The word "Asia" holds different meanings all over the world. In America, it usually means anyone of East and Southeast Asian origin. In the UK and Ireland, the word means primarily those of South Asian origin. In Asia, itself, it covers everyone from Pakistan to Iran to Cambodia to Japan.
Why is it then that we, East and Southeast Asian Americans, always exclude people of other Asian descent? Based on the map, Asia is 48 countries. There are East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Eurasia, and West Asia which Americans know as the "Middle East."
In the Asian-American community, particularly, the mentality that "Asian" means just East/Southeast Asia is paramount. It's even worse when there are preconceived notions as to what "Asian" means. Stereotypically, to be "Asian" is to have pale skin, almond eyes, straight black hair, and any harmful stereotypes that Hollywood has created over the years. I, for one, do not fit all these features, and as such, am identified as something else entirely.
Speaking of which, being Asian does not mean that every Asian person's experience as an Asian will be the same. East Asians will have different struggles than will South Asians, Southeast Asians will have differing stories than will Central Asians, and West Asians may not understand the perspectives of Eurasians. Yet, just because we are different doesn't mean that we are not all Asian.
Slowly but thankfully, more and more people are coming to realize that Asia is more than just a few regions in the world. More and more people are understanding and respecting the diversity of Asia, and thank goodness because it deserves all the love it can get.
The beauty of Asia is that isn't just China or Japan. It isn't just soy sauce. It isn't just sushi. It isn't just colorful clothing. It isn't just Bollywood. It isn't just martial arts. It isn't just KPOP idols. It isn't just intricate temples. It isn't just a vacation getaway. Asia is rich, diverse, and beautiful, and it is time that people realize that.