Blogger and entrepreneur Phil Yu joined the Wisconsin Union Directorate Distinguished Lecture Series Monday, speaking for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American heritage month.
Yu created his blog “Angry Asian Man” in 2001 as a space to share his thoughts. It later manifested into an online space for Asian Americans to feel connected with one another.
Yu discussed how starting a blog during his transition from growing up in Cupertino, California, to a college student in the Midwest allowed him to freely express his feelings.
The online space he used to share his personal thoughts slowly grew into his professional life and his social identity. As his blog continued to gain traction and many of his posts went viral, Yu considered making this his career.
“The more readership and feedback I got, the more emboldened I became, so I just kept doing it,” Yu said.
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Online activism inspired Yu, especially when protests broke out following Abercrombie’s release of racist T-shirts in 2002. The activism he witnessed helped shape the content and posts of his future blog posts.
Yu recalled feeling empowered by the change he could make with his blog and decided to make social justice its main topic. Exposing racism against Asians became a regular part of his content, along with working with others to call for action against this behavior in the form of online posts, protests and boycotts.
Yu also uses his platform to promote other Asian American accomplishments, often pertaining to arts and media. Yu hopes this space allows for content he would not have seen in his own childhood.
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“I usually cover anything from pop culture, media, politics, everyday sort of like microaggressions, hate crimes — fun stuff, cool stuff, stuff to celebrate,” Yu said.
Yu alluded to a number of art mediums that he believes represent progressive contrasts to the politics he features on his blog.
Yu highlighted Asian band Cambodia Rockband’s work, a spoken word poem on being an elderly Asian American woman, and Asian American comedians Randall Park and Ali Wong’s feature film.
The art featured in his posts speaks to Asian Americans’ racist experiences, and that the mix between activism and art allows for the creation and collaboration of voices for those who share his identity.
“Sometimes you need art, sometimes you need you know the message coming through in this really eloquent beautiful way,” Yu said.
The best part about blogging is the people it has brought into his life and the sense of connection he has fostered with those who read his blog, Yu said.