Happy Asian Pacific Islander heritage month!! Did you know that the Asian-Pacific region consists of 46 different countries, including the United States? Pakistan is known for its location in the Middle East, but it is also considered part of Asia. Countries like Australia and New Zealand defy the social norm of the Pacific Islanders who are commonly thought as dark or brown-skinned. The point I’m getting at with these three facts is that this year’s theme “Unite our vision by working together,” provides inclusiveness for this year and its not only celebrating the heritage of this specific group of individuals. It is celebrating everyone and our past, present, and future.
Instead of focusing of what is and isn’t “cultural appropriation,” we should learn a bit about Asian-Pacific culture and what it has provided us. Did you know, the reason why there are so many nail salons owned and operated by Vietnamese families? Back in the post-Vietnam war era, an American actress named Tippi Hedren once visited a Vietnamese refugee camp and taught the women the art of manicures and pedicures (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-3254). Imagine if Ms. Hedren never paid a visit to these ladies, where would we be now. And our society didn’t just benefit off of materialistic things from the Asian-Pacific community. This community has brought food and culture in almost every state, thus allowing us to have a variation of food options. We have also adopted practices of Yoga, because we have learned that it can reduce our stress levels while also working us out. We, as a whole, benefit so much from each other when we learn from each other, thus uniting and working together will allow us to make this world a better place for our children. So instead of getting upset about what might be cultural appropriation, I challenge you to learn more about the culture in question and also educate others so thay they understand as well. ❤