Chinese Students Find Creative Way to Fight Racism at Columbia University
By King Malleta
February 16, 2017
Asian Students at Columbia University are hoping to fight indifference through a two-minute video that reveals the meaning behind their Chinese names.
For anyone from the West, Asian names can oftentimes be confusing and more often than not, unrelatable. In the most deplorable instances, Asian names are used as weapons for racist attacks.
Recently, a number of Asian students at Columbia have reported finding their names vandalized around their campuses. These incidents are what prompted undergraduate student Huhe Yan to make a video entitled “Say My Name”.
“The video is a way to challenge the stereotypes about the Asian community and especially Chinese students – that they are silent and take punches without complaints. No, we might have good tempers and tend to avoid conflicts, but we do have an attitude and voices to be heard,” Yan told Mashable.
The video starts off with male and female students from Columbia introducing themselves. Afterwards, each of them explains the deeper meaning behind their names.
One said that his name means, “to turn into a better person.”
Another said, “My name means joy and happiness in Chinese.”
“The last word means the brightest star in the night sky so that when my parents are far away from home, they look up to the sky and they can see me, the brightest star,” another student said.
When asked why their names are important to them, the students seemed to have similar reasons. Each of them explained that their names are a reminder of their culture and where they’re from, but more importantly, it’s signifies their parents’ love for them.
Yan said that he was not expecting his video to go viral as he just intended for it to reach the campus community in Columbia. The video has now received more than 300,000 views.
With its rawness and simplicity, the video translated not just names, but feelings, history, and humanity. Perhaps, if more people judged less and cared more, racism would never stand a chance.
Check out the full video below:
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