The AACP Newsletter
|Since 1970||Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. - Books for All Ages||May 2004|
|Newsletter Home Page||Event Schedule||AsianAmericanBooks.com||Editor's Notes||Featured Books|
At a GlanceThe Asian Pacific Fund and "Growing Up Asian in America"
Learn about this annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month contest and the organization that hold it.
Outraged at Inhofe's "Outraged of Outrage" Statement
Why do Good People do Bad Things?
Click here to see all the other winners.
By Ian Francis Narciso Torres, Age 8
Second Place, K-5th Grade Category
My best friend is Bemi. He is Asian and African-American. We sleepover a lot, talk, and play together. He is also a friend of my brothers, aged 5 and 10.
Some of my friends at school are Asian, such as Charles, Justin and Vinh. I know a kid who barely has any friends, because he is mean, he cheats in games, and once he took my snack from me.
I also have friends from a variety of countries. Paul is from Mexico. Once he brought red rice to share with the class. Aaron is from Guam. He showed us the hula dance (which was pretty funny). Richard, from Texas, made a map of many different things about the Lone Star State. As for me, I'm from the Philippines and I shared a video my grandfather gave me about T'nalak (weaving by the T'boli tribe from the Philippines). I brought a real T'nalak blanket to show my classmates. After that we did a weaving art project together.
When you think about it, friendship is pretty amazing. Whether we are from Guam or Mexico, Texas or the Philippines, we can always try to communicate in different ways to become friends.
I have many friends that act, think, and behave differently than me. Of course they're still my friends, because it doesn't matter how fast you run, how smart you are, or where you are from; it's how kind you are that counts.
Always try to make a lot of friends, because the more friends you make, the more company you will have. Don't take advantage of your friends, even if they're really nice to you. Always treat friends like the next best thing to family.
Do you remember what I said about the plant? If you keep doing the same thing, one day you will have a beautiful garden. It's the same with friends: instead of just one friend, you can have lots of friends. The best part is: if you make friends from many different countries, one day you will have a garden full of many different kinds of flowers.
Eva Hom, Age 17
Third Place, 9-12th Grade Category
She is Friendship.
Our jet hair gleamed as we ran through
Me and her. Products.
We grow up
We talk American
Up Coming EventsHere are some events that AACP will soon be attending. Invite us to your events.
Editor's MessageHello everybody. This month is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. In keeping with the month, our May Newsletter's theme is on Asian American Identity. Most of the books we are featuring this month have something to do with personal identity issues and the added struggles of growing up Asian in America.
We also have some contest winners' entries from the Growing Up Asian in America contest. Thank you Gail Kong and the Asian Pacific Fund for your help and for giving us permission to use these marvelously works.
I hope you all get a chance to view these items at your local library or on line at the Asian Pacific Fund's website.
Thank you Ms. Eleanor Wong Telemaque for informing us of the reprinting of your book and for allowing us to be one of the main sellers. You can purchase her book below. By the way, I believe I saw Ms. Telemaque in a documentary called "The Chinatown Files" last week. This was an excellent show on Chinese Americans during the McCarthy Era and if any of you have a chance to see it this month as part of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month PBS programming, don't pass it up.
The Friends of AACP Group is now holding a campaign to raise money for the AACP Newsletter and Intern Program. If you donate now, the Friends of AACP Group will match your donation up to a maximum of $600. If we do not receive a total of $600 in donations by the end of June we may have to return some of the funds to this group. Please make your generous donations now to prevent this from happening. Thank you.
Happy APA Heritage Month Everyone!
Give Us Your FeedbackPlease feel free to send us your reviews, comments, and book suggestions. You can contact us at -
An Editorial by Leonard D. Chan
You missed a very dull TV show on Auschwitz. More gruesome film clips, and more puzzled intellectuals declaring their mystification over the systematic murder of millions. The reason they can never answer the question "How could it possibly happen?" is that it's the wrong question. Given what people are, the question is "Why doesn't it happen more often?"
This incident also brought to mind something I once heard about - a psychology experiment that simulated prison life. The world-renowned Stanford psychologist, Philip Zimbardo, demonstrated the ease at which "good people" could be brought to do bad things. Professor Zimbardo and other psychologist have demonstrated over the past 30 plus years that the concept of absolute "good" and "evil" people may be inaccurate. People's good and bad behavior is very much influenced by the situation in which their actions are committed. (See our article on the Philip Zimbardo paper on evil).
With great interest, I listened to this week's Senate hearings to try to learn about how we got into this mess. With great disappointment I listened to Oklahoma Senator Inhofe's remark of how he was "outraged at the outrage."
Senator Inhofe's Hearing Statement -
"I also am -- and have to say, when we talk about the treatment of these prisoners, that I would guess that these prisoners wake up every morning thanking Allah that Saddam Hussein is not in charge of these prisoners.
"I am also outraged that we have so many humanitarian do-gooders right now crawling all over these prisons, looking for human rights violations while our troops, our heroes, are fighting and dying. And I just don't think we can take seven -- seven bad people."
