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Author Event with OiYan Poon/Asian American is Not a Color

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Join Anderson’s Bookshop for an event with author OiYan Poon to celebrate the release of Asian American is Not a Color on Friday, May 31st at 7 pm in our Naperville Store.


Event Format

  • Author Presentation, Audience Q&A

  • Signing & Photo Line


Pre-registration is required for this event because space is limited.


A mother and race scholar seeks to answer her daughter’s many questions about race and racism with an earnest exploration into race relations and affirmative action from the perspectives of Asian Americans

Before being struck down by the US Supreme Court in June 2023, affirmative action remained one of the few remaining policy tools to address racial inequalities, revealing the peculiar contours of racism and anti-racist strategies in America. Through personal reflective essays for and about her daughter, OiYan Poon looks at how the debate over affirmative action reveals the divergent ways Asian Americans conceive of their identity. With moving sincerity and insightful study, Poon combines extensive research with personal narratives from both herself and a diverse swath of individuals across the Asian American community to reflect on and respond to her daughter’s central question: What does it mean to be Asian American?

Poon conducts interviews with Asian Americans throughout the US who have been actively engaged in policy debates over race-conscious admissions or affirmative action. Through these exchanges, she finds that Asian American identity remains deeply unsettled in a contest between those invested in reaching the top of the racial hierarchy alongside whiteness and those working toward a vision of justice and humanity co-constructed through cross-racial solidarity.

Poon uses these contrasting viewpoints to guide her conversations with her daughter, providing a heartfelt and optimistic look at how understanding the diversity and nuances of the Asian American experience can help us envision a more equitable future.


About the Author: 

Dr. OiYan Poon is a codirector of the College Admissions Futures Co-Laborative (cafcolab.org). Her research agenda brings together organizational theories and race and ethnic studies to study rejective admission and selection processes, the racial politics of Asian Americans and education, and affirmative action policies. She has received grants from the Gates Foundation, Joyce Foundation, and Spencer Foundation to support her research, and her work has appeared widely in national media outlets including the New York Times, the Washington PostThe Atlantic, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the New Yorker.

Rupal Soni is committed to uplifting and empowering historically marginalized communities through collaborative leadership, generative partnerships, creative program design, storytelling, community care, and healing justice. She has worked in philanthropy for over 16 years, with experiences ranging from the intentional sunset of a peer-led activist giving circle to building out a small, start-up, checkbook foundation into one of the largest family foundations in the nation. Her previous work was steeped in using arts access to amplify community voices and agency, from diverse neighborhoods in Chicago to rural villages on the India-Pakistan border. Rupal is also an accomplished multidisciplinary artist. Her most ambitious art project is in progress: guiding three small humans into the grown-ups they are meant to be. She's a hugger and obsessed with trees.


Please read these Event Policies carefully:

Anderson’s Bookshop reserves the right to change the format of this event to a virtual one at any time if it becomes necessary. Please be advised that Anderson’s Bookshop assumes no responsibility or liability for any personal injury or other loss you may incur as a result of your decision to attend an event, including the transmission of Covid-19 or related illnesses. We expect that for the protection of everyone, all applicable Covid-related protocols will be followed.  

Failure to treat all participants and staff with courtesy and respect may result in your expulsion from the event.


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