Coming after a month of Asian-themed events, Asian/Pacific Islander Culture Week looks to celebrate differences as well as unity.
The Asian Resource Center, in cooperation with over 25 student organizations, claimed May as Asian/Pacific Islander Month. The theme of API Month is “We Are Not Chinks: Deconstructing Stereotypes.”
Marshall Higa, an intern for the Asian Resource Center and senior global studies and Japanese double major, said the theme was chosen partly in response to a hate incident last October, when unidentified suspects threw hard-boiled egg yolks onto the floor of the API Cultural Studies special interest hall, located in San Nicolas Residence Hall. The suspects yelled out “chinks” before fleeing. Higa said that the slogan was also meant to affirm and highlight the extreme differences within different Asian groups.
“A lot of the things during Asian/Pacific Islander Culture Week concentrate on many different Asian-American ethnicities together, because there is such a huge difference between Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans and Chinese,” Higa said. “They are all completely different languages and different cultures. We get grouped together as Asian, but there are such extreme differences, and there are a lot of misunderstandings amongst ourselves so we need to educate ourselves as well.”
Throughout the month of May, campus organizations such as Asian Sisters and Brothers for Ideas in Action Now! (ASIAN), the Chinese American Association, the Asian-American Faculty and Staff Association and the Vietnamese Student Association all hosted events focused on celebrating various forms of Asian culture.
The culture week begins today with a Tibetan performance entitled “Rangzen!” that will feature the vocal styling of Semshung Punda and Tseng Wangmo. The event will be presented by UCSB Students for a Free Tibet and will take place in the MultiCultural Center at 7 p.m. Attendance will be free of charge.
On Wednesday, Asian/Pacific Islander Culture Week will feature keynote speaker Dolly Veale at Corwin Pavilion at 7 p.m. Veale is a political activist and will speak about Asian-American stereotypes and the war on terrorism.
API Culture Week’s largest event is the Lantern Festival, hosted by over 20 Asian/Pacific Islander student groups, which will be held Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Corwin Pavilion. During the festival, each student group will present a handmade lantern in competition for a trophy resembling a giant silver mixing bowl. Each group will also give a cultural presentation on its specific background.
“It will be one of the rare times throughout the year that we can all come together and see what another group is doing and really start working together on certain things,” Higa said.
ASIAN will hold a discussion, “The War on Women,” on the effects of militarism in Asia on women, on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the MCC Lounge.
On Friday, API Culture Week will continue with a Korean folk music and hip hop concert. The performance, entitled “Ta-S-Rim,” is sponsored by UCSB’s Korean Cultural Awareness Group and will be held in the UCen Hub from 9 p.m. to midnight. The event will be free, but a $3 donation is recommended. The lineup for the hip hop portion of the performance includes Sharlock Poems and Flynn of the L.A. Symphony, Who Know, Bambu and Faniks of Poorhouse Projekts, and Infinit’ Techul.
“The hip hop concert is just to bring people together to celebrate how hip hop culture has been highly influenced by Asian-Americans,” Higa said. “We don’t really receive that much credit for that.”
The final event during API Culture Week will be the ninth annual “Visions of India” cultural experience on Saturday in Campbell Hall at 6 p.m. Hosted by Indus, a South Asian campus organization, the event will showcase a variety of music, cultural dance and theater from all over India. Tickets will be sold at the door for $8 beginning at 5:30 p.m.
“We have Asian/Pacific Islander Week because the Asian community is so extremely divided,” Asian Resource Center intern and senior biopsychology major Geneva Europa said. “Hopefully it will bring the community together, and people will know that we are not passive and we are not these stereotypes.”