By: Bernice Chan
Today the fact I learned that I won’t forget is that the Chinese Exclusion Act limited the number of Chinese immigrants to 105. I got it wrong in Jeopardy because this whole time, I thought the Chinese were excluded entirely. It’s interesting because in school, the Chinese Exclusion Act was mentioned incredibly briefly and even when brought up at other Asian American conferences I’ve attended, no one mentioned the specific details. I think this represents the broader issues with educating the Asian American youth about their own history—there’s first a need to bring up the events and issues they are unaware of, but the second is a need to constantly revisit them because I, personally, learn something new each time. It’s only when I learn information again and again that I remember it well enough to tell others. Now, whenever someone mentions 1882 in Asian American history, I’m almost entirely sure of what they’re referring to.
We also learned about writing an Op-Ed piece, which is exciting. We’re using the stories from our interviews. Hopefully, we’ll compile them into one piece that’s good enough to be sent to other organizations and published. I interviewed Robert Louie, who works at Posh Jewelry in Chinatown. I feel like I should have been more specific in my interview because it ended up being more of a generic story of how he came to America from Hong Kong for the better employment and educational opportunities. I should’ve had more follow-up questions about the living conditions and opportunities in Hong Kong before he left. During that interview, I became more aware of how my Chinese is lacking. It was conducted in Cantonese, the language I can communicate to my grandparents with, but there’s still so many phrases I don’t know simply because we don’t normally use them in everyday life.
To view what we did during the session, click here.
To view the pictures from the session, click here.