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Angry Asian Man

When the Los Angeles Times wrote an article about University of California, Los Angeles junior Alexandra Wallace’s YouTube video mocking Asian university students this Monday, the paper linked to Korean-American blogger Phil Yu’s coverage of the story on his website,

Thursday night, Yu spoke about his experience as a blogger focusing on Asian American issues for an audience of approximately 100 Penn students, many of them Asian American.

Yu talked about the use of his blog to spotlight the treatment of Asian Americans in the media, as well how new forms of media such as blogging are used to promote activism. When Yu started the website a decade ago, he thought only his friends would read it. Today, however, averages 1,000 hits per day.

At first, Yu blogged mainly about his frustration at the negative portrayal of Asian Americans in the media.

In 2009, however, he rethought the purpose of his blog when Asian American students became the victims of hate crimes at a Philadelphia high school. Yu realized that his blog could help mobilize people in support of the students.

After the event was widely publicized through and other websites, the school’s administration acknowledged there was a problem and began taking steps to deal with it. It was at that moment that Yu realized that “I have this blog, and I’m going to use it to put pressure on people to create change.”

College sophomore Florence Sit, vice president of programming for Sigma Psi Zeta, which sponsored the event, knew she wanted to bring Yu to Penn after hearing him speak at Northwestern University last year. “When I came to Penn, I saw that lots of Asian Americans on campus recognize that anti-Asian racism exists but don’t necessarily say anything about it,” she said. “Phil Yu shows how far Asian Americans have come.”

According to College junior and President of Sigma Psi Zeta Elaine Kwon, the event marks the first time the sorority has brought a speaker to campus. “This is part of our initiative to become more involved … with the Penn community in general,” she said.

College senior Anne Huang thought Yu’s presentation was relevant to Asian American students. Referring to Alexandra Wallace’s video, Huang said, “that kind of racial slur is something people still hear on a regular basis.”

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