• THIS POST IS DUE  BY 11:59pm on Friday 9/4;
    • Two comments due by 11:59 on Monday 9/7.
    • *Use the title format “[FirstName] [LastName] DB 1” 
    • Category for this post: Discussion Board 1
  • For this first Discussion Board post, please reflect on the following questions. For full credit, you must respond to both sets of questions below:
          • What do you learn from Bahadur’s process of researching her great-grandmother’s history? What were the limits of the archive and how did she address these limits? If you were to construct an archive of your own family history, what types of data might you review or search for?
          • What did you learn from the oral history that you studied? Tell us a little bit about the person who was interviewed. How does this oral history challenge or confirm ideas and information you already have about Asian Americans? What surprises you? What is missing in this history- what else would you want to know?
  • COMMENT ON TWO POSTS. You can comment on the post of a classmate by selecting the title of the post > scroll down to where you leave a reply > type the comment > post comment.

Garey Santano DB1

When Bahadur began to research her great-grandmother’s emigration pass  she found that there was great lack of information as to who she was, it was also void of any personal accounts of her journey to the colony and even why she became an indentured servant. The racist and sexist records often kept by captains are also obscured, only mentioning scandals or tragedies. Because of this Bahadur had to employ various methods in order to continue her research. She searched British documents, the logs of captains, she went back to Guiana to look for various cultural clues and visited her great-grandmothers hometown in India. To uncover the whole story, she must track down the official documents as well as other sources of information, all through the eyes of an emigrant child and a journalist.


One thing I learned from Bahadur’s research was that, by piecing together information from local cultural traditions you can get to know an ancestor. This is something I never considered while researching my own grandparents in Trinidad. Her research showed me that I can gain information about them I thought was forever lost to me. I have not been searching in the right places or asking the right questions. The answers to the questions Bahadur ask not only reveals the lives and voices of her great-grandmother but also those of many other indentured women. Some of the types of information I plan to look for now are records from the parliament and I might have an opportunity to speak to one my grandfather’s old friend with whom he traveled to America. If I ever get the chance, I would also like to visit his hometown in Trinidad.


The oral history I studied was about Anthony Hom, an American Chinese from Palo Alto California. He went to high school in San Mateo California and went on to study at the University of California for a year and then spent the rest of his undergraduate at UC Davis. He has some background in architecture but has been working at Stanford university for 18 years. One thing I learned was how American Chinese were treated, I knew that they were mistreated, but I was a little surprised that they were confined to one part of the city. Hom did not talk much about his father, it would have been nice to hear some the stories he heard growing up. One thing I think I am missing is more information on his ancestors who worked on the tracks.  I’m wondering what life was like for them, and how they got to where they were.


Response to Kamala Harris article.


When I read the phrase “model minority” I was reminded how many Americans see people of Japanese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Chinese etc. descent, not only do they often lump them all together as being the same, but they also assigned stereotypes to them, like being really smart and good at math. This is what I understood “model minority” means to certain Americans. It almost sounds like they use Asian Americans to set some standard for what other Americans should look and behave like. Yang perpetuates a stereotype when he wears a math pin and makes jokes about how he knows a lot of doctors because he is Asian. What the author meant by “model minority” was that Asian Americans are portrayed as being more prosperous because they are somehow better than other minorities. The “anti-model minority” is an example of someone who challenges the stereotype, is involved in civil rights movements, and has progressive politics. It is not only due to economic and educational achievements but more that they have been respected and treated better because of the civil rights movement.

Andrew Zhang DB1

1. The History that Bahadur is writing about is her great grandmother where she is Coolie Women, a woman that is running away or thrown out by husbands and being outcast. Leaving her county to work at a Caribbean sugar plantation. That Bahadur is showing how women are not represented and not knowing about there life. In the rich paper trail in India Office and Colonial Office records in London reports that allows Bahadur to rebuild the image of how women live. The perspective is from Bahadur, and this states ” I had to turn to alternative, unofficial sources. I looked for clues in visual traces and the oral tradition: folk songs, oral histories, photographs, and colonial-era postcards, even a traditional tattoo on the forearms of elderly Indo-Caribbean women”. There there was more information that is not known yet. That Bahadur used herself as a historical reflection of both as a former newspaper reporter and as a child immigrant and the place she was born in about gender base violence problem. If I were to construct my family ground I would ask my grandparents and would visit where they are born also look into history books.

2. That the author describe model minority as a individuals can overcome challenging circumstances less through solidarity with other groups and making its own decision. And for anti- model minority shows Asian American solidarity with other groups, which sheds light on the coalitions that formed in the fight for civil rights. That in the article it states ” In the early 20th century, merchant men from Bengal jumped ship in New York City and Baltimore, often settling down with African American, Puerto Rican and other women of color in Black neighborhoods of New Orleans, Detroit and Harlem”.

Valery Vasquez DB 1

  1.  One of the things I learned when I was reading “Bahadur: How could I write about women whose existence is barely acknowledged?”, with just the title itself left me surprised as in I already had an idea on how they treated women: that they had to bear children, preferably a boy and that they had no voice, but I thought they were still treated as human beings. The fact that she had to turn into unofficial sources because there was nothing about women in the official ones by looking for clues on at least how women were in the culture during those times such as with folk songs, oral histories, pictures, and colonial era-postcards.
  2.  The person that I chose for the interview was Kitty Wong Okamura. And some things that I’ve from her was that she is a 4th generation of a Chinese family that emigrated in San Francisco, California. Her grandfather, Lim Tai, who went to the Hoping Area in Guangdong Province near Canton when he was a teenager in 1880. According to Kitty’s mom, he was a laborer when he arrived, he would go to work in the slaughterhouse near Hunter’s Point, and he worked the night shift. Meaning that he was a hard worker that worked his hardest in order to provide for his family. Also, something that she mentions about the railroad in which I really found fascinated was that her great-grandfather Lim was in Deadwood her other great-grandfather Wong worked in Deadwood and it’s a curiosity if they actually knew each other. The oral history kind of challenges the idea and the information in a way because some things in the memory get rewritten or they could have been forgotten, but on the other hand, it mostly confirms what was life like during those times.

Shehnila Mehreen DB 1

In this article Bahadur researches her own great-grandmother, Sujaira’s history. Some solid documents and records presented that she departed to Guiana from Calcutta as an indented labourer at 27 years age. The name of her father, her native village and even a burn mark on her left leg were recorded. But the record lacked clarity as her own statement was absent. Who was she ? What circumstanctes led her to leave India and migrate to a foreign land? These unanswerable questions were yet to discover. While searching for the proper documents Bahadur realized, the tales of Coolie women were never weaved. The existing archives had biases towards these voiceless womans. While digging deep into the history she found a rich paper trail in India Office and Colonial offices in London, stastical reports, diaries by captains, surgeons and more people who transported such indentured woman. These archives did not contain their stories rather it’s the way various white man, sexist individuals, plantation officials viewed these voiceless woman. As a result, Bahadur began to search her great-grandmother’s history in non-offcial sources. She looked for clues in visual traces and the oral tradition, folk songs, oral histories, photographs and much more. Later, she turned to her own voyage and experience of visiting India to find the identity of her great-grandmother. Bahadur’s deep interest to unwind this mystery, her journalist mind coincided with an immigrant’s child quieries of what’s his/her true identity. If I were to construct an archive of my own family, I would first look for the family albums, listen to stories from my parent’s and look for written documents. I would even ask the locals and the family of those people who were acquainted with our family. 


The interviewee I watched is from the South Asian Oral history project is Dr Najma Rizvi. She was born in Bangladesh in 1938. She was raised in the capital city Dhaka and completed her Master’s degree in Geography. She tells in her interview that she was the first child to her parents and their parent’s marriage was not an arranged one. She also talks about her interest in Geography and also did her Master’s in Geography. She came to the United States with her husband in 1959 to further her studies and further returned to Bangladesh to teach. Dr Rizvi completed her Phd in Anthropology from the University of California and she completed Master’s from two other renowned Universities. She has extensive research experience which focuses on hunger, malnutrition and infectious disease. Moreover, she talks about the welcoming nature of NY people and much more. I enjoyed the interview and the way she talked about her childhood, interests and abroad life. 

Sundas Ejaz DB 1

After reading about Bahadur’s process of researching her great grandmother’s ancestry, it became apparent to me how history can very easily be manipulated, and changed to benefit someone who is in power. While Bahadur was searching the archives, she found out that the struggles and experiences that the woman faced were biased, and did not consist of the personal experiences and struggles the women faced, but rather consisted of records described by the white men who had power over those women. This shows that throughout history, history has been altered to fit a narrative that benefits someone who is wealthy, and has power, to make them look good. This way, those men in power were unfortunately able to silence these women, silence their struggles and experiences, and changed their history, in an effort to maintain their own power. Many of the women were also illiterate and those men used that to their advantage, hence leaving little to no information about what the actual experiences those women faced. The information that Bahadur was able to find from those archives however mostly consisted of statistical reports and such. This led to her to turn to a more traditional way of uncovering research through old photographs and postcards, folk songs, and even looking at tattoos on the elderly women. If I were to construct an archive of my own family history I would definitely start off by looking at old photographs as we have several photo albums that consist of old pictures of my family members. We also have old letters that my dad had collected from his grandparents, which also can give an insight on our family history.

