This page is referenced by:
Bridge Magazine (1971-1986)
Bridge: the Asian-American Magazine (1971-1986)
Bridge was created in 1971 in New York City and continued until 1986. The primary force behind the magazine in its early phase was the journalist Frank Ching, who was the magazine's first editor and often its 'face'. Most of its staff were young Chinese professionals working New York City; their maturity and status gave Bridge a slightly more conventional 'magazine' look and feel than magazines like Gidra or Aion.
Bridge is most often discussed by literary critics today because of the famous (or infamous) back-and-forth between editor Frank Ching and the playwright and editor Frank Chin that took place in a series of letters to the editor in 1972-1973. (There are some excerpts some highlights from those letters in Bridge 2.2 and Bridge 2.3. The second issue also contains responses from two authors criticized by Frank Chin, Betty Lee Sung and Diana Chang).
While the staff of Gidra largely consisted of Japanese Americans, the staff of Bridge was largely of Chinese origin -- with a mix of Chinese immigrants who had come to the U.S. as students ("overseas Chinese"), and Chinese American writers. The focus initially was on Chinese Americans, though even as soon as the second issue (Bridge 1.2), there is an attempt to engage a broader Asian American identity concept. In that issue, Frank Ching's editorial (borrowing from Daniel Okimoto's book American in Disguise), and Rockwell ("Rocky") Chin's survery of Asian American periodicals both gesture to a broader Asian American identity.
Other important voices who wrote for Bridge include Margaret Loke, Rockwell Chin (who sometimes signed his name as "Rocky Chin"), and Robin Lu. Unlike several other Asian American little magazines, Bridge never had a specific college campus connection -- it was a lower Manhattan project. With the home address being the Basement Workshop (34 Elizabeth Street), it was just outside Chinatown.
William Wei writes of Bridge:
It is uncertain who conceived of Bridge. Most people credit Danny N.T. Young, the charismatic founder of Basement Workshop, which published the magazine until 1979. Yung was an urban planner who wrote the Ford Foundation funded Chinatown Report, 1969, and was looking for additional means of disseminating his research. Hence the inception of the magazine, whose first issue (July-August 1971) did have an article on Chinatown based on the Report and the Chinatown Health Survey. While it is unclear how instrumental Yung was in the birth of Bridge, there is little doubt that he played a significant role in its development, especially in the areas of fund raising and artwork. (Wei, 113)
The advertisement for Bridge that appeared in Amerasia Journal ran as follows:
From China we have tossed across a wondrous sea
If not ourselves, our forefathers
And landed in this foreign world
Where we have found a joke
A pilgrim who stays and eats in the house
Becomes not one of the family
one day he has to pack his bags
And where does he go from here?
--Yvonne Lai (student)
"Culturally I will always be a Chinese."
--Fred Wu (statistician)
"I feel like a schizophrenic."
--Siu Mann Chinn (student)
"We are confronted with a growing with a growing amount of work in being alert for Chinese-Americans and others in this country who would assist Red China in supplying needed material for promoting Red Chinese propaganda."
--J. Edgar Hoover (Director, FBI)
"I am a Chinese and I am an American. I'm proud to be both."
--Helen Lee (graphic designer)
When Cultures collide, the cost of human adjustment is often high. Acculturation has confused our identity. We have been stereotyped by the white society and many of us have internalized these false images.
We know that many of you share our concern. The idea for Bridge Magazine came about because we believe in an objective and collective effort to seek solutions. We do not have the answer, nor do we pretend to have it, but we believe that through nation-wide presentation of the pressing issues, we can stimulate involvement and interaction. Together we can explore the problems and find the solutions.
Bridge 1.2 (September/October 1971)
Bridge 1.2 (September/October 1971)
On cover: "Yellow Identity: White Washed?"
Managing Editors: Frank Ching, Margaret Loke
Issue Coordinator: Odoric Wou, Jing Jhi Wu
Editorial: Peter Chow, Chistopher Chow, Rockwell chin, Victor Li, Peter Pan, Robin Wu, N.T. Yung
Table of Contents:
- "A Fragmented Community: the Chinese in Britain" by D. Pong; "D. Pong takes a close look at the community of Chinese in Britain: how it's been, how it is now and what the future holds in store."
- "When Miss Chen Meets Steve McQueen": "This study, done by the University of Wisconsin's psychiatric institute, probes the reactions of Far Eastern students to life in America."
- "Third Class Minority" Panel Discussion. Panelists: "Professor C.T. Wu of Hunter College, New York city, Irving Chin, New York City's Commissioner on Human Rights, and Dr. Chih Meng of China Institute, discuss their experiences working with Chinese in America."
- "Prologue of a Romantic": "The story of George Gum, 82-year-old Chinese immigrant.
- "Getting Beyond Vol. 1, No 1: Asian-American Periodicals. "Rocky Chin examines publications that deal with the lot of Asians in America."
Gidra (Los Angeles. English)
Rodan (San Francisco, English)
Chinese Awareness (San Francisco, English),
Getting Together (I Wor Kuen, New York City, English),
Pacific Citizen (JACL, Los Angeles. English),
New York Nichibei (New York City. Japanese),
East/West (biweekly: English Chinese. San Francisco)
Third World News (UC Davis. English)
Kalayaan International (San Francisco. English)
Hawaiit Pono Journal (Hawaii)
Hawaiian Ethos (Hawaii)
Huli (literally, Hawaiian for 'overthrow). Radical Hawaiian journal.
Common Bond (Boston)
Hawaii Free People's Press (Haleiwa, Hawaii)
De Zhong Bao (Vancouver)
Asian Americans for Action (New York City)
Collage (Buddhist Church, New York City)
Two Bridges newsletter (New York City)
Amerasia Journal (New Haven/ Los Angeles)
Aion (San Francisco)
Ting, the Cauldron (San Francisco. Published by the Glide Foundation)
- Book Review: The Heathen Chinee: a study of American attitudes towards China, 1890-1905 by Robert McClellan. Review by Robin Wu.
- Poem: "A Poem" by Fay Chiang
- Poem: "Yellow Pearl" by Chris Iijima and Joann Miyamoto:
"an I am a yellow pearl
and you are a yellow pearl
and we are the yellow pearls
we are half the world
we are half the world."
- Poem: "Moon and Old Folks" by Lo yen
- Editorial by Frank Ching:
Excerpt: "When a second-generation Japanese-American was a student at Princeton, he was asked to give a talk on 'Princeton as Asians see it.' he declined, saying he wasn't qualified. 'I'm not really an Asian,' he explained, 'just an American in disguise.'
The experience of Daniel O. Okimoto, which he recounts in his new book, American in Disguise, is relevant to Chinese-Americans as well--it is applicable to all Americans of Asian ancestry.
Given the dominant white ethnocentric culture of the United States, where one is either white or non-white, the Chinese are non-white and hence are handicapped from the start. The typical American boy or girl on TV commercials is almost invariably white. Blacks have become more visible only in recent years. [...]
While this attitude [seeing the Asian as non-American] is not necessarily hostile, it is a definite, if unconscious, refusal on the part of many Americans to acknowledge that Americans are a people of extremely diverse cultural and racial backgrounds, including people of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino and other Asian ancestry.
"The non-acceptance of people of Asian ancestry is a subtle form of discrimination, which makes it extremely difficult for Asian Americans to believe that this is really their country, even though they have no other home."
- Guest Column: "Chinatown: Hell on the Golden Mountain" by Henri Chang. "A young Asian American looks at his home in Chinatown, not as an oversized kitchen, but as a ghetto with all its acompanying agonies."