Santa Ana To Formally Apologize For Burning Down Its Chinatown In 1906, Past Anti-Chinese Racism

Within days, a small white tent stood alone near the washed out ashes of Santa Ana’s Chinatown in 1906 with a cautionary sign: “leprosy: keep out.”

An ailing Wong Woh Ye lay inside the tent in quarantine.

The day before the fire, his documented case of the disease, which was later disputed, prompted an emergency meeting of the Santa Ana City Council on the morning of May 25, 1906. Acting on a resolution drafted by the city’s Board of Health, council members unanimously moved to condemn Chinatown’s remaining buildings and directed the fire marshal to burn it all to the ground.

As word spread, more than 1,000 residents gathered in downtown later that night to watch the fiery finale of a years-long campaign against Santa Ana’s Chinese residents in the wake of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The Los Angeles Times deemed the blaze “as picturesque an event as could be imagined.”

But now, more than a century later, it’s seen as a shameful chapter in the city’s history — one that Santa Ana’s current council is moving to officially apologize for.

“We just want to do what’s right and recognize past wrongs,” said Thai Viet Phan, Santa Ana’s first ever Vietnamese American councilwoman. “I felt it was really important to me as someone who is trying to do my best to revitalize our Asian American heritage in the city.”

In a joint effort, Councilman Johnathan Ryan Hernandez, Planning Commissioner Alan Woo, Assistant City Manager Steven Mendoza and Councilwoman Phan worked on the draft apology.

It offers a formal atonement to “all Chinese immigrants and their descendants who came to Santa Ana and were the victims of systemic and institutional racism, xenophobia and discrimination.”

The resolution is also unequivocal in naming the past city officials responsible as well as deeming the burning of Chinatown as an act of “fundamental injustice, terror, cruelty and brutality.”

It served as the culmination of an effort to rid the area of Chinese residents that intensified when the city bought a lot in 1904 that abutted the enclave as the site of a new city hall.

By 1910, only one Chinese resident remained in Santa Ana according to census records; about 200 Chinese residents had once called Chinatown home during its peak in the 1890s.

Fred Lau, the late proprietor of Santa Ana Food Market, was one of the first Chinese Americans to return to Santa Ana during the 1940s. He opened his grocery store in 1949.

“The Lau family gave a lot of us our first jobs in Santa Ana when we were teenagers,” Hernandez said. “They had close relationships with my family.”

Santa Ana Food Market, which is still in business today, is where the councilman recalled first learning of the burning down of Chinatown from its owners.

With that history in mind, Hernandez began working with Woo, his Planning Commission appointee, on ways to redress the injustice when Phan had received an email earlier this year from a resident about recent Chinatown arson apologies elsewhere, including San Jose.

Woo felt a Santa Ana apology as timely as ever.

“There’s a wave of anti-Chinese and anti-Asian hate that has been fueled over the last two years,” he said. “It was important to ask for this, not just for me, but on behalf of the Chinese community because often we’re not viewed as citizens. We are treated as foreigners rather than citizens.”

An annual report by the Orange County Human Relations Commission charted a dramatic 1,800% increase in anti-Asian American hate incidents in 2020, which was the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to the apology, there have also been efforts to commemorate the history with an on-site memorial.

During an October 2020 Downtown Inc. board meeting, a consultant briefly mentioned how an architect and urban planner were working with local historian Dylan Almendral and Chinese American groups on such a project.

“It was certainly a step in the right direction,” Hernandez said.

Taking the lead, supportive council members want to allocate funding from the city’s budget for a future memorial.

But the apology is slated to come first.

During the Santa Ana City Council meeting on May 3, council members directed staff to prepare the resolution to come back before a vote — and soon.

Phan insisted that the vote happen in May, which is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month; earlier in the meeting, both she and Hernandez presented a proclamation to the Lau family in recognition of the month.

The councilwoman also suggested that, if passed, there be a ceremonial signing of the resolution at the parking lot on Third and Bush Street, the site where Chinatown once stood.

Councilman David Peñaloza offered support for the apology and a ceremonial signing.

“It’s a sad, sad chapter in this city’s history,” he said. “We need to recognize the mistake that was made by previous leadership here.”

The burning down of Chinatown wasn’t the last time disease provided cover for discrimination in Santa Ana.

Dr. John I. Clark, the city’s health officer, had inspected the enclave and later cautioned residents from buying produce there out of concerns for leprosy; he would also advise the Santa Ana Board of Education to segregate white and Mexican students during the 1918 pandemic.

Less than two weeks after the Chinatown blaze, Ye was found dead inside his quarantine tent.

Before that, Councilman John Cubbon resigned from his post on May 28, 1906. The Times reported that he voted to authorize the burning down of Chinatown only after “considerable wrangling” and though there wasn’t an official explanation given, “reliable sources” placed that decision as the reason for his sudden resignation.

For Woo, the current council’s discussion this week marked a significant step toward making amends long overdue.

“The people’s democracy was used against Chinese Americans,” he said. “That deserves an apology. The lives of over 200 Chinese immigrants were affected by that decision.”

Source: LA Times

Sesame Street Unveils Ameera, Muppet Girl In Wheelchair To Inspire Disabled Kids

When you think of Sesame Street, you might envision a place where everyone’s singing and dancing without a care in the world, and nothing ever goes wrong.

This is a utopian land that’s far from the realities of many kids in real life, and over the years, the long-running children’s series has set out to rewrite its stories so younger viewers would find a character or experience they can connect with.

The newest muppet on the block is Ameera, an eight-year-old green puppet who has a spinal cord injury and now gets around with a wheelchair or crutches.

In spite of physical restrictions, Ameera continues to play basketball, one of her favorite sports. Being passionate about science, she’s also possibly one of the smartest kids in the neighborhood.

Ameera is witty and inquisitive, according to Sesame Workshop, Sesame Street’s educational nonprofit. “She’s everyone’s favorite comedian, and her great sense of humor serves her well as a natural leader who encourages others with her bright personality,” it adds. “Sometimes, Ameera gets too wrapped up in her own ideas and forgets to notice everyone else’s, but she always remembers that play and learning are most fun when she includes her friends’ ideas too.”

Sesame Workshop endeavors to provide early childhood education to kids affected by global crises. As such, Ameera will first appear on Ahlan Simsim (or Welcome Sesame), the Middle Eastern and North African edition of the show.

On a broader scale, Ameera will serve as a character that 240 million children with disabilities worldwide can look up to, in addition to encouraging young girls to get into STEM careers. And although she is not a refugee, she will shed light on the everyday experiences of displaced children, including Rohingya Sesame Street muppets Noor and Aziz.

Ameera’s character came to life with the help of inclusivity and disability advisors from the Middle East and the US, as reported by Mashable. Among them are occupational therapists, inclusive early educational experts, disability technical specialists, and people with disabilities.

Source: DesignTAXI

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos And Doritos Tease New Super Bowl Ad And A Mysterious Celebrity Spokesperson

Flamin’ Hot has its first ever Super Bowl ad on the way, and they’ve recruited a flamin’ hot celebrity spokesperson to help them celebrate!

Frito-Lay, the company behind the über-popular flavor, is bringing two of its iconic brands together — Cheetos and Doritos — for the new Flamin’ Hot spot, highlighting Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy and the new Doritos Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch.

PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the commercial, and the A-List superstar talent holding the spicy, cheese-flavored snacks for the camera.

Right now, the identity of the spokesperson is being kept under wraps, though there are plenty of clues to get the guessing going.

In the photos, the mysterious celeb’s hand is decked in bling. A diamond bracelet hangs from their wrist, while one pic features a sparkling braided ring and another, a golden ring seemingly made up of stacked yellow diamond bands.

The secret star’s nails make a statement, too, with bright red tips studded in red gems.

This is one of the first Super Bowl ads to be teased this year.

The big game, Super Bowl LVI, will take place on Feb. 13 at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

While sports fans are weeks away from finding out who will be playing, it’s been announced that Dr. Dre is headlining the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show, with EminemMary J. BligeKendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg making guest appearances.

“The opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime show, and to do it in my own backyard, will be one of the biggest thrills of my career,” Dre in a press release when news came out back in September. “I’m grateful to JAY-Z, Roc Nation, the NFL, and Pepsi as well as Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar for joining me in what will be an unforgettable cultural moment.”

Frito-Lay’s Flamin’ Hot flavor was first introduced as Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, the product making it out to test markets in the summer of 1990 before being launched nationwide in early 1992.

Richard Montañez — who began working for Frito-Lay as a janitor — has long said he created the product, telling Variety he came up with the idea during one of Frito-Lay’s “method improvement programs” where they looked for new ideas and fresh products. He later tested out the seasoning for the Cheetos in his garage.

