Mar Chow

Date: Tue, Sep 3, 1996 12:55* EDT
From: MChowAACF
Subj: Re: CAC Digest #9
To: TSTseng

Tim,

Just wanted to thank you for all the “CAC think-tank stuff” coming my way on
e-mail. I appreciate how you are raising my political awareness beyond my
limited sphere.

I agree with Jeanette’s points and also your response to her…I’m one of
those people who are on this CAC list because it is somewhere to
begin…though I’m not one to have always been Asian-culture specific
(Chinese-American, Japanese-American) because of my tri-cultural background
(Japanese-Chinese-American). Because of this, I live out my ministry in a
more pan-Asian bent as the lingo goes. That doesn’t mean I don’t sympathize
with the Asian-culture specific concerns. One of my hopes is that someone
will begin a list to distribute pan-Asian topics, however, via your list Tim,
I’ve been brought aware of many things that are related to Asian Americans.
(Thanks for the Busto and Helen Lee’s articles…I’m still processing them,
but as a campus minister, I will have some thoughts – later for those.)

I too wonder who is on this CAC list and their ministry focuses since I only
see e-mail addresses. I recognize some, but others not. My one suggestion –
maybe it’s time for a CAC digest with a one-line update on each on the list.

Like Jeanette, my response is probably going to be transmitted everywhere, so
here is my intro: Melanie Mar Chow, currently serving in the area of Staff
Leadership Development and Training for JEMS’ Asian American Christian
Fellowship (AACF). Born in Seattle, attended Chinese Baptist and Japanese
Presby churches; moved to LA and as a parachurch person, have been involved
in a Japanese American church (3 yrs), a Chinese American church (8 yrs), and
now as a member of Evergreen Baptist Church (4 yrs). As a minister to Asian
American college students/campus ministers with AACF for 10 years, and while
at Fuller Seminary, working with a small team of Asian American Christians, I
continue to ponder what defines an Asian American ministry.

{2} From Fenggang Yang

Subj: Re: CAC Digest #9
Date: Tue, Sep 3, 1996 2:33* EDT
From: 54YANG@CUA.EDU
To: TSTseng@aol.com

Hi, Tim and every one,

I thought CAC would have been up on the listserv by now. I haven’t tried.

I want to add my 2 cents ideas about the scope of the list too. I think that
while a list limited to ABC ministry is too norrow, a list of AAs is too
broad. I prefer a list of Chinese American Christians.

Why is ABC ministry too narrow: again, there are not many Chinese churches
in the United States. In 1994 Ambassadors for Christ counted only less than
700 churches in the US. Even if we add those which were omited and those
established in the last two years the number may not be more than 1000. More
importantly, based on my personal observations, I see a majority of Chinese
churches in the U.S. are still numerically dominated by OBCs, and ABC
ministry is often only a part of the Chinese church. Without a good
understanding of the OBCs it will be difficult to do ABC ministries. I
understand that ABCs very much want autonomy or independence. However, their
relationships with OBCs are just too important for them to ignore. If my
info is correct, Dr. Samuel Ling once planted a church initially intending
for ABCs only, but later changed to a church receiving many OBCs as well. As
long as you label the church as “Chinese,” all Chinese will come to visit
and join, although the understanding of “Chineseness” can be very different.
Therefore, it’s better to include all Chinese Christians.

Why is AA ministry too broad: First, the ethnic cultures of so called “Asian
Americans” are quite distinctive. Second, the immigration experiences of
Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans have been quite different. While most of
Japanese Americans today are more likely third- or forth- generation persons,
the majority of Chinese in America are OBCs. Most Koreans are recent
immigrants in the last three decades. Third, their religious beliefs and
practices may vary to a great extent. For example, more than half Korean
immigrants were Christians upon arriving in the US, and another 25% joined a
Korean church after immigration. With about 75% Koreans as Christians,
Korean churches face the problem of church growth–not many Koreans left for
evangelism. Sociologically speaking, 75% is probably a maximum in the
religious economy, a free market with many competing religions in the United
States. Therefore, they have to open their church more for non-Koreans if
they want to continue to grow. However, only a small proportion of Chinese
immigrants were Christians. The majority of Chinese Christians are adult
converts who converted in the United States, I believe. The proportion of
Christians among Chinese in the US are only between 5 or 7% (Samule Ling’s
estimates) and 32% (according to a survey of Asian Americans in Chicago). To
me, it is just natural that Chinese churches focus their evangelistic
missions to ethnic Chinese. What is more important is that Chinese people
are very heterogeneous rather than homogeneous. They speak many dialects
mutually unintelligible, have distinctive subcultures, and also have very
different social-political backgrounds. Chinese unity out of Chinese
diversity is already a hard goal to achieve. There are plenty of problems
and distinctive concerns for Chinese Christian ministries at this historical
period. Therefore, I think we need to limit to Chinese Christians rather
than expand to include all AAs for now.

This is getting too long. I’ll stop here.
Fenggang Yang

Angry Yellow Men: Exploiting Asian discontent

CAC Digest #9 Aug. 29-Sept 2, 1996

{1} From Jeannette Yep ( jyep@ivpress.com)
Date: Fri, Aug 30, 1996 3:12* EDT
From: jyep@ivpress.com (Jeanette Yep)
To: tstseng@aol.com
CC: jyep@nwu.edu

Tim:

I just wanted to add my 2 bits about the nature of the CAC list. I appreciate
gaining the historical perspective. Since you, Sze-Kar and others thought
more broadly about Asian American Christians at the inception of this lists,
then why didn’t you begin your list with Asian Americans (AAs) as your target
group? If the goal is a “think-tank” network for AA Christian ministries,
then a name like “CAC” is too limiting and inaccurate. “Starting slowly” by
focussing on Chinese Americans may have been more deterministic than you may
have wanted! For example, if a group was called the “Korean American
Christian list” (which I’m sure exists somewhere in cyberspace!), I wouldn’t
feel as comfortable joining. Similiarly, when I’ve told some Korean American
friends about the “CAC” they have never wanted to subscribe. The “CAC” is a
self-limiting name. Of course, it’s OK to have a CAC list. But, I think there
are lots of similiarities in AA Christian world and I, for one, would like to
hear from some inside and outside of the Chinese church context. After all,
we can learn from each other.

On another vein, I’ve wondered, how many of the existing CAC subscribers are
currently invovled in a Chinese church? I wonder how many of us may be
“refugees” from the Chinese church experience? If the later is true,
broadening the subscriber group may be more inclusive and better
representative of those reading along on the CAC list.

My two bits.

Because I suspect you’ll transmit my comments to you to everyone, let me
introduce myself. I am Jeanette Yep, currently serving as divisional director
for InterVarsity in the Chicago area. I was born and raised in Boston,
attending the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church (BCEC). When I moved to
Chicago, I was a member of the of the Chinese Christian Union Church (CCUC)
for the past 15 years. Now, I’m involved in a fledgling Asian American church
plant, where our pastoral team of 3 includes 2 Korean-Americans and 1
Chinese-American. I’ve been involved in Asian American ministry to college
students in some way or another since my college days.

Yours for cyberspace,
Jeanette Yep

Jeanette Yep
IVP, P.O. Box 1400
Downers Grove, IL 60515
phone: 708-887-2510, ext. 280
fax: 708-887-2520

I’m in the IVP office about once a week. If it’s urgent, please leave me a
voice mail message or e-mail me at “jyep@nwu.edu”

{2} Tim replies:

Date: Mon, Sept 2, 1996 2:01 AM EDT
From: tstseng@aol.com
To: CAC Distribution List

Thanks for your intro, Jeanette. I’m delighted by the fact that you are on
the list!

You bring up a very good point (i.e., why we didn’t name ourselves the “Asian
American” Christian list). There was a pragmatic reason why we started off
with a Chinese emphasis. Those of us who started it were Chinese and did not
feel that we had the capability or contacts to start an Asian American list.
We did not want to immerse ourselves too quickly into discussions about a
pan-Asian form of American Christianity because we felt that there were many
issues that we’ve not even started to address as ethnic Chinese Christians.

I think it also shows the tenuous and ambivalent feelings that many have
about something called an “Asian American” identity. As you know, groups
like F.A.C.E. (Fellowship of American Chinese Evangelicals) have not been
comfortable with a pan-ethnic expression of faith. From what little I’ve
observed, what seems to unite Asian-Americans is their dislike of their first
generation church experience (e.g., your reference to being a “refugee” from
the Chinese church). I’d like to know what other compelling reasons brings
Asian-American Christians together. Wouldn’t a multi-racial church be more
idea than an Asian American “hybrid”? And do Asian American Christians
simply drop, dismiss, or ignore their particular ethnicity? Has being
Chinese, Korean, or Japanese become something that is merely symbolic for
second-fifth generation Asian Americans? Are Asian Americans a new ethnic
group?

Please don’t misunderstand – I’m one of those persons who wants to plant and
participate in Asian-American ministries (desperately, given my Denver
locale). I simply raise these questions to encourage thought about how and
why an Asian ethnic group can or should move from an ethnic-specific identity
towards one that is broader. In sum, there are many 2d-5th generation
Chinese Americans who still feel that there is something of value, something
to discuss, about the Chinese church in N. America who may be uncomfortable
with “Asian American” language (I’m not one of them).

It would also disappoint me if, say, a Korean American Christian, would not
be interested in our discussion list simply because of our name. Should not
persons committed to building Asian American Christian ministries express
interest in all the diverse particularities that we bring to the table? If I
knew of any Korean Christian discussion lists, I would want to join so thatI
can learn from them and share my perspectives as a 1.5 generation
Chinese-American. Furthermore, our list was never limited to Chinese
American members. Our discussion topics are certainly not limited to Chinese
topics. It seems that the burden of proof of who is authentically an
Asian-American may be placed unfairly upon those who still think that there
is something of value in our respective ethnicities.

Finally, it seems to me that there are two routes to building up something
called “Asian American Christianity.” The first is to cast off our ethnic
baggages and start over again with something that is inclusive of all AAs.
The second is to recognize the reality of our ethnic differences and do the
hard work of building an AA ministry from there. The former course tends to
forget history; the latter does not (perhaps, cannot) escape it. Perhaps the
two are an artificial distinction. But I don’t think we can walk one path
without also walking the other.

Thanks, Jeanette, for giving me a chance to reflect on your important point
and contribute my 2 cents worth. I hope that others will also share their
thoughts.

{3} From Greg Jao

Subj: Angry Yellow Men (fwd)
Date: Mon, Sep 2, 1996 11:04* EDT
From: gljao@midway.uchicago.edu (Gregory Li Jao)
To: TSTseng@aol.com (Timothy Tseng)

Tim,

A ministry colleague in IVCF forwarded this to me. I thought that you might
like it for CAC. (Alas! I can’t find the address of the list right now.)

Greg Jao

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Mon, 2 Sep 1996 14:07:52 -0400
From: HarryWLew@aol.com
Subject: Angry Yellow Men

Dear Colleagues,

Asian American college students do not see affirmative action as in their
best interests, and that fact is being exploited politically.

That’s the point of the following short article from this week’s THE NEW
REPUBLIC (Sept. 9, 1996, page 11) I think you will find an interesting read.
I hope it will add to your understanding of the students we are serving.

Yours in Christ,
Harry Lew
Grand Rapids

* * * * *

ANGRY YELLOW MEN
Exploiting Asian discontent
By Kenneth Lee

This past March, Bob Dole delivered his only anti-affirmative action speech
of the primaries. “We ought to do away with preferences. This is America. It
ought to be based on merit,” he told a cheering crowd of 2,000. But his
audience contained few if any angry white males. Dole was speaking in Little
Saigon, in the heart of Southern California’s Vietnamese-American community.

Why this audience? After all, as racial minorities, Asians benefit from
affirmative action in numerous areas, such as federal contracting. Most Asian
American civil rights groups, seeking alliances with more established
counterparts such as the NAACP and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund,
lobby hard to keep racial preferences in place. As Daphne Kwok of the
Organization of Chinese Americans puts it, “We work with other minority
groups because we’re politically young, and there’s strength in numbers.”

According to a 1993 poll conducted by the California Policy Seminar, however,
two-thirds of Asians oppose affirmative action. Hostility to preferences in
higher education is particularly strong. In 1989, several disgruntled Asian
Americans filed complaints with the federal Office of Civil Rights, accusing
the University of California, Berkeley, of discriminating against Asian
students. Ira M. Heyman, then Berkeley’s chancellor, apologized for the
rigged admissions policy and pledged to reform it. Yet a racial disparity
still exists: the average Asian freshman in 1994 had an average SAT score of
1293 and a 3.9 GPA, compared to 1256 and 3.86 for whites and 3.43 and 994 for
blacks. According to a poll conducted by the National Conference of
Christians and Jews, Asians say they have more in common with whites than
with blacks or Latinos.

Take Allan Ng. Ng had an A average in high school and scored in the top 2
percent on his SATs but was rejected by several Ivy League schools. When he
learned that several of his black classmates had been accepted with lower
grades and test scores, he got angry. “I’m from an immigrant family, and my
parents never had the opportunity to discriminate. Why should I pay for past
discrimination?” he asks. Ng has become a staunch opponent of racial
preferences, writing anti-affirmative action polemics for his college
newspaper at the University of Virginia and distributing them through the
Internet. What Ng says publicly, many Asians feel privately. When students at
the University of California at Irvine held a hunger strike to protest the
Board of Regents’ decision to abolish racial preferences, hardly any Asians
took part, although they constitute more than half of the school’s
population.

