Brandon Tsay, Biden's State of the Union guest, says he's still processing Monterey Park shooting
Asian American creatives say disclosing their layoffs to their families can be complicated
“Asian Americans recorded the fastest population growth rate among all racial and ethnic groups in the United States, study finds.”
While this statistic may seem optimistic, there’s more to the story. The growth of the Asian American population in the U.S. has occurred in tandem with increased reports of discrimination and violence since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
As our community grows, we are getting louder, we are telling our authentic stories…and we are making news headlines.
Welcome to Crushing the Myth, a weekly newsletter that breaks down the latest AAPI news & newsmakers.
🏆 The Headlines
Brandon Tsay, Biden's State of the Union guest, says he's still processing Monterey Park shooting — “In my environment, growing up, I feel that I was reinforced [with] the idea that I should … be strong, keep your feelings bottled up and try to be the male, dominant person in your house,” Brandon Tsay said about how he's processing the tragedy.
Following the shooting tragedy in Monterey Park, California, last month, victims’ families say they will use their spotlight as guests at the State of the Union to discuss the impact of gun violence on their Asian American community.
Brandon Tsay, who is attending as President Biden’s guest and who disarmed a mass shooter at a packed dance hall, said he’s had to contend with subsequent trauma from the incident.
“I still live in an anxious, fearful state where I want to project my feelings and emotions to connect with other human beings. And currently, I found the strength to find some professional help,” Tsay, 26, told NBC News, saying that he has attended several therapy sessions since the tragedy.
Tsay said that seeking help isn’t common in the Asian American community, but the shooting has changed his perspective.
“In my environment, growing up, I feel that I was reinforced [with] the idea that I should … be strong, keep your feelings bottled up and try to be the male, dominant person in your house,” Tsay said. “But now that I have somewhat had time to process, I know now that I need to seek professional help because these feelings that came about with this situation are too much of a burden to bear by myself.”
Asian American creatives say disclosing their layoffs to their families can be complicated — In a time of high-profile layoffs, children of immigrants say talking about being laid off can be hard when their families questioned their career paths in creative fields in the first place.
When Joy Woo first started in the entertainment business as an executive assistant, her family didn’t understand how the industry worked, and “it wasn’t something they were proud of, or could brag to their friends about.”
But when Woo, a 27-year-old living in Los Angeles, was laid off in December from her studio, she started debating whether she should leave the industry entirely. “It was my second time getting laid off in entertainment,” she said. “I wondered — what am I doing wrong? Is this a reflection of me?” But along with the self-critique came the worries about how her family would respond. “My family members might question why I’m pursuing this career path,” Woo added.
Woo was most concerned about telling her grandfather, who was one of her main caretakers growing up. “My mother told me not to tell my grandfather, so I kept my layoff news from him,” she said. As she had predicted, when her grandfather found out, he was shocked and asked: "Why are you in this industry?”
Disclosing news about layoffs and the career changes that follow can present a set of obstacles for Asian Americans in creative fields if their jobs aren’t considered traditionally stable by family members’ standards, many workers and experts say.
Diem M. Nguyen, a clinical psychologist who practices in both New York and California and who focuses on intergenerational issues in her therapy sessions, said she notices Asian Americans often deal with the tension between following their creative passions and meeting familial expectations. “Clients really struggle with taking risks due to pressures in their family systems,” she said.
Mental health practitioners like her describe the unique stressors that Asian American creatives may face from family members during periods of job instability. She said that these stressors mostly stem from a misalignment in lived experiences. She explained: “It’s not ill-intentioned. Older Asian American family members often move through the world with a survivalist approach. They place a strong emphasis in taking the secure, rational route, and want assurance that their children’s careers will provide tangible security.”
Biden's about to have a Cabinet opening. Asian American lawmakers have a favorite. — Julie Su, now deputy secretary of labor, is gaining early momentum on Capitol Hill. But she's not the only one in the mix.
Asian American lawmakers pushed hard for Julie Su to join the Cabinet two years ago, only to fall short. Now they’re preparing to try again.
Marty Walsh’s expected departure from the helm of the Labor Department is reviving a lobbying blitz by Asian American members of Congress for more diversity in President Joe Biden’s top adviser ranks. And they’re embracing Su, who’s now the deputy secretary, for the top job.
What’s not clear yet, though, is whether Asian American lawmakers will play the same type of hardball they attempted in 2021, when they courted a showdown with the White House over its failure to tap an AAPI secretary for the Cabinet. After Biden ultimately passed over Su for Walsh, then Boston’s mayor, Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) later vented their broader discontent with a vow to slow-walk many of his nominees — and ended up accepting the appointment of a senior Asian American Pacific Islander liaison and other commitments in response.
This time, they’re hoping they can avoid a fight.
“It’s the first administration in 20 years without an [Asian American Pacific Islander] Cabinet secretary … This is the first chance they have to diversify the Cabinet,” Duckworth said. “So I’m waiting to see. Hopefully they will nominate her or an AAPI.”
A Squarely Mediocre Asian American Male Character — finally! Will Sharpe plays Ethan Spiller on Season 2 of HBO’s “The White Lotus.” Ethan is a departure from traditional Asian male representation on TV.
A Wild New ‘Joy Ride’ — The film, directed by “Crazy Rich Asians” co-writer Adele Lim, follows a group of friends played by actresses including Ashley Park and Oscar-nominated Stephanie Hsu as they embark on a journey across Asia.
A new spy thriller — Daniel Dae Kim to produce and lead spy thriller series ‘Butterfly’ for Amazon Studios
🏢 Cities spotlight
ft. NYC’s East Harlem — Find out why Asian Americans are moving to NYC’s East Harlem
ft. San Francisco’s Chinatown — San Francisco’s Chinatown to introduce multilingual parking pay stations
🕊️ Monterey Park Follow-Up
Asians in California more fearful than other groups of becoming gun violence victims — A UCLA study finds they are more worried than other racial and ethnic groups.
Los Angeles County passes new gun control measures after Monterey Park mass shooting — One of the motions aims to stop the sale of .50 caliber firearms and ammunition in unincorporated areas and prohibits carrying firearms on public property
✍️, Lea @ Crushing the Myth
Good piece on Joy Woo and her entertainment career & being laid off Lea!