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Asian awareness highlighted

Jennifer Rowling | Friday, January 30, 2004

Notre Dame’s Asian-American population is increasing, and AAA In Focus is doing its part to broaden the University community’s awareness of multicultural issues – sometimes through controversial methods.To promote the third annual AAA In Focus Student-Run Conference on Asian and Asian-American issues, the group posted fliers that stated stereotypes of Asian-Americans such as “Are all Asians over-achievers?” and “Are Bruce Lee and Lucy Liu the only Asian presence in Hollywood?”The fliers were anonymously removed from several dorms, and a table publicizing the conference in Lafortune was taken down.Ryan Leung, executive chair of AAA In Focus, said the fliers were intended to bring existing stereotypes to students’ attention.”The mission from the beginning in making these fliers was to bring up stereotypes and perceptions of Asians,” Leung said. “None were created by us. They existed in everyone’s minds.”He added that ignoring such stereotypes only furthers their acceptance. “We wanted to bring them to the front and make people face them,” Leung said. “Only when you challenge these issues and look at them face to face can progress and change be made.” Students will have the opportunity to challenge such stereotypes at the third annual AAA In Focus Student-Run Conference on Asian and Asian-American issues, which will be held today and Saturday.The theme of this year’s conference is “Personal Journeys in Professional Lives: Celebrating Asian-Americans in the Workplace.” Asian-Americans involved in a multitude of careers are leading workshops with the intention of preparing students of all backgrounds for the working world. Kathleen Wong, specialist in Asian American Studies at Arizona State, is the opening speaker, and Hollywood actor Parry Shen, featured in Better Luck Tomorrow and The New Guy, is assisting in the workshops.