Frito-Lay’s subsidiary PepsiCo later clarified to PEOPLE that they attribute “the launch and success of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and other products to several people who worked at PepsiCo, including Richard Montañez.”

“Far from being an urban legend, Richard had a remarkable 40-plus-year career at PepsiCo and made an incredible impact on our business and employees and continues to serve as an inspiration today,” the statement read. “His insights and ideas on how to better serve Hispanic consumers were invaluable and directly resulted in the success of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.”

Montañez has gone on to write two books about his success, spoken about it in multiple engagements, and even will see his life told on the big screen in an upcoming biopic.

And the beloved spicy snack food has since inspired a sea of unique food offerings — like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac n’ Cheese, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mountain Dew, and Taco Bell’s Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Taco Shells — as well as a seemingly never-ending list of at-home recipes involving the product, including sushi rollschicken fingersmozzarella sticks, and even macarons.

Source: People

Vlad Tells TK Kirkland What Bothers Him About Juneteenth

In this clip, Vlad explained to TK Kirkland why he feels a bit uneasy about Juneteenth. While Vlad said he’s happy black people received the acknowledgement, he believes the logic behind the holiday and it celebrating black people’s transition from chattel to human to be flawed. For TK, he said he doesn’t pay much attention to any holidays but is particularly tired of black people being given holidays in lieu of material concessions.

People Are Sharing Things People Say That Are Biiig Red Flags, Usually To Trick Or Deceive You

On Tuesday, Reddit user u/neilnelly asked people, “What is something subtle people say that is a red flag to you?” People came through with some truly useful examples of things people will say that are usually to trick, manipulate, or deceive you.

Here’s what they shared:

1. “When they never ask a question when you’re telling them something. My husband realized his father never does this, and now I can’t stop listening for this.” —u/foofoofoobears

2. “When they say, ‘But you’re so good at it!’ That’s them saying, ‘I’ll compliment you in the hope that you’ll take this task off my hands.'” —u/amelie_v

3. “When they say, ‘OK, fine. I’m sorry. Happy?’ That’s not an apology.” —u/Celq124

4. “Or, if they say, ‘I’m the worst person ever’ in their apology. Then their ‘apology’ turns into you assuring them and ignoring whatever they did that hurt you.” —u/lissalissa3

5. “When a mom says, ‘I try to be more like my kids’ friend than their mom.’ You need to wait around 20 years to do the best friend thing. My mom made sure I was home on time, went to school, got good grades, didn’t swear, went to university, and all the other great mom stuff that was annoying when I was young. Now, she is my absolute best friend by far.” —u/holyurushiol, u/bugbugladybug

6. “Non-apologies: ‘I’m sorry you got offended by what I said.'” —u/SelfDiagnosedUnicorn

7. “When people say things like, ‘I can say and do whatever I want. It’s a free country. Ever hear of freedom of speech?’ in order to justify shitty things they say or do. Like sure, you have the right to speak your mind, but people also have the right to judge you for what you say.” —u/87319496

8. “When they say, ‘I’m brutally honest’ or some other excuse to be an unbearable person.” —u/mywifemademegetthis

9. “When somebody says something about themselves when it’s not prompted or necessary. Like randomly saying, ‘I’m an honest person,’ or ‘I’m a hard worker.'” —u/jrhawk42

10. “When someone says, ‘It’s just a joke.’ It’s called ‘Shrodinger’s Douchebag’ — deciding on whether what you said was a joke or not depending on people’s reactions.” —u/Drprim83

11. “Someone who frequently, in response to you telling them about a bad or inconvenient thing that happened to you, start with ‘Well what you SHOULD have done…’ or ‘What I would have done…’ These people tend to be very opinionated and stubborn, even in situations they don’t really know anything about.” —u/solaris_eclipse

12. “Anything that exposes poor morals or tricks others. For example, ‘I’ll just say I never got it so they send me another one.’ When people show you who they really are, believe them. Love this quote.” —u/emik7133

13. “When people say shit like, ‘clearly,’ ‘obviously,’ etc. If someone has to reassure you or themselves that something is real, it’s dangerous. Relationships, politics, academia. Never trust someone who thinks their opinion is an absolute.” —u/dirtyhippie62

14. “When they say, ‘Oh, it’s ok. It doesn’t matter” in attempt to calm me down, as in it’s silly that I’m upset by something not too important. It doesn’t matter to whom??? Because obviously it does matter to me.” —u/cherry_tiddy

Source: BuzzFeed

Mexico’s President Apologizes For The 1911 Massacre That Killed Over 300 Chinese People

Mexico’s president made a public apology on Monday for the killing of over 300 Chinese people by the revolutionary forces of Francisco I. Madero in the city of Torreón over a century ago.

