How Street Culture Shaped Asian-American Identity

The term “Asian-American” is a recent construct. It’s a preferable alternative to “Oriental,” first used in 1968 by the Asian American Political Alliance, a short-lived organization that participated in the Third World Liberation Front’s student strikes of 1968 in California. Before Fred Hampton’s Rainbow Coalition, this multiracial group protested a Eurocentric curriculum and a lack of diversity on campus, leading to the establishment of ethnic studies programs at San Francisco State University and Berkeley, and an increase in faculty members of color. Over 50 years later, Asian-Americans are still trying to find ourselves in the diaspora. Much of what it actually means to be “Asian-American” is still up in the air. For me, it boils down to moments that feel like Spider-Man pointing at himself when you see someone who looks like you killing it in a world you had no idea you were even allowed in. It’s how I felt when I first saw a jegging-clad Rufio leading the Lost Boys in Hook, Willy Santos as a playable character in Grind Session, and Chad Hugo next to Pharrell on the cover of The Neptunes Present… Clones. Read more at Highsnobiety.