Hey there! It’s Jennifer, back at it again with a new column! My old column, Paper Planes, explored many different countries’ fashion and environments, but after coming back from my trip to China this summer, I’ve gained a greater appreciation for my own culture and what it means to be Asian American. Living in San Francisco, I haven’t felt like a minority, since its Chinese population is so large. Through my experience in a Chinese immersion elementary and middle school and attending Lowell High School, (which has a 40% Chinese student body), I’ve always been surrounded by people with similar upbringings and cultures. However, when I look a the bigger picture of America as a whole, I feel extremely underrepresented. Asian Americans make up only 5.6% of the United States population and have only recently have gained more roles in mainstream TV, movies, and marketing campaigns. Even when Asian characters are written, they’re often given to popular white actors, reinforcing the stereotype that Asians don’t belong in the media.
Because of this lack of representation, I always feel extremely connected to the little bit of media that actually does highlight Asian culture, like ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat”, Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, and the myriad of Asian Youtubers. I finally feel like I can relate to these characters and laugh along with them at shared cultural experiences. In my new column, And Dim Sum More, I’ll be highlighting some of the little things that I and many others have experienced as Asian Americans through illustrations. And Dim Sum More is a wordplay on “and then some more,” since there are just so many of these little signature traits, using the name of the beloved Cantonese brunch, dim sum. Readers can either relate to my Asian family anecdotes or learn something they didn’t already know about Asian culture!