The oral history interview that I had chosen was about Owais Jafery, under the South Asian Oral History project. I chose this one specifically, because Mr. Jafery’s experiences had reminded me of my own family’s experiences when they had migrated from India to Pakistan when India was partitioned. He discussed how before the partition, many Indians of different religions easily got along with one another, and afterwards there became this internalized hatred for anyone who wasn’t following a specific religion. People upheld prejudices against people who were once their own friends and families. Due to this newfound hatred towards Muslim Indians especially, they were forced to migrate to Pakistan. He also mentioned when he had to flee to do not being able to find a job, he was also poor, didn’t have any close family in Pakistan. He had eventually learned to adapt to this new country, and had assimilated well into the Punjabi-Pakistani culture. Later on, he mentioned how he had eventually migrated to the US and had brought his family there too. His story reminded me about the stories my dad told about when our own family had gone through a similar situation when they too had to flee to Pakistan. It was difficult for them to adapt to this new environment, and the discriminations they faced due to them being Muslim was unimaginable. Although Mr. Jafery included alot  of information on the partition, I wish there were more first hand experiences written about the horrors Muslim Pakistanis faced when they had to flee. Also what history fails to teach us about this partition is that this hatred among different religious groups in India was sparked but the British who occupied the land at the time. Once again, people were turned against one another so that those in power could benefit from their struggles. This is often left out during discussions about the partition, and it makes it seem as if this all happened to due a civil conflict, but rather it was a matter of those in power wanting more power. Overall, I enjoyed hearing this interview and discovering how many Pakistanis have faced similar experiences as well.

Vannyka Lim DB1

  1. While reading Bahadur ‘How could I write about women whose existence is barely acknowledged?’I learned about how Asian women were treated and I was not surprised by it. During her journey, She found pieces of information written or told by white men who held power over them. The archive did not allow them to reveal their thoughts or feelings due to the white men who held power over them. The Archive allows one to reconstruct the texture of the women’s life but they do not show the women, their thoughts or their feelings. She addressed these limits by beginning to explore clues in visual traces and the oral tradition such as folk songs, oral histories, photographs and colonial-era postcards. Farther more, she also returns to her great-grandmother’s village to find some unofficial information that could uncover more about her great grandmother. If I was to construct an archive of my family history, I would first ask all my family about their journey, then look through any photograph, diary, and documents.
  2. My Interviewee is Wilson Chow, Great-grandson of Chow Zun Yok. He was born in Hong Kong. Wilson Chow migrated to the United States with his family in 1990 and also studied to become a nurse in California, he used to be a dentist’s assistant.  I learned that migrating is hard, and it is not easy to migrate; as it takes time, patience and a strong will in order to survive. This oral history confirms that people will always do what it takes in order to have a better life and make money for their family. It surprised me how similar his family’s hardships and my family’s hardships are. There was not much information missing in this as it answered most of the questions I had while listening to this oral history. I guess I would like to know what lifestyle changes he faced when he migrated to the United States.

Kahli Hodzic DB1

Researching her great- grandmother, I learned that Bahadur was very determined to write about her elder. Her great grandmother as well as many other asians and asian women had to live brutal inhumane lives, being treated poorly by racist, sexist, misogynistic, toxic men. Who sexually, psychically, and verbally abused the native people. They were condescending to them, the white man who believed they were superior just because the come from a higher class. Communist, Dictator, Socialists who berated Indian woman. They Asians back in the day were still hardworker and lived their lives on farms, even in poverty. I think the author really wants to show the world how strong her great grandmother and others were. If i were to archive my own family history, i would use all data from my dna tests, family tree and knowledge from everyone on both sides of my family

The person I watched was Interviewed was Kristi Yamaguchi a third generation Japanese American figure skater, who’s father was a dentist and her mother was a medical secretary. Her grandparents and and great grandparents are immigrants from the Kansai region and Kyushu island. Her grandparents were force into a interment camp during World War II. I was surprised during the war that Japanese people were treated that way

Anaise Baez DB 1

While reading Bahadur’s process into researching her ancestry, it reminded me of how easy written information can be manipulated. While searching the archives she found that many of them were biased and written by men and their perspective. This could also have been because many women were illiterate which left out many women’s thoughts, feelings and perspectives. She overcomes these obstacles by turning to sources such as oral tradition, photographs, visiting her great grandmother village and even using herself as a source based on personal experience. If I were to research my family history, I would first find connections within my families as first-person accounts as well as travel to Puerto Rico to interview my family there as well. Next I would turn to archives that can help me better understand the time period to connect with the first person account of my family. After I would do a history search for traditions and societal views during each time period as a final connection to piece all my information together. 


