Stereotypes of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders suggest members of each community have an innate proclivity for success — that their economic and academic achievements are intrinsic to their culture. These notions are inherently divisive, as they create unrealistic expectations for those who don’t fit the model.
As such, the Asian American/Pacific Islander Resource Center (AA/PIRC), an organization dedicated to providing cultural social and academic resources for Asian American and Pacific Islander students, will celebrate heritage month by “Disrupting the Model Minority Myth.”
“Most of the time the Asian American community is kind of mushed together in one image of successful Asians,” said AA/ PIRC intern Katrina Pantig, “but [many] don’t recognize the diversity of issues and problems the Asian American community faces.”
As a part of a series of more than a dozen events, the AA/PIRC invited the UC Santa Cruz community to their Cultural Celebration Night to commemorate the history of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by bringing together various student organizations.
“It’s not one ethnic group or one organization — it’s very broad and inclusive,” said AA/PIRC director Nancy Kim, who has been involved since it started in 1999. “It was wonderful to see so many students, new and familiar faces, enjoy the program together as a community. I hope the visibility and diversity represented at the event helped give students a sense of community and belonging to the campus.”
While the AA/PIRC’s theme changes every year, their purpose is focused.
“What stays the same throughout the years is showing the diversity of our community, and its ethnic and cultural backgrounds and talents,” Kim said. “We try to integrate some cultural issues and [educate people] about those issues.”