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Nick News

Who Am I

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Nick News

Who Am I

>> MY PARENTS ARE FROM SAMOA AND SRI LANKA. >> MY PARENTS ARE FROM INDIA. >> MY FAMILY IS FROM CHINA, AND I WAS BORN IN AMERICA. >> MY PARENTS ARE FROM THE PHILIPPINES. >> I'M A BANGLADESHI AMERICAN. >> CAMBODIAN AMERICAN. >> TAHITIAN AMERICAN. >> TIBETAN AMERICAN. >> JAPANESE AMERICAN. >> INDONESIAN AMERICAN. >> KOREAN AMERICAN. >> male announcer: THIS IS NICK NEWS WITH LINDA ELLERBEE. WHO AM I? ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN AND PROUD. NOW FROM NEW YORK, HERE IS LINDA ELLERBEE. >> Ellerbee: ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN IS A BLANKET TERM THAT LUMPS TOGETHER A MULTITUDE OF HERITAGES, RELIGIONS, LANGUAGES, AND ETHNICITIES. 15 MILLION PEOPLE IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN. THEY COME FROM ALL PARTS OF ASIA AND THE PACIFIC ISLANDS, NEARLY 50 COUNTRIES IN ALL. THEY DO NOT ALL LOOK ALIKE, SOUND ALIKE, OR SHARE THE SAME BELIEFS, AND YET, OTHERS TEND TO SEE THEM ALL AS THE SAME, CALLING KOREAN AMERICAN CHINESE AND CHINESE AMERICANS JAPANESE; CONFUSING INDIANS WITH PAKISTANIS, HAWAIIANS WITH FILIPINOS WITH MALAYSIANS. MAY IS ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH IN THE U.S., WHICH MEANS IT'S A GOOD TIME TO GET TO KNOW AND TO CELEBRATE ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICANS. >> I DON'T THINK PEOPLE ALWAYS THINK OF INDIA WHEN THEY THINK OF ASIA, EVEN THOUGH IT'S GOT THE SECOND MOST POPULATION IN ASIA. PEOPLE THINK OF COUNTRIES LIKE CHINA OR JAPAN. I'M MAHEEMA. I'M 13, AND I'M FROM WOODBURY, MINNESOTA. I'M A FIRST GENERATION INDIAN AMERICAN BECAUSE MY PARENTS BOTH WERE BORN AND BROUGHT UP IN INDIA, AND THEY CAME HERE, AND THEN THEY HAD ME. MY FAMILY IS MAINLY DIFFERENT, I GUESS, BECAUSE WE FOLLOW A LOT OF TRADITIONS FROM INDIA. WE EAT INDIAN FOOD ALMOST EVERY DAY. WE DO CELEBRATE A LOT OF THE INDIAN HOLIDAYS. ALMOST EVERY STATE IN INDIA HAS SOMEWHAT OF A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE. HINDI IS ONE OF THE MOST USED LANGUAGES. [speaking Hindi] I SPEAK MAINLY HINDI AND ENGLISH. I GUESS YOU COULD SAY I SPEAK HINGLISH. WE USUALLY TAKE TRIPS TO INDIA EVERY OTHER YEAR, AND THEY'RE ANYWHERE FROM, LIKE, THREE WEEKS TO THREE MONTHS. INDIA IS REALLY, REALLY DIFFERENT, ESPECIALLY FROM AMERICA. I THINK IT'S REALLY FUN. I THINK IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT FOR ME TO MAINTAIN MY INDIAN HERITAGE, BECAUSE IT'S WHO I AM, AND WHO MY PARENTS ARE EVEN MORE. I THINK IT KEEPS ME GROUNDED. THERE ARE, LIKE, ONLY TWO INDIAN KIDS IN MY SCHOOL, BUT I DON'T FEEL DIFFERENT. I FEEL I FIT IN AS MUCH AS ANYONE ELSE. THE THINGS I HAVE IN COMMON WITH MY SCHOOL FRIENDS ARE MORE THE CLASSES WE TAKE. WE'RE KIND OF WEIRD, AND WE'RE ALL NERDY, WHICH, BASICALLY, IS HOW WE BECAME ALL FRIENDS. I BASICALLY HAVE TWO GROUPS. ONE FOR ME AND MY AMERICAN FRIENDS, AND THEN MY SILC FRIENDS. SILC STANDS FOR SCHOOL OF INDIA FOR LANGUAGES AND CULTURE. [singing Hindi] IT'S BASICALLY WHERE KIDS GO FOR ABOUT THREE OR FOUR HOURS EVERY WEEKEND. THEY HAVE HINDI, WHICH IS WHAT I'VE BEEN TAKING. >> [speaking Hindi] >> WE LEARN MAINLY ABOUT THE HISTORY OF INDIA, LIKE, THE INDEPENDENCE, WHICH I THINK IS REALLY COOL. THE BIGGEST THING THAT I HAVE IN COMMON WITH MY SILC FRIENDS IS THAT WE'RE ALL INDIAN. AND I'VE KNOWN THEM FOR YEARS, SO I'M REALLY CLOSE WITH THEM. WITH MY SCHOOL FRIENDS, YOU HAVE TO LOOK MORE TO FIND THINGS IN COMMON. IT'S NOT AS EASY. THERE'S BASICALLY JUST TWO DIFFERENT PARTS OF MY LIFE. I REALLY JUST LOVE MY AMERICAN CULTURE AND MY INDIAN CULTURE. AND I'M NOT SURE EVERYONE GETS THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE THAT CLOSE TO THEIR HERITAGE. >> I FEEL A CONNECTION TO MY HERITAGE WHEN I'M DOING A LION DANCE BECAUSE IT'S A PART OF MY CULTURE AND IT'S ALSO SOMETHING THAT I LOVE TO DO. MY NAME IS JUSTIN. I AM 13 YEARS OLD. I LIVE IN NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA. SOME PEOPLE MAY NOT THINK OF NEW ORLEANS WHEN THEY THINK OF VIETNAMESE AMERICANS, BUT THERE'S A LOT OF VIETNAMESE AMERICANS THAT LIVE DOWN HERE. MY PARENTS WERE ABOUT MY AGE WHEN THEY CAME FROM VIETNAM TO THE UNITED STATES AS A RESULT OF THE VIETNAM WAR. >> [speaking Vietnamese] AT HOME I MOSTLY SPEAK ENGLISH, BUT ON SOME OCCASIONS MY MOM AND MY DAD TALK TO US IN VIETNAMESE TO TEACH US NEW WORDS. DURING THE DAY I FEEL MORE AMERICAN BECAUSE I'M MAINLY AT SCHOOL. EVEN THOUGH THERE'S NOT A LOT OF VIETNAMESE AMERICANS AT MY SCHOOL, I FEEL LIKE I CAN FIT IN WITH THEM AND, LIKE, EVEN THOUGH I'M DIFFERENT, I HAVE A LOT OF SIMILARITIES. VERSAILLES IS A NEIGHBORHOOD IN NEW ORLEANS, AND IT HAS AN ABUNDANT POPULATION OF VIETNAMESE AMERICANS. IT'S LIKE A MINIATURE VERSION OF VIETNAM. MY BROTHER AND I ARE BOTH ON THE VIETNAMESE LION DANCE TEAM. IT'S LIKE DRAGON DANCE FROM THE CHINESE CULTURE, BUT IN OUR VERSION THERE'S A STORY. THERE WAS AN EVIL SPIRIT THAT USED TO HAUNT A VIETNAMESE VILLAGE, AND WHEN THEY FOUGHT BACK USING THE LION DANCE, THE EVIL SPIRIT WENT AWAY FOREVER. SOME PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED WHEN THEY SEE A LION DANCE PERFORMANCE, BECAUSE IT'S REALLY MORE ATHLETIC THAN YOU WOULD EXPECT. WHEN I'M UP IN THE AIR, IT MAKES ME FEEL LIKE I CAN FLY. LIKE, IT MAKES ME FEEL LIKE I'M LITERALLY GLIDING IN THE AIR. WHEN I PERFORM, I FEEL GOOD BECAUSE I'M BRINGING JOY TO MY NEIGHBORS AND TO MY OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS. IT MAKES ME FEEL LIKE I'M RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VIETNAMESE CULTURE, AND I'M REPRESENTING EVERYONE THAT'S VIETNAMESE AMERICAN. >> BEING AMERICAN, TO ME, IS ACCEPTING THAT WE ALL CAME FROM SOMEWHERE AND WE ALL DESERVE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. MY NAME IS RIKI. I'M 14 YEARS OLD, AND I'M FROM SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA. I AM YONSEI, WHICH MEANS FOURTH