Last month, The Los Angeles Times reported that Walter and Shirley Wang donated $1 million to UCLA to establish the nation’s first endowed academic chair on U.S.-China relations and Chinese American studies in the article “Couple gives UCLA $1 million to further Chinese American studies“:
“The gift marks the latest effort by the Wangs, owners of one of the world’s largest plastic piping firms, to promote understanding of Chinese Americans and U.S.-China relations. In 2000, they donated $1.5 million to help finance the acclaimed PBS series “Becoming American: The Chinese Experience.” The couple’s interest in public perceptions and media portrayals of Chinese Americans is in part a product of Shirley Wang’s background: She is a 1990 UCLA graduate in communications, with an emphasis on business. But their concerns were fanned by a 2001 survey of American attitudes toward China and Chinese Americans commissioned by the Committee of 100, a group of prominent Chinese Americans. That poll reported 68% of Americans surveyed viewed China as a future threat and nearly half believed that Chinese Americans were probably more loyal to China. The survey also showed, however, majorities that viewed Chinese Americans as honest and as patriotic as other Americans, with strong family and educational values.”
The fact that the average American thinks that Chinese Americans have more loyalty to China than the United States reminds me of the fear that the United States government and people had about Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Then again, I’ve heard that UCLA is an for “United Caucasians Lost amongst Asians”
The article also notes that the UCLA Asian American Studies Center has the largest Asian American studies program in the nation, “with 45 faculty members, two academic journals, extensive archives and endowed chairs for research on Japanese Americans and Korean Americans.” – that’s pretty impressive, especially when you compare it to Harvard’s meager offerings in Asian American studies.