Asian American History And My Identity
Politics and Activism

Asian American History And My Identity

How I discovered what I am and who I am.

47

I got to take an Asian American History course this year at my University; that is huge. Asian American history is often overlooked, ignored, or, dare I say, undervalued by educators, schools, or, once again, dare I say, America. I, an Asian American woman, was never formally taught of Chinese coolie labor in American plantation systems, of Japanese Internment, or even the murder of Vincent Chin which took place 30 minutes away from my hometown in Detroit, Michigan. I was never taught any of this until I enrolled in Wesleyan University's pilot Asian American History course.

I am certainly not the first or last university student who needs more classes regarding Asian American history. I am certainly not willing to let my identity and the identity of so many others in America go untaught, unlearned, and even just unheard of. Asian Americans have indeed sacrificed their blood, sweat, and tears alongside other "Americans" and yet our history, our woe, and our triumphs go unsung. Why is that? Why is this pan-ethnic identity unrecognized to have any value or meaning to the construction of America, and, moreover, why is it disconnected from American history altogether? Who, ultimately, decides what makes the cut into our history books and into our national mindset?

University students have long been the sole driving force that demands such programs such as Asian American History. On Wesleyan University's campus, I see great strides and support towards creating a formal and official Asian American Studies program. Asian American history has been a crucial aspect in shaping America; and yet, the invisibility of the study and the lack of value invested into the study by college and university administration have put the demands at bay. Only this year has Wesleyan offered Asian American History as an American Studies course. I, a naive and unaware student, took this course and was then exposed to the plight, the power, and the people that all culminated and created Asian American history. There is, however, a lack of security in maintaining this study at my University. So, in order to combat this, students have rallied together to voice and demonstrate the undeniable need to learn of the obscured history of Asian Americans.

There are countless movements and campaigns made by students which address the University’s neglect. For example, the Asian American Student Collective on Wesleyan’s campus (AASC) has crafted a photo campaign which uses visuals to tell viewers why Asian American studies is a necessary addition to the University and, moreover, a legitimate and powerful history that certainly merits an educational program. Below are a few images I selected from the AASC photo campaign, "Why do I need Asian American Studies?"







I realized, after taking my very first and only class that ever focused on Asians in America, that I too desperately need to continue my educational odyssey in this field. You can't learn everything in a 13 week semester after all. But, at the very least, I've realized that my ignorance and lack of awareness regarding my own history is not my fault; it is, therefore, also due to the greater American education system that has filtered my history out of the textbooks, out of the classrooms, and out of the minds of Americans. We need to change that.

So, why do I need Asian American Studies? Without Asian American Studies, I wouldn't know that my identity is interconnected to a vast and powerful network of strong-willed and passionate people who survived racial oppression and are fighting for our history's recognition; I wouldn't know that I am not just a girl who was "born in China and raised in Michigan"; I wouldn't know that my racial duality is accepted and beyond acceptable. I wouldn't know my history.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

13 Father's Day Shirts Under $30 To Gift The Dad Wearing The Same Two Every Day In Quarantine

You've been begging him to change it up, and now he won't have a choice.

Let's be honest: most of our dads are wearing the same shirts today that they probably wore while changing our diapers and holding our hands as we learned to walk. Sure, we love them for it. But whether you're quarantined with him wearing the same two shirts on rotation every week, or every time you FaceTime him, you know what he'll be wearing before he answers the phone, he needs to add some new items to his wardrobe rotation.

And you know dads — they'll feel guilted into using practically anything you were to give them. But these shirts are sure-fire ways to get him to switch up his wardrobe, and he'll be more than excited to wear each and every one of them. Plus, most of them are under twenty dollars, so no harm in dropping more than a couple in to your cart and letting Dad have his pick of his favorites.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down (Virtually) With Hollis Tuttle To Talk About Coronavirus's Impact On The Wellness Industry

Just because coronavirus has greatly impacted the wellness industry doesn't mean wellness stops.

If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

My Boyfriend Has Changed Since Quarantine Began, And I Don't Know What To Do

"All he says is 'I love you,' which is great and all but OMG I can't get anything else out of him."

Each week Swoonie B will give her advice on anonymous topics submitted by readers. Want to Ask Swoonie B something related to dating and relationships? Fill out this form here — it's anonymous.

Dear Swoonie B,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year, which has been the best year of my life (as far as i know). Well we go to different schools and are both very involved in sports and school activities which makes it hard to see each other. During this quarantine it is especially hard. Since we haven't seen each other in over a week things are kind of tense. He won't really talk to me much and I always check in on him to make sure he is doing well and to just see how he is, ya know being a girlfriend. Well apparently that is driving him crazy and I don't understand how. I'm not being controling or clingy, i'm just checking in on him. While this is happening, I also have noticed how he just doesn't really care anymore. I'll leave him paragraphs of sweet love letters to wake up to and I encourage him throughout his day but I just don't get it in return. I love him with all of me and I obviously care about him a lot. Also, I've compared how he talked to me before all of this has happened. He was so sweet and caring, texting me a lot and telling me he loves me and just making sure everything is OK but he doesn't do that anymore. All he says is "I love you," which is great and all but OMG I can't get anything else out of him. He is a little stressed at home with trying to find another job to pay for his car, constantly having to do things for his mom, being responsible for his siblings, and managing school. I know thats a lot but im doing a lot too right now and going through a lot of the same stuff he is but It seems to me he just does not care and i don't know what to do. Please help me or give me some advice on what to say, what not to say, what to do, what not to do. Anything at this point will help. Thank you!

If I had a dollar for every time I heard "these are unprecedented times," I'd be rich. But that's because it's true!

Keep Reading... Show less
Tower 28

On paper, Amy Liu appears to be one of the most intimidating women in the beauty business. Not only was she the person to build Smashbox Cosmetics into what it is today, she went on to lead luxury, high-end brands like Kate Somerville and Josie Maran — just to name a few.

But sitting down to meet Liu for the first time in an underground New York bar over a year ago felt like meeting a friend I'd known since childhood. As she walked into the bar in a chic red dress, it was impossible not to feel her immediate warm presence. When she talks about her history as an entrepreneur (and truly, at heart, she always was one), you don't get the sense that she's selling you anything, though with her impeccable taste, I'd use anything that had her glowing review attached to it.

Keep Reading... Show less

Sixth grade was the year that you were allowed to participate in a school sport. This was what my friends and I had all been waiting for since we started middle school. I had already made the cheer team with my friends, but I had to wait to start that in the winter since we cheered for basketball. I really wanted to have some sort of activity in the fall, but I did not know what to do. Somehow, I decided to run cross country. Not really sure how I decided on a sport where it was quite literally just running. A few of my friends were doing it as well, so I knew it was going to be fun.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Working Out Every Day During Quarantine Helps Me Feel A Sense Of Control

Physical activity helps my mental health in a world that feels uncertain.

Before the pandemic, I exercised a handful of times a week at best. In quarantine, I've been exercising every single day. I don't want this article to be another spiel about how exercise "changed my life," and all the other cliches that health gurus use to convince others to work out more. Rather, I want to reveal that exercise is a tool that works for me because it boosts my mental health when I feel like the world is spiraling out of control.

Keep Reading... Show less

To say that 2020 has been a bit of a roller coaster is an extreme understatement. Who knew that this decade was going to start off like THIS!? Not me, not you, and not that sweet old lady who lives down the street. One thing is certain though — while the world may be a mess right now, you can still fuel your body with food that keeps you happy and healthy. Thankfully, as we are all spending more time inside, you can get healthy snacks delivered straight to your front door! Amazon has never been more convenient (and tasty).

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments