Hi guys! Asyi here again. This time with an interview I did with Fanna Ndow Norrby of PolitismX Sweden about the #WhichAsianAmI hashtag on Twitter. The interview was posted on their site in Swedish so here is the English version of it:
Fanna’s Chat Attack: “The idea that Asian people are interchangeable is quite prevalent currently, and I wanted to change that.”
Last night while I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, I saw a retweet to check out @GeekofColors’ new hashtag #WhichAsianAmI.
While I was scrolling through the hashtag, people all over the world were posting their selfies, showing “diversity within diversity”. When a hashtag engages, builds a sense of community and becomes a widely spreading force, it can almost guarantee that there is something more serious behind it. So, I decided to try to get an interview with Asyiqin Haron (@AsyiqinHaron), 21 years from Melbourne, Australia to know what made her create #WhichAsianAmI.
Let me introduce the first international Chat-Attack.
Fanna Ndow Norrby: Hey Asyiqin! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. You work for Geeks of Color. Can you tell us what you do?
Asyiqin Haron: Thank you for offering to interview me! Geeks of Color is an online community that aims to create an inclusive environment for geeks of color while uplifting diversity in popular culture. There’s 13 of us in the team of different cultural backgrounds and we use social media, especially Twitter, to highlight the diversity in the geek community.
FN: Wow, you’re working from different countries. Cool! How would you explain “the geek community”?
AH: The geek community is a community of people who are interested in all things geeky – superheroes, science-fiction, comics book, and more. It’s a diverse community as well and you can find them all around the world!
FN: Right! Yesterday someone i follow on Twitter retweeted @geeksofcolors’ post about their new hashtag #WhichAsianAmI that you created. What is it and why did you create it?
AH: I created the hashtag after seeing a bunch of people fancasting Suicide Squad Japanese-American actor Karen Fukuhara as the Chinese warrior Mulan for the live action series. The idea that Asian people are interchangeable is quite prevalent currently and I wanted to change that which is why I created
#WhichAsianAmI. The hashtag promotes visibility of all Asian cultures – East Asian, West Asian, South-East Asian, and South Asian. It is to show the world that Asian people don’t all look alike and we are more than just China, Japan, and Korea.
FN: Aaaah! I understand! Because when I read your first tweet I got the feeling that there was something specific that had just happened. Something that you reacted to that caused you to create it.
AH: Yup! When people think of Asian, most people don’t think outside of the East Asian countries. West Asians, South Asians and South-East Asians are Asian too!
FN: When I found the tag yesterday it had just been created, and it had about five replies, but it caught on quickly! How many tweets are there now, like 20 hours later?
AH: Oh wow. So many people participated in the hashtag. I’ve liked so many tweets, I’ve lost count!
FN: Why do you think that it spread so quickly?
AH: Being a part of Geeks of Color definitely helped. I pitched the idea to the team and they really liked it so it got posted on the page. BlackGirlNerds also helped spread awareness of it and it blew up from there!
FN: Aah! That was probably how I saw it! I love how we’ve got each other’s backs!
AH: The poc (people of color) geek community is really supportive, it’s awesome!
FN: Right!! And what about the racist comments? Have any trolls discovered the tag yet?
AH: We’ve gotten a few troll tweets but they’ve stopped now. The non-asian poc community has also been really supportive of the hashtag. I’m sure if anyone tries to troll it, we would act accordingly.
FN: Ok, that’s good! Is racism, diversity, and representation an everyday discussion in Australia?
AH: I was actually born and raised in Singapore and only moved to Australia in February of this year for university so I haven’t come across much people who go into that topic.
FN: Ahaaaa ok ok I understand! What do you study?
AH: I’m currently doing my Bachelors in Communication Design!
FN: What is your dream job?
AH: My dream job is to be a Creative Director of my own studio. Or who knows, if Geeks of Color grows to be a big company, I’d love for it to be my actual job! Like Confucius said, choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
FN: That’s the best quote I’ve ever heard!
AH: Isn’t it great? I love it!
FN: And finally, do you have any tips for Swedish geeks of color?
AH: Oh wow, i’d love to see anything geeky from them. The geek community around the world are filled with so many creative people, I’m sure they could come up with something great! The geek community is so supportive as it is. Including diversity into their geek culture would also mean a lot to the community. You can never have too much diversity! Dream big and work towards it systematically. You can always find support anywhere, especially in our current digital age.
FN: Those are very inspiring words!
AH: Thank you! And thank you again for interviewing me, it’s much appreciated!
FN: Thank you! Keep up the great job!