What does it mean to be Asian in America?

Contribute Your Voice

UAlbany's Racial Justice Committee is gathering creative expressions — in the form of written reflections, photos, artwork, or videos — from campus community members that answer this question: What does it mean to be Asian in America?

Submit your creative expression online anytime over the summer.

Reproduction Rights

The University at Albany will retain all reproduction rights to submitted artwork with credit given to the artist. UAlbany agrees not to sell any of the artwork or any reproduction of the artwork. Artists warrant that they are the sole proprietor of the artwork and agree to assign all copyright and other intellectual property rights in the artwork to UAlbany. Submissions must be original concept and constitute an original work and must not infringe on the protected rights of other artists or violate any applicable copyright laws.



A mixed media drawing of a person with blue hair, brown eyes and red cheeks. Their face is visible in front of flames and writing in another language.
Artwork by undergraduate student Jaci Yong




By Rukhsana Ahmed, PhD, Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Communication

Not a welcoming

climate now, but can be through

research and debate



A pink poster with the words, "Being Asian in American for me means solidarity and support for Black communities. Racial justice is inclusive, White Supremacy is not."
Artwork by undergraduate student Jefri Nazri



What does it mean to be Asian in America? 

By an anonymous campus community member

To be, or to be “not.” I am the question.
“From which undiscovered country do you 
Fetch your life?” 
To be “not” 
white enough to  
Hearken you to my sea of trouble 
          The War ate Shiro’s leg while they were 
          Planting his father in Tule Desert where dust alone 
          Remembers me. 
Only my rich make sense. 
My poor go unseen in their native hue of 
          Grim resolve, mind’s eye fixed to the sticking place  
          O patient Merit that ne’er appears! 
To be “not”  
“Hard” enough to 
Make you flinch to butcher my name or  
Palm the stones you’d fear to sling at any Other. 
I am a pang 
          A cellerage ghost, old mole ‘neath the stage 
“Who would make calamity of so good a life?” 
To be “not” 
Real enough to  
Headline your news each time th’ unworthy 
Harrow my elders 
The insolent Officer 
Feeds me a line “there is no evidence 
          Of a hate crime.”