Issues of UNC’s Asian Student Association Publication “East Wind” Discuss Double Consciousness and Pokémon

Black background with white writing that reads: East Wind: The Asian American Student Voice.
East Wind: The Asian American Student Voice Header, 2005.

Thanks to our partner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), additional issues of the university’s Asian Student Association publication East Wind: The Asian American Student Voice are now available on our website. These issues span from 1998 to 2006.

Acting as an umbrella organization for all Asian American groups on campus, the Asian Student Association published East Wind: The Asian American Student Voice. In 1998, the focus of the publication was to share Asian American culture and experience with students at the University and surrounding community through educational, service, and social events. In addition, it sought to invoke change to the University’s cultural diversity course curriculum and faculty demographic to actively reflect and be representative of Asian Americans on campus.

Now named the Asian American Students Association (AASA at UNC-CH), the Association’s mission is to advance the interests and needs of the UNC-CH’s Asian/Asian American student population. To do this they provide members with resources and opportunities to define themselves Asian American’s roles as part of American culture through 1) uniting students interested in Asian/Asian American culture, 2) promoting Asian/Asian American cultural awareness, and 3) encouraging dialogue about the Asian American identity.

A frequent topic discussed in issues of East Wind is the experience of double consciousness as an Asian American. Introduced in 1903 by W.E.B. DuBois (pronounced “Do-Boys”) in The Souls of Black Folk, the concept of double consciousness, in very simplified terms, is a feeling that you have two or more social identities which makes it difficult to develop a sense of self. Melissa Lin writes about her experience and frustration with double consciousness in her article titled “The Asian American Experience” in the Spring 2001 issue of East Wind.

In her article, “The Asian American Experience,” Melissa Lin writes about her frustration and experience with double consciousness as an Asian American. A first generation Chinese American, Lin emphasizes the importance of getting to understand oneself with cultural identity being a large part of that. She recounts trying to redefine the Asian heritage that she viewed through her parents as well as her realization that being Asian American made her both different and affected how others treated her in America and Asia. Lin concludes that the Asian American experience in 2001 “can at best be to live in both spheres, continuously adapting,” so that she, along with others, can create a niche for themselves somewhere in the middle.

The same 2001 issue presents a glimpse into anime and Pokémon’s rise in popularity in the United States. Although seen as a ploy created by advertisers and the anime industry by older anime fans at the time, Pokémon reached (and continues to hold) an incredible level of popularity in the early 2000s.

Before the late 1990s/early 2000s, it was difficult to find or watch anime on cable television in the United States. The author, Melissa Loon, credits the early Pokémon explosion with pushing “anime to new heights in North America.” After the explosion, supply began to accommodate the demand with video stores, movie theaters, and basic cable beginning to offer anime as part of their selections. Whether a ploy or not, Pokémon and the anime industry remain incredibly popular in the United States with a market value in the billions.

To view more newspapers from across North Carolina, please visit our North Carolina Newspapers Collection by clicking the link here.

To learn more about the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, please visit the University’s website by clicking the link here.

To learn more about W.E.B. DuBois’ concept of double consciousness, The Souls of Black Folk (1903) can be read online for free on the Documenting the American South website by using the link here.

Information about the Asian American Students Association was gathered from the Association’s Constitution and Bylaws accessible on their HeelLife page.

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