Editor, Daily Nexus,
I am a Filipino American and proud of it. Ask me how to make lumpia (Filipino egg rolls), ask me how to say “I love you” in Tagalog (Mahal Kita), but please don’t ask me how long I’ve lived in the Philippines.
I have never lived a day of my life in the Philippines, but because I’m obviously not white, people assume I’m not from America. Where are people getting this idea, you ask? Don’t get me started on all the places, but if I had to choose, I would choose history books.
They ripped us off in high school. A huge chunk of our history was missing the stories of Asians and their contributions to this nation. Their absence in our written text has resulted in the misconception that Asians are not Americans.
Sure, you remember how Italian and Irish immigrants came over on boats and had their first glimpse of Lady Liberty. What about the Japanese who came over around the same time? The Japanese were restricted from New York and led straight to Hawaii. Instead of a statue, they saw volcanoes.
So, what have we done to rectify the situation? Asian American Studies at the university level. Yes! Now I can go to college and learn the correct history, right? Wrong! UCSB faculty and Academic Senate are proposing changes in general education ethnic requirements by replacing the non-Western culture requirement with a Western Civilization requirement. They are also the ethnicity requirement with an ethnic studies requirement. This means lower enrollment and reduced funding in Asian American, Black, Chicano and Native American studies, which could inevitably lead to their demise.
This proposal expresses our unconscious focus on European-American history and our unconscious disregard for Asian American and other ethnic history. This is only proof that our society is still validating an institutional and cultural domination over people of color.
Shame on the Academic Senate for proposing a change to this educational requirement. They are, in essence, telling me and other people of color that we are not valid Americans. How dare they attempt to lower UCSB’s academic excellence and diversity; UCSB students will not tolerate this injustice. The Academic Senate is in for a rude awakening.