Alameda Newspaper Group (Alameda County, California), February 23, 2001

By Susan Young

Yellow Journalist: Dispatches from Asian America, by William Wong, Temple University Press. $22.95 paperback.

Former Oakland Tribune writer Bill Wong compiled 74 essays, columns, stories and commentaries that chronicle the Asian-American experience in this eclectic collection.

In Yellow Journalist, Wong pokes fun at an academic's assertion that "Orientals" have heavier brains than white or black people; he imagines a conversation between two crabs in San Francisco's Chinatown; and he creates a playful chat between a WASP couple who fear being out of style because they haven't invited young chic Asians to their parties.

Wong grew up in Oakland's Chinatown and lived in Asia during the 1960s. He wrote about Asian-American issues for The Wall Street Journal in the 1970s. In the past two decades, he has written for a variety of publications.

"Asian Americans remain invisible to some journalists," Wong wrote in a 1994 Asian Week column included in his book. "A recent Sacramento Bee article about the search for a new chancellor at the University of California at Davis said, 'And there are currently no members of ethnic minorities at the helm of a UC campus.' Then who is Chang-lin Tien, chancellor at the flagship Berkeley campus?"

Wong makes sure such oversights do not go unnoticed, at least not on his watch.

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