Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Asian-American Blues

So a few months ago, I applied to the Asian Film Academy (AFA), whose stated aim on their website is "to foster emerging filmmakers and establish Asian filmmaker's network." Stupid me for thinking that I'm an Asian filmmaker. This was their response:
I regret to inform you that it is not possible for you to apply for AFA because we can accept applications from those who have Asian or dual nationality only.
As a result of considering your application form, it seems to be that you are born in the USA and you only belong to the United States.   
So I'm not Asian enough for this program since I was born in the United States. But then again, I'm not American enough to be part of mainstream America either.

I responded by stating that my parents are Taiwanese, so I'm Asian even if I was born in America. They asked what nationality I had based on my passport. This was what I wrote, which was met with silence.
I have a US passport. But it seems that I have Taiwanese nationality, according to Taiwan's government website. You can scroll down on the page to see that it says: 
A person shall have the nationality of the Republic  of China under any of the conditions provided by the  following subparagraphs:
1.His/Her father or mother was a national of the Republic of China when he/she was born.
Both my parents were ROC citizens when I was born. My mother is still an ROC citizen - her English is too poor to take a US citizenship test. I've thought about applying for citizenship in Taiwan, just never done it since I've lived and worked in NYC my whole life. 

And I think it's terribly wrong that Asian-Americans aren't considered Asian. We struggle to belong anywhere, it seems.
It rankled that I had to prove my Asian-ness and I guess it's been part of the pile-up of discouragement that I've been feeling. I'm finally back to applying to a few things now and I just pulled up this application to copy some verbiage, but it got my blood boiling again.

I mean it just blows that Asian-Americans can't apply for programs in Asia and we are also limited in the support we get in America. Like instead of being both Asian and American, which is what I consider myself, we are actually neither Asian nor American.

Talk about rejection on top of rejection on top of rejection.

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