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Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  349 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Writing in the tradition of W. E. B. Du Bois, Cornel West, and others who confronted the "color line" of the twentieth century, journalist, scholar, and activist Frank H. Wu offers a unique perspective on how changing ideas of racial identity will affect race relations in the twenty-first century. Wu examines affirmative action, globalization, immigration, and other contro ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published March 27th 2003 by Basic Books (first published March 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,211)
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Anna Kim
Feb 02, 2010 Anna Kim rated it it was amazing
Finally, a book that breaks away from the racial dichotomy and explores what it means to Asian in America. Wu discusses both the old and new cultural stereotypes that Asian Americans face and how that kind of biased thinking disadvantages both Asian Americans and those who believe the stereotypes. Recognizing the rise of mixed marriages, Wu includes a chapter discussing how the concept of race is slowly becoming even less of a black and white issue and that any discussion must acknowledge and in ...more
Lawrence Kelley
Mar 12, 2016 Lawrence Kelley rated it really liked it
Via Google search, sought-out Brian Lamb's Book TV interview with Frank Wu, as part of self-education prior to an adoption in 2005. Was instantly sold on this author. Frank Wu - a professor at Howard University in Washington - who was born in Michigan in the mid-sixties, and is approximately the same age as myself. However, his life experiences have been profoundly impacted by his Chinese ethnicity. This book opened my eyes and informed my voting decision in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
Oct 17, 2010 Jasmine rated it really liked it
It's a little concerning how long it took me to read this book. Warning: This is not a book you can read with your mind on your dinner.

Despite the fact that this book is not so easy to read, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Wu's description of anti-Asian sentiments in America is compelling and interesting, going pretty in-depth into the origins of these stereotypes, and then gently bashing them to pieces. I particularly enjoyed his sections on "The Perpetual Foreigner" and the model minority. Wu
Sep 16, 2012 Zeo rated it really liked it
This is a thick book for a reason: it's very thorough, touching on hotbutton race issues that show up frequently in media as simplified issues of Black and white, and using Asian-American experiences as a tool for complexity and depth to both dismantle the racism that makes them hotbutton issues and to suggest anti-racist challenges to those issues. It's definitely written by a lawyer, which can make it a slow read, and that in some ways leaves me really torn: as it covers that broad range of ho ...more
Jun 20, 2010 Zelekha rated it liked it
Wu's book starts out amazingly -- he takes us through a journey of racism experienced by Asian Americans from forms of racism we, non-asians, are familiar with (e.g. stereotypes of Asians as intellectually gifted math nerds) to more invidious form of discrimination that are looked over or perhaps outdated but still relevant (e.g. societal belief that Asians and Asian Americans are more loyal to their native Asian countries than the US). I was absolutely riveted by the first three chapters of the ...more
Jun 27, 2008 Jillian rated it really liked it
Shelves: political
Frank H. Wu's Yellow is an excellent analysis of the absence of an Asian perspective in America's racial debate and what it's like to be an Asian-American as a result. Throughout the book, I found myself thinking "That's happened to me!" with an alarming frequency. Yellow also has the added benefit of explaining the dense analysis of a related subject in Edward W. Said's Orientalism in a way that is concise and easily understood.
I don't know why it took me five years to finally get around to reading this book. Wu touches on the model minority myth, the perpetual foreigner trope, affirmative action, immigration, intermarriage, coalition building and more. I especially liked how it wasn't only a call for non-APAs to think about race "beyond black and white"; it also challenged APAs to take more ownership and leadership in making that happen.
Nov 12, 2012 Andrea rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Dense but very interesting. Throwing all the countries Westerners consider Asian (close to 50) and lumping them into "Asian-American" doesn't allow for all the variances in language, beliefs, and cultures. Model minorities and other stereotypes associated with this population limits our understanding of the vastness of experiences Asian immigrants bring to the U.S.
Feb 05, 2011 A rated it liked it
A good introduction to Asian America. I will say however, that Frank H. Wu's background is in law, which definitely shows throughout the book (a particularly long list of stereotyped caricatures of Asians in media sticks out in my mind). A bit dense to read at times (from what I recall as an undermotivated undergrad), but recommended reading.
Aug 27, 2012 Mark rated it did not like it
Could not relate to it in places, still a well put together writing exercise and very passionate author...

Having had life experiences since reading the book, it might be a more appropriate now than when I read it.

Best part

Coming to a realization that there are issues being, in Kayne West's words, a single black female in the USA today
Nov 22, 2014 Stormy marked it as to-read
May 2015 AAUW Adelante Book Recommendation by Janice McKenzie, C. Springs Branch: Writing in the tradition of W. E. B. Du Bois, Cornel West, and others who confronted the “color line” of the 20th century, journalist, scholar, and activist Frank H. Wu offers a unique perspective on how changing ideas of racial identity will affect race relations in the 21st century. Wu examines affirmative action, globalization, immigration, and other controversial contemporary issues through the lens of the Asia ...more
May 01, 2009 Liane rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I've been reading a lot lately about the complicated issues of Asian American culture, but this defeated me. It's really interesting stuff, but a bit heavy. My brother has a copy, so I'll return to it someday. In the meantime, I'll stick with Adrian Tomine and Derek Kirk Kim, and Mariko Tamaki, et al.
Gabrielle David
Aug 21, 2009 Gabrielle David rated it really liked it
Love Frank Wu, his writing is snappy, he indulges the reader with his personal experience and then goes on to discuss the world as it is
Jan 08, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by the first Asian American law professor at Howard, this book finally brings Asians to the table. Bravo!
Mar 03, 2016 Arlian rated it it was ok
I got to page 190, when I decided life is too short to read a book that I just kinda hate.

Here is the thing with this book: I'm not the right audience. This is a common problem in my life, I'm often "not the right audience" for a book. AKA a nice of way of saying I fucking hated it, but in good conscience can't quite say was a "bad" book. Many readers said they disliked this book because it was too "academic" or too "boring". It was neither of these things. I just hate the author and his belief
Ryan Mishap
Aug 21, 2008 Ryan Mishap rated it really liked it
Subtitled “race in America Beyond Black and White”, Wu, a lawyer and professor at Howard University, blends his own experience with discussions and arguments. He brings his perspectives to affirmative action, Asian Americans as the “model minority”, the “Dilemma of Diversity”, multiculturalism, “Intermarriage and the Mixed Race Movement”, and “The Power of Coalitions.”
Whatever disagreements and problems I have with Wu’s ideas and arguments I set aside because of the enlightening and engaging di
James Pritchert
Apr 12, 2014 James Pritchert rated it it was ok
I read this but I was not entirely pleased with it. I did meet and talk to the author at a book signing. He is a great speaker and a professor at Howard University at the time of our meeting.
Ryan Dreier
Oct 23, 2008 Ryan Dreier rated it it was ok
I bought this book during my trip to NCORE and had Frank Wu sign my copy...I was really hoping to gain more insight in to asian american culture and struggles, being labeled as the model minority and how that label lead many people to ignore the struggles, prejudices, and intolerence that asian american face even in today's society but instead I felt like Wu who I believe is a lawyer discussing a lot of court cases and media cases
May 01, 2011 Marissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book discusses going beyond just black-white racial relations and focuses on the Asian American perspective. Wu incorporates his own personal anecdotes as he confronts common stereotypes of Asian Americans, pulls in Asian American history that most people are unfamiliar with, and the state of race relations in the US today. It's a very thought-provoking read.
Min Ja
Aug 22, 2007 Min Ja rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
It has some interesting insight into being Asian in America. Not only Asian but it has an engaging style which I think many Asian Americans would find easy to relate to, and many anecdotes about growing up in America that make the author's analysis of race in America an interesting read.
May 24, 2007 Daniel marked it as to-read
Met Frank Wu and I think he-s cool. Plus he-s a Unitarian (or at least was exploring it at the time I met him when he came to speak at my college). Hope to read the book sooner than later, but the print is small, and I-ll admit, ashamedly that that doesn-t encourage, lol.
Mar 05, 2008 xVirgo rated it it was amazing
Excellent analysis of the absence of the Asian American struggle in racial debate. Wu discusses the history of violence against Asian American and how that affects modern culture today in politics, media, and academia. Long book but worth the read.
Sep 11, 2007 Tobey rated it really liked it
Shelves: asianstudies
Interesting book about Asian identity in contemporary America. Frank Wu does a good job debunking and explaining origins of many of the myths and stereotypes that exist about the Asian community.

May 28, 2014 Ahonsi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a fairly good read and very insightful on past, albeit limited, and contemporary Asian American issues.
Feb 24, 2008 Owen rated it liked it
another intro to asian american issues book. a dime a dozen.
Feb 21, 2010 Alex added it
Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White by Frank H. Wu (2003)
Aug 01, 2008 abby is currently reading it
ugh, starting required reading for school early.
Jan 01, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: race
Put this down. Can pick it up again.
Oct 12, 2010 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: school-books
Best book I had to read for this class
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“As I became older, I was given many masks to wear. I could be a laborer laying railroad tracks across the continent, with long hair in a queue to be pulled by pranksters; a gardener trimming the shrubs while secretly planting a bomb; a saboteur before the day of infamy at Pearl Harbor, signaling the Imperial Fleet; a kamikaze pilot donning his headband somberly, screaming 'Banzai' on my way to my death; a peasant with a broad-brimmed straw hat in a rice paddy on the other side of the world, stooped over to toil in the water; an obedient servant in the parlor, a houseboy too dignified for my own good; a washerman in the basement laundry, removing stains using an ancient secret; a tyrant intent on imposing my despotism on the democratic world, opposed by the free and the brave; a party cadre alongside many others, all of us clad in coordinated Mao jackets; a sniper camouflaged in the trees of the jungle, training my gunsights on G.I. Joe; a child running with a body burning from napalm, captured in an unforgettable photo; an enemy shot in the head or slaughtered by the villageful; one of the grooms in a mass wedding of couples, having met my mate the day before through our cult leader; an orphan in the last airlift out of a collapsed capital, ready to be adopted into the good life; a black belt martial artist breaking cinderblocks with his head, in an advertisement for Ginsu brand knives with the slogan 'but wait--there's more' as the commercial segued to show another free gift; a chef serving up dog stew, a trick on the unsuspecting diner; a bad driver swerving into the next lane, exactly as could be expected; a horny exchange student here for a year, eager to date the blonde cheerleader; a tourist visiting, clicking away with his camera, posing my family in front of the monuments and statues; a ping pong champion, wearing white tube socks pulled up too high and batting the ball with a wicked spin; a violin prodigy impressing the audience at Carnegie Hall, before taking a polite bow; a teen computer scientist, ready to make millions on an initial public offering before the company stock crashes; a gangster in sunglasses and a tight suit, embroiled in a turf war with the Sicilian mob; an urban greengrocer selling lunch by the pound, rudely returning change over the counter to the black patrons; a businessman with a briefcase of cash bribing a congressman, a corrupting influence on the electoral process; a salaryman on my way to work, crammed into the commuter train and loyal to the company; a shady doctor, trained in a foreign tradition with anatomical diagrams of the human body mapping the flow of life energy through a multitude of colored points; a calculus graduate student with thick glasses and a bad haircut, serving as a teaching assistant with an incomprehensible accent, scribbling on the chalkboard; an automobile enthusiast who customizes an imported car with a supercharged engine and Japanese decals in the rear window, cruising the boulevard looking for a drag race; a illegal alien crowded into the cargo hold of a smuggler's ship, defying death only to crowd into a New York City tenement and work as a slave in a sweatshop.

My mother and my girl cousins were Madame Butterfly from the mail order bride catalog, dying in their service to the masculinity of the West, and the dragon lady in a kimono, taking vengeance for her sisters. They became the television newscaster, look-alikes with their flawlessly permed hair.

Through these indelible images, I grew up. But when I looked in the mirror, I could not believe my own reflection because it was not like what I saw around me. Over the years, the world opened up. It has become a dizzying kaleidoscope of cultural fragments, arranged and rearranged without plan or order.”
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