Thursday, October 25, 2012

Class Discussion, Oct. 24, 2012

     This post addresses the question Abe had posed in class yesterday about why it's offensive to label all individuals from the Asian continent as "Asian" but why the same is not true when we label "Americans" as such, although "Americans" too stem from different origins.  Although I can understand his perspective, truth be told, I believe that the argument is like comparing apples to oranges--Asians, as a whole, are a group of people that have hardly been explored, learned, or taught through the media, so our frustrations stem from the fact that "Asians" are a continent of people who are not only of different origins, but of different practices, religions, traditions, histories, and ultimately languages that divide us and make us incomprehensible to other "Asians".  We are a people of a continent that is always viewed as the submisssive, the aggressors, and now--in current times--terrorists.  The reason why, personally speaking, it's irrelevant to distinguish our origins when we label ourselves as "American" is because of the sheer fact that we have chosen to take on that title, we have chosen to acclimate to those ideals, those cultures, those practices, and all that belongs and is associated with "American" ways (for lack of better words).  WE CHOOSE to let go of our origins to acclimate to the current association of being "American".  Simply put, familarity in being American is why it's irrelevant to distinguish our origins, because although we all come from a different ethnic past that defines how and when we arrived here in the States, we are familiar with the expecations and ideals of this country--the same is not true for the entirety of the Asian continent.  There are no similarities or familiarities amongst the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Indians, Arabians, Iraqis, etcs.  because we are all of a totally different breed. 

--Christina Zachariah

1 comment:

  1. I agree with what you've said, Christina. If I'm understanding Abe's point correctly, I think it's more a problem of semantics. When we say American, it generally comes to refer to the nation of the United States of America, rather than apply to a greater continental sense that includes the Caribbean, North, South or Central America. If the term 'American' came to apply to all countries from South, Central, and North America, then I think we could say it's similarly offensive, but it doesn't; therein lies the difference. Someone from Canada, while still North American, is seen by his/her nationality, as a Canadian, rather than continent, as a North American. Conversely, an individual from, say, Cambodia is often seen as 'Asian' - by one's continent - rather than as Cambodian, nationality; it strips them of their national identity and heritage.

    Also, it goes without saying, but the sheer size and diversity of the entire continent of Asia makes the ethnic consolidation approach all the more egregious.