GENERATION JAPANESE AMERICAN. MY GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS CAME HERE FROM JAPAN FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND A BETTER LIFE. THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOMEONE WHOSE PARENTS ARE FROM JAPAN, AND SOMEONE, LIKE ME, WHO, MY PARENTS AND THEIR GRANDPARENTS HAVE BEEN LIVING IN AMERICA. PEOPLE WHOSE PARENTS ARE FROM JAPAN, THEIR PARENTS TRY TO INSTILL THE JAPANESE IN THEM. THEY USUALLY SPEAK JAPANESE TO THEIR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS AND FRIENDS, AND I SPEAK ENGLISH. >> NOW, THIS PICTURE HERE IS INTERESTING. >> I FEEL MORE CONNECTED TO MY JAPANESE HERITAGE WHEN I'M ACTUALLY WITH MY GRANDPARENTS. MY GRANDPARENTS AND THE REST OF THEIR FAMILY WERE SENT TO INTERNMENT CAMPS. THE INTERNMENT CAMPS WERE BASICALLY, LIKE, SIMILAR TO PRISONS. IN 1941, JAPAN ATTACKED THE UNITED STATES. >> SINCE THE UNPROVOKED AND DASTARDLY ATTACK BY JAPAN, A STATE OF WAR HAS EXISTED BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE JAPANESE EMPIRE. >> THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SAW PEOPLE OF JAPANESE DESCENT, OR JAPANESE AMERICANS, WHETHER OR NOT THEY WERE CITIZENS, AS THE ENEMY. THEY SAW THEM AS A THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES, SO PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT GAVE EXECUTE ORDER 9066 TO PUT THEM INTO INTERNMENT CAMPS, OR AS MY GRANDFATHER LIKES TO SAY, INCARCERATION. >> IT'S AWFULLY TOUGH TO LOOK UP AT THE FENCE THERE AND SEE A GUY WITH A MACHINE GUN... >> both: POINTED AT YOU. >> YEAH. IT'S AWFULLY HARD TO TAKE. >> I'M REALLY INTERESTED IN TALKING TO MY GRANDPARENTS ABOUT INTERNMENT CAMP. IT AFFECTS ME BECAUSE I TREAT PEOPLE DIFFERENTLY THAN HOW I WOULD IF I WASN'T JAPANESE OR IF MY GRANDPARENTS DIDN'T GO TO INTERNMENT CAMPS. I TRY TO TREAT PEOPLE WITH A LOT OF RESPECT, AND I TRY TO TREAT MYSELF WITH A LOT OF RESPECT. I PERSONALLY CELEBRATE MY HERITAGE EVERY DAY IN THE LITTLE THINGS THAT I DO AND JUST BEING MYSELF. >> I AM ABSOLUTELY PROUD TO BE FILIPINO AMERICAN. I AM ASHLEY ARGOTA. I AM AN ACTRESS. I PLAY KELLY ON BUCKET AND SKINNER'S EPIC ADVENTURES, AND I AM FILIPINO AMERICAN. I FEEL SO BLESSED TO LIVE IN AMERICA. I MEAN, I HAVE SO MUCH FREEDOM HERE, AND I HAVE SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES THAT I WOULDN'T GET IF I LIVED IN THE PHILIPPINES, BUT I ALSO GET TO KEEP THE VALUES AND THE CULTURE THAT MY FAMILY HAS TAUGHT ME. BEING FILIPINO, WE ARE VERY HOSPITABLE, VERY RESPECTFUL OF OUR ELDERS. MY HOUSEHOLD IS THE KIND OF PLACE, LIKE, IF YOU COME TO OUR HOUSE, WE HAVE FOOD LAID OUT FOR YOU. IT'S A PLACE TO STAY. WE ACTUALLY CALL EVERYBODY--PRETTY MUCH ALL OF OUR CLOSE FRIENDS AND FAMILY--WE CALL THEM AUNTS AND UNCLES, SO WHEN I WAS LITTLE I DIDN'T REALLY KNOW, LIKE, WHO MY ACTUAL AUNT AND UNCLES WERE. I ASSUMED THAT EVERYBODY WAS FAMILY TO ME. FILIPINOS PRIMARILY SPEAK TAGALOG, WHICH, UNFORTUNATELY, I CAN'T SPEAK, BUT I UNDERSTAND A LOT OF IT. I