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Archive for July, 2009

Behind the name: Binghui Huang

What’s in a name?

Complicated question, but ask Binghui Huang and the answer is simple: Cultural, social and self-identity.

Sill, asking the 19-year-old, “What’s your name?” raises more questions.

That’s because Huang’s Massachusetts driver’s license and Northwestern University ID card give a first name of Binghui, while she introduces herself to people as Cindy. And that’s not about to change. Read the rest of this entry »

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Does a diverse nation need a diverse media?

Hamsa Ramesha by Hamsa Ramesha

We’ve all heard the doom facing mainstream media: the downfall of print, the flawed money-making model of online, and the get-it-free attitude debate over the future of print and the Web. Still, even with today’s financial woes, one part of the journalism business is poised to thrive – ethnic media.

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Hindi lyrics + Western jazz = A love song

 

Gaurav Venkateswar has been writing music since he was 13 years old.  He began playing the keyboard at 6.  In the third grade he started piano lessons, and in the fourth he started singing.  “I really didn’t want to learn to sing,” Gaurav, now 27, said. “I was very shy.  I was kind of pushed into doing it and didn’t really resist.”

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Gaurav Venkateswar began writing his own music at age 13. (PHOTO COURTESY OF GAURAV VENKATESWAR)

30 things to do before turning 30: What’s on your list?

To-do lists, shopping lists, Christmas lists, people-I’ve-kissed lists—the list goes on. Books to read, places to visit, places I’ve been. People may accomplish little, or none, of the things on them, but the compulsion to create lists is reflected even on iTunes, where several pages of iPhone apps help people keep lists for just about anything. There’s a whole Craigslist, for just about anything we want—or want to get rid of—and I can’t think of many e-commerce sites that don’t have a wishlist option. In fact, I’ll guess that more than half of you reading this have an Amazon wishlist. There are even books on Amazon about lists!
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Behind the name: Anthonia Akitunde

People often correct Anthonia Akitunde when she tells them to call her “Tomi.”

“Don’t you mean Toni, short for Anthonia?” they ask. Perhaps surprisingly, they also question the “h” in Anthonia.

They don’t know that Tomi is short for Oluwatomi, Akitunde’s given, Nigerian first name. And until the fifth grade, she was Tomi, especially to her parents, immigrants who passed their cultural pride on to her. Read the rest of this entry »

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A new frontier for ethnic media

Hamsa Ramesha by Hamsa Ramesha

The Good: Ethnic media readership is growing

The Great: Which means ethnic media can reach more people and grow too

The Even Better: Which means more coverage of issues related to these minority groups

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Behind the name: Kris Merritt

Kris Tanoo Merritt is Mike Merritt’s half-brother. They share a Thai mother, who married Kris’ Caucasian father in Thailand before immigrating to the States, and have four other siblings – one of whom is Kris’ twin brother, David. Read the rest of this entry »

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Am I a Twinkie or a banana? ‘Cause I’m not Fresh off the Boat

What do a Twinkie and a banana have in common? OK, there is the fact that the delectable cake originally boasted a banana-crème filling and both are yellow on the outside and white on the inside.

Like an Asian-American! Read the rest of this entry »

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PHOTO VIA iSTOCK

Preview: Muslim-American voices

With college behind them, today’s Muslim-Americans tiptoe toward adulthood and find themselves in a position different from their immigrant parents and even those born in the United States decades before them.

This generation, now in their 20s, grew up amid Muslim student organizations, contemporary Islamic teachings and the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.   Read the rest of this entry »

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South Asian Journalism Convention

Hamsa Ramesha by Hamsa Ramesha

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A grits and corn kind of Asian: How one Thai-American grew to embrace his roots on his nametag

Mike Merritt chuckles that people are often surprised when they meet him in person. It’s not that there’s anything unusual or off-putting about the 41-year-old Texan’s physical features or personality. People just don’t make the name-face connection until their first encounter with him. Read the rest of this entry »

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A temple tour

Earlier this month, I visited the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in south suburban Lemont, primarily to see the actual setting where many traditional wedding ceremonies take place. Already this year the temple has hosted about 65 weddings.
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The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in Lemont, Ill., seems to come out of nowhere. (PHOTO BY LESLIE PATTON)

Can we ever help the stigma go away?

Mental health is a thorny issue, and public attitude isn’t a whole lot different than it was 50 years ago: A person suffering mental health problems is probably nice enough, at arm’s length.
In researching mental health in the U.S. for a larger story, I spoke with a researcher at Indiana University who specializes in the stigma associated with mental health problems. Sadly, in comparing her data from a 1996 study to ones done in the 1950s and another in the 1970s, Bernice Pescosolido found that stigma hasn’t gone anywhere. The good news: It hasn’t increased. The bad: It hasn’t decreased – at all.

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Sotomayor’s success sheds light on continued inequality

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to approve Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is expected to be confirmed next week as the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice and the third female justice in the court’s history. As the spotlight shines on Sotomayor such great strides bring to light continued inequality.  With race. With gender.

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PHOTO BY FLICKER

Half of HIV-positive gay men in Chicago don’t know they’re infected

Three decades after the start of the AIDS epidemic, gay men in Chicago are still battling HIV at alarmingly high rates. And many infected men don’t even know they’re fighting it. Read the rest of this entry »

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The survey involved random testing of more than 500 gay men at events such as the Gay Pride Parade, shown here in 2009. PHOTO BY BILL HEALY

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