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Frank H. Wu
Frank H. Wu is Chancellor & Dean of University of California Hastings College of the Law. He also is the author of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White.

Entries by Frank H. Wu

Walking Orange County

(0) Comments | Posted March 1, 2015 | 5:41 PM

I enjoy visiting Orange County. I see why people like to live there. It's comfortable, projecting the sense that there is no hardship in life. It's also designed around the car -- the built environment encourages everyone to drive from Point A to Point B.

On my last trip, I...

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Howard University Changed My Life

(8) Comments | Posted February 23, 2015 | 2:56 PM

I will always have a place in my heart for Howard University. Its new president, Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, is about to be inaugurated. I taught for a decade at its law school in northwest Washington, D.C., as the first Asian-American law professor there.

Founded after the Civil...

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Buy You a Beer?

(0) Comments | Posted December 7, 2014 | 9:19 PM

Although I am generally cynical about human nature, I am always gratified by displays of generosity. Lately, I have been impressed by the importance of reciprocity. My intermittent hope for our species is thereby renewed.

What I have been doing is this. I fly often. I have started to buy...

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How to Pick a College President

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 1:26 PM

I have never been persuaded that leaders in higher education should be selected from academics. Or, more precisely, I doubt that the customary responsibilities of a faculty member prepares her to preside over an institution of higher education. The skill sets needed for longevity heading a college do not overlap...

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How (Not) to Repeat History

(0) Comments | Posted November 15, 2014 | 8:08 PM

I wonder if we have it wrong. The philosopher George Santayana warned: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Maybe that sets it up exactly backward. Those who do remember the past are doomed to repeat it.

The original quote, favored by those striving...

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Greek Tragedy and John Wick

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2014 | 10:47 AM

Revenge rules.

I recently gave a talk after a marathon day of theater. The Cutting Ball, an avant-garde company in San Francisco, performed the Oresteia, the great Greek tragedy by Aeschylus. The trilogy is celebrated as an example of how the justice system has developed. After...

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Why I Collect Racism

(74) Comments | Posted September 27, 2014 | 5:29 PM


Image courtesy of Verso Books

I have started to collect racist ephemera -- specifically directed toward Asian immigrants and their American descendants. I mean artifacts in paper such as pamphlets suggesting that Asiatic hordes would invade and take over, posters promoting the Chinese...

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Lawyers Without Offices

(1) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 6:19 PM


Photo courtesy Orrick

I was impressed on a recent visit to the Orrick law firm to see its "Beta" office. At its Silicon Valley branch, the global enterprise is testing the type of design common with its start-up clients but rare...

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Is the Term 'Chinaman' Derogatory?

(4) Comments | Posted July 5, 2014 | 4:23 PM

At the intermission of Noël Coward's Private Lives, my wife asked me whether I had been offended by the use of the word "Chinaman." We were watching a splendid production by the Washington, D.C. Shakespeare Theatre. Other than that one bit of...

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"I'm Sorry to Say This About the Chinese"

(0) Comments | Posted June 23, 2014 | 2:47 PM

From time to time, people who are about to condemn the Chinese apologize to me. They preface their comment with, "I am very sorry to have to say this," and they give me a pitying look.

As a Chinese American, I usually have shrugged off both their denunciation of...

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The Amateur and Her Audience: In Praise of the Lawyers Philharmonic

(0) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 10:04 AM

I praise the Lawyers Philharmonic of Los Angeles. I heard them perform this past weekend.

When they arranged themselves on stage in the glorious Walt Disney Hall, they looked exactly like a professional orchestra. When they played their fifth anniversary concert, they sounded so good you...

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The Expectations of the American

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2014 | 12:43 AM

The American was much maligned. It is a great movie. It suffers only from its marketing campaign.

It was promoted as an action thriller in which George Clooney plays George Clooney.

But it actually is an art house flick in which George Clooney embodies an archetype....

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There Are No Asians in Asia, Are There?

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2014 | 10:27 AM

There are no Asians in Asia.

The claim seems preposterous. It could not be more true.

As I concluded a business trip spanning East Asia, I realized again how "Asian" is a construct we have imposed on a sprawling region with multiple languages, cultures, and peoples. We interacted with...

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Why Won't the Chinese Line Up?

(2) Comments | Posted May 25, 2014 | 6:39 AM

The title of this blog is not quite what I mean to say. It should read instead, "Why won't the mainland Chinese line up?"

The distinction is crucial. My point isn't about race.

I am not sure what is worse.

On the one hand, there are Chinese...

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I'm Not as Smart as You Think I Think I Am, Part 1

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 2:04 PM

I have become rather aggressive about pointing out how stupid I am. I do that to goad myself into humility. But I also want others to be assured that I am not as smart as they think I think I am. To me, maturity is all about realizing the limits...

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How I Engage in Racial Profiling

(0) Comments | Posted May 18, 2014 | 5:17 AM

I oppose racial profiling in general. But I recognize that we all do it. We usually are hardly even aware of it.

I wonder if it can be innocuous. Here is an example. I just landed in Tokyo, coming from San Francisco. Traveling abroad is, as they say, the best...

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Applause, Please

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 6:07 PM

I cannot stand snobbery; I doubt anybody can. I am especially embarrassed to catch myself putting on airs, and I admit it happens from time to time.

The other night, I went to the symphony. I brought a co-worker who has become a friend.

Perhaps sensing that I...

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Tuition Cuts and Tuition "Cuts"

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2014 | 6:48 PM

In a recent report on the state of legal education, Moody's, the credit rating service, noted in passing that tuition cuts are not necessarily an effective tactic for improving enrollment. The rationale is important for people to understand.

Tuition cuts might not be all that they...

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The Case Against Vincent Chin

(7) Comments | Posted April 30, 2014 | 11:13 AM

The Vincent Chin case is in the news again. It is the same story. And it makes me mad again.

The basic outline of the Chin case is beyond doubt. In June 1982, in Detroit, Michigan, an individual named Vincent Chin was enjoying his bachelor's party. He encountered two other...

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Why I Won't Censor

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2014 | 3:18 PM

I have made a decision that reasonable observers may well disagree with. As the head of an institution of higher education, I have requested that our communications office allow posting to our Internet discussion forums of material that is racist, sexist, homophobic, and otherwise, in my opinion, morally wrong --...

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