Between Black & White: Asian Americans Speak Out

Society & Culture

A new digital series by The Serica Initiative and The WNET Group's Exploring Hate initiative adds Asian American voices into a conversation about race in America that otherwise stays between Black and White.

The Serica Initiative, our sister nonprofit, in collaboration with The WNET Group’s Exploring Hate initiative, PBS’s flagship station in New York, has produced a new digital series called Between Black & White: Asian Americans Speak Out

The conversation about race in America is often between Black and White, leaving Asian Americans out of the dialogue. Between Black & White: Asian Americans Speak Out is a three-part series about communities building bridges, confronting racism, discovering surprising connections, and fighting hate – together. 

The first episode, “Bridging the Divide,” profiles Eddie Zheng, who spent 21 years behind bars in California for a crime he committed at age 16. Now he’s committed to building bridges — and bridging the divide between Asian Americans and other communities of color. But he’s not doing it alone. In one San Francisco neighborhood, Blacks and Asian Americans are working together to confront racism, fear, and misperceptions about one another.

The second episode, “A Seat at the Table,” is about a community of young Asian American Jews who didn’t fit in, so they spoke out. A Seat at the Table serves up inspiration from Asian American Jews embracing identity, becoming more visible, and standing against hate.

The third and final episode, “From Kingston, Jamaica to Jamaica, Queens,” profiles Patricia “Miss Pat” Chin, the godmother of Jamaican music, who revolutionized the reggae music business as the co-founder of VP Records, the largest independent reggae record label in the world. Reflecting the diversity of the Asian American community, her story is rooted in Asian Caribbean history, and at 85 years old, she is still making music.  

This new series builds off Serica’s first successful collaboration with Exploring Hate entitled “be/longing: Asian Americans Now,” which profiled prominent Asian Americans in five stories about standing up, speaking out, and confronting hate, including Star Trek actor George Takei; CityMD Founder and former CEO Richard Park; and Pulitzer-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen, and released in conjunction with Gina Kim‘s one-hour special, “Rising Against Asian Hate: One Day in March”.

To celebrate the launch, on June 6, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, in collaboration with The WNET Group’s Exploring Hate initiative, The Serica Initiative is hosting a virtual discussion spotlighting the challenges and opportunities Asian Americans face as they build coalitions with other communities, races, and religions. Moderated by Daniel Tam-Claiborne, expert panelists Frank Wu, Paula Madison, and Jennifer Wu will address an essential question: How can we fight hate together? Register here.

The Serica Initiative recognizes the inextricable link between Sinophobia and anti-Asian hate and works to educate and cultivate empathy through interactive learning and awareness-raising, original research, discussions with subject matter experts, and outreach and coalition-building with other communities of color. By profiling the personal stories of diasporic, intersectional Asian Americans across the country, Serica helps to combat pernicious stereotypes and develop more nuanced understanding and empathy for the AAPI experience. 

Between Black & White: Asian Americans Speak Out is streaming for free in its entirety at The Serica Initiative.