GET MESSAGES FROM FILIPINO KIDS ALL THE TIME. THEY'RE ALWAYS LIKE, FIRST QUESTION OUT OF THEIR MOUTH WILL BE, "ARE YOU FILIPINO?" AND WHEN I SAY, "YES," THEY IMMEDIATELY FLIP OUT, AND THEY GET SO EXCITED. I'VE NEVER HAD A FILIPINO ROLE MODEL TO LOOK UP TO, SO FOR ME TO KIND OF BE THAT PERSON IS REALLY A BLESSING. >> I WISH THAT KIDS UNDERSTOOD HOW HARD IT IS TO BE AN ASIAN AMERICAN, ESPECIALLY FIRST GENERATION. I FEEL LIKE I'M IN TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS. MY NAME IS MELISSA. I'M 15 YEARS OLD, AND I'M LAOTIAN AMERICAN. LAOS IS IN THE BORDER OF CHINA, THAILAND, CAMBODIA, AND VIETNAM. IT'S A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, AND IT HAS A RICH CULTURE, MY PARENTS CAME HERE TO SEARCH THE AMERICAN DREAM AND EARN ENOUGH MONEY TO HAVE A GOOD LIFE. I FEEL MORE LAOTIAN WHEN I'M HOME BECAUSE WE USUALLY EAT ON THE FLOOR, AND WE ALSO EAT TRADITIONAL LAO FOOD. [speaking Lao] >> MY PARENTS SPEAK A MIX OF LAO AND ENGLISH TO TALK TO ME, AND I REPLY BACK IN ENGLISH. I DON'T HAVE ANY HOMEWORK, I JUST HAVE PROJECTS. IT'S A BARRIER WITH THE LANGUAGE DIFFERENCE BECAUSE WE CAN'T SAY A LOT OF THINGS TO EACH OTHER WITH THE WORDS WE USE. THE MINUTE I START GETTING READY FOR SCHOOL I FEEL MORE AMERICAN. AROUND MY FRIENDS I CAN SPEAK OUT MY THOUGHTS. I'M LESS SURROUNDED BY THE CULTURE, AND I'M JUST TALKING ENGLISH, AND LAO ISN'T IN MY HEAD. WHEN I WAS LITTLE, IT WAS HARD GROWING UP WITH BULLYING BECAUSE OF MY RACE. I'M USUALLY THE ONLY ASIAN IN MY CLASS. IT MAKES ME FEEL MORE UNIQUE, BUT IT'S ALSO HARD BECAUSE I CAN'T RELATE TO ANYBODY IN MY CLASS. IN ASIAN AMERICAN CLUB, WE TRY TO BRING OUR CULTURE INTO THE SCHOOL. IT'S A SMALL CLUB, BUT IT'S ALSO DIVERSE. THE FRIENDS IN OUR CLUB, THEY KNOW THAT WE'RE DIFFERENT AND UNIQUE. I REALLY WANT TO DO FASHION, BE A DESIGNER, BUT MY PARENTS WOULD LIKE ME TO BE A DENTIST, A LAWYER, OR A DOCTOR. EVERY TIME THEY SEE MY GRADES SLIPPING, THEY REALLY WANT ME TO GET BACK TO AN "A" OR A A-PLUS. THEY EXPECT ME TO COME BACK AFTER COLLEGE. THEY WANT ME TO TAKE CARE OF THEM AND HELP THEM. IT'S A LOT OF PRESSURE. IT'S IMPORTANT TO EMBRACE THE LAOTIAN SIDE OF ME, SINCE I AM THE FIRST GENERATION OF MY FAMILY TO BE IN AMERICA. IF I KEEP BECOMING AMERICAN, I'M GONNA LOSE MY BACKGROUND AND SO ARE MY CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN. >> Ellerbee: MUSIC PRODIGIES, SMART AND HARDWORKING, GREAT AT MATH, BAD AT SPORTS, QUIET AND SHY, COMPUTER GEEKS: ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN KIDS ARE NO STRANGERS TO STEREOTYPES AND PREJUDICE. THEY DEAL WITH STEREOTYPES ON A REGULAR BASIS, OFTEN FIGHTING A PERSONAL BATTLE TO DISPROVE SOME OF THEM AND LIVE UP TO OTHERS. HERE, NOW ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICANS SET US STRAIGHT ABOUT WHAT'S TRUE, WHAT'S NOT, AND HOW IT FEELS WHEN PEOPLE MAKE SILLY JUDGMENTS ABOUT THEM. >> SOME KIDS THINK THAT BECAUSE I'M FILIPINO THAT I EAT FOOD WITH MY HANDS OR THAT I EAT DOGS. >> PEOPLE AUTOMATICