Friday, February 1, 2008

Asian America

As an Asian American who grew up ten minutes from San Francisco and now attends Brown, I thought that my years of attending Asian American classes and panels, working on an Asian/Asian-American publication team and interning for Asian Health non-profits would be enough. I believed that endless conversations with peers in various "open" environments had allowed me to cover all the pressing issues in Asian American culture: generational gaps, refugee plights, new material culture and stereotypical media portrayals. The list goes on. I accepted Asian Americans as having a firm place in American society, though this position is at times challenged.

After watching "My America" and reading the introductions to this course's texts, I realize that while my opportunities to explore my Asian American identity have been rich, there are many other dimensions to Asian America that I simply have not had access to. I was baffled by the Filipina women who identified as "white" in New Orleans and extremely proud to witness activism among Asian Americans of the Civil Rights era (confirming that taking up causes is not simply a luxury of my second-generation Asian American peers). The lack of Asian exposure experienced by Asian American children living in rural pockets is a whole additional facet of "Asian America" that I had not considered. Aware that studying Asian American culture is much more than a vehicle for gaining self-awareness, I look forward to better understanding this culture's nuances of the sake of others and myself.

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