Pangea.app talked to some of our most active members – and even one of our co-founders – to understand what it means to be of the AAPI community. Each community member has words of unity and advice for a fellow AAPI individual who is looking for inspiration in the workplace.
Education: Brown University ’17
So the term AAPI is something that I've only recently come across, but after googling what it stood for, 'Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,' I knew I would be considered to be a part of this community.
It's not easy to describe what it's like being an Asian American because it's such a monolithic term. 60% of the world population is considered to be Asian. So how can I generalize the experience of 4.5 billion people or the 23 million just in the US alone?
And yet the reality is, most people can easily discern someone as being Asian simply through their appearances. Asians, in general, have straight/black hair, epicanthic/brown eyes, etc. We and the outside community can often identify someone as Asian solely off these physical traits alone without needing a deeper understanding of each of our heritages and the countries our ancestors lived in.
The monolith of being 'Asian American,' certainly exists. And I've experienced both privileges and racism from being a part of this community that society views as the 'model minority.'
At the end of the day, I've always identified more strongly as Filipino and think it's super important to recognize the distinct cultures and lived experiences of everyone who exists within the broader AAPI community.
I think that growing up in the AAPI community there was always a ton of pressure to achieve specific goals on a path that was almost predetermined(especially coming from a family with particular privileges). My advice would be to forge your own path that is true to you, regardless of what others expect of you.
Education: University of Alabama ’21
To be honest, this was once a question I had not always considered growing up because it was hard to come to terms with my place within it. But as I reflect upon it now, I realize there are a lot of great things about being a part of the AAPI community. To start off, it’s the togetherness of looking out for each other—and by this, I mean people arguing over who’s going to pay the bill out of politeness when going out to restaurants or hosts of dinner parties coercing you to take more food back home with you and not allowing you to refuse. It’s the words left unsaid that are instead proven through hidden and indirect actions of love. It’s the push towards resilience and the nimbleness of getting back up on your feet regardless of the circumstance. It’s all of these little things among many others that make up what being a part of the AAPI community so great. It has influenced me greatly without me even realizing it.
I would say to them there is a lot for you to discover. Embrace the uncomfortableness of stepping out. That’s normal. Stand up for yourself. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel small for being the way you are. That’s something I’m still working on too. You have such a unique identity, so there is no reason to hide it. Embrace every part of it so you can show others about it too. You might be surprised by what you find but it will be worth the journey. And lastly, don’t forget to look out for one another. We need it.
Education: Cornell University ‘17/University of Michigan ’22
Ethnicity: Asian American
It means growing up with Sriracha, soup dumplings, and bao buns before they became trendy.
Who I Admire
Simu Liu. He's a rising star in Hollywood and has a marvel featured movie: Shang-chi and the legend of the ten rings. Love to see the representation in Hollywood, especially of Asian men.
Challenge the status quo. Try to push yourself to get off the sidelines to play a role in driving equity and inclusion.
I'm trying to break into the UX research space and would love to connect on LinkedIn.
Nicole (Niki) Kim
Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology ’23
Being a part of the AAPI community means that I'm a Korean-American that also has the support and backing of other Asian American and Pacific Islander communities against the hate crime against us.
Who I Admire
This may sounds cliche, but I really admire my mom. She left Korea in her early 20s to study and major in Art. She met many challenges but in addition to her full-time graphic designing position, she upheld several other part-time jobs to make do until she and my dad started a small restaurant business which she now successfully manages. I admire her resilience, work ethic, integrity, creativity, and kind heart.
Proudly embrace your identity. Don't let anyone mold or scare you into someone you are not. Just be your true self and follow your passions.
Pangea.app strives to make everybody feel welcomed and loved - after all, we want to see each and every one of our platform users succeed. If you're part of the AAPI community and struggling, we have a few links that could help you out.
Asian Mental Health Collective
Stop AAPI Hate
Reporting Site: https://stopaapihate.org/