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Recently, I asked some young Asian Americans how they liked to identify.
They didn’t say “Asian American.”
Now I understand a Samoan saying , “Poly,” or “Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander.”
But these were two people in their ’20s, of Japanese and Chinese descent. Old school.
Names evolve. Now we have Asian Pacific American, Asian American Pacific Islander, Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander. It’s always about inclusion, right. Not about bringing poetry to bureaucracy.
But there’s something to be said for how a phrase ages in time.
I don’t know the exact reason why the NAACP doesn’t say change the “cp” part of its name to make it more “PC.”
Who says “colored people,,” except for racists, right?
But I imagine they kept the phrase because of the history of the term. It’s a phrase that proudly shows its age. And shows what’s been overcome.
Asian American is the seed, not just our root phrase. From it, the community has expanded to include all different Asian and Pacific Islander ethnicities.
There’s still good reason to hoist it as a unifying banner. There’s history.
And it shows how far we’ve come.
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In case it slipped your mind, it’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Come on, get AAPI!
If you’re non-Asian, let’s hope someone of Asian descent goes amok and greets you in an atypically loud, outlandish, and celebratory way. Sort of like Norm Mineta planting a wet one on Joe Biden at the APAICS dinner. (I don’t know if Norm did, but he should have.)
It really is OK to show a little PDA (public display of Asian-ness), at least during this month.
For goodness sakes, it’s the law (Section 102, Title 36 of the U.S. Code). Right up there next to Flag Day, the day that compels many to wear Old Glory on their lapel. (Maybe you can find a lapel button with Bruce Lee’s picture on it?)
My hope is the month will also inspire our legislators not to screw with us too badly on that confounded compromise of an immigration bill.
It’s mark-up time on that piece of Senate legislation offered up by the “Gang of Eight.”
(Read the rest of my commentary on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.)