Sunday, January 19, 2014

Don't Mention The War!

Afro/Asian Solidarity.

There was an old British sit-com that I used to enjoy called "Fawlty Towers", and one of my favourite episodes was called "The Germans". To cut a long story short, the protagonist of the show who runs a seaside hotel, is under so much stress to make his German guests happy and not offend them, that he actually ends up doing just that.

An article on an Asian-American activist blog called "Critical Spontaneity" caught my attention recently because it reminded me of that episode. Titled "Can Afro-Asian Solidarity Exist?", the post sought to address two main issues that the author felt related to Afro-Asian solidarity as brought up by a Twitter conversation on the subject; Asian Anti-Black Racism, and (our old friend!) Asian Privilege.

On Asian anti-black racism....
One of the most salient critiques mentioned was that there can be no solidarity between Asian Americans and African Americans because of the discrimination towards African Americans by Asian Americans. Asian Americans were criticized for profiting off anti-black ideologies and aligning themselves with white supremacist norms............As a group, we agree that this is and has been a serious problem within the AAPI community.
In order to address this issue, the author suggests that we (the Asians) ask ourselves the following...
* Are we simply asking to be accepted and tolerated within a country that has exploited, enslaved, and committed genocide against people of color, or do we seek to reject white appeasement in its entirety? 
* Recent activism and scholarship in Asian American Studies and AAPI communities has been critical of early AAPI movements, which were critiqued for being assimilationist, domestically centered, and for constructing an Asian American subject that was predominantly heterosexual and male, thus ignoring the diversity of AAPI subject identities. From this standpoint, how do we act in order to achieve these more radical goals? 
* Despite the historical differences that AAPI and African Americans have experienced in the U.S., how can we jointly organize around shared interests and goals that speak to investments in civil rights and social justice issues?
My first thought is that I don't see much advocacy for Asians in the above statement of intent - problematic if you are an Asian activism blogger. In fact, there is no advocacy for Asians in the above statement of intent, only unsubstantiated accusations of discrimination perpetrated by Asians that the author acknowledges as being a "serious problem within the AAPI community". With advocates like that, who needs oppressors! Of course, it is untrue - and a little silly - to imply that any lack of solidarity between blacks and Asians is solely the result of rampant serious discrimination on the part of Asians. As a matter of fact, that is itself a racist accusation.

I am being asked to believe that either the black/Asian relationship is in no way partially shaped by anti-Asian racism in the black community, or that anti-Asian racism does not exist in the black community. Both of these ideas are nonsense, but somehow the quest for solidarity between the two groups requires that even though this racism almost certainly exists, I am required to pretend that it does not. This is a poor basis upon which to build a healthy coalition of advocacy. No relationship ever worked out when one of the parties had to deny a significant aspect of their life experience, and hence their identity.

Oddly enough, this approach is actually a kind of "closeting" of the Asian experience of black racism,  like the kid who is molested by his or her father and is then told by the mother not to say anything to anyone because to do so would break up the family. Yes, it is that sick. I actually can't help but get the feeling that some activist's concern lies more in earning street cred and being "down with the homies" than any real drive to explore the issue of solidarity in a meaningful way that is less agenda-driven.

A good example of this is the second point in the list of contritious acts that Asians must undergo so that Asian-American activists can save face in the eyes of their black activist cohorts. According to Park (the blog author is named Suey Park), early AAPI movements have been judged to have been less credible than previously thought because they have been found guilty of being assimilationist. Park doesn't mention any names, but it seems to me that early AAPI movements were far more radical than the present crop, whose radicalism, ironically, seems to consist of steering the assimilation ship into blackness and away from the white, yet still, frustratingly, devoid of an autonomous Asian-ness. So, instead of the invisibility of assimilation into whiteness, we should become invisible within blackness. Either way, we remain invisible but instead of downplaying white anti-Asian racism - which many of us do in order to prosper - we should downplay black racism. I suppose that could thought of as a form of equality.

By way of conclusion....
As a group, we reject the historical racisms perpetuated against the black community in the United States and call on our community to deeply interrogate the reasons behind these racisms, and to find ways to combat it. Without this, we will not be able to achieve any form of solidarity with other people of color.
That is a tall order. Asians - as a general observation - don't even deeply interrogate the reasons behind anti-Asian racisms (as evidenced by the article under review) let alone find ways to combat it. But even more naive is the idea that in order to prove themselves, Asians can brainstorm and find a solution to something that very smart people have been working on for a very long time and for the most part come up short - how to combat racism. There is a tragedy about this way of thinking - not unlike the idea of the Chinaman's chance - in which a bar is set so high in the full knowledge that it can never be reached.

But there is a deeper problem with Park's piece; solidarity amongst Asians themselves is nebulous to say the least, and we have not really figured out how to create that solidarity between the various Asian ethnic groups, classes, genders, and generations. In fact, some of these demographics seem to be at odds or warring with each other on a regular basis with no real coming together in sight. There probably cannot be Afro/Asian solidarity because there is not really an Asian solidarity, even on seemingly fundamental issues like our experience of racism. I would like to hear more ideas on how Asians can resolve their own lack of solidarity before I can be sold on the the efficacy of Afro/Asian solidarity. If Asians the issue of solidarity is not resolved, then how am I supposed to believe that the points suggested in the article are feasible?

Having said that, one way that we could approach solidarity with black America is to speak about our own experiences of racial victimization, with the expectation that these experiences will be respected instead of being minimized as secondary to, and less credible forms of suffering than, the greater suffering of black Americans. And this is not being facetious. Understanding between peoples emerges out of a genuine dialogue in which both parties are honest about who they are, what they have experienced, and what they want. If we are required to be silent about black anti-Asian racism in order to be accepted, then that is not real solidarity, that is merely an unhealthy relationship. You can observe this unhealthiness taking shape in the second part of the article that deals with Asian privilege.

When writing about Asian privilege, Park is eager to deny its existence but, for me, whether it actually exists is less important (hardly important at all, in fact) than why the accusation of its existence exists. A feature of anti-Asian racism is that its credibility is questioned. That is to say that anti-Asian prejudice is downplayed, and given secondary significance to racism experienced by any other minority group and even perhaps to racism experienced by white people. The reasoning is that Asians are successful (really?) so talking about anti-Asian racism is unnecessary. But this is just plain silly.

If we abided by this reasoning, then any ethnic minority individual should lose their right to complain about racism once they reach a certain income level. This means that only poor people can complain about racial prejudice - so when someone like Forest Whitaker cries racism we should all remind him of his wealth and how much privilege this affords him and tell him to live with it. Of course, this just isn't done - except when Asians are the victims.

So, what this means is that calling on Asian privilege is merely another way of normalizing anti-Asian prejudice - by deflecting attention away from our experiences of racism, and downplaying their impact on the basis that it is offset by high average incomes. Citing average incomes are the dishonest but popular way of delivering this form of anti-Asian racism, particularly in the oppression Olympics. No, if high incomes lessen the impact of racism - as Asians are often told it does - then it should lessen the impact for every minority individual who has a high income. Defending against notions of Asian privilege gives the nonsensical basis for the accusation far more seriousness than it deserves. If someone wants to play the privilege card, then that is often tantamount to using a racial slur against us.

In summary, any movement towards Afro/Asian solidarity is doomed to failure if the marriage is based on one side denying its experience whilst taking the blame for all the pathologies in the relationship. Even more problematic is the fact that without Asians experiencing solidarity amongst their own disparate groups, we don't actually have a good model upon which to conceive of a healthy solidarity with any other group. We don't need to own or defend our "privilege" because no other minority individuals who have achieved economic success are required to do so, and neither is any suggestion made that economic success makes such individual's experience of racism any less significant.

Furthermore, as I alluded to here this idea of declaring contrition for privilege, makes for good rhetoric, but poor inspiration. This is because other factors - like compassion, a sense of justice, and empathy - are more likely to foster solidarity than the simplistic jingoism of accusing random Asians of privilege and demanding that they seek atonement for it at the altar of black suffering. That approach is doomed to failure.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Language Of Inspiration...

...And Asian-American Feminism.

Well the latest big Asian-American news is that twitter exploded awhile back at the initiation of a feminist tweeter named Suey Park. Although consisting of a general rant (if that is the right word) about racist stereotypes about Asians that took the form of snappy twitter one-liners, the "trend" was hailed as an awakening for Asian-American feminists who are calling for a space dedicated exclusively to raising the voice of Asian-American feminism. I don't usually care to post content on topical subject matter, simply because all too often it is little more than a reaction and comes across as such, and it is often wise to see how any given situation plays out before passing comment. That said, at this early stage, some interesting things emerged from within the Asian-American community that I think are worth some commentary.

