We’ve all heard of the stories of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as babies — culturally American but legally not. But what happens if you’ve been in the US legally for decades, but still can’t obtain a green card to stay in your home country because of holes in the US immigration system that the government has no plans to fix?
ISSUE: Fall 2012
STORY: Ada Tseng
In 2006, Ana La O’ — at the time an undergraduate at UCLA — wrote a cover story for the alternative weekly newspaper LA Citybeat titled “The Hidden Classes,” about the first wave of undocumented immigrants that could afford to attend California public colleges after 2001’s AB 540 law allowed them to pay in-state tuition rates. The students she interviewed had been brought over to the United States as kids and educated in the American school system, yet they were unable to work legally and in danger of being deported to countries they hadn’t lived in for 15 to 20 years.
“It was the first time that I had spoken to people who had the same kind of psychology that I did,” says La O’, who moved to the U.S. from the Philippines when she was 11 months old. “I totally understood everything about being culturally American, but not having the same rights, feeling in limbo, and working toward this degree without knowing what I could actually do with it when I graduated.”
Except that La O’ was not an undocumented (what some call “illegal”) immigrant. By 2006, La O’ had been living in the United States legally for 21 years. Yet, for the next five years, she would continue to struggle to get a green card, until she was so fed up with the holes in the United States immigration system that she voluntarily self-deported in 2011, leaving her family and friends to move to the Philippines. Being plopped into a country she hadn’t lived in since she was a baby seemed like a better option than the hoops she would have to jump through just to be considered for – let alone acquire – a green card, after 26 years of living in this country.
In one of the most ridiculously, outlandishly, xenophobic videos funded by Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), a sinister futuristic world is seen where an evil Chinese professor is laughing to a class of Asian American students about China’s takeover of America. How can such a video even exist in this day and age?
How do we combat such ludicrousness? Fight fire with fire! Angry Asian Man, along with 8 Asians, Disgrasian and Reappropriate as well as ChannelAPA and Hyphen is holding a contest for the best parody to the “Evil Chinese Professor” video. Here’s what you have to do to enter:
Download the .ZIP archive, including the subtitle-stripped .MOV file and .RTF text file transcript of the original “Chinese Professor” video.
Get the video file, write a hilarious alternate monologue for the Evil Chinese Professor, re-subtitle the footage, add a call-to-action voiceover at the end, and upload your parody to a video sharing service like YouTube or Vimeo.
Then send the link to firstname.lastname@example.org. The best three videos as judged by the sponsoring bloggers will win some fabulous as-yet-undetermined prizes. The deadline to submit is November 27.
Don’t be a stereotypical “quiet Asian.” This is your chance to speak out about racism!