Dr. Kendall Brown is Professor of Asian Art History at California State University Long Beach. He also recently served as Curator of Collections, Exhibitions and Programs at Pacific Asia Museum. Dr. Brown publishes actively in several areas of Japanese art. He is the author of Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America (Tuttle, 2013); Kawase Hasui: The Complete Woodblock Prints (Hotei, 2003); and Visions of Japan: Kawase Hasui’s Masterpieces (2004). Dr. Brown’s curatorial and prose contributions to exhibition catalogues include Shin Hanga: New Prints in Modern Japan (LACMA, 1996); Light in Darkness: Women in Japanese Prints of Early Showa (1926-1945); Between Two Worlds: the Life and Art of Lilian May Miller (Pacific Asia Museum, 1998); A Japanese Legacy: Four Generations of Yoshida Family Artists (Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2002); and Taisho Chic: Japanese Modernity, Nostalgia and Deco (Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2002). He received a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University.
Free Admission. Seating is limited and reservations are recommended.
At the 14th Annual Korematsu Lecture Series, presented by the NYU Asian-Pacific American Law Students Association, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law Kenji Yoshino spoke about the phenomenon of ‘covering,’ discussed at length in his first book, Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights. The Korematsu Lecture Series, since 2000, has recognized Asian Americans whose work challenges legal boundaries and serves as an inspiration to all people of color.
Professor Kenji Yoshino touched upon his extensive research regarding the frequency of incidence and perceived impact of covering. As opposed to “passing,” the practice of concealing a part of one’s identity in order to present as a member of the dominant major, “covering” differs in that a person who covers is unable to completely conceal that part of his or her identity so must instead downplay qualities associated with it. In Prof. Yoshino’s words, “covering” is a tax that minorities have to pay in response to a much less visible second-wave discrimination. Examining both the demand and the performance of covering, the research explores whether certain professional organizations live up to their stated values of inclusion. Asking the question of whether certain groups feel as though they must cover in order to be successful and have their successes attributed to their personal qualities rather than their race, Prof. Yoshino identified four kinds of covering: (1) appearance-based covering (e.g. a black woman straightens her hair to downplay her race), (2) affiliation-based covering that avoids behaviors associated with identity (e.g. a mother avoids talking about her children because she does not want her co-workers to believe she is less committed to work), (3) advocacy-based covering that determines how much a person ‘sticks up’ for their group (e.g. a veteran lets a military joke slide lest he or she be seen as strident), and (4) association-based covering (e.g. a gay man does not bring his partner to work functions so as not to be seen as ‘too gay’).
In many ways, Prof. Yoshino’s research brings together many groups who feel the need to cover their identity, including the often elevated or demonized straight white males who feel they have to cover other factors, such as their socioeconomic background or their veteran status. At the same time, his findings also reveal the differences in impact respectively felt by members of different groups. Whereas most people feel the impact of covering, racial groups feel the impact to a greater degree, with no one impacted more than women of color who must simultaneously play down both their gender and race.
Here are some of the ways you could say I am “white”: I listen to National Public Radio. I have few close friends “of color." I furnish my condo a la Crate & Barrel. I vacation in charming bed-and-breakfasts. I have never once been the victim of blatant discrimination. I am a member of several exclusive institutions. I have been in the inner sanctums of political power. I have been there as something other than an attendant. I have the ambition to return. I am a producer of the culture. I expect my voice to be heard. I speak flawless, unaccented English. I subscribe to Foreign Affairs. I do not mind when editorialists write in the first person plural. I do not mind how white television casts are. I am not too ethnic. I am wary of minority militants. I consider myself neither in exile nor in opposition. I am considered “a credit to my race.”
– Eric Liu, The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker
"The loudest duck gets shot,” laughed Prof. Yoshino. Underscoring a dark history of discrimination, Prof. Yoshino explained how Asian Americans occupy a liminal space in which they are seen both as “honorary whites” and perpetual foreigners. Asian Americans cover or reverse-cover in numerous ways, either feeling pressure to live up to the model minority myth or feeling pressure to perform and act in certain ways to emphasize their Asian American identity. Professional Asian women are the least likely to have children. Asian Americans cover on the issue of age, often engaging in behaviors like wearing glasses or dressing conservatively in order to appear older and more authoritative.
(Above: Prof. Kenji Yoshino and former student and AABANY member George Hang.)
“Covering” gives a name to the phenomenon, which gives a person the tools to self-diagnose and consciously uncover. What is called for now by Prof. Yoshino’s research is self-reflection within organizations and communities. Having leaders who do not have to downplay their identities works to dismantle the harmful associations which might lead a person of color, mother, or other marginalized person to cover.
Prof. Yoshino closed with his own uncovering story: his own title, previously the “Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law” at NYU, had been a delicate issue in accepting his position. A Japanese American, Kenji Yoshino had been wary of taking on the title of the man who as Attorney General commissioned the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. After much deliberation, the offer was again extended to Prof. Yoshino, appending the words “Chief Justice” – after the initial confusion, Prof. Yoshino learned that later in life as Chief Justice, Earl Warren had recanted and expressed his deep regret that he had ever done such a dishonorable action. In the spirit of the Chief Justice, Prof. Yoshino accepted the position – his research works to change perceptions and increase cultural awareness for the better, and that deeply matters, even over the course of one lifetime.
