On Being a Brown Asian: Expanding the Boundaries of Asian America

In case you missed it, here’s an article I wrote for the #WriteBackFightBack campaign co-sponsored by Reappropriate, 18 Million Rising, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.


The category “Asian American” was initially created in the 1960s as a way to unite our voices for political change, drawing inspiration from the way the African American community organized and gathered themselves during the Civil Rights Movement. The Asian American Movement at that time promoted solidarity across Asian ethnicities and with other communities of color, in the hopes that standing together would bring power to those who had been disenfranchised for so long. The noble ideals of a pan-Asian community haven’t been realized in the way our forebears might have hoped, however.


I wish for my AAPI community to remember and renew the ideals that started this movement in the sixties, when Asian American leaders worked to build trust among ourselves and with different communities of color. Witness the incredible friendship between Yuri Kochiyama and Malcolm X, whose own awakening to social justice was inextricable from his journey with Islam. When black and brown people bear the brunt both of systematic, generational oppression and targeted attacks from government officials and agencies, people of color who are more white-adjacent can and should use that privilege to help them. White supremacy comes for us all eventually, and our only hope of defeating it is to imagine ourselves as one community.

Read the full piece at Reappropriate.

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