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An Insider's View of the Asian American Mosaic.

People of Asian descent play a significant role in shaping the American experience, although the mainstream media have been slow to acknowledge it, writes William Wong in his new book, "Yellow Journalist: Dispatches from Asian America." The 60-year-old journalist uses essays, columns and commentaries to provide an insider's view of the mosaic of experiences of Asian Americans.

Wong, who has written for the San Francisco Examiner; The Wall Street Journal and Asian Week, reflects on the intricacies and breadth of contemporary Asian Americans. "The overriding theme of this collection is the courage, forbearance, tenacity; survival skills, and humanity shown by people from east and southeast Asia who never allowed racism and hatred to deter them from winning a rightful place in the American sun," he writes.

In one essay, Wong, an Oakland, Calif., native of Chinese descent, discusses the impact of Tiger Woods' victory in the 1997 Masters golf tournament. "Little was made of the fact he was the first person of Asian descent to break the Masters' color barrier," he writes. Woods identifies himself as "Cablinasian," a mix of African American, Asian, Native American and Caucasian. Wong explains that "Within Asian American circles, in fact, there is an unspoken burning desire among some to capture the attention and respect of the American public.... To do so would mean validation of one's worth in this society; which has had a history of excluding and disrespecting people of Asian descent."

Woods' victory meant "someone who had even a partial Asian background had triumphed in an endeavor that had heretofore been the province of well-to-do white men, most of whom are so used to their station in life they figure it's a birthright," writes Wong.

"Yellow Journalist: Dispatches from Asian America" is published by Temple University Press in Philadelphia.
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Title Annotation:Review; books
Author:Williams, Stephanie
Publication:The Chicago Reporter
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 1, 2001
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