The continued exclusion of Asian Americans from discussions about race leaves Asian Americans feeling “culturally and socially slighted,” according to a blog by Wendy Dong, Michelle Hong and Phil Ngu for the campus paper, the Bowdoin Orient .
The three talked about their struggle to find their place in the Black White binary. They are tired of seeing the model minority depiction of Asian Americans being used by others as the divide between Black and White. Others talk about Asian Americans as being “honorary whites,” yet many AAPIs don’t feel that way.
“The three of us have never felt fully White. We are never quite sure what people mean when they ask us, “Where are you from?” Even though Michelle and Wendy were born in America (and Paul immigrated when he was six), people assume that all three of us have a special familiarity and connection with our homelands and speak an Asian language fluently. This complicates our status as so-called honorary Whites, and suggests that we may be forever foreigners under the gaze of society.”
I totally agree.
The bottom line is Asian Americans need to be part of the discussion about race. The show Fresh Off the Boat is indeed fresh in that it discusses the Asian American experience on its own terms. It does so from the perspective of Asian Americans looking inwards at themselves and then projecting themselves outward.
The Black White paradigm, to the contrary, is about how others outside the Asian American experience see us.
Read Dong, Hong and Ngu’s blog in the Bowdoin Orient and share your thoughts.