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Volume 97: March 29, 2019
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The census is coming

It only comes every ten years, and it’s been a huge undertaking. 

The census isn’t just a head count of who lives in America for fun facts—it determines how state and federal dollars are distributed to communities, how congressional seats are appointed, how local public policies are developed, how healthcare is allocated … basically, everything. 

Issues with the census

However, the way the census is being developed for 2020 is marginalizing the marginalized even further. For one, the racial categories the census lists conflict with our country’s communities.

Take for instance Arab and Iranian communities, who will have to either identify as “white,” or “some other race,” since the census does not have a Middle Eastern or North African option.

A lack of language translation services is also incredibly alarming. In 2020, the census program will no longer be translating Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander languages.

And lastly, that damn citizenship question, which has haunted policy experts since the Secretary of Commerce first proposed it, will ask whether individuals are citizens. It’s scaring communities into thinking ICE will show up at their front door, for good reason.

All these reasons just make undercounted communities even less likely to be counted.

It's important, a big deal, and you should do it

Advocacy groups are still figuring out how to tell people to fill out that citizenship question, given the census dictates resource allocation to already underserved communities.

As the government loves reminding Asian Americans of its “model minority status,” we know that that is not true in the slightest for most Asian Americans. This upcoming census must help show that.

Natalie Bui, who is going to fill out the damn census for herself (and grandparents)  like her life depends on it

State Fact Sheets: Why the Census Matters for AANHPI

NOW PLAYING: We tend to talk too much when a video can speak for itself, so I'll keep this short: I was not one of the 16 million subscribers of Liza Koshy, the 22-year-old Indian American YouTube star whose comeback video above "looks like it came out of Anti-Capitalism: The Musical" (that one's from our new editor, Andrew Cheng), but I am now. Koshy's ode to the Dollar Store is zany, flashy, and 100% unadulturated Liza Koshy, who is apparently very popular for her Dollar Store videos. (This one's got 38 million views.) And if you'll excuse me, I'm going to procrastinate on publishing this newsletter by consuming this Content and trying to Understand the Youth.

Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, here for the inevitable Dollar Tree / Liza Koshy crossover

Chains of cranes for change

Migrant children and other asylum-seekers continue to be detained in the United States, and with possible deportation in their futures, it’s difficult to be optimistic about their release. (Though we always encourage supporting RAICES and other orgs!)

That’s why Japanese Americans, who can certainly sympathize with the unethically incarcerated, are joining a nonviolent protest on March 30.

When history repeats itself ...

After visiting the Crystal City Family Internment Camp in Texas, which held 4,000 Japanese, German and Italian people during World War II, activists will join a protest outside a migrant detainment facility just outside San Antonio.

There, Japanese Americans, alongside Muslim and Latinx activists, will place chains of origami cranes around the facility, which were folded by volunteers around the world.

Then, those cranes will travel to other protests across the country—connecting the injustices of World War II with those of today.

A unified front

High-profile Japanese Americans like George Takei have spoken out against Islamophobia and detainment before. Even this protest follows another protest in 2015, which also took place in Dilley, Texas.

Which makes a coalition of Japanese Americans, Latinx Americans and Muslim Americans all the more heartening—a unified front that we’re glad to see.

Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, seeing if he can remember how to fold a crane
The legacy of Crystal City's incarceration camps

When my father first came to the states

he ate KFC three days a week, a luxury

he relished in until the doctor noted

his cholesterol. When my cousin in China

asks me what America is like I think culture

is a funny thing.

— Kara Kai Wang, poet, "Fast Food"

This Weekend ... 📅

  • SEE SANDRA SLAY as host of Saturday Night Live on March 30. Sandra Oh, star of Killing Eve, will get to show off her comedic chops as only the sixth (by our count) Asian American host of the classic sketch show. If her wit is even half as sharp as her knife-wielding skills, we know she’ll have us in stitches.

  • MEET MAYA’S MOMMA Yuki in Hulu’s hit sitcom PEN15, who quietly and confidently shatters the pop-culture perception of Asian mothers as overbearing and impossible to please. Played by show creator Maya Erskine’s real-life mother, Mutsuko Erskine, Yuki is the emotional heart of the story, and if their strong performances together haven’t already gotten you to join the club, give it a watch this weekend. But be forewarned: if you were awkward in middle school, which you were yes admit it, you will experience the most wondrously unpleasant flashbacks ever.

  • READ, RUB YOUR EYES, THEN REREAD Marvin Xin Ku’s thoughts on standing out as a token Chinese person at the "Bavarian China" festival in Dietfurt, Germany. Tens of thousands of visitors flock to the town every year to don qipaos and rice hats, watch fan dances, and chow down on bratwurst, in a truly bonkers carnival of appropriation.

  • LEARN LINGUISTICS with Joss Fong’s new video on Vox Observatory that busts the myths of speakers of Asian languages confusing “R” and “L” in English. As a linguist, I give my stamp of approval to this well-designed mini-lesson about the sound systems of Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Japanese.

This week's stories are curated by Andrew Cheng, editor, who never quite got the hang of pronouncing 리을, but no Korean ever mocked him for it. 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


AJ Grey • Delwin Lau • Mandy Diec • Carl Shan


Patrick Trinh • Lloyd Lee • Emily Chi • Naomi Iwata • Kyla Hsia


Gloria Lin • Yi Cao • Cat Xia • Curtis Leung


Crystal Shei • Jerome Finuliar • Ryan Ikeda • Meher Kohli • Matt Young • Sooyun Choi • Abby Wang • Tracey Baumann • Mika Kennedy • James Boo • Chris Moe • Alexander Quion • Jeffrey Wang • Vivi Nguyen


Angela Yang • Diane Lee • Katherine Chin • Paul Kerr • Talisa Chang • Claire Tran • Sara Mitchell • Teresa Nguyen

who are like live-action Disney remakes that we actually want to watch. Join them in supporting The Slant on Patreon.

See ya next time.
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