While growing up in the American public school system, I learned certain things about Asian identity. First: that it was collapsible; other people neither knew nor cared about the distinctions between nationalities or ethnicities. Second: that the history of the region was defined solely through American colonialism or war, or otherwise as narratives condensed into a sidebar in a textbook.
But as I grew older, I began to engage with Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) history in a way that I’d never been taught. Part of this included learning about the Asian American Movement that began in the 1960s. Another part of this was thinking critically about AAPI identity in dialogue with colorism, anti-blackness, and holdover cultural conservativeness.