A short, short time ago in the U.S.A.

This story was originally published in the December 15, 2017 issue of The Slant. To get Asian American news, media and culture in your e-mail inbox every Friday morning, subscribe today.

We write a lot about Asian Americans stepping up to the political plate, and though we've made some pretty great strides when it comes to elected office, Asian Americans have a ways to go before they reach the level of civic engagement that Black women have reached.

'cos it's safe to say that Black voters, and specifically Black women, are why Doug Jones beat Roy Moore.

Never tell me the odds!

That's the kind of trailblazing, red state-smooshin' turnout espoused by former San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, who passed away this week. As the city's first Asian American mayor, Lee was outspoken in his concern for the younger generation of Asian Americans, whom he deemed dangerously apolitical.

Even if Asian Americans knew about their history, Lee worried, they often seemed more interested in preserving a status quo that bolstered the "model minority" myth, at the expense of other disenfranchised groups.

And studies like one released by NYU last week, showing that Asian American teachers have less multicultural awareness than Black and Latino teachers, don't help the picture.

All wings report in

In fact, if Ed Lee's roots as a tenants' rights and housing advocate mean anything, it's that it's not just about getting Asian Americans into elected office. It's not even just about Asian Americans: it's about creating a sea change where Asian Americans will invest in and listen to non-Asian minorities.

After all, Asian American activism is built on the backs of Black activism. And judging by the way Black communities are trotted out every election, only to be ignored the rest of the time, donating to the folks doing the groundwork might be a good idea.

Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, who's getting off his soapbox now

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