My submission for this year’s NYCAASC.
I chose to do this particular stereotype because it is something I have faced since I was young. My parents chose to give me an “American” name, knowing it would be easier for me to assimilate as well as saving the trouble of explaining my name to people. A lot of other Cambodians would tease me or just say, why don’t you have a Cambodian name? Aren’t you proud of your culture? Are you trying to be white? Just because I don’t have a Cambodian name doesn’t mean I don’t embody it’s culture and history in the other aspects of my life. I spent half my life dancing traditional Cambodian dance. I’ve researched and learned about the history of Cambodia from the great Angkorian period to the devastating effects of the Khmer Rouge. I have found a club here at Columbia, dedicated to the development of Cambodia and other world issues. I do my best to celebrate the holidays even when I’m not at home. I do my best to read up on current events about Cambodia. I’ve been to Cambodia three times and I want to keep going. I love being Cambodian. My name does not define my identity and culture.