Asian Lives Matter: Knowledge is Power

Asian American Lives Matter

Raised in a small town predominantly populated by Caucasians as Asian Americans, facing racial slurs was commonplace for us. Due to ignorance and/or fear of the unknown, our race was the cause of the contempt we had to deal with! The Xenophobia faced by many Asians during the coronavirus pandemic, brings this to the forefront once again. The pandemic having originated in Wuhan, China and Trump calling it the “Chinese virus” are adding flames to the fire. Even those who are not Chinese (Koreans, Vietnamese, etc.) are faced with this!

Learning, listening, reading and understanding what the Asian race is about will go a long way towards eradicating the Xenophobia Asian Americans are still facing. To #WashTheHate, we have compiled a list of material of which you can choose to enlighten yourself with.


Book: All You Can Ever Know

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

The author, a Korean-American adoptee, always believed her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes of giving her a better life. However, as she became older she began to wonder if the tale she had been told had been sugar-coated to comfort her. Within the pages of this book, she takes us on a journey of self-discovery while trying to uncover the truth about her birth family. This adventure coincides with the birth of her own child. For anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong, this book is indispensable reading material.

Book: America In the Heart

America Is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan

First published in 1943, this autobiography written by well-known Filipino poet Carlos Bulosan describes his boyhood in the Philippines. It depicts his voyage to America, describing his years of hardship and despair as a nomadic laborer never in one place for long.

Asian American Book: American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Jin Wang starts at a new school where he’s the only Chinese-American student. When a boy from Taiwan joins his class, Jin is trying to assimilate into the All-American culture and doesn’t want to be associated with an FOB like him. Danny is that All-American white boy Jin wants to become. However, he is profoundly ashamed of his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee who displays many of the unpalatable Chinese racist stereotypes. The third protagonist is the Monkey King who has lived for thousands of years and mastered the arts of kung fu and the heavenly disciplines. He’s ready to join the ranks of the immortal gods in heaven but there is no place for him. Each of these characters cannot be taken in silo, but how can they possibly work together to help each other? You’ll have to read this book to find out!

Book: Brave, Not Perfect

Brave, Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani 

The author of this international bestseller urges women to embrace imperfection to live a bolder, more authentic life. She encourages her readers to stop letting their fears drown out their dreams. Within the chapters of this book, Saujani shares powerful insights and practices to help us let go of our need for perfection to make bravery a lifelong habit.

Book: Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

This New York Times bestselling novel became a hit movie in 2018.  It tells the tale of a New Yorker who agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend. However, he forgot to mention that he was born into a wealthy, affluent family and is the country’s most eligible bachelor.

Book: Dear Girls

Dear Girls by Comedian Ali Wong

A New York Times Best Seller, it is a book of Ali Wong’s heartfelt and hilarious letters to her daughters. The letters cover everything they need to know about life. It includes the unpleasant details of dating, how to be a working mom in a male-dominated profession and how she trapped their dad.

Book: Good Talk

Good Talk by Mira Jacob

Within this book, the author rehashs discussions about identity, race, and relationships with her inquisitive 6-year-old son and other people in her life.

Asian American Book: I Was Their American Dream

I Was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib

This book is a reminder of the immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children. It brings to life the author’s teenage antics while shining a light on questions about identity and culture which many of us first generation Asian Americans have.

Book: Minor Feelings

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong

This biographical work consists of seven essays and is “part memoir and part cultural criticism.” The underlying subject which binds these essays together is Hong’s theory of “minor feelings.” She uses her own story to delve into a deeper understanding of racial consciousness in America today.

Book: Pachinko

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

War, displacement, and colonialism is the untold story of millions of Asian immigrant families, including my own. However, rarely have these stories been told in the voices and about the sacrifices of the women who held it all together. Within the chapters of this book, the author depicts how a Korean woman’s family is trying to survive thru all this.

Book: The Joy Luck Club

Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Written in 1989, this book focuses on four Chinese American immigrant families in San Francisco who start a club known as The Joy Luck Club. They are seen throughout the book playing mahjong for money while feasting on a variety of foods. Within the chapters, the three mothers and four daughters share stories about their lives.

