On Tuesday the Asian American Federation launched a new campaign with artists and AAPI influencers that addresses a question Asians and other POC are often asked: “Where are you really from?”
The campaign is called “I’m Really From.” According to a press release, it tells “hopeful stories of belonging through the experiences of ten Asian Americans.”
The goal of the stories is to tackle the perpetual foreigner stereotype, a stereotype that suggests Asian Americans aren’t really from America.
Asian American artists have also collaborated with AAF to illustrate the stories on travel posters.
The federation is also working with Asian American artists and influencers to highlight the stories through social media campaigns, digital art, virtual events and live events.
Olympic gold medalist Apolo Ohno is one of the Asian American celebrities working with AAF to promote the campaign.
“The question is asked all too often, ‘Where are you really from?’ but what is underneath the surface is an attempt at othering and making Asian-Americans feel lesser than, that they don’t belong in America,” Ohno said in a press release. “In partnership with the AAF’s Hope Against Hate initiative, we’re looking to rephrase that question and declare “I’m really from wherever I call home. My name is Apolo Ohno and I am really from Seattle.”
Kevin Kwan, the author of Crazy Rich Asians, noted that White Americans aren’t asked the same questions about their American origin story.
“When an Asian-American says, ‘I’m from New Orleans’ or ‘I’m from East Lansing,’ all too often the next question they get asked is, ‘Yeah, but where are you really from?’ This doesn’t happen in the same way to other Americans who get the response ‘Oh, New Orleans is a fun town’ or ‘My cousin went to Michigan State’,” Kwan said in a press release.
“This has the unfortunate effect of making Asian-Americans feel like they’re somehow less a part of America than other people. In partnership with the AAF’s Hope Against Hate initiative, we’re looking to rethink that question and declare ‘I’m really from wherever I call home. My name is Kevin Kwan, and I am really from Houston.’”
All eight posters can be found on AAF’s website. The federation is selling digital downloads of the posters for $25. Limited edition prints (24″x36″) will be sold for $150.
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