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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Asian culture thrives at UA

    UA community member and panel member Niranjan Vescio answers questions during a forum on interracial relationships Tuesday night. Niranjan discussed the complexity of his experiences in a racially diverse marriage.
    UA community member and panel member Niranjan Vescio answers questions during a forum on interracial relationships Tuesday night. Niranjan discussed the complexity of his experiences in a racially diverse marriage.

    Hoping to dispel the myth that all Asians are good at math and eat with chopsticks, those involved with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month are trying to educate students.

    “”I think a lot of people think, ‘Oh Asian kids, they’re always so smart at math and science and that’s all,’ and we want to dispel all that,”” said Alyssa Ego, sociology sophomore and student coordinator for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. “”We want to educate people about it and celebrate everything we have and where we’ve come from.””

    One way APA Heritage Month hopes to educate students is by distributing 8,000 fortune cookies filled with facts about Asian Pacific Americans in an effort to debunk stereotypes.

    “”They’re just little facts to help dispel all these notions that people have,”” Ego said.

    Twenty facts, such as “”not all Asian countries use chopsticks,”” were selected to be put in the “”fact”” cookies, Ego said.

    The cookies themselves are helping dispel a few myths about Asian cultures as well. Fortune cookies are Japanese, not Chinese like most people believe, Ego said.

    “”The (American) fortune cookie isn’t even recognized in Asia,”” she added. “”It made its debut in 1992 courtesy of the Wonton fortune cookie which is based in New York.””

    Another important part of the heritage month is to show students how diverse the Asian culture is, said Triza Brion, a molecular biochemistry junior, who was part of the committee that planned this month’s events.

    “”I think it’s really important to raise awareness of the different communities, different cultures that are present here on campus,”” Brion said. “”A lot of times people group Asians in just this one big, eclectic group but in fact it’s just as diverse as every other group out there.””

    The Filipino American Students Association is hosting a cultural dance showcase on April 18 and the Vietnamese Student Association hosted A Taste of Vietnam earlier this week, which shows the cultural diversity within the Asian culture, Brion said.

    “”We have to acknowledge that even within the APA community there are different, diverse groups that are so unique, that have their own things to bring to the table,”” Ego said.

    Brion said that even though she’s a member of the Asian community, she didn’t anticipate the broadness of the community that’s being displayed throughout the month.

    The heritage month’s keynote speech will also discuss the diversity of the Asian culture, Ego said.

    The keynote speech by Dr. Evelyn Hu-DeHart, Director of Brown University’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, will take place today at 1 p.m. in the Gallagher Theater in the Student Union Memorial Center. Dr. Hu-DeHart will speak about Asian Pacific American celebrities and their rise to prominence.

    Hu-DeHart’s speech, entitled “”Barack Obama, Tiger Woods, Bobby Jindal, Alberto Fujimori: New Faces of Asians in the Americas,”” will inform students about the struggles and successes of Asian-Americans, Ego said.

    “”I think it’s going to be a really motivational discussion for people because in terms of, people talk about Obama – change is happening – she can put that into words and show evidence of how the shift is happening. More multicultural people are coming to the forefront of leadership positions,”” Ego said.

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