Growing up, whenever someone asked me what my middle name was, I would tell them it was Susan. For what felt like a protracted and confusing period of my childhood, I didn’t want to tell people it was actually SooJa, my Korean name. As an adoptee, I feared coming across as too Asian. Now, that struggle has shifted, and when I’m with second-generation Asian-American friends who make their family’s secret pho recipe or watch Korean dramas, I admit I sometimes worry about not being Asian enough.
So many Asian-Americans have their own version of this story ― the feeling of occupying this type of middle space is common among us. And it can be enough to make us feel like part of the background. It’s a feeling that can stem from not living up to the model minority stereotype, feeling the tug of being bi-cultural, or being told you have intellectual capital but not much political clout. All of this is not necessarily a dramatic, traumatic chain of life events ― but rather more of a low-decibel, ever-present hum of a reminder that we don’t completely feel a sense of belonging. Part of the problem is that we don’t see enough of our stories in the media that would instill a sense of pride and community.
There simply aren’t enough spaces for Asians ― the fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S. ― so we’ve created one. HuffPost has launched a new Facebook page, Brazen Asians, and we’re ramping up Asian-American coverage around the site — from Politics to Entertainment.
Our news coverage and Brazen Asians Facebook community will discuss identity, politics and lifestyle — all from an Asian-American and Pacific Islander perspective. We’ll report on issues such as immigration and its relationship to Asians in America, bust negative stereotypes, create and showcase a canon of AAPI contributors and celebrate the diverse roots of the AAPI community.
Our Facebook community will also bring together a traditionally segmented population by focusing on issues that East, Southeast and South Asian-Americans all have in common. We’re highlighting realities of interracial dating, the toll today of historically racist immigration laws, blogs about the second-gen experience and artists who are dropping the mic by not becoming doctors.
We’re also drawing attention to perhaps one of the most critical Asian-American issues right now: the populations who don’t receive necessary resources because of the model minority myth. This includes Southeast Asians, who have the highest dropout rates in the country, and those facing an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes since President Trump initially deemed China an economic enemy (you know, before wooing Chinese President Xi Jinping to help negotiate with North Korea).
Check out some of our recent pieces, including a snapshot report about the fact that Asian-Americans have the highest poverty rate in New York City ― and who’s helping. Watch our exclusive interview with George Takei talking to us about who his #InspirAsian is. Learn about how the Chinese Exclusion Act “gave way to America as the gate-keeping nation.” Read about a trans Indian-American performer defying expectations. Hear from a Cambodian who fled genocide on what being a refugee means to him. Read about South Asian activists every woke person should know. And hear from some of our bloggers on issues ranging from a defense of Chinese tour groups to what’s at stake with H1B visa changes.
We also want to hear from you. We want to feature your personal stories about being Asian in America today. Contribute a post on our platform about intersectional feminism, race relations, Asian masculinity or any other topic. And find us on Facebook to share your food reviews, your thoughts on cultural appropriation and your love for Riz Ahmed.
Asian-Americans have long said we feel relegated to the background. Part of the problem is it’s not part of our culture to talk about the complex and sometimes sensitive reasons as to why this is. But it’s time to stop making our experiences a hot potato ― err, dumpling ― that we don’t want to touch.