As a nonprofit organization in Washington State, our mission is to share the untold stories of Asian Americans of various ethnic backgrounds and their experiences living in American society. All throughout history, people of Asian descent have faced racial discrimination; to this day, Asians living in the United States continue to be subject to various racial injustices, which are often overlooked by our communities. We seek to create a safe media platform to highlight those events.
1 in 3 Asian Americans report personally experiencing racial or ethnic slurs.
1 in 3 Asian Americans report personally experiencing people making negative assumptions or insensitive/offensive comments about their race or ethnicity.
1 in 4 Asian Americans have experienced discrimination when applying for jobs, being considered for promotions, and looking to rent or buy a house.
Asian history has been neglected and untold throughout Western education, from minute details regarding the Japanese during World War Two and stereotyped characteristics of early cultures, to the entire construct of Asia as taught in history books. The continents of Asia and Europe, for instance, were primarily divided by their location in regards to Greece. As European history often does in America, the distinctions became permanent. Geographically, the majority of Asia and Europe are on the same tectonic plate, dubbed Eurasia. While cultures may differ between the two continents, the apparent difference stands on a racial basis.
Yellow peril, a term coined to discriminate and subjugate those of Asian ancestry, was legalized in America in 1875. Those of Asian descent were characterized with crude images, stereotyping them as angry and foreign creatures. Subsequently, eliminating individuality and cultural differences to exist from an external perspective. Hollywood and Western media as a whole, perpetuated Asian stereotypes through casting actors and actresses as mysterious, oriental, and foreign exotics. Films such as Daughter of the Dragon (1981), Fu Manchu (1929), and The Rising Sun (1993) exhibit racist depictions of Asian characters. While these films and countless others have been criticized, the media has taken a positive turn only in the past two decades.
In Western k-12 education, many facts and events that took place in Asia have been excluded or minimized. For example, the (disputed) Rape of Nanking, the injustices faced by the peoples of the Philippines, and the rising sun flag meaning to Koreans. One argument against sharing these events is that history classes are only looking at certain parts of history and that not everything can be included. The exemption of this material could lead students to disregard the importance of Asian cultures and the roles they played in the creation of modern day society.
We, the team at What We Experience, are committed to uncovering the untold stories and experiences of Asian Americans. In our quarterly magazine publications and monthly blog posts, we explore the lives of current Asian Americans of various ethnicities, backgrounds, and experiences, seeking to advocate for Asian-American inclusion in media and educate our community on the experiences faced by Asian-Americans in media, politics, and education. Our magazine covers various issues related to the experiences of Asians in American society, ranging from coronavirus racism and violence to the history of the Model Minority Myth. Content is expressed through articles, personal anecdotes, poetry, art, and media corners.