Coverage of Asians in media

Even though the size of the Asian community has been growing rapidly in the United States; it is undoubtedly still covered as one of the minority community in the media.

There are still many stereotypes about Asians such as “Asians don’t know how to drive”; “Asians are cheap”; “Asian are smart and good at math” and/or “Asian Americans are the richest minority community in the country”.

The coverage of Asians and Asian Americans in the mainstream media are still so little and limited.

According Don Heider’s book “White news: Why local news programs don’t cover people of color” that was published in 2000; Heider wrote:”The two topic areas identified were festivals and crime. The fact that two distinct categories were identified by so many people of color is in itself telling, given that communities of color and the people living in those communities are involved in every aspect of life, well beyond any artificial categories such as racial-ethnic festivals and crime.”

Just like Heider mentioned in the second chapter of this book, limited reporting of traditional festivals and crimes help to reinforce certain stereotypes of this minority community; keep audiences from looking at the minority group in a broader range and more in depth.

Apparently, the media coverage of Asians/Asian Americans still need a lot of improvements in the future.

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Asian Organizations in Iowa City & the nation

What has the rapid growth of Asian community in the United States brought to this country?

More Asian restaurants and markets? For sure.

Maybe a better economic and some other upper sides.

Meanwhile, there are also a lot of Asian organizations in the nation. This has also happened in Iowa since the universities/colleges in Iowa brought in a lot of international students and scholars through the years.

National organizations:

Asian American Justice Center : The AAJC was built in 1991 and aims at helping to improve the Asian Americans’ lives in the United States while promoting the fair and justice in the society for this minority group.

National Association of Asian American Professionals: The NAAAP is a non-profit organization that promotes and supports the Asian American leaders.


Asian American National Committee: The AANC is a professional public service corporation that aims to represent Asian Americans as a whole community.

Local Organizations:


Iowa Asian Alliance: The Iowa Asian Alliance sets the mission to unite the Asian community in Iowa for economic growth and community development.





Filipino-American Association of Iowa: The Filipino-American Association of Iowa is a non-union, non-partisan, non-sectarian, non-political and non-profit association.

With the existence of all the Asian organizations through out the nation, the community is looking for a better way of living and less stereotype in the future.


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Out of China, do we still care?

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (Photo credit: nznationalparty)

At the beginning of September, CNN News has been reporting on the missing of the Chinese Vice President Xi Jingping and the influence of the disappearance of the president-to-be leader.


While this could be another political game that people in power play, what do the normal Chinese citizens think of? More specifically, how do the countless Chinese students in the United States feel?

Wang Yifei, a Chinese business student at the University of Iowa told me that she did hear about this news through American media considering that most of the media organizations in China are run by the government which limits them from reporting news like this.

“It’s not [published] in mainland China news, but I searched in google which is in [the] U.S.”  Yifei told us that she gathered the information on websites such as Google which are banned in mainland China.

For Yifei, she feels that she pays fairly equal attention to Chinese news and politics before and after she come to the United States. For her, the only difference is that she gets more different aspects of news than she used to back in China.

However, for another Chinese student at the University of Iowa Shan Shan, it’s a lot different.

“I read newspapers everyday when I was in China, but here I never read newspapers.” Shan Shan said.

We heard from two Chinese girls from different areas of China who both go to school in the United States and they hold two different attitudes toward Chinese news and angles.

I don’t know if the Chinese state-run media takes a part in their attitudes. All I can say is that those who care will care.

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223 miles away

Since I started an internship with Chicago Social Magazine this summer, I have been traveling a lot between Iowa City and Chicago.

Chicago is an amazing city, but then like I said, I was traveling here a lot!! So much that I actually started to get tired of this beautiful city. I don’t care much about the relatively new Topshop store on Michigan Ave anymore. I’m not surprised to see the horse carriages any more. I learned to how to use public transportations and to co-exist with the blind beggar on the Red Line.

Naturally, I started to look at the city in a different angle and paid more attentions to the Asians around Chicago.

I realized that more than half of the Asians I met in Iowa City are international students at the University of Iowa, and yet almost every single I have met in Chicago so far were born somewhere in the U.S. (i.e., what we call ABC: America born Chinese).

I realized most of the Asians in Iowa City get around in their fancy cars and most of the Asians I met in Chicago don’t own a car yet.

Asians in Iowa City and Chicago are so different, sometimes I feel like I can tell which is which by just looking at them. However, they are so similar at the same time.

I noticed Asians from both these 2 areas are generally quiet, shy and loving Asian restaurants. I have to admit the one place I met the most Asians in Chicago is Chinatown.

Between Iowa City and Chicago, 223 miles,away, the 2 Asian groups are so different and yet so similar.

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“Dance Cheesy”

“Four years ago, you can barely see black hair here”, a Chinese student majoring in Actuarial Science told me that when he first joined the University of Iowa, there were not too many Asian faces around. You could barely see Chinese, let alone Koreans or other Asian students on campus.

One year after that, in the year of 2009 a South Korea Girl Group “Wonder Girls” boarded the Billboard Hot 100 with their hit song “Nobody” and then soon disappeared from from the public’s sights.

Three years later, another South Korea singer PSY released a new song “Gangnam Style” which has reached 140,000,000+ viewers since July 15, 2012.

What changed within these 3 years? More and more Asians entered the United States for various reasons. They have brought more and more Asian cuisines in America, more and more Chinatowns in bigger cities and one Modern Luxury publication “Hawai’i” actually publishes in Japanese along with English.

More specifically, what’s the difference between “Wonder Girls” and PSY’s “Gangnam Style”? How did “Gangnam Style” land a live show at the Today Show? Are people really that into cheesy dancing now?

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Who, where and why

If you live in Iowa City, you must have seen those smiley faces with black hair and eyes.

You must have seen them drive around in their fancy vehicles, carrying luxury brand handbags and walking to their business or math class in a small group.

You must have heard them talking with each other in the hallway or the library in languages other than English or Spanish.

If not Iowa City, if you live in any part of the United States, you must have seen them once in a while if not on a daily base like those in L.A. or Hawaii area. Have you ever stopped to wonder who they are, where they come from and what for are they living in the America which can be thousands of miles away from their home countries?

I have! I have wondered who these fellow Asians of mine? I wonder if you all come from the same land as me and for the same reason.

According to the Administration Office of the University of Iowa, I had the chance to find out answers to these questions and to show you in a clearer form.























I’m sure there are the other Asians who were born here, immigrated to the United States early in their life or living in Iowa City for some other reasons.

I just hope that you guys got a better understanding on who, where and why for the Asians  (at least the Asian students) in Iowa City.






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Business from Oversea

While we talked about Asians and Asian life, Westerns may think about the long history of China, the delicious sushi and kimchi from Japan and Korea and how smart Asians are supposedly to be with science subjects in school especially Math.

One thing that may often be neglected by the Westerns is our entertainment facilities. I mean Asians have dinners with friends at restaurants, go to bars and drink and go shopping in their free time. One thing escaped the Westerns’ eyes is the Asian karaoke.

In America, karaoke is generally considered an activity for people in bars to go up the stage, pick up a song and sing along with the live band. However, it’s an entirely different concept in Asia.

In Asia, karaoke is probably one of the most popular entertainment activities for young generation. I think it syncs up with the shyness in Asians’ personality that people gather in an individual room to sing instead of in front of the whole crowd in the bar.

People share the room with only their own companions to sing along with the music from machines, drink, playing card games or any sort of entertainment forms. As we can see from the picture, there’s a big sofa in the room that people can relax on.

This is basically a smaller version of our living room at home. Big sofa, a few tables and a center piece on the table.

Meanwhile. on the other side of the room is a flat screen to show MTVs and lyrics while customers sing along with the machines.

With this amazing business opportunity that is rarely known to the Westerns; international students from Asia at the University of Iowa are left with this idea alone.

Hanjie, Gu, one international student from China studying at the Tippie College of business at the University of Iowa saw this opportunity, acted on it and opened the first Karaoke downtown Iowa City named No. 18.

“There was another karaoke opened by a Chinese student here in Iowa, but it was so far away from downtown and it was really in convenient for the Asian students who doesn’t own a car.” Jingying, Zhai, a senior math student at the University of Iowa from Nanjing, China told me that she tried the other karaoke before No. 18. However, it was too far away and small as well.

Right after the other karaoke ran out of business and closed, Hanjie grabbed the opportunity, scaled the location and opened No. 18 on Gilbert Street.

It was not busy for a junior business student to open up a business. “We had to keep delaying the date of opening. There were just too much to deal with: decorations, recruiting, financial planning and transporting all the machines from China.” Hanjie reviewed what he was going through at the beginning stage of this business.

According to the story “Chinese Karaoke Finds Following in Iowa City” on; No. 18 Karaoke mostly focuses on Chinese students and scholars in Iowa City. Therefore, all the machines in No. 18 were imported from China and most of the songs on the system are Chinese songs along with a few hit songs from Japan, Korea and American songs.

On top of singing, No. 18 also provides snacks and one unique drink from Asia: the bubble tea.

With time, No. 18 has been improving their snack and drink menus with more varieties of smoothies and more options of snacks.

After the graduation, Hanjie went back to China to help out at his family business and entrusted his friend Chenyin Liu to manage the karaoke.

“I want to make sure to keep the business running smoothly for Gu and serve Chinese students best.” Chenyin said.

With the large growth of Asian population in Iowa City, No. 18 seems to be on the edge of losing the privilege of being the only karaoke downtown Iowa City.

According to Chenyin, there is another Asian Karaoke and Cafe: Bubbleology Karaoke & Cafe opening at the end of this September on Washington Street in Iowa City.

With the approach of competition, Chenyin is not much nervous, “We will just do what we need to do.”

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Asian Food in Iowa City

My asian friends and I always talk about how Americans have been missing out on a lot of great food.

We’ve tried to introduce some great food for my American friends, just to find out that they can’t eat chicken feet, raw fish, intestines or fish head and so many other delicious food.

Usually at this point, our American friends would turn around and say, “You Asians just eat everything!”

I have to admit that we do eat everything; a lot of things that you will never find at any spot in America. However, with the growth of Asian immigrants and international students in the United States; merchants saw the business opportunities which resulted in countless Asian restaurants in America.

The same thing happened in Iowa City as the University of Iowa drew a huge number of international students and scholars from Asia every year.

Yet, there’s one thing you have to understand about Asian restaurants in America that are not providing Asian food any more. Most of them have customized their food to fit the American appetite too much that you can no longer call them authentic Asian food.

Therefore, I’ve created a map for anyone in Iowa City who is looking for some real Asian food. From my map “Asian Restaurants in Iowa City”, you will find 8 Asian restaurants in Iowa City, a short introduction to each of them and a few recommendable dishes from them.

I will keep updated on the new Szechwan restaurant downtown and we’ll see how far this one goes.

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With the growth of technology and economy, the world has truly become a global village. People are living abroad away from their homeland for various reasons and different cultures are crossing everywhere.

America as one of world’s biggest country has attracted countless immigrants from all over the world and a huge part of them come from Asia. What happens when the Easterners try to stumble into Western life and when the Westerners are forced to face Eastern cultures?

Various blogs and websites have been created devoted to this cross-culture phenomenon such as 8 Asians and The Other Asians with a broader focus on Asians living in the States. I am here to introduce you to the growing group of Asians living in Iowa City specifically!

In addition to Asians living in Iowa City, I will also introduce a few fun facts and histories about Asia.

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