Senator Inhofe's remark reminded me of something Ted Koppel once editorialized about at the end of one of his Nightline segments in August of 2001. Nightline was doing a segment on the war atrocities committed by the Japanese during World War II. He had on as one of his guest, Iris Chang, who wrote the "Rape of Nanking." At the end of the segment Ted Koppel said something to the effect that "the United States internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was bad, but not as bad as what the Japanese did in China." I was outraged to the point that I was going to do a one-man boycott by not watching Nightline. If it weren't for all the news on 9/11, terrorism, and Iraq, I still might not be watching Nightline to this day.
So what was it that made me so upset? At the time, I wasn't quite sure. To me the two incidences were totally non-connected and to do such a comparison was like comparing apples and oranges. After Senator Inhofe made his remarks, I began to think more closely at what made me so upset with both the Senator and Koppel.
Historical comparisons have their purpose in keeping things in context. However when such comparisons are made, as in Koppel and Inhofe's case, they seem to serve the purpose of blunting the badness of our own actions. It's almost like the little kid that is trying to find a way out from getting punished for doing something wrong - "don't be upset with me, Johnny did something even worse." Making comparisons for context purposes would work in an academic exercise when the person doing the analysis is not directly involved in the actions and has no vested interest in the outcome. To me, Koppel and Inhofe's statements crossed the line beyond academic exercise and seemed to be making excuses for wrongs that should never be lessened.
We are all to be blamed for what our soldiers did in a prison in Iraq. If we can take credit for the good things that our country does, then we must be prepared to answer for the bad things attributed to us also. It is too easy to take the "we win and they lost" attitude that we so often do with sports teams. Like it or not, whether you believe that you have some responsibility for what takes place in Iraq or not, people around the world have lumped us all together and are holding us all accountable for what happens from here on out. We must strive to do better.
By Leonard Chan
Philip Zimbardo, the famed Stanford psychologist, wrote a very interesting article on this very subject. A Situationist Perspective on the Psychology of Evil: Understanding How Good People Are Transformed into Perpetrators.
Prof. Zimbardo general thesis is that the situation and not the disposition of the individual is the primary agent that determines whether we do good or bad things. With just the right environmental situational inputs, almost any one of us could be made to do the wrong thing.
As proof of his thesis, Prof. Zimbardo discusses various well-known psychology experiments that prove his point.
The Milgram Obedience to Authority Experiments (1974)
Milgram tried many variations to the test to see what factors would make person A be more likely or less likely to give person B shocks that were described as lethal. Milgram was able to show that with the right factors, 90% of the people could be made to obey. An interesting variation to the experiment had person B play the role of a masochist (somebody that enjoyed the pain). The average test subject was proven not to be sadist (people that enjoy giving pain), thus proving that these people were not mentally aberrant.
Zimbardo's Deindividuation Experiments (1970)
Perhaps this partly explains the need for the hooding of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Not knowing the prisoners and having the prisoners not know them, probably made it much easier for the soldier to commit torturous atrocities.
Bandura, Underwood, and Fromson - Disinhibition of Aggression Through Diffusion of Responsibility and Dehumanization of Victims (1975)
The implication of the results from this experiment has very important meaning to minorities. Stereotype labeling can be very harmful to us. One need only look at Rwanda to see how Hutu labeled the Tutsi as being subhuman (cockroaches) thus inciting their people to commit genocidal acts against the Tutsi.
The Stanford Prison Experiment (1971)
Latan and Darley - The Unresponsive Bystander (1970)
The Zimbardo concluding homily -
We must be humble because the right situations can transform any of us -
The "war on terrorism" can never be won solely by current administration plans to find and destroy terrorists, since any individual, anywhere, at any time, can become an active terrorist. It is only by understanding the situational determinants of terrorism that programs can be developed to win the hearts and minds of potential terrorists away from destruction and toward creation. Not a simple task, but an essential one that requires implementation of social psychological perspectives and methods in a comprehensive, long-term plan of attitude, value and behavior change."
The following books are discounted for subscribers to our newsletter. The discounts on these books end June 14, 2004.
Born ConfusedBy Tanuja Desai Hidier
2003, 500 pages, Paperback.
Dimple Lala doesn't know what to think. She's spent her whole life resisting her parents' traditions. But now she's turning seventeen and things are more complicated than ever. She's still recovering from a year-old break-up and her best friend isn't around the way she used to be. Then, to make matters worse, her parents arrange for her to meet a "suitable boy." Of course, it doesn't go well … until Dimple goes to a club and finds him spinning a magical web of words and music. Suddenly the suitable boy is suitable because of his sheer unsuitability. Complications ensue.
Name Me NobodyBy Lois-Ann Yamanaka
2000, 229 pages, Paperback.
Thirteen-year-old Emi-Lou feels like a nobody. She's overweight, her mom lives in faraway California and rarely visits or calls, and she doesn't know who her father is. The only people who make her feel like somebody are her brave, blunt grandma, and her best friend, Von. "Where Von go, Emi-Lou go," their families and friends say. But now Emi-Lou fears that Von is going somewhere she can't follow. What will Emi-Lou be without Von? Nobody, she thinks. But Emi-Lou's desperate actions to hold on to her best friend just may break them apart forever.
EarthquakeBy Milly Lee
Illustrated by Yangsook Choi
2001, 29 pages, Hardback.
Autographed copies available.
A young Chinese-American girl and her family move their belongings from their home in Chinatown tothe safty of Golden Gate Park during the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.
Edited by Vickie Nam
It's Crazy to Stay Chinese in Minnesota
By Eleanor Wong Telemaque