HOLY COW. Prez Obama to appoint Pete Rouse to replace Rahm—first *Asian American* White House Chief of Staff!
The White House announced that Special Advisor to the President Pete Rouse, a consummate behind-the-scenes player who joined then-Senator Barack Obama as his senatorial Chief of Staff in 2004, will replace tough-talking, hard-charging Rahm Emmanuel when the latter leaves to run for Mayor of Chicago this week. Rouse is the son of Irving Rouse and Mary Mikami, nisei daughter of immigrants George and Mine Mikami.
While Rouse has not emphasized his Asian American roots during his political career, neither has he denied them — and given that his mother grew up speaking only Japanese, and his maternal grandparents were interned during the War, he certainly has critical narratives of the Asian American experience deeply embedded in his personal history.
Of course, you could say the same about his boss: I've written before (rather controversially) that Barack Obama, might well be considered the first Asian American president for similar reasons — Asian American narratives are wound into throughout his life story. More evidence for Obama's quasi-Asian American (Quasian?) identity: His clear comfort with and respect for Asian Americans as colleagues and key teammembers...like, for instance, Pete Rouse.