Book: The Making of Asian American

The Making of Asian America by Erika Lee

This published work, tells the little-known history of Asian Americans and their role in American life. It depicts the first Asian arrivals to the Americas to the present-day and how they survived.

Book: The Woman Warrior

The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston

Throughout the pages of this book, the author intertwines reality and fantasy to show her lack of belonging. She relates her experience growing up as an outsider in America and to her family’s history in China as well. Very similar to the way many Asian Americans feel but do not put into writing.

Book: Vietnamerica - A Family's Journey

Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey  by G.B. Tran

This graphic tale depicts a young man’s journey back to his family’s homeland of Vietnam. In relating his family’s story, GB finds his own place in this saga of hardship and heroism. Vietnamerica is a visually stunning unforgettable portrait of survival, escape, and reinvention. It tells of the gift of the American dream, passed on through the generations.


Documentary: Asian Americans

“Asian Americans” on PBS

This documentary series consists of five episodes. They explore the impact of Asian Americans, the fastest-growing population in the United States. Told through individual lives and personal histories, it presents the country’s past, present and future.

Documentary: First Generation

First Generation

An award-winning documentary, it tells the story of four high school students – an inner-city athlete, a small-town waitress, a Samoan warrior dancer, and the daughter of migrant field workers. Setting out to break the poverty cycle, they bring hope to their families and communities by pursuing a college education.


Asia In-Depth Podcast: The Coronavirus and Anti-Asian Racism

Since the coronavirus spread from China to the rest of the world, racist attacks against Asians have risen sharply. Here in the United States, having President Donald Trump and his top aides calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus”, did not help. Even though Trump tweeted it is “very important to protect our Asian American community,” others on his staff persisted in using the phrase: “Chinese virus.” Although the virus is now as much a European and American phenomenon as an Asian one, the anti-Asian incidents continue.

In this episode of Asia In-Depth, two guests with very different perspectives discuss this issue. Leesa Lin is an assistant professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Charlie Woo is the co-founder and CEO of Megatoys and a decades-long advocate for Asian American causes.

Feeling Asian

Within this podcast two Asians speak out about their feelings. After a lifetime of holding in their emotions, comedians Youngmi Mayer and Brian Park are ready to air them. Each week, they discuss topics ranging from sex/dating to anything else and invite fascinating guests onto their show. Every Wednesday there is a new episode uploaded for your viewing pleasure!

Vietnamese Boat People

This podcast showcases inspiring stories about the incredible journeys taken by a generation of people who overcame life-threatening situations in search of peace, freedom and safety.


YouTube Video: Becoming American

Becoming American – The Chinese Experience

In the saga of American immigration, the Chinese experience is relatively unknown. This Bill Moyers Special explores the fascinating and dramatic story of struggle and triumph, progress and setbacks, separation and assimilation, discrimination and achievement. Becoming American is a story about identity and belonging which will resonate with all Americans. Similar to other immigrant groups, the Chinese seek to find a balance between their values and traditions and those of its adopted country.

YouTube Video: SAG-AFTRA Asian American Anti-Hate PSA

SAG-AFTRA Asian American Anti-Hate PSA

Asian American SAG-AFTRA members call for change by raising their voices about the current social climate in the country within this PSA.

YouTube Video: Walk Run Cha-Cha

Walk Run Cha-Cha

This Oscar-nominated Op-Doc profiles Paul and Millie Cao reuniting in California after the Vietnam War. Four decades later, they are rediscovering themselves on the dance floor.

Refugees from Vietnam. Paul and Millie are working professionals, parents, dancers and American citizens living in California for over 40 years. As with many Americans who started over in another country, their story symbolizes resilience and courage. Love and longing. Separation and reunion. These themes are visualized within the dance itself.

You can find Diversity and Inclusion articles on the Black and LGBTQ populations here.

This list is by no means an exhaustive one. Do you know of another book, documentary, podcast or YouTube video on this topic which we should add to this list? If so, please let us know within the Comments section below.