Specifically, long-time Asian-American feminist blogger Jenn Fang at Reappropriate posted an interesting commentary in this blog post at her site, but even more interesting was the ensuing conversation that I engaged in with her in the comments section at her blog. In particular, I had two initial points of interest that I raised with Jenn; the idea of "institutional sexism" within the community as well as what Jenn's thoughts were on the most significant issues of sexism facing asian-american women in 21st Century America. I was thrown by Jenn's response to the latter. This is what she listed as her most significant issues.....
1) that Asian Americans have the highest gender income gap of all races. APIA women make 73 cents to every dollar that an APIA man makes, which is the lowest of all other races by more than 5 cents.
2) mental health issues which we’ve discussed, which I would like to maintain a focus on APIA women, but which the community largely doesn’t talk about, and
3) human trafficking/immigration rights. Asian Americans, particularly women, are the second largest undocumented immigrant population in the States and growing, and worldwide, most trafficked sex workers come from Asian nations. Yet, this is an issue the community — either the APIA community or the feminist community — pretty much ignores.
I think that most reasonable Asian-American men (and  most Asian-American men are likely reasonable) would agree that these are immensely significant issues that they would happily lend support to with little reservation. Surely there would be little conflict about the merits of addressing these issues? But the reason I was thrown by the above list, is that the body of the Reappropriate piece made mention that the fact......
..of our community is also that institutionalized sexism has long silenced the voices of Asian American feminists.
As hard as I tried, I found it extremely difficult to find meaningful connection between institutional sexism within Asian-America and the list of most significant issues facing Asian feminism. From an Asian-American male's point of view, Asian misogyny, stifling of Asian women's voices, and rampant sexism resulting in limited opportunities, have been the most common charges leveled at Asian men, so naturally I would presume these charges might form a significant part of any priorities in feminism. Yet, the three most important issues - at least for one feminist - has seemingly little to do with any of these problems. As I pointed out in the comments over there, mental health issues are a taboo subject regardless of who suffers from them, and trafficking is a subject that most people, Asian or otherwise, are simply ignorant of, but would most likely be quite willing lend support to see it end. I see little connection between any suggested silencing of feminist voices and these two issues, and frankly see no reason why Asian men would not support it. As for Asian women's lower salary levels, again I doubt that Asian men would think that this is a fair state of affairs, and I see little reason to believe that it is caused mainly by Asian men's sexism.

And this is what threw me about the list; if these listed most significant issues (and I agree that they are significant) facing feminism have little ostensible connection with sexism in Asian-America, then where does this sexism fit into the Asian feminist dialogue? More precisely, how does using the language of first and second-wave feminism to describe what is obviously not first and second-wave feminist issues in Asian-America advance the Asian feminist cause? If we accept that any reasonable movement would have as its ultimate goal a synthesis, or adoption into mainstream attitudes and behaviours, of its tenets, then how pragmatic is it to use language that apparently repels rather than recruits Asian men to this end?

Surely trying to conceive of the gender dynamic in Asian-America using terms formed by a (predominantly white) feminist movement that was not complicated by race issues (specifically gender issues complicated by racism) is both intellectually lazy and unoriginal? Jenn writes...
The argument is that Asian men a) recognize that male privilege has afforded them an easier time to get where they are than is afforded to women, even if they are still disadvantaged based on race, and b) if they are in positions of achievement to be sensitive to Asian women who are working without male privilege to achieve.
As it turns out, the fight for gender equality is not as simple as presenting issues to the community and garnering support with passionate oratory, persuasive arguments, and outlining of goal-oriented courses of action. In fact, those methods take a back seat and in their stead, what seems to be required is soul-searching and contritious confessions of the sin of privilege. Specifically, male privilege, and even more specifically, Asian male privilege as, apparently, conferred through the structures of the white patriarchy. That is, it seems to be the case that only via the cathartic process of acknowledging or owning male privilege - Asian male privilege - can Asian men be motivated or able to genuinely fight for equality and empowerment for Asian women. I question this line of reasoning, and submit that to speak so casually about Asian male privilege as some kind of trickle-down benefit deriving from white patriarchy is to simply not comprehend the experience of Asian men in the US, despite paying lip-service to the contrary.

