Yellow Power

Chiou-Ling Yeh

in Making an American Festival

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780520253506
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942431 | DOI:
Yellow Power

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On March 1, 1969, a riot broke out following the Chinese New Year Festival. Grant Avenue consisted mainly of white tourists and various Chinatown gangs. Although there was a confrontation earlier in the day at the festival street fair, the first real fights started around 10:30 P.M., and took place between Chinese American male youths and their white counterparts. Through an examination of the “sideshows” in the ethnic festival and an analysis of the defiance of authority among Chinese American youth, this chapter illuminates not only grassroots activism within the ethnic community, but also minority youth resistance within the larger American society. It investigates the conflicts between the image promoted by festival organizers and the militant yellow power deployed by a number of youth groups. The chapter examines the militant masculinity manifested by male and female gang members, radicals, and student activists who chose to use violence and political demonstrations to protest racial, gender, and class oppression. Their actions changed the dominant racial discourse, which now categorized Chinese Americans as a “New Yellow Peril” in addition to model minorities.

Keywords: Chinese New Year; gangs; sideshows; grassroots activism; gender; Chinese Americans; violence; class; yellow power; youth

Chapter.  10539 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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