Frank H. Wu Lecture
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
On November 19, 2008 Howard Law Professor Frank H. Wu addressed Prof. Bill Robinson’s Race and the Law course. Numerous other students, faculty members and staff members attended. Professor Wu’s remarks illustrated a central theme - that racism and race issues are far from dead, but evolve with society over time. He pointed out that residential segregation is still alive and well, and, with particular regard to anti-Asian Americanism, he reminded of the Vincent Chin murder (Vincent Chin was a Chinese American beaten to death in June 1982 in the Detroit, Michigan enclave of Highland Park by Chrysler plant superintendent Ronald Ebens in a climate of American job losses, ostensibly to the Japanese auto industry. )
Prof. Wu personalized the issues by using a series of stories, anecdotes and observations gleaned from his own lifetime of experiences. He spoke of the numerous times when European Americans have asked him where he was from, only to have them ask the question again when he provided his U.S. state of origin – reflective of the fact that many Americans forget that many Asian-American families have lived in the U.S. for generations. He told of the many times little children would jump at him in mock karate attack poses, reflecting still-prevailing media stereotypes. And he described the repeated questions he receives when a new acquaintance learns he, an Asian-American, is teaching at a predominantly African American law school.
Prof. Wu is the host of PBS’s series "Asian America and author of numerous articles and books including, "Yellow: Race in America: Beyond Black and White” and "Race, Rights and Reparation: Law and the Japanese-American Internment.” He is a past chair of the D.C. Human Rights Commission and a frequent guest on television shows such as Now with Bill Moyers, Oprah, The O’Reilly Factor and Talk Back Live on CNN.