Asians emerge

An award-winning Chinese-American journalist and former executive editor of Ms. magazine spoke April 6 at the Veranda to a group of about 85 about Asians’ place in the American landscape.

Helen Zia, author of the recent “Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People,” Zia said she wrote the book because the Asian-American community, the fastest-growing segment of the United States population, had reached a “critical mass.”

As in her book, Zia interwove Asian-American history and her own personal stories in her talk (sponsored by the Asian American Studies Department and Greenfield Intercultural Center). She said she was dismayed by recent allegations of Chinese spying, when the images of Asians, she felt, were catapulted back to the days of the “Yellow Peril.”

With their increased numbers, Asians no longer have to live “in the shadows” of American society, she said. Noting her own change from a “silent and obedient student” to a vocal activist, Zia said, “In changing the world, we also change ourselves.”


Originally published on April 20, 2000