The interview I watched was Sandy Lee. On her mother’s side her great grandfather who worked on the railroad when he came to the West side and was adopted in 1869 by an Indian tribe chief at 16, who lost his son, for two years. She also talks about her father’s side who also had connections with the railroads but was mainly a merchant who got detained from a moth and a half due to frequent visits to China.She also details how her family opened a farm that turned into a grocery store and how through this project of ancestry she became closer to her relatives. This confirmed my belief that Asian Americans always worked hard to get to where they wanted to be despite whatever was thrown their way. It also kind of surprised me that many of Sandy Lee’s family came from doing railroads and farms to high end jobs such as nursing(which is what she studied). I found it amazing because it shows why they worked so hard so that they can follow the passions but also support them. I also found it interesting how closely knitted her family was to Indians. I would love to find out more about the way the great grandfather was treated when he was adopted into the Indian tribe. Also in general I would like to hear more about the mindset of those who struggled when coming here and the motivation they gave themselves to make it through. 

Matthew Torres DB1

Bahadur’s process of researching her great grandmother’s history was a bit unorthodox, given the fact that she is a journalist. You would think that a journalist has this extensive network of resources which makes information easily accessible. But that isn’t the case for her. It isn’t possible because her great grandmother is from a period in time where history about women wasn’t recorded. A period where women weren’t seen as anything without a man. In order to get the information she sought, Bahadur had to go to greater lengths. She had to turn to unofficial sources such as oral traditions and visual traces. These oral traditions include digging deeper into the meanings of folk songs, oral histories (storytelling), photographs, postcards, and analyzing traditional tattoos. Since the period of time didn’t allow the history of women to be recorded officially, it had to be passed down through generations, by families and village members. I believe that Bahadur’s way of finding out her great grandmother’s history worked quit well. If I were to construct an archive of my own family, I would go about it in a very similar way. I would speak to different family members about the info I’m seeking. I would use photographs, letters, videos. A source of information that I can find which somehow connects me to my past family members. I found Bahadur’s method to be very similar to the oral history I studied. I studied a man named William Leong. He is a Chinese American who is a descendant of railroad workers. His family’s roots in the United States can be traced back to 1865. His roots in this country confirm the idea I had about some Chinese Americans. I had the idea that some Chinese Americans immigrated to this country due to the construction of the transcontinental railroad. In William’s family’s case, that was true. What surprised me was how his family decided to stay in the California area and never venture out, other than returning to China. What I found similarities between the reading and the oral lesson is the fact that a woman’s history is not told in either culture. In the oral history, William talks about his family history, but it’s only about the men in the family. Even when he talks about his own mother, he is unsure of the year and place she is born. He can only make the assumption based off of his father’s history. I first listened to William’s story, then read Bahadur’s article. As I was reading, I instantly connected this missing history, due to the fact that she stresses how little information is available about women. I enjoyed how both of these works could be connected in such a way, given the fact that I personally selected the oral history piece and it wasn’t assigned.

Christal Yu DB 1

* What do you learn from Bahadur’s process of researching her great-grandmother’s history? What were the limits of the archive and how did she address these limits? If you were to construct an archive of your own family history, what types of data might you review or search for?

Bahadur’s search for her great grandmother’s history spoke to the silencing of WOC in history and the hidden horrors of white supremacy, colonization, and the quest for capitalism. She noticed that all mentions of Indian women enslaved to Guyana were by another party, as viewed through the racist eyes of the white man. Only altercations or highly factual instances were recorded. Official sources barely spoke of these women, so Bahadur worked to uncover more traditional methods: oral records like folk songs, stories as told by people, photographs and tattoos on the arms of elderly women.

In searching for records of my own family history, I have looked at family photo albums and questioned family members to no end for stories of immigration, hardship, and family. There have always been detailed stories from my more talkative family members, but often time specifics are confused or half forgotten. Photographs are plentiful in my family, they seemed very fond of recording things, for which I am grateful now. Upon thinking more, I might look at more official sources like immigration records, perhaps housing records, work records?

* What did you learn from the oral history that you studied? Tell us a little bit about the person who was interviewed. How does this oral history challenge or confirm ideas and information you already have about Asian Americans? What surprises you? What is missing in this history- what else would you want to know?

William Sing Mock is spirited man, very engaged in and proud of his history. He speaks a combination of Cantonese and Toisan (Taishanese) dialects of Chinese, as well as some English. I was extremely interested in his depiction of his family’s immigration and first experiences in America. His grandfather worked to build the railroad around 1890, but returned to China to be with family after a short period of time. The story William weaves is an intergenerational one spanning from his grandfather’s work as a laborer, to his flattering depiction of who I believe is Leland Stanford (?), the beginnings of a local rice paddy, and his own difficult immigration decades later to Hawaii.

This oral history retelling was thought provoking on many levels. For one, William spoke a mixture of Cantonese, Toisan/Taishanese, and English throughout the interview. I’m not really fluent in Cantonese and can barely understand simple sentences in Toisan, whereas William’s English is similarly unsure. It was the main reason I picked his interview out of the other fluent English speakers, because the language difficulties made me focus just that much harder. Despite watching several times and even enlisting my mom for help translating, the story was still somewhat difficult to follow, due to our language differences as well as William’s natural story telling style. Every time I hear a “Coming to America” story, I always feel instantly humbled, reminded of my size compared to how large the world and other experiences are. While I experience difficulties, I cannot imagine the frustration of adapting to a new country, forcing yourself to learn a new language, and battling intense racism and poverty all the while. William describes intense xenophobia, with white Americans pushing for the expulsion of Chinese people and that racists even assaulted and brutalized them. He states that “Chinese people weren’t allowed in the courthouses… it was like that. It was really like that” with such intense, slighted fervor in his voice that resonates with you how excluded and angry his ancestors felt.

Upon doing some quick google searches, I’m confused about the dates William provided. The Transcontinental Railroad wrapped up in the late 1860’s, but William cited his grandfather’s immigration to work on the railroad as the 1890’s, with a return to China in 1905. I believe that William said his grandfather, or someone his grandfather knew, knew Leland Stanford. He refers to him only as Stanford, however, the interview is at Stanford University and Leland Stanford had no children. This leads me to believe William may have his decades confused. He says his grandfather/family friend (I am unsure) was either gifted/or gifted a gold watch to Leland Stanford. Stanford died in the late 1880’s, another time line that doesn’t quite match up.

I am surprised to hear William’s view on Leland Stanford. If we are referring to the same Stanford, William said that Stanford was a good person, who defended Chinese people from white Americans who wanted to send them all back to China, and reminded people that Chinese workers built the railroads. Google reveals that Stanford was an outright racist, specifically toward Chinese people as well. He declared that “the settlement among us of an inferior race is to be discouraged by every legitimate means. Asia, with her numberless millions, sends to our shores the dregs of her population… [which] exercise a deleterious influence upon the superior race, and to a certain extent, repel desirable immigration.” This is… a pretty huge discrepancy. This confirms ideas I have about Chinese-Americans as I know them today.

William seems to know only part of the story, which is the part where Leland Stanford hired Chinese immigrants, bringing them to America to work grueling jobs that no white man wanted to risk his life doing. However, the other side of the coin is that Leland Stanford had made the above racist statements prior to mass recruiting Chinese immigrants and was later called a hypocrite for bringing in the very people he demonized and spoke of as a dirty horde from which white America must be protected. It saddens me to some extent, that William views Stanford as a savior, a protector, and a “good person” as he repeats. His knowledge seems to be that Stanford paid and brought people to America, but overlooks the facts that Stanford recruited Chinese people for life threatening positions, publicly demonized them for political gain as well as personal belief. This to me, echoes some of the lack of knowledge some Chinese people have regarding politics, questioning authority, and honoring white men. I can’t say that this is true for all Chinese Americans, even in that time period, for William is merely the grandson of one railroad worker. I cannot help but feel the echo of my own grandfather declaring Trump a great businessman, approaching the polls ready, while Trump whines on every major network about “what he’s going to do about THE Chinese”

I am curious about the rice paddies William mentioned his grandfather being involved in. I’m unclear if his grandfather owned the paddy or if a family friend did, but I wonder how they started it and what the family’s background prior to coming to America was, and what it has evolved to today. I’m interested in hearing more about William’s experience in Hawaii, the place where he first was introduced to America, as well as his experience in California. Both places have a huge Asian-American population, so much so that they are a majority. It differs extremely from my own experience in NYC, where Chinese-Americans are plentiful but are still a “”minority””