October is Asian American Heritage and Culture Month!

AAHCM cover photo v8

October at Rice University is Asian American Heritage and Culture Month (AAHCM), and this year APASA is teaming up with Rice’s Chinese Student Association along with the other Asian cultural clubs to host many fun and informative events throughout the month to raise awareness of the various cultural, social, and political issues that affect Asian Americans.

The AAHCM Kickoff Dinner was this past Saturday where for only $3, students got to enjoy catered food from local Chinatown restaurants, Yummy Kitchen and Yuan Ten. The Asian American History Timeline, which combines both historical and personal accomplishments of Asian Americans, was once again featured.

New to the event was the “I AM (MORE)” Photo Campaign, which had a great start! The campaign focuses on unique experiences people have had to deal with concerning their Asian-American identities. Specifically, participants write on a whiteboard statements others have said to them that made them uncomfortable with or hyperconscious of their APA identity and assert their voices in reaction. We look forward to continuing this photo campaign throughout all of AAHCM!

Here are a couple of the photos that participants have shared with us:

OanhTruongAmy

DavidLam Nicole AndrewTa AshleyCha Fotor01008230149 Fotor01008230332 Fotor01008230443 JoanneWang MichaelIp

These photos speak to some of the often well-intentioned, but  presumptuous microaggressions people say on an everyday basis. Some would argue that these statements are harmless and casual. But for the person on the receiving end, hearing these comments in everyday interactions can make one feel his/her identity is being defined in limiting ways by others. In other words, they feel they cannot be understood as an individual, but only as part of the collective group ideal of “Asian American.” These statements also reveal how people have entrenched, preconceived notions of what “Asian American” is or should be, and that, too, is not okay.

The first step in changing this is becoming aware of microaggressions when we hear them and when we say them — so that we can create for ourselves a more inclusive, accepting environment that enables people to express their unique selves safely.

This photo campaign aims to accomplish two things: 1) increase awareness about how subtle, seemingly harmless microaggressions can reveal dangerous assumptions about people’s identities, and 2) empower those who encounter these statements to speak up, assert their identities, and bring attention to the dangers of these microaggressions in future conversations.

Next time someone makes a sly joke or casual comment assuming things about your identity, don’t be afraid to say “Hey, that’s not okay” or “That’s a little offensive”!

We hope you’ll participate in this campaign and attend the rest of AAHCM’s events.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: