Emerging Scholars Fellowship: Learning More about Asian American History

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Tao is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Tao and her fellow scholars here.

angry asian man figureA couple of weeks ago, I attended the Asian Americans Conference at Indiana University. The keynote speaker was Phil Yu, the founder of one of the earliest and most popular Asian American blogs, Angry Asian Man.

I imagined many times how angry the blogger would be, but to my surprise, he is not an angry guy, and actually he is very calm and nice. In his speech, I learned how he started the blog as a way of voicing the issues that Asian Americans have to face in the U.S., and how he fights for the rights of Asian Americans, based on the privileges that previous Asian Americans have fought for him.

In a workshop at the conference, I participated in an activity, in which all members of the workshop were asked to list three American food that first came to our mind. Not surprisingly, the most nominated included burger, fries, fried chicken, and pie.

Even though Chinese take-out restaurants were three times more than McDonald’s in this country, and that Chinese American food was adapted to fit the American taste just like burgers and other “typical” American food, it is still not considered a common and typical American food.

food image

Although we cannot equal food to people, we can’t deny that just like Chinese food is not considered American enough, Asian Americans are also considered not American enough. No matter how fluent they speak English, they are still considered perpetual foreigner – a form of racism many Asian Americans experience. The following video shows exactly how this type of racism enacts. This is exactly why I want to study it, and use research to change the status quo.