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Asian Americans on PBS: Everything We Know

May 11, 2020
3 min read

PBS is known for being the home to documentaries, and its latest attempt is a correct step in exploring the rich diversity of America. ‘Asian Americans’ offers a fresh and bold perspective on the history that has become more relevant today than ever. With the nation growing increasingly diverse and divided while facing insurmountable challenges, ‘Asian Americans’ seeks to ask what is the way forward. It casts a new lens on American history and questions what roles the Asian Americans have played over the ages.

Asian Americans Release Date and Time

‘Asian Americans’ is slated to release on May 11, 2020, and May 12, 2020, at 8 pm ET on PBS. 

Who is in Asian Americans?

‘Asian Americans’ tells the story of individuals who witnessed significant moments in the intersection of the US and Asian American histories. For example, we have Helen Zia, who was a central figure in the campaign for justice for Vincent Chin. The Feds investigated Zia’s father while they were searching for Communist subversives. The well-researched project also introduces us to Viet Thanh Nguyen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and activist. He shares personal stories about his family’s travel to America after the Vietnam War.

Other notable people we see are businessman Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo, actor Randall Park, and Tereza Lee. The latter inspired Senator Richard Durbin to introduce the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act, with Senator Orrin Hatch to put undocumented immigrant kids on the pathway to US citizenship.

People who’ve had a historical impact are also depicted in the series. We learn more about Anna May Wong, the first Asian American female movie star to gain widespread popularity, and Philip Ahn, the first Asian American actor to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The story of Buddy Uno, a Japanese American, is told to depict loyalty during World War II, while we also learn about Bhagat Singh Thind, an Indian Sikh man. He fought for US citizenship in a Supreme Court case.

What is Asian Americans About?

The project has been in the pipelines for a long time. It is the most ambitious project yet, that attempts to capture the Asian American experience. We look at the fastest growing ethnic, racial, and immigrant group in the US. Not only do we see how the members affected the country’s history, but we dive into their past and discover the community’s roots.

Besides being told from an Asian American perspective, the narrative is two-folded. It is intended to inform others about Asian American culture while also making the community feel empowered and engaged in their American citizenship. The show decides to do away with the top-down approach to historical events, instead choosing to focus on micronarratives. Thus, ‘Asian Americans’ is populated with people who have emotional and personal ties to the stories that shaped the history of the US and the community. Besides, we also get to hear from scholars who shine an academic light on the proceedings.

The series attempts to unpack over one and half centuries of heritage, and in the process, discuss issues such as inequality, identity, and the sociopolitical aspects of the Asian American community. It promises to be informative and highly fascinating.

Asian Americans Trailer:

Check out a trailer of ‘Asian Americans’ below, to know what the show is about.

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