Gordon Lee

The Forgotten Revolution

Thirty-five years ago, young activists had to fight to become Asian American. Now, our radical heritage has been lost in the generation gap.

IN 2003, IT’S MAINSTREAM — some might even say blasé — to be Asian American. But just a few decades ago, things were entirely different. “Asian Americans” did not exist. We were not a category that was included in the United States Census (we were considered “Other”); “Asian American” was not a term that was ever heard on TV or read in the newspaper. If you were of Asian descent prior to the laet 1960’s, you were, at best, “Oriental.” Back then, you had to choose to be Asian American.