May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Photos from previous posts: Ho Miu Ling (Madame Wu Ting Fang), Indira Gandhi, Uzbek girl engineer, Kang Tongbi (Kang Tung Pih) 康同璧, Philippine schoolgirls, and Japanese mother and daughter.
I guess I’m a little late realizing this heritage month was going on. I always find it cool looking at old pictures, especially these. I remember horrifying a family friend once when I was younger when I told them “I guess women weren’t doing anything in history”. We just didn’t learn anything about women in school, at least at my school we didn’t. And we almost never learned about Asian Americans. When we did (those oh so few times), I often felt embarrassed because people would laugh at pictures of railway workers and ask me if my great great grandfather was one. If we read about Japan people would ask me I had a kimono, stuff like that. Teachers would ask! These questions were especially annoying and stupefying because they all knew I was adopted from China as an infant and my parents were white. It goes to show that the power of peoples ability to lump people/things/ideas together at times defies logic, and what I’d consider to be really basic logic. But this was the logic that surrounded me as a child and I learned it despite it contradicting my own life. Even with debates about meaning of heritage and cultural months (and various other durations of time), this year I am really excited to be aware of Asian American Heritage Month…even though I really didn’t know about it until now. When I read people’s stories, I feel like I’m not so alone, but also it’s a freeing experience at the same time. I get to see the diversity of Asian and Pacific Islander’s history in this country. I’m not alone in aspects of my social identity, but I feel more than ever like an individual in a way I was never given the ability to feel before. That’s feels pretty nice. :)