I had discovered Declarasian by chance, when I was scrolling around on Instagram (as one does) looking for more Asian activist pages to follow. After reading some of the blog posts and stories on the website I knew immediately that this was an organization and cause that I wanted/needed to join.
I am a Chinese-American, daughter of immigrants, and first generation citizen living in the United States and I am so grateful to be living in such a diverse country with so many opportunities. However, there are still many problems regarding the prevalence and ignorance of Asian racism that I have yet had the opportunity or space to address. Honestly, it infuriates me knowing that Asians face problems in America that are being overlooked by so many people, especially because Asian racism and stereotypes has been integrated into American culture as the "butt of a many jokes” or even as facts. Going to a pre-dominantly caucasian private school in New York City where I am the only Chinese girl in my grade has been very rough on my image of myself as well as my pride in my culture. I have grown up always unconfident in my appearance, the food I eat, and the differences in culture I have with my friends. It wasn’t until last summer when I went back to China and Taiwan to visit family where I actually realized how beautiful and rich my culture was. I left that trip proud of who I am and it has led to my current Asian activism values.
One topic I have recently become very passionate about is Asian representation in media, especially in Hollywood. As an Asian interested in film and media arts, it breaks my heart to see talented Asian-american actors and artists to be constantly ignored and replaced entirely based on their looks or even an "Asian-sounding" last name! And even with “representation” in TV shows or films, Asian actors are only included to perpetuate an existing stereotype of their culture. For example, Ki Hong Lee as “Dong Nguyen” in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt where he played a smart, Vietnamese, food-delivery guy with a thick accent. (I may have ranted about this character for days to my friends when I saw this show.) So at my school I tried to spread awareness, where last year I created a project addressing the "whitewashing" phenomenon of Hollywood. And it was one of my major accomplishments of that year.
I want to join Declarasian as a proud ambassador because not only am I passionate about empowering all Asian cultures, whether it’s East, South, Southeast or Central Asian, I also will dedicate myself to educating my peers and other people. Joining Declarasian would allow me a platform where I can share my own experiences as well as learn about other Asian-Americans’ stories. Together, I believe we can bring about change and promote our cultural celebration.
Author: Cindy Xu
1/15/18- Def-I Stereotypes
2/16/18- Remembering Peter Wang
2/20/18- Asians Are Un-Athletic? Says Who?
3/11/18- Racial Misconceptions: A Global Issue
6/14/18- History Lesson: The Story of Chinese Exclusion in America
6/25/18- Summer '18: Groundbreaking RepresentASIAN in the Movies
7/18/18- Update On the Movement: Through Our Eyes
8/18/18- RepresentASIAN: My Journey with Katherine Ho, the Voice Behind "Crazy Rich Asians"
9/16/18- A Newcomer's Take on Asian Pride
10/11/18- Update on the United Airlines "Dragging" Incident
11/6/18- RepresentASIAN: Interview with Entrepreneur Benny Luo, Founder of NextShark
12/20/18- The "I Love You" Project