Erika Lee meticulously documents the history of the Asian-American identity. While various ethnicities and races claim the Asian-American identity, each individual contributes to the collective Asian-American presence. She reminds her audience that Asians helped build the foundation of America: they built railroads and worked on plantations, yet they were, and continue to be, victims of deep-rooted racism that led to exclusion acts and targeted-violence. She provides a perspective of history that is sheltered from textbooks: how Asian-Americans helped their Latinx-Americans friends organize job strikes against exploitative and racist farmers, how Black people and Asian-Americans worked together to form coalitions to combat racism and unequal treatment, and how instrumental Asian Americans are to enacting policies that includes and protects the LGBTQ+ community. The Asian-American identity has always been founded on intersectionality and solidarity, and will continue to be.
“The experiences of previous generations shaped the world that Asian Americans live in today. Likewise, new immigration has helped us see the past in fresh ways. Both the diversity and the shared experiences of Asian Americans reveal the complex story of the making and remaking of Asian America. There is not one single story, but many” (Lee 3).
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