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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Heritage week strives to eliminate Asian stereotypes

 
 

Students walking past the Memorial Student Center Flag Room Monday afternoon might have stopped to watch people fighting with knives, wooden poles and their hands, hitting one another and knocking them to the floor.
The spectacle was not an argument between students, but a demonstration of Arnis, a form of martial arts that originated in the Philippines. The event was part of the opening ceremony for Asian Heritage Week, sponsored by the Asian Presidents Council and nine other Asian student organizations.
The week’s main goal is to dispel stereotypes students at Texas A&M might have about the University’s Asian population, said Harold Damo, a senior marketing major and president of the Asian Presidents Council.
“Most people don’t know what Asian heritage is,” Damo said. “There’s more to it than anime and PlayStation. Asian Heritage Week … (is) about culture, identity and awareness. It’s about understanding the trademarks and traditions of our heritage and what they mean.”
Even in modern day society, certain groups of Americans are viewed as foreigners, said Hao Nguyen, a sophomore political science major and co-director of AHW. People must be educated about different cultures because it is heritage that brings diversity, Nguyen said.
“We all work together; we all fight together; so how are we not still American?” Nguyen said. “Heritage is what makes each of us unique. (Asian-American students) bring with us our unique cultures, traditions and languages.”
Understanding other cultures is especially important in a university setting, said Dean Bresciani, vice president for student affairs. Speaking at the ceremony was bittersweet, he said.
“Speaking at this event means we’re at the end of our academic year, the end of the Year of the International Student,” Bresciani said. “What would A&M be without our international students? It would be an institution that does not prepare its students for the world they will face after they graduate.”
At A&M, an institution that prides itself on tradition, Asian heritage is important because it is human kind’s oldest tradition, Bresciani said.
“Without Asian heritage, A&M could never be a great university,” he said. “It relies on that exposure, that interaction. (Diversity) makes education at A&M what it is today.”

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