wesley*

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The Asian American Student Collective at Wesleyan is working on a photo campaign entitled, “So where are you REALLY from?”, in which we attempt to push back and fight the stereotype of the Asian American as the “perpetual foreigner.”

Through a series of photos that can be viewed on our website or Facebook,  we hope to use our experiences, thoughts, and responses to this offensive question to spark discussion on these micro aggressions that constantly plague AAPI across the United States. 

By assuming that all AAPI are foreigners, you deny us our right to be American—and embody that understanding completely. Some AAPI are born outside the US, sure. Some AAPI lived most of their lives outside of the US, absolutely. Some Asians in the US are just tourists and not American, for sure.

But this assumption that AAPI are automatically foreign is racist and prejudiced. I’m tired of being asked where I’m “really from,” because apparently with my “perfect” English there’s still no way that I’m “from” the United States. 

I do not deny my cultural and ethnic heritage. But I fully embody my right to be an American, despite these micro aggressions. 

To other AAPI, do not stand in silence when these instances occur. Speak up. Do not brush it off, which I used to be guilty of, as something that’s “no big deal.” It is a big deal.

Stand up against racism and discrimination.

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I was recently commissioned to photograph five generations of descendants of Solomon Northup, author of “12 Years a Slave”. The feature can be seen in this week’s newsstand ‘Oscar’s Edition’ of The Hollywood Reporter as well as here.


However small, I feel honored to play a role in the sharing of Solomon Northup’s legacy. It was definitely an experience that I’ll always treasure. Enjoy!