In this resentment, conservatives see opportunity. “There’s no doubt that
Republicans can run on a platform of fairness and use this issue to get the
Asian vote,” says Jerry Reynolds of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a
conservative think tank. “Any time racial preferences are used, there’s a
victim. And in California, the victim often has an Asian face.” The Angry
Yellow Male may not have the political clout of the Angry White Male–Asians
represent only 1 percent of the electorate–but Asians are America’s fastest
growing ethnic group; they will probably outnumber blacks by 2020. Right now
they don’t lean heavily toward either party. Focusing on Asians provides the
GOP with indirect benefits as well, inoculating the party’s anti-affirmative
action crusade against charges of racism.

In California, where Asians represent 10 percent of the population, backers
of this year’s big affirmative action referendum, the California Civil Rights
Initiative, have made special efforts to woo the Angry Yellow Male vote. The
measure’s supporters have deliberately showcased yellow faces in their
campaign–an ironic, even cynical, use of race-conscious means to abolish
race-conscious policies. The campaign has tapped prominent Asians to publicly
support the initiative, such as Lester Lee, the first Chinese-American to
serve as a University of California Regent. It has also appointed special
liaisons to the Asian community. And it’s manned an array of booths at ethnic
parades and gatherings, where volunteers hand out anti-affirmative action
op-ed pieces–authored, of course, by Asian Americans. In one such editorial
for the paper Heterodoxy, Matthew Tsien, an Asian American activist, writes,
“Asians do face real discrimination, but it is caused far more often by
racial engineering than by white racism…. [Asians are] being turned away
for university enrollment because quota requirements have been filled and
room has to be made for students from other ethnic groups with dramatically
lower test scores.”

Such rhetoric leaves Asian civil rights groups on the defensive. “College
admissions is a complex issue,” says Henry Der, deputy superintendent of the
California Department of Education and former director of Chinese for
Affirmative Action. “Asian students have a lot of choices [in schools] even
if they don’t get into schools like Berkeley.” Black and Latino activists
tend to leave Asians out of the equation altogether, charging that an end to
preferences would mean a return to “lily-white universities.” But elite
schools won’t become all white again; they’ll end up mostly white and Asian.
At Berkeley, abolishing affirmative action will actually increase Asian
enrollment.

Asian Americans are caught between policies that limit their admission to
select colleges and opportunistic conservatives who see in them a way to
further a larger social agenda. Is there a way out? One Asian student at
Berkeley has a suggestion: “Maybe we should be opportunistic and use
Republicans to get what we want–get rid of affirmative action.”

(Copyright 1996, The New Republic)

{4} From Dr. Samuel Ling, re: {1}

From: “Dr Samuel Ling”
Subject: Re: CAC Digest #9
Date: 9/3/96 7:47 AM

Dear everyone,

I think Jeannette’s comments are well taken, and Jeannette, your
suspicion is correct, I read it!!

Do we need a “new” round of self-introductions? Your comment about
refugees vs. permanent residents in the Chinese/Asian church is very
well taken. Let’s get to know each other.

Sam Ling
China Horizon, PO Box 4919, Wheaton, L 60187
email: Samuel.Ling@wheaton.edu
phone: 630-752-5951
FAX: 630-752-5916
Sam

{5} Ken Fong reply to {1}

From: Ken Fong
Date: 9/4/96 1:03 AM

Ken Fong comments to JY and TT:
Hey, Jeanette, I thought I recognized your ‘voice.’ You and TT both
make good points. Given my precarious position on the ‘edge’ of AAA and
AAA-based multi-ethnic ministry, I definitely find the CAC label too
confining, yet I acknowledge that focusing more on the ‘edge’ will
result in ignoring the ‘center,’ i.e., first-gen Asian issues. What I
offer is really not a solution so much as it is a resignation, e.g.,
instead of trying to have one gigantic circle where every single aspect
of AA ministry is covered weakly if at all, for practical purposes,
allow natural ‘clumps’ to zero in on aspects that speak to the heart of
their particular circumstances. I’m all for ongoing intergenerational
dialogue, but I need to hear from people like the Parkwood folks since
their vision is so close to ours.

In some ways, maybe “Asian American” is becoming the new name for
ethnically fuzzier Asians in America in much the same way that
“American” became the catch-all for equivalently fuzzy Europeans in
America. Maybe “AA” is a functional and increasingly more accurate
label for a type of “melting pot” American. Enough for now. Time to
drool into my pillow. G’night. Ken Fong