The first image you see when you go to Phil Yu’s blog, AngryAsianMan.com, is an Asian G.I. Joe.
Through the blog, Yu has worked over the past 10 years to bring issues that significantly impact the Asian American community to America. He was at Yale on Saturday to speak as part of a lecture series hosted by the Korean American Student Conference — KASCON.
In person, Yu was not so angry.
We talked with him after his presentation about the Asian stereotype, what it means to be American and his aspirations beyond blogging.
Q. So Phil, can you explain what the Asian stereotype is in America?
A. There is certainly the stereotype that Asians are very quiet and passive and not really engaged in what is going on, kind of stick to themselves, keeping their heads down, and not really willing to rock the boat.
Q. How much truth do you think is in that?
A. There is certainly some truth to that, some Asians are like that, but I know for a fact that a lot of Asians are not, they’re very vocal, and they can get angry about issues affecting their community. It’s part of the reason why I called my blog Angry Asian Man, because that idea of the Angry Asian is very confrontational, people don’t really normally associate the two words together, and so when people see that, it’s in-your-face provocative.
Q. As a second generation American, do you consider yourself more Asian or more American?
A. I don’t believe that I live in a space where you have to be one or the other. They sort of are fluid. I certainly consider myself American. I was born here, this is really all I know, and what informs that experience is obviously my Asian American upbringing, my Korean American upbringing. It informs my identity, but it also informs the larger American experience, I think. A large part of what I try to convince people of is that there is no one American experience, as much as some people would like to force that upon somebody, there’s no one kind of Asian American…you’re not just one or the other.
Q. What is it like running a blog? Where do you get your inspiration?
A. A lot of it just has to do with the things that I’m interested in, what would I want to read about you know, come across things on the internet, in the news, and the media, reading the links and articles, responding to them. I watch a lot of television, and spend a lot of time with other people who are also plugged in, and share links and things like that.
Q. You mentioned that you might write a book. What would it be about?
A. I don’t know. It really would be just being reflective of a lot of the issues that I’ve come across in the course of running the site, in running the blog itself, issues surrounding having a media personality and having a blog…it would largely be about the various issues and events that have happened that I’ve talked about on the blog.