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AAPINH Thoughts

I’ve been asked to think about and respond to the following questions:

  1. How do your parents say I love you?
  2. When people ask you where are you from how do you want to answer them?
  3. What does AAPINH Leadership look like to you?

These are not easy questions to answer – and I think in many ways, I almost would rather not. But for the sake of this exercise I will at least try and start putting some of these thoughts into motion.

How do your parents say I love you?

What comes immediately to mind is the article published in the New York Times entitled Keeping Love Close in which love is shown to be expressed in multifaceted ways. It can come in the form of simple greeting that expresses love as concern – Have you eaten yet? The small mundane things that add up to a unique understanding of love. Or it can come in the form of more complicated structures and/or networks of identity, history, lineage, family and friends, etc. What comes closest to mind though are just the simple connections that have been made over time. For me, I think love is expressed best by memory. I am the embodiment the love expressed by my parents in the span of a human lifetime. It is not something that can be lost or forgotten because it exists in the here and now through me. Everything I do, believe, and accomplish is because of their love.

When people ask you where are you from how do you want to answer them?

I’ll be honest and say that although I used to HATE being asked this question, it kind of amuses me now. Mainly, I think because I’ve tried to reverse engineer the formation of this question and try to get to the root of WHY it is being asked in the first place. In the United States, I’ve noticed that it is a question that tends to be asked in situations where I, an Asian body, seem out of place within a room full of non-Asian bodies. So the questioner is seeking to understand why we look different.

Where are you from in this case is confused by appearances, despite the fact that we might share a similar (if not the same) identity as Americans.

In Asia on the other hand, when I am asked where are you from, it is usually because I have expressed myself in a way that does not seem to match my Asian body. It is a question that is confused by the answer I’m American or I’m from the U.S. because it is seeking to understand our apparent, physical similarities. How is it that you can be American when you look so Asian?

So, where are you from? I mean, like, where are you REALLY from?

I’m American, so I’m from the United States BUT my parents are from the Philippines and my ancestry, as far as I know, is Chinese. So yes, I am Asian too. I identify as an ASIAN AMERICAN.

Any other questions?

What does AAPINH Leadership look like to you?

This is an interesting question. AAPINH Leadership looks like many things to me. At its core though, it is aware of the self and its ability as a human being to effect change on the world. Once that awareness is there, it then goes about the task of empowering others to lead for themselves.

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