by Gayle Chung
In regards to the Asian Cultural Association (ACA) club, one might ask, “How ‘Asian’ do I have to be in order to attend this club?” For some, this might be a sinful question. For others, it might be slightly racist.
Few Whitman students know about the ACA club. Those who are aware of its existence often don’t know if they will fit in based on their ethnicity. Owing to people’s fear of being labeled as ‘racist,’ race is often a hard issue to talk about.
But it is this fear of talking about “anything Asian” that ACA seeks to rid. When asked about the club’s goals, ACA president Johnny Hu said, “We are trying to promote the Asian culture as well as Asian-American awareness.” Hu and the rest of the members of ACA strive to encourage both Asians and non-Asians to come to the meetings and ask any questions they may have about the Asian identity. However, it is often the issue of not being “Asian enough” that keeps people away.
“It’s a multipurpose group. We all come together,” said Hu. “You can choose for yourself whether or not you want to fit in. Nobody will judge you based on race if you attend one of our meetings.”
During the first meeting of ACA, people got together and introduced themselves. They also discussed the direction of the club and what kinds of activities they wanted to do. For the second meeting, they began preparations for setting up a Study Abroad Night for those who are interested in studying abroad in an Asian country. ACA also aims to start a dialogue among people about sensitive issues such as immigration, racism and the popular conception of Asians in America today. Knowing that not many people know about or understand Asian cultures, Hu said, “We want people to try to be as open as possible. People should speak up and ask their questions.”
The ACA club will be meeting next Sept. 29 in Reid 207. Interested students are encouraged to attend a meeting and ask any burning questions. After all, perhaps a fellow Whitman student is wondering the same question.