celebrating Asian America all month long

We’re 1/3 of the way into the month of May, and we’re supposed to be celebrating our Asian heritage as a nation. I haven’t heard all that much buzz about it personally, have you?

In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed on May 10, 1869. In 1992, Congress expanded the 10-day observance to a monthlong celebration.

Asian-Nation highlighted 14 important statistics about Asian Americans, streamlining it from the Census Bureau’s stats-filled press release. I’m selecting these top 5 stats:

14.4 million
The estimated number of U.S. residents in July 2005 who said they were Asian or Asian in combination with one or more other races. This group comprised 5 percent of the total population. By 2050, the Asian American population is estimated to be 33.4 million, which would represent 8% of the total U.S. population by that year.

52%
The percentage of the foreign-born from Asia who are naturalized U.S. citizens. [This means 48% are American-born and probably English-speaking! Hello!]

49%
The percentage of Asians, age 25 and older, who have a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education. Asians have the highest proportion of college graduates of any race or ethnic group in the country.

$61,094
Median household income for Asians in 2005, the highest among all race groups. However, median household income differed greatly by Asian group. For Asian Indians, for example, the median income in 2005 was $73,575; for Vietnamese-Americans, it was $50,925.

11.1%
Poverty rate for Asians in 2005, up from 9.8 percent in 2004.

A big celebration in Washington DC this Saturday is called Fiesta Asia, the annual Asian American Heritage Festival. The mixed metaphor bothers me a bit. Fiesta is a word of Spanish origin. “Block Party” is all American. Don’t we have an word of Asian heritage for celebration or party?

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  1. Joseon_Illin says:

    The Smithsonian has some interesting Asian-American stuff going on this month:

    http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/heritage_month/

    I think a new Korea gallery is opening up there, also…

  2. danny says:

    is it a coincidence that our month is the same month as finals?

  3. Phillip says:

    goodness gracious. FIESTA Asia??? I’m writing them an e-mail right now.

    P.S I think 52% of foreign-born from Asia being naturalized U.S. citizens means the other 48% of foreign-born from Asia are not citizens?

  4. Scotty B says:

    David Kuo-are you familiar with that name?

    what do you think

    do you know he is?
    (why hes is famous)

    heres an asian american who is controversial a published author
    and I think i have a love/hate feeling bout the guy

  5. djchuang says:

    Scotty, yes, I am familiar with the name David Kuo, and have met him on a couple of occasions. I don’t have a photo to prove it, nor do I have a web page dedicated to him 🙂 He’s been in the government/ political circles close to the White House, and a thoughtfully reflective Christian.

    From my sense of things, he’s not as engaged on Asian American issues, and probably will not be quoted by mainstream media about the value of his Asian cultural heritage, though I could be wrong and surprised.