Gruesome history: President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he wants to ensure the 1911 massacre, in which Chinese nationals were mutilated or hung from telegraph poles, “never, ever happens again,” reported the Associated Press

  • Obrador said the discrimination was based on the “most vile and offensive stereotypes,” adding “these stupid ideas were transferred to Mexico, where extermination was added to exclusion and mistreatment.”
  • His apology was part of Obrador’s efforts to atone for the past mistreatment of Indigenous and minority people in Mexico. 
  • “We will never forget the brotherhood of the Chinese during the bitter and anguishing months of the pandemic,” he added.
  • Chinese Ambassador Zhu Qingqiao was present during Obrador’s apology ceremony.

Hate born of envy: The racial killings of 303 Chinese men, women and children happened after revolutionary troops overran Torreón in 1911, during the early parts of the Mexican Revolution.

  • The victims were descendants of Chinese laborers who migrated to Mexico in the 1800s to work on the expansion of the nation’s rail network, setting up businesses, farms and other establishments.
  • During this period, some Mexican people reportedly grew envious of the success of some Chinese immigrants, with others blaming them for taking jobs or depressing wage rates in Torreón.
  • When revolutionary troops took over the city from May 13-15 in 1911, they killed many of the Chinese people living there. Some managed to survive by hiding or were rescued by local residents.
  • Following the massacre, the Chinese government demanded an apology and indemnity of 12 million pesos ($605,000) from Mexico.
  • Reparations for the killings were promised for the massacre following the success of the revolutionary government but no payment was ever made.

Source: NextShark

Georgia Sheriff’s Captain Jay Baker No Longer Spokesman On Atlanta’s Spa Shooting Case; Facebook Posts Surface Of Racist COVID-19 Shirts

A Cherokee County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office spokesperson came under fire Wednesday afternoon for pinning the deadly Tuesday shooting rampage that left eight dead—including six Asian women—on a 21-year-old white man’s “really bad day.”

“Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” Jay Baker said during the joint news conference with the Atlanta Police Department about 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long.

But it seems the same spokesperson shared racist content online, including pointing the finger at China for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—the same vitriol advocates say has fueled a horrific surge in violence against Asian Americans.

In a Facebook page associated with Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, several photos show the law enforcer was promoting T-shirts with the slogan “COVID-19 imported virus from CHY-NA.”

“Place your order while they last,” Baker wrote with a smiley face on a March 30 photo that included the racist T-shirts.

“Love my shirt,” Baker wrote in another post in April 2020. “Get yours while they last.’”

The shirts appear to be printed by Deadline Appeal, owned by a former deputy sheriff from Cherokee County, and sold for $22. The store, which promotes fully customizable gear, also appears to print shirts for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, a “ceremonial unit, all volunteers, who represent not only the Sheriff’s Office but also the county when participating in a variety of events,” according to a March 10 Instagram post.

The photos on Baker’s account were first spotted by a Twitter user.

Multiple photos on the Facebook page show Baker in his uniform and attending sheriff’s department functions, including one with his name tag clearly visible. Baker did not immediately respond to requests for comment on his personal cell phone and to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office.

When contacted by The Daily Beast, Sheriff Frank Reynolds, who appears to be friends with Baker on Facebook, said he was not familiar with the racist photos.

“I am not aware of that. I will have to contact him, but thank you for bringing that to my attention,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds’ official sheriff’s department page lists as part of his prior experience a 2005 to 2008 stint at the Department of State described entirely in abbreviations: WPPS HTP, IC BWUSA. This would appear to stand for Worldwide Personal Protective Services, a contract the federal government granted the independent contractor Blackwater USA. His campaign page alludes to work in Iraq without naming his employer. But an apparent Reynolds supporter and fellow member of the department shared an image on Facebook of then-candidate’s security clearance so as to dispel rumors that he had a criminal record in 2016. The image, naming Reynolds, showed a contract number corresponding to an indefinite arrangement the State Department inked with Blackwater to provide security guards and control services in 2005.

Blackwater became infamous after its private guards fatally shot 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007. There is at present no evidence linking Reynolds to that incident, and he did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

The massacre at three Asian massage parlors comes amid a shocking wave of anti-Asian violence in the United States. Authorities say Long, the suspect in the grisly crimes, insisted he was not intentionally targeting people of Asian descent. Still, police—including Baker—said the investigation was ongoing and the murders could still be categorized as a hate crime.

The fact that Long allegedly targeted Asian massage parlors and killed a half-dozen Asian women has spurred uproar online and among community leaders. Nearly 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian hate were reported between March 2020 and last month, according to Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition documenting discrimination during the pandemic.

During a Wednesday news conference, Baker seemed to downplay Long’s alleged actions, telling reporters the 21-year-old attributed the crimes to his “sexual addiction” issues. Baker said Long targeted the spas to “take out that temptation.”

Baker’s adopted brother, Anthony Baker, is a Georgia Superior Court judge—and, according to a profile published in January, was born in Vietnam to a woman there who had married an American soldier.

Source: The Daily Beast, VladTV

Retired Fortune 100 Executive Thomas B. Walsh Answers To Why So Many People Settle For Low-Paying Jobs With Expensive College Degrees

“Settle” for low-paying jobs?

You can’t be serious, Dude.

There was a time in the US when you could get a great job if you earned a bachelor’s degree in “anything.”

The catch is that JFK was president at the time.

Most parents (and their students) are oblivious to how college really works today.

In some ways it is hard to blame them. Colleges and universities have a powerful public relations team, pushing the message 24/7 that “college is for all.”

The team is made up of educators, guidance counselors, financial aid officers, politicians, pop culture, special interest groups–like the College Board, and college administrators—who are the biggest beneficiaries. Their influence is everywhere.

Many, many years ago, my “anything” degree, Philosophy, was from a state university in fly-over country, better known for its football team than scholarship. (As I vaguely remember, my GPA wasn’t that robust either.)

However, I had a successful career in IT, and retired as an executive from a Fortune 100 company.

The bad news is that college doesn’t work that way anymore.

Years ago very few high school grads (7%) went on to college. (They tended to be the “smart kids.”) If you graduated with a degree in anything, i.e. English, Gender Studies, Comp-lit, Philosophy, etc., you could get a good job.

Over the years a greater and greater portion of high school grads answered the call,

“You have to go to college!”

We are now at 45%. Probably half these teenagers don’t have the “academic firepower” to handle a serious, marketable major.

Back in the day having a college degree was a big deal. By the year 2000, the quality of a college education had deteriorated significantly, and college grads were a-dime-a-dozen. There were too many graduates, but not enough suitable jobs.

Then we got hit with the Great Recession of 2008.

In the US almost anyone can find a college or university that will accept them and their parent’s money.

You might even manage to graduate with some degree or another.

The problem comes when you try to find a real job. Employers aren’t stupid. They are going to sort through that gigantic stack of resumes and find the smart kids.

Today college is a competition for a relatively few (1,100,000) well-paying, professional jobs. Every year colleges and universities churn out 1,900,000 graduates with shiny new bachelor’s degrees. We don’t know the exact number, but a heck of a lot of minimum wage jobs are held by young people with college degrees in stuff like English, Gender Studies, Comp-lit, Philosophy, etc.

Given the high cost of college, that just doesn’t make any economic sense.

PS

The “Anything” Degree

Two decades ago in his book, Another Way To Win, Dr. Kenneth Gray coined the term “one way to win.” He described the OWTW strategy widely followed in the US as:

  • “Graduate from high school.
  • Matriculate at a four-year college.
  • Graduate with a degree in anything.
  • Become employed in a professional job.”

Dr. Gray’s message to the then “academic middle” was that this was unlikely to be a successful strategy in the future. The succeeding twenty years have proven him inordinately prescient and not just for the “academic middle.”

The simple explanation is that it comes down to “supply” (graduates) and “demand” (suitable jobs).

Fifty years ago only seven percent of high school graduates went on to college. In post-WW II America our economy was booming while the economies of many European and Asian countries were–only slowly–being rebuilt. The “Law of Supply and Demand” strongly favored the freshly minted college graduate.

Parents and students noticed how college really paid off, and the “great gold rush” to the halls of higher learning began.

Today my local, Midwest run-of-the-mill high school sends eighty percent of their graduates on to college.

Most of them are going to be very disappointed.

Source: Quora