Special thanks to Prof. Kenji Yoshino, the NYU Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, and Hanah Kim and Ted Kim of the Korematsu Committee for continuing the tradition of education and inspiration!
Many of you probably will immediately answer, “No,” as I have. It is often difficult to fathom that we have biases and prejudices because we have fought so hard all our lives against them. But sometimes, the effects are so subtle, that they go unnoticed. Sam Yoon compares this to a medical condition he suffers from, which creates a blind spot in his eyes. The only way to tell whether the blind spot exists is for him to take a special exam.
Thankfully, social psychologist Anthony Greenwald developed the Implicit Association Test to explore the group-based preferences and stereotypes that may not be accessible to our conscious awareness. And it doesn’t require a visit to the doctor’s office. You can complete the test in front of your computer in less than 10 minutes.
We invite you to test your own thoughts and feelings that exist outside of your conscious awareness or conscious control. Are you suffering from a blind spot? Sam and I were surprised with our own results. After taking the test, please share your thoughts at KALCA’s facebook page. In order to share your experience, we advise that you at least complete the “Asian-IAT” test. Discuss the results. We look forward to hearing from you.
The Asian American / Asian Research Institute invites you to an Evening Lecture Series talk, The Power of Listening: Hearing Voiceless Voices, by Rev. Dr. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki, on Friday, March 14, 2014, from 6pm to 8pm, at 25 West 43rd Street, 10th Floor, Room 1000, between 5th & 6th Avenues, Manhattan. This talk is free and open to the general public.
Rev. Dr. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki believes that Asian values such as “listening” are as valuable as the western values of “talking." "Express yourself” seems to be the way of Western society, but this tends to create a more selfish society with little respect for others, and inattention towards people who don’t express themselves strongly. Rev. Nakagaki will discuss the need to develop more mutual-understanding and mutual-respect among different cultures, religions and ethnicity, through listening and learning from others. Listening is the way to respect and learn from others. This nurtures kindness and compassion towards others who are also members of society.
Rev. Dr. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki, D. Min. is a Buddhist priest, ordained in the 750-year-old Jodoshinshu tradition of Japanese Buddhism. He is President of the Buddhist Council of New York, a Vice President of The Interfaith Center of New York, Clergy-on-Call for Columbia University, Community Clergy Liason for the NYC Police Dept., and Religious Advisor to the Japanese-American Lions Club.
Since 1994, Rev. Nakagaki has organized an Interfaith Peace event to commemorate the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. He organized the annual 9-11 WTC Memorial Floating Lanterns Ceremony from 2002-2011. Rev. Nakagaki is also the author of two books in Japanese: “No Worry, No Hurry, Eat Curry: New York Bozu Indo o Aruku” (A Buddhist Monk Walks in India, published by Gendai Shokan, 2003) and “Manhattan Bozu Tsurezure Nikki” (Diary of Manhattan Monk, published by Gendai Shokan, June 2010).
To RSVP for this talk, please visit www.aaari.info/14-03-14Nakagaki.htm. Please be prepared to present ID to the security desk upon entering the building. If you are unable to attend, live webcast of the talk is available on the AAARI website starting at 6:15PM EST, with post-live video and audio podcast the following week.
For details on all of AAARI’s upcoming events, please visit www.aaari.info.
On behalf of The Joseph and Gwendolyn Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law & Justice, you are cordially invited to attend a lecture, part of The Straus Public Lectures Series:
“The Grand Challenges of Implicit Social Cognition and the Law”
Jerry Kang Straus Fellow, David M. Friedman Fellow, NYU School of Law; Professor of Law and Asian American Studies (by courtesy), UCLA _________________________________ Date:Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
Lecture Synopsis:Recent findings in experimental social psychology have demonstrated the existence of “implicit biases”–attitudes and stereotypes that we are neither aware of nor necessarily endorse. Social scientists have also discovered “stereotype threat”–that negative stereotypes can undermine performance when an individual believes that by doing poorly she will confirm those very stereotypes about the groups to which she belongs. In this talk, Professor Jerry Kang will survey the science of implicit biases and stereotype threat with emphasis on real-world consequences. Then, he will explore their implications for law, policy, and legal theory. Along the way, Prof. Kang will outline what he sees as the field’s “Grand Challenges” for the next quarter century.
The lecture is open to the public; please feel free to spread the word about the event.
Burt Neuborne, Inez Milholland Professor of Civil Liberties and founding legal director of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, will be delivering Cooper Union’s John Jay Iselin Memorial Lecture Series on The United States Constitution.
The lecture series begin on Thursday, October 4, and run every Thursday evening (except for November 22) from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., ending on December 13. The lecture series is supported in part by the New York State Archives Partnership Trust and will take place in Cooper Union’s historic Great Hall located at 7 East 7th Street, New York, New York.
The lecture series is free, but registration is required. If you would like to take this opportunity to register online, please visit http://cooperunion.eventbrite.com.
For more information on the lectures, please visit the Cooper Union website at http://cooper.edu.