CHS Asian American Club Explores Culture, Confronts Stereotypes

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The Asian American Student Union of Columbia High School (AASU) was formed just weeks ago, but it has already been busy hosting meetings and events to raise awareness of Asian American culture.

CHS's Asian American Student Union meets with actor George Takai

CHS’s Asian American Student Union meets with actor George Takai

On Sunday, members saw Allegiance on Broadway, which explores the issue of Japanese internment camps in America during WWII. After the show, students met lead actor George Takei and asked him questions about the play. On Monday, the club hosted an after school Lunar New Year party to celebrate and learn about the holiday.

On Thursday, February 11, the AASU will host an assembly, “History, Stereotypes, and Asian Americans,” about forgotten and dismissed Asian American history and how it relates to stereotypes and the treatment of Asians in today’s society. The assembly will be in the Black Box Theater during periods 5, 6, and 7.

The club’s mission, say co-founders and CHS sophomores Sidney Ha and Sylvia Osner,  is to confront Asian stereotypes and cultural misconceptions throughout the school and society. “We felt that there wasn’t a club that discussed Asian-American history and culture,” said Ha.

Members are a diverse group of students from all parts of Asia and other continents and students of any ethnicity are welcomed and encouraged to attend meetings. The club meets monthly on Mondays to host informative discussions and provide cultural education; CHS History teacher David Mastrodanado serves as advisor.image4

Ha said even though SOMA is just miles away from one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan cities in the world, “there is still a lack of understanding and misconceptions about Asians. I experience this every day when my peers expect me to speak with a foreign accent, refer to me as ‘exotic’ or make fun of me for my looks and family’s customs.”

AASU plans another meeting next month about Asians in the Arts and Media. For more information, email

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