Quite simply, the very essence of the Asian male experience of racism is one of dehumanization, and along with this is a denial of Asian men's masculinity and, hence, their "maleness". How does male privilege exist when maleness is denied? Sometimes the phrase "bro-culture", is used to describe the inclusive culture through which privilege is shared amongst the patriarchy, yet, it is difficult to see how Asian men are conceived of as "bros" in American culture. In fact, the opposite is probably more true and Asian men are most certainly not generally conceived of as "bros" at all. Sure, some of us may get past the prejudice - without, that is, ending it - but the reality of any supposed Asian "male privilege" is surely far more complex than a simple assertion that our gender makes achievement easier. Asking me to "own" it carries with it an implicit assertion that I - and other Asian men - have somehow benefitted from the racism we have experienced. We haven't.

And that might be one of the reasons why we have a paradox where Asian men roll their eyes at the rhetoric of Asian-American feminism, yet would almost certainly support efforts to rectify the issues listed above. I am perfectly willing to lend support to the above causes, yet I am able to do so because I feel that there is justice in fighting for equal pay for Asian women, the mentally ill deserve sensitive consideration, and trafficking is an abomination. That should be enough motivation for me and it should be sufficient to accept my support on those grounds alone. To insist that I also confess to what any reasonable person should see as dubious privilege is merely pointless chest-beating. Even worse though, it is counter-productive and at the end of the day amounts to self-sabotage. At some point, you have to stop the rhetorical calls to battle and actually start talking to people. That includes talking to Asian men.

The proof is in the pudding. After forty-eight comments and a fairly in-depth back and forth of ideas, the actual subject of the most significant issues for Asian-American feminism went almost completely unaddressed. Instead, the conversation was pretty much focused on why it is believed to be necessary to adopt a strategy of labeling and insisting on proclamations of contrition ahead of finding the most effective language and argumentation to recruit the support that might be required to create the kind of social awareness that these issues deserve. I have serious doubts that the vast majority of Asian-American men would refuse to participate in advocacy for these issues because of sexist attitudes. A little search on several of the blogs that I link to - bigWOWO, Nikkei View, Eurasian Sensation, Angry Asian Man - have carried supportive content on the sexism faced by Asian women, and I know of no Asian-American blogs, writers, or artists, who are hostile to Asian women, Asian feminism, or Asian women's issues - save, one. So whilst I would not deny that sexism exists and that there are some Asian men who do troll Asian women in cyber-space, I would submit that almost all of the most respected and read Asian male bloggers, writers, artists, and activists, are open to lending support to the cause of equality, indeed, they do that very thing.

All groups that experience marginalization or injustice seek primarily to have their experience not only heard, but also validated. By approaching Asian men in a manner that fundamentally dismisses their experience of prejudice by re-framing it as privilege, explicitly places us into an oppositional position and marginalizes us such that a group who would most likely happily throw their support behind such issues as the ones listed, are instead forced into defending themselves from presumptions that not only diminishes their experience of racism, but also tries to make the ludicrous claim that the very basis of anti-Asian-male prejudice (emasculation and denials of maleness) carries some kind of as yet vague flip-side of privilege.

No, Asian men have a sense of justice, we have compassion and even empathy! It's true! And Asian-Americans - particularly the younger generation I would certainly bet - would be open to hearing about these issues. Although it makes for great copy to utilize hyperbole and labeling to draw attention to a cause, it does little to actually motivate participation simply because the presumptions it entails serves to bulldoze agency and steamroller the experience of people who may themselves feel as though their stories are marginalized. Worst of all, this strategy seems to be little more than manipulation that over-rides extant goodwill and willingness to contribute.

To summarize, there has to be a point where the language of ontology and theory ceases and the language that enables positive and meaningful engagement - that is, language that fosters inspiration and commitment - becomes more useful. Language that reaches people who are not in the choir and inspires them to want to see the same changes you want to see, would seem obviously more potent. And that is something that I sense is lacking in Asian-American feminism as it relates its issues to those not ostensibly a part of it - it lacks the substance of language to inspire. To be fair, I have a general sense that the ways that Asian-Americans present their experiences are generally uninspiring (for example, we are always highlighting our "offence", but why should anyone care that we are offended?) to those not in the community.

