Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2021 creates a chance to turn the sorrow of anti-Asian violence into deep exploration of the unique amalgamation of the Asian American identity. Ironically from the white supremacist gaze that saw “all Asians as the same”, Asian Americans have been given an unthinkable opportunity for a collective unity. Instead of remaining competitive allies or fierce enemies as they would in Asia, Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese and others can share in friendships and relationships that would simply be impossible anywhere else on the planet.
“The first Asians documented in the Americas arrived in 1587, when Filipinos landed in California; from 1898 to 1946, the Philippines was an American possession. The next group of Asians documented in what would be the United States were Indians in Jamestown, documented as early as 1635. In 1778, the first Chinese to reach what would be the United States, arrived in Hawaii. In 1788, the first Native Hawaiian arrived on the continental United States, in Oregon; in 1900, Hawaii was annexed by the United States.[a] The next group of Asians documented in what would be the United States were Japanese, who arrived in Hawaii in 1806. In 1884, the first Koreans arrived in the United States. In 1898, Guam was ceded to the United States; beginning in the 1900s, Chamorros began to migrate to California and Hawaii.[b] In 1904, what is now American Samoa was ceded to the United States; beginning in the 1920s, Samoans began to migrate to Hawaii and the continental United States, with the first Samoans documented in Hawaii in 1920. In 1912, the first Vietnamese was documented in the United States.“
“Asian Americans is a five-hour film series that delivers a bold, fresh perspective on a history that matters today, more than ever. Told through intimate and personal lives, the series will cast a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role that Asian Americans have played in shaping the nation’s story.”
Watch episodes of PBS Asian Americans through June 26 here: