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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Harvard Director Ancheta Comes to UMass

The racial issue we face in this country has not proceeded far beyond a black and white framework, and this framework typically ignores other races and ethnic groups, including Asians.

This is a huge concern for the director of legal and advocacy programs at Harvard, author, and civil rights attorney, Angelo N. Ancheta. The Halo Halo Filipino Club and Asian American Studies sponsored Mr. Ancheta’s lecture, held on Monday, November 18, which mainly discussed important issues from his highly acclaimed book, Race, Rights, and the Asian American Experience. Ancheta focused on issues of how the Asian race is ignored and the negative effects it is causing within the Asian community.

As a child, Ancheta was aware of the struggle many faced such as minorities, women, lower class, and even the working class. Recognizing these unjust struggles within his own community is what drove Ancheta to become deeply involved with political activism. “In order to succeed and accomplish, there must be collective action,” Ancheta stated after expressing the importance of taking a stand and moving toward political activism. Ancheta has apparently found these steps successful for making a change in the world.

Mr. Ancheta then went on to explain what he feels to be the most crucial conditions Asians in the U.S. face. “Asians are perceived as foreigners in this country and not as a separate race,” Ancheta claims, going back to his argument on the black and white framework. Asians have been shortchanged on the benefits of laws, such as Affirmative Action, which are aimed at creating equal rights for all citizens in the United States.

For example, after September 11, Congress passed a law stating that all security screeners at airports have to be federal employees and citizens. This posed a huge threat to the many Asians working in airports in the San Francisco area, who had not yet been granted citizenship. In the end, many in the Asian community were left with no jobs to support their families. Ancheta states, “Citizenship is the issue when it comes to racism towards Asians. You do not often hear a racist telling an African American ‘Go back to your own country.'” Ancheta feels that the reason the discrimination continues, is because the 14th Amendment does not accommodate Asians. Ancheta then goes to point out that most women are left out as well when it comes to some of these issues. There is also injustice in language and immigration issues.

Ancheta feels that Asian immigrants who enter this country only knowing their native language will not benefit from the Question 2 type of learning which, in fact, will go on to cause the Asian community to be faced with issues such as discrimination, poverty, and exclusion. When this occurs, the community as a whole starts to notice the growing trend of these issues, as well as an increase in dropouts, and crime.

Ancheta also expressed his feelings on the justice of the MCAS tests here in Massachusetts. “The MCAS testing has only shown massive failure rates amongst Asians,” Ancheta stated, expressing that he felt this was only another frustration for Asian students.

The audience, filled with students and faculty of every race, listened in concern, realizing the seriousness of the issue, which is commonly ignored or unknown. Ancheta then goes back to one of his first points, collective action. He then spoke of how it was.

What Ancheta would like to see are stricter laws on hate crimes, broader guidelines on affirmative action, and anything that focuses on the increase of civil rights.

The president of the Halo Halo Filipino Club, Lory Crowder, was very pleased with the turnout of the lecture. Being the founder of the club, Crowder has made history on campus being the first event sponsored by the club. Many of the students and faculty members were eager to address Mr. Ancheta after the lecture and he was willing to stay and answer all of their questions. Though Ancheta has established a spectacular name for himself, he still makes it a priority to go out to schools, and encourage the community to take a part in civil action.