Korean American blogger Phil Yu has won the Peabody Trailblazer Award for his work behind the popular blog “Angry Asian Man.”
“Twitter started in 2006. Facebook started in 2004. Our next recipient, our honoree, started his blog in 2001. When he started, he was one of the only people doing advocacy in this way,” Kim said, adding that Yu became an “indispensable voice in the Asian American community and the advocacy community at large.”
During his acceptance speech, Yu discussed his childhood and described himself as a “child of pop culture.” The Korean American blogger said he “rarely ever saw stories or people or characters that reflected” his experience.
“It just felt like there was a misrepresentation or just invisibility when it came to the way Asians were depicted on screen,” he shared. “When I felt the sting of racism or prejudice in some ways, it was flung my way in a way that said, ‘What are you going to do about it?”
Yu created “Angry Asian Man” to express his views on how Asians are poorly represented in the media. The blog expanded after Yu successfully called out a clothing company that sold T-shirts featuring racist Asian caricatures.
The blog became “a type of short-form conversation,” and its course shifted “from criticism to also include calls to action, providing a look, via an Asian American lens, at everything from pop culture to politics to music to academia,” the Peabody Awards wrote.
The blog’s title, as Yu describes it, is an oxymoron. He explained that “it just did not mesh, the idea of angry and Asians.” The Peabody Awards wrote it is an “ironic play on the model minority trope” that asks, “Why aren’t Asians allowed or expected to be angry?”
“I felt like, no more. I’m not going to be the person who just sits there and takes it,” Yu said. “‘Angry Asian Man’ was a large part of that, channeling that energy. And let me tell you, sometimes it felt like I was very alone.”
Yu also said that he is not “100% sure that this isn’t a prank,” adding that he’s “constantly looking back at [his] life and career” and asking, “How did I get here?”
“But it also confirms the stuff that you were doing, Phil, was worthwhile, and it connected with people, and that kind of storytelling matters,” he concluded. “It feels pretty good. Mom, look what I got! This is cool!”