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The Asian American Writing Movement and Blackness

The Asian American Writing Movement and Blackness

Race and Gender Politics in Asian American Anthologies

(p.35) 1. The Asian American Writing Movement and Blackness
East Meets Black
Chong Chon-Smith
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter explores Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian-American Writers and Yardbird Reader 3 and shows how the editors utilize the rhetoric of Black radicalism as a means to conceptualize the racial emasculation of Asian American men from cultural manhood. During the post-civil rights moment of racial realignment, Black radical thought is the counterpoint to forced Asian ethnic assimilation; this Asian-Black sensibility challenges an uncritical complicity with the parable of racial magnetism that suppresses Black revolution. In Aiiieeeee!, the editors employ the vernacular languages, performance styles, and oppositional consciousness of Black masculinity during the formation of the Asian American Writing movement. In Yardbird Reader 3, the personal and professional bonds between Frank Chin and Ishmael Reed are important moments of Afro-Asian bonds in alternative multiethnic publishing. Both anthologies showcase the centrality of Blackness as a conceptual and material basis for Asian American writing to emerge in the post-civil rights era.

Keywords:   Aiiieeeee!, Yardbird Reader, Frank Chin, Ishmael Reed, Asian American Writing movement

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