Juuuust can't waaaait to be Kiiiiiing of the Yees
King of the Yees, starring Krystle Piamonte Jong and Francis Jue, above
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HEY SAN FRANCISCO: Tickets are still available for Lauren Yee's King of the Yees, playing at the SF Playhouse through March 2, 2019. And on February 6, our own Andrew Hsieh is moderating a panel featuring Thi Bui (cartoonist, The Best We Could Do), Vanessa Hua (writer, A River of Stars), Karen Mok (co-founder, The Cosmos) and Angela Yip (social justice director, AAMPLIFY).

Basically, it's going to be a good time. Get your tickets for Wednesday, February 6 to see the panel. Want to see the play another day? That's cool. You can use the promo code SLANT10 for $10 off any ticket. Get tickets >

College fees hit Asian Americans the hardest

Thanks to the model minority myth, Asian Americans supposedly kick butt in grade school, traipse through college, and demolish law school. So we can extrapolate that Asian Americans can pay for all of that, too, right?

Nope. That’s a myth, too. According to a new study, Asian American students have the greatest unmet need: the “gap between the cost of college and all student resources that do not need to be repaid.”

Putting the "unmet" in unmet need

It’s not that Asian Americans are the only ones struggling—75% of students have unmet need, and the average low-income student at a public four-year university has $12,792 in unmet need.

But 79% of Asian American students have unmet need, and the average low-income Asian American student at the same schools has $16,756 in unmet need.

When it comes to community college, low-income Asian Americans have $8,507 in unmet need, versus $6,903 for another peer.

Where’d all the money go?

For this, we have to return to one of The Slant’s favorite topics: data disaggregation.

As we all know, the term “Asian American” isn’t exactly specific. It’s a legal term, after all, and unless we disaggregate that data by country of origin, state, income, and other demographic data, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why some groups have higher unmet need than others.

Thanks to organizations like AAPI Data, we know that Southeast Asian Americans, on average, have higher poverty rates than others. But that may not be the only factor: we don’t know, for example, whether surveyed Asian Americans happened to go to more expensive universities.

Point is: as with so many issues in our community, we need to mine more information by breaking down that “Asian” in “Asian American.”

Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, dismayed by no disaggregation

Here's the study, BTW

NOW PLAYING: We stan these athletic queens. Naomi Osaka, who made history last year after beating Serena Williams at the 2018 US Open, is in the headlines again. Thanks to her stunning victory in the 2019 Australian Open, Osaka is now the first Asian woman to be #1 in the Women's Tennis Association rankings. It's a cause for celebration, even as her sponsor whitewashes her in ads and Japan struggles with thinking about her "Japanese-ness. At the very least, Osaka's gotten to make the American morning show rounds—did we mention we're fans?

Rinkside, 13-year-old Alysa Liu made history by becoming the youngest winner of the US Figure Skating Championships. Liu’s flawless program included two triple axels (remember during the 2018 Olympics when I taught you guys about how hard those are???). For an appropriate response to this news I turn again to my sister and co-correspondent:


Chery Sutjahjo, editor, who reminds herself that it is okay to be 27 and dizzy from getting up too fast

What’s in a legacy?

January 30th is informally known around these parts as Fred Korematsu day. And this year, to mark what would’ve been his 100th birthday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers got him the best gift.

Fred Korematsu’s life honored in a big way

Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Republican Representative Mark Takano of California introduced a bill to honor Korematsu with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor the legislative body can give and one of the most prestigious that a civilian can receive.

During Japanese internment, Korematsu resisted orders to relocate to an internment camp and was arrested and charged as a result. He challenged his arrest all the way to the Supreme Court.

Though he lost, he spent the rest of his life fighting for civil rights. So it’s fitting that generations later, two Japanese American lawmakers would choose to honor him.

 His work continues

Last year, the Supreme Court repudiated its 1944 ruling against Korematsu, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing it was, “gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and — to be clear — ‘has no place in law under the Constitution.’”

But you can’t praise the Court for correcting its earlier failure without recognizing the grave irony of the case that allowed it to finally address the ruling. The Court was able to address the ruling because of a related case over the President’s travel ban—which the Court has upheld and allowed to go into effect.

And Wednesday’s bill comes in the middle of an ugly ongoing fight in Congress over whether or not we should literally build a wall because too many brown people are coming here as refugees. There’s no way around it—Korematsu’s work is far from complete.

Jessica Yi, editor, would probably get a “small charcoal grill” tattoo on purpose

Dramatizing Korematsu

This weekend ... 📅

  • APPLY FOR A CAREER IN PUBLIC SERVICE. The Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) is looking for undergraduate and graduate students of Asian American, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander descent who are interested in careers in public service. Their internship program is 8 weeks long and awards $3000 to participating students — pass it on!

  • CONTEMPLATE #OSCARSSOWHITE and what progress at the Oscars means for Asian American filmmakers and actors. Specifically, this thinkpiece argues that the Oscars haven’t truly acknowledged contemporary Asian stories or films; rather, the films that further exoticize Asian history or perpetuate Orientalism (in the foreground or the background) are the ones that tend to get noticed.

  • FIRE KNIFE DANCE, or just let the experts handle it. Moemoana Schwenke is just a small town girl in a male-dominated fire knife dancing world— but she’s owning it and using her platform to empower and educate women. Beyond sharing her tricks of the trade, she’s spreading awareness of climate change and what the rising sea levels mean for islands like Samoa.

  • HONOR CHINESE-AMERICAN WWII VETS. Betsy DeVos and Elaine L. Chao honored five veterans at the Chinese-American World War II Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony on Tuesday. This event recognizes the Chinese-American WWII Veteran Congressional Gold Medal Act, passed in 2018, which allows Chinese-American WWII veterans to be eligible for the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.

  • AND FINALLY, THIS WEEK IN REGULAR WHITE NONSENSE, Ariana Grande tattooed “small charcoal grill” on her hand in Kanji (although she then tried to fix it), and basic-ass bachelor Colton and his squad of Megans poo-pooed at Singaporean food. Booooooooooooooooooo.

This week's stories are curated by Chery Sutjahjo, editor, who—HOW DARE U DISRESPECT THE HAWKER STANDS HOW DARE U. Got a tip, or just want to share? E-mail us at

The Slant is brought to you by:

Brian Hsieh, Marina Cheung, Billy Huang, Kevin Lin, Paulina Dao, Delwin Lau, AJ Grey, Michelle Pal, Mandy Diec, Carl Shan, Lloyd Lee, Patrick Trinh, Emily Chi, Naomi Iwata, Kyla Hsia, Gloria Lin, Matt Young, Cat Xia, Crystal Shei, Sooyun Choi, Yi Cao, Meher Kohli, Ryan Ikeda, Jerome Finuliar, Abby Wang, Curtis Leung, Tracey Mantilla, Mika Kennedy, James Boo, Chris Moe, Alexander Quion, Diane Lee, Angela Yang, Katherine Chin, Paul Kerr, Talisa Chang, Claire Tran, Sara Mitchell, and Jeffrey Wang, who are like a brand new season of Community in 2019.

Join them in supporting The Slant on Patreon.

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