Jessica Tang The experiences of an asian American

How do you think the media portrays what “American” is? It's quite difficult to pinpoint a specific connotation that "American" has in the media as I have seen equal parts good and bad. I have seen the big guns and even bigger burgers image to where we are known for our ignorance and ego. On the other hand many foreigners (including my parents) think that being an American is better than being anything else because being an American gives more freedom and ability for growth which I would have to assume is portrayed through media otherwise I wouldn't know how foreigners (or my parents) would come to that conclusion haha

Would you change that definition? If so, how would you define the American identity? I actually don't think I would redefine the American image much because topics for change tend to begin with this image and I believe a lot still has to be discussed on that point but if I were to project a better American image it would have to be its original meaning: one with an open mind to opportunity, culture, and change

When have you felt most American? How about least? To be honest I don't think I have ever felt American, but then again, I don't think I've never felt Chinese either haha. I'm definitely somewhere in between the two cultures almost to the point where that is a culture in itself.

How do you think individuals can broaden their idea of the American identity? I think it's up to the individuals to first want to broaden their idea of the American identity in order to actually do so. Many are complacent with the way they/things are and are unwilling to see beyond the image that's already set. I truly believe traveling is a great (and fun) way to broaden their way of looking at the American Identity and to get a true perspective of us from people who have seen our portrayal.

How do you connect with people who don’t share the same experiences as your own? Even though many do not share my experiences, I don't think they should be expected to. Having these different experiences definitely gives me a talking point and i believe many are actually interested in hearing our differences more than our similarities so I don't think I've had too hard a time with individuals that don't share my experiences. Obviously there are some individuals who have a hard time understanding where I am coming from sometimes due to my background but most of the time that doesn't prevent connecting with them

How can we simultaneously develop community and embrace each other’s differences? This is definitely the most difficult question haha I would like to think the ability to think beyond just being "American" starts in school and is mastered by the time you graduate from college. But like before, everyone has their own experiences and we can't force them to understand/accept our differences. We can only provide more opportunities for them to change and I think that's what we should focus on as a campus. Always promoting diversity and always giving them ample ways to see others with different cultures express themselves.

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