Monday, May 01, 2006
a day with many meanings
Today was May 1st (AKA May Day), or as it's known in many countries elsewhere across the world, International Workers' Day. Ironically, the holiday first began here in the US in Chicago in 1890, but it was banned during the Communist witchhunts in our nation's history.
Around here in the US, the day was marked by massive rallies by people demanding immigration reform - mostly Latin Americans, but immigrants of all backgrounds have come out to protest and speak out on the issue.
Jin-In at Twice the Rice has posted up a good list of reasons why Asian Americans like myself ought to care and throw up a fist with our Latin American brothas and sistahs.
APA history month
Of course, May is also Asian / Pacific Islander American History Month here in the US. What, you didn't know?
Yeah, you and the rest of the country...
While I can see the value in dedicating a single month out of the year to the celebration of the contributions that APAs have made to America, I also have mixed feelings about it as well. For many people, APA History Month will mean nothing but a chance to tokenize APA contributions by eating a local teriyaki restaurant (that's probably Korean owned), reading Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, or watching anime from Japan. The problem with celebrating the history and contributions of APAs for just one month is that it both excludes APAs from a "mainstream" American cultural and historical narrative, relegating us to a non-essential circus sideshow that's only important enough for 4 weeks of shallow exploration.
On the otherhand, for many students, maybe these 4 weeks of APA History Month is the only chance they will have to learn about APAs. I suppose part of me feels that even though 4 weeks is so short and arbitrarily imposed, at least it's 4 weeks at all...
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