Furthermore, it belies the nuanced spirit of third-wave feminism to stick to such strategies seemingly based on rigid, unnuanced language, when  third-wave feminism itself calls for a widening of concepts of feminism and the experiences that go with it. By shifting away from this approach, it might create the possibility of engaging with people in such a away that humanizes them, instead of turning them into a series of labels and negative characteristics. For any group that has felt the pinch of marginalization, invisibility, and prejudice (Asian men included), humanizing them will most likely get you further than continuing the strategy that fundamentally dehumanizes them further by what amounts to gross generalizations.

On a very final note, I cannot help but find irony in the guilt-by-association charge of "maleness" transcending race and somehow privilege emerging from the emasculation and anti-male attitudes towards Asian men. If white male privilege is imparted by mere association, then what privileges are conferred through personal relationships of dating and marriage? This is a serious problem for those Asian feminists who insist that people own privilege, after all, who is it out of all women of colour that engages in and seemingly pursues inter-racial relationships with white men most of all? That's right, it is Asian women, who alone out of all groups do not discriminate between white men and men of their own race. This is an inconsistency problematic for Asian feminism; if Asian men are privileged by sharing gender, and must therefore own it before they can genuinely support the fight for justice, then surely marrying into whiteness confers degrees more privilege that must be acknowledged as well?

As I wrote here, social scientists maintain that inter-marriage is the final barrier into full acceptance into the mainstream. That is, once intermarriage between groups becomes normalized - as it more or less has for Asian women and white men - then it is believed that the last barrier into whiteness has been crossed. That is to say that by marrying into the white mainstream, Asian women are implicitly beneficiaries of white privilege. This is awkward in the extreme. Defending dating choices of Asian women (that is the right - privilege? - to date and marry white men) has become an integral aspect of the Asian feminist dialogue, but with no mention of the implicit privilege doing so confers. To me, this represents an almost fatal blind-spot for Asian-American feminism, particularly at times when charges of privileges are being so casually thrown around.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

But I'm Not Chinese Or Japanese!

Pan-Asianism - Not So Scary, Not So New.

In a previous post I suggested that Asian male athletes, for some reason, have served as occasional catalysts for spontaneous expressions of unity amongst Asian-Americans, and that this suggests that Asian male empowerment is an essential component in establishing a uniquely Asian-American identity. One of the commenters on that post made mention of the idea of Pan-Asianism, which I suppose was something implied in that post, given the idea of Asian-Americans "cross-referencing" their identification with different ethnicities.

A commenter made the following comment which I thought was probably fairly representative of what many Asian-Americans feel.....
I used to dislike the concept of "Asian Americans." I was proud of my ethnicity, but I didn't like the idea that I should feel some kind of kinship with, say, a Taiwanese and a Filipino just because we were "Asian," an identity that's been dictated to us by White Americans.
I have also had this feeling - frustrated that my experience was defined by who I was not, rather than who I was. That is to say, that the idea of "Asian" as represented by the plethora of stereotypes and xenophobic hostilities deriving largely from fears of growing Chinese or Japanese economic and political muscle. As an Asian of non-Chinese or Japanese origin, I felt that part of my struggle was to assert my separateness from these concepts of Asian-ness, by, perhaps, asserting the "different-ness" of the various Asian ethnicities and cultures and blah, blah, and so on and so forth. But I learned pretty early on in my early teens that this approach is actually disempowering and sets one on a path of constantly tweeking the perceptions of those around you without actually addressing the main issue of the implicit and explicit dehumanization that such attitudes carry with them.

Some respond by downplaying or rejecting commonality in favour of an assertion of specific identity (most of us have probably done this), but some also respond by decrying the very notion of "Asia" as an identifier or even as an entity, and suggest that "Asia" is merely a Western concept that implicitly denies agency of Asian peoples to self-identify. Strangely, whilst I think that both of these ideas are fair reactions that have a place in the dialogue, as well as reflect (in the case of the use of the term "Asia") a historical reality, they might well be an incomplete way of understanding Asian identity and the Asian historical narrative.

Whilst it is definitely true that the term "Asia" is a western designation, that in no way changes the fact that prior to western involvement in the region, there existed a healthy and vibrant state of interaction between Asian peoples and nations which involved an exchange of cultures, languages, and ideas. Naturally, conflicts and wars took place between these people, but just as importantly, philosophical and religious ideas spread across the region between Asian countries carried by ancient trading routes, which also saw the movement of peoples between nations. Aside from being historically interesting, the point here, is that this fact of a regional commonality, defined by peaceful exchanges of ideas, and driven by vibrant trade, existed for centuries before the west showed up to teach us our place in the world.

It is well known that Chinese merchants and their families were settling all over SouthEast Asia (and, apparently, without the ethnic strife we see today) for centuries, Indian influence throughout SouthEast Asia shaped language, culture and religion, interactions between India and China over the centuries paved the way for the exchange of world-changing philosophical and religious ideas and their dissemination. Asians have been interacting and influencing each other for centuries. This is not to say that there were any notions of an "Asia" with a specific identity - there may have been, but history has not really explored this possibility - but it is to say that Asian cultures were influencing each other, and learning about each other such that it might be possible to suggest that without western colonial aggression, a more cohesive notion of regional commonality could have developed, and with it, a regional identity.

The point is this; just because "Asia" is a term that has been foisted on the region by imperial powers, it does not mean that the idea of commonality, the possibilities of union, or the history of cross-cultural and ethnic relations should be overlooked or rejected. In a culture that conceives of Asians as de-individuated and their cultures as fundamentally interchangeable, it might seem expedient or necessary to want to challenge these notions as a way of asserting identity, and this may well be appropriate in some cases. The issue is that doing this often misses the opportunity to assert an even greater truth; Asian identity, commonality, and inter-relations, pre-date western interference, and thus removes from the consciousness - derived from the habit of colonial thinking - the very powerful notion that the modern Asian "identity" is in some ways an entirely western invention. This notion is a distortion of history and since the historical experience is one of the most important pillars of cultural endeavour, and hence identity, not taking ownership of this history when the opportunity arises, is tantamount to impeding the development of an Asian-American culture. It is the anxieties of racist xenophobia that has rendered suspicious or undesirable any commonality between Asian cultures and ethnicities

This highlights just how insidious are the effects of anti-Asian racism; the implicit dehumanization of identifying an entire region of diverse people as merely "Asian", leaves many an Asian reacting in such a way that implicitly downplays the very thing that they should be celebrating - any sense of commonality between varying nations and cultural groups that moves people towards greater mutual understanding and respect is surely a good thing.  Another way of saying this, is that Asian-Americans, in addition to being made to feel ashamed of their own race, are also made to feel ashamed of their historical connection and inter-relatedness with neighbouring peoples and cultures. In turn, this means that Asian-Americans are quite possibly conditioned to be suspicious of their own historical experience, but worse, be suspicious of a process of unity that when applied to Western nations (union of Europe and US/European "commonality") is viewed with great pride that union and recognition of commonality leads to peacefulness and prosperity.

For Asian-Americans - a group whose loyalties are often casually called into question - it could well be that the idea of supporting a strong, independent, and co-operative Asia runs counter to our claims of being true and loyal Americans. But this only makes sense if it is accepted that Asia, Asian prosperity, and Asian cultures, are implicitly and irrevocably doomed to be incompatible, and at odds, with the western cultures which we call home and to which we are truly loyal. Yet, given that modern western thought and the secular Enlightenment that brought it about were influenced heavily by Confucian, humanist, ethics, and thought, belies this notion of incompatibility. Additionally, the adoption and great affection in the west for Buddhist teachings and practices further casts doubt on these ideas. No, incompatibility is not a reasonable argument, and there are no reasosns why a prosperous, united Asia, would, or should be even considered to be an insurmountably threatening entity - unless of course, there are other, racially xenophobic considerations to take into account.

My point is that I see no reason why as an American of Asian descent I should not be as proud or motivated to encourage my country - America - to support and welcome "Pan-Asianism", or Asian union, as much as it supports and welcomes European unity. Unity in Europe has brought unprecedented peace and unprecedented prosperity - surely Asians should work towards this goal also, and Americans of Asian descent even more?

Of course, it is precisely because America seems to see itself as engaged in an existential battle with Asian economic might that it views Asian unity as a problem, and this stance may well be the result of irrational xenophobia. But perhaps that could be a significant contribution that Asian-Americans make to the culture of America that through our acceptance of the historical commonality of Asian peoples and cultures, and the development of this notion through an autonomous culture, we can pave the way for an America that is less parochial in its Euro-Centrism.