Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Contemplating Identities

Challenge everything. Regret nothing. One of the critical dilemmas is the question of Asian America. I wrestle with it at a personal level. In pending posts, it may be helpful to understand where I'm coming from. My belief is we have, at a minimum, a quintilateral identity. In no particular order:

* As Americans

* As members of our individual ethnicity (Lao American, Japanese American, Hmong American, Tai Dam American, Chinese American etc.)

* As Asian Americans (Or APIAs, APAs, etc. or even American Asians)

* As individuals upon whom our culture and/or self/imposed identification has no effect.

* As citizens of the world/universe. As human beings.

I'm certain there are other states as well. There are complex politics of identification at play here. A hundred different boxes we can be put into. Some we climb into willingly, others, less so.

This model of course may not work for other people, but it's something I bear in mind.


PaKou Her said...

What about a sixth state of being:

Racialized ethnic Asians are also members of a group called Peoples of Color. This group includes those who are not white and can (in its healthiest state) be identified in racialized solidarity. As Peoples of Color in the United States in particular, we are intertwined and sometimes caught in extremely complex relationships, constantly navigating how our myriad connections to white supremacy and colonialism shape our ability - or, sometimes, inability - to be and/or stay connected.

Something to chew on...

Best from another Hmong activist,
PaKou Her

Bryan Thao Worra said...

Thanks for stopping by, Pakou!

It's certainly a plausible form of identification, and it's nice to see it proposed.

One can also consider gender a significant element of one's identity as well.

Over time this will continue to grow and become more elaborate. I think it's a distinct challenge to wear so many different hats simultaneously throughout one's lifetime.

I wonder- is it sustainable to have so many different identities?

Many move towards a single unified identity in their lifetime. But is that unification possibly just an artificial psychological and spiritual construct that, even if successfully achieved, is one that will at some levels still be something of a failure. Who forces us, compels us to such a unified identity?

I don't think it's healthy to consider the variform identities one possesses if one intends to use it as a series of boxes within which one confines oneself.

I strongly recommend that they must instead be steps from which we grow and emanate.

The long and the short of it is perhaps that we need to learn to be comfortable with writing, creating, and living from many spaces. We are many things to many different people, and to ourselves.