Lawyer, Activist, and Writer On Tour With Provocative New Book
by AAV Staff
In his new book, Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, Frank Wu builds on, refines, and adds extra punch to the insightful explorations of race identity, politics, representation and exclusion that are the hallmark of this lawyer, author, and early contributor to Asian-American Village.
Winning strong advance praise for its release by Basic Books, Yellow explores the position of Asian-Pacific Americans within America’s traditionally polarized, Black-White conception of race. A Chinese-American professor of law at Howard University, Wu has a refreshing ability to write about topics such as civil rights and civil liberties, affirmative action and multiracial identity, in a manner that is informed by a keen understanding of history and policy while also being quite personal and emotionally honest. Asian-American readers will nod with grim recognition at his anecdotes of being “complimented for speaking English” but also learn something about a century’s laws and policies of racial exclusion.
Bringing to light the stereotypes and discrimination, the interethnic conflicts and legislative challenges that have faced people of Asian ancestry in this country, Yellow is likely to provide a rich, necessary education to non-Asian American readers.
This is not to say, however, that Yellow offers APA readers mere “preaching to the converted.” More than a history lesson, it provides the kind of straightforward, plain-English examination of often problematic issues right in our own backyard that long-time Villagers have come to expect from Wu: the self-imposed limitations and interethnic conflicts, the doubts within us, and even, as Wu discusses in a related op-ed this edition, our own Asian-American racism.
By staking that middleground space for APAs — a “third element” so long missing from or silent in the nation’s race dialogues — Yellow ultimately forces American readers to reexamine everything we know or think we know about race itself.
It is perhaps this aspect that led UCLA Asian American Studies Center Director Don Nakanishi to assert that Yellow “can be rightfully compared to W.E.B. DuBois’s Souls of Black Folk a century ago . . . Anyone interested in the issues of our increasing diversity–whether Asian American or not — should want to finish it in a single sitting.”
The editors second that sentiment: If you’ve been as stimulated, heartened, engaged, and provoked by Wu’s past columns on this site as we have, you probably owe it to yourself to check out this collection.
If that’s not a good enough reason, however, we were also impressed by Wu’s announcement that 10% of royalties from the sale of Yellow will be donated to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Educational Fund and to the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium. Percentages will also be donated to various non-profit organizations that will be sponsoring Wu’s appearances during his national tour, which is scheduled to extend up through mid-April.
To Order Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White
Ordering directly from the publisher:
Order now from Amazon.com
Of Special Note to Villagers: Amazon is currently running a special of particular interest to Villagers: Customers can now receive an additional discount on both titles by ordering Yellow in a two-book package with My Country Versus Me: The First-Hand Account by the Los Alamos Scientist Who Was Falsely Accused, the long-awaited autobiography of Dr. Wen Ho Lee, co-written with Wu’s fellow Village alum, Helen Zia.