Are these images what your idea of what being American looks like? If not, please ask yourself why. I ask you to broaden your perspective. Do they make you feel uncomfortable in any way? If so, please ask yourself why. Many times we fear what’s different, yet we shouldn’t. Realize the diversity that surrounds you hasn’t changed where you stand in this world, only your view. Realize that being American is not a color. It’s not a single race or religion. It’s well beyond this set of images. I’d like to invite you to challenge your implicit biases you may not even know you have, for that’s where hate in many forms, stems from. This includes “everyday racism” and prejudice that so often times is brushed under the rug. This is my effort to lift that rug and clean house a bit.
I hope these few images provoke a little thought. Thought about what diversity is and what it looks like to be American. Stop and think for a moment how your own race is depicted on TV. Now, compare that to how other races are depicted. Do you see similarities? Differences? We use stereotypes to help us confirm certain beliefs we want to be true about minorities or other racial groups, but they’re simply not fair. People of color are not characters in a sitcom or movie and it’s unfair to characterize them as that in real life. In the end it effects how we perceive other races and how we view ourselves. It perpetuates the idea that we are not all equal. I was born in America. I consider myself American. I stray away from saying, Asian-American. You can obviously tell I’m of Asian descent and being American does not mean “white”. Being Asian is only a single aspect of my life experience as a whole, but I am no less American than anyone else. This is the only place I could truly call home. You can drop me anywhere in the world and I would adapt to life there. Hell, throw me on a mountain and I’ll carve out an existence, but in the end I am American through and through.
Lets help each other expand our minds by challenging lines of thought and see the world through various lenses and perspectives. Lets shed light on our own ignorance and open our hearts to what’s beyond our daily newsfeed. Share what diversity looks like to you. As a photographer I’m given a unique opportunity to challenge stereotypes and the stigmas by simply showing minorities in a realistic manner. The few images on my blog are but a taste of what it looks like for me. Please join me in doing the same and join the conversation. I’d love to see and hear what makes you, your family, and life diverse. Let’s help expand each others lenses.
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