PBS offers American history through the lens of 'Asian Americans'

Sunday, 10 May 2020 12:00 AM Written by 


ArchivalChinatown c Willem Hester

An exploration of American history through the lens of "Asian Americans" (8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, PBS), this two-part film looks at important events in the life of the country and the role Asian-Americans played in that portion of America’s story.

Even before the onset of COVID-19, the history of Asian-Americans was one tainted by racism, from the Japanese-American internment camps of World War II to reactions to Muslim-Americans after 9/11.

Read more after the jump. ...

Comedian/film interview subject Hari Kondabolu (“The Problem with Apu”) notes that tensions or differences between Indians and Pakistanis don’t matter to those who would discriminate against anyone who’s simply South Asian.

“For the first generation born here and particularly after 9/11, it didn't really matter,” he said during a January PBS press conference at the Television Critics Association winter 2020 press tour. “You can say, ‘Don't kill me. I'm not Muslim.’ I don't think they care about what you have to say. That's not how racism works. I think there was an awakening for a lot of us, myself included, as an 18‑, 19‑year‑old when 9/11 happened, that the way we identify ourselves, that's privilege. … You don't get to identify yourselves when you're dealing with blind rage and hatred and ignorance. … And post‑9/11, it didn't matter if I was Indian or Hindu or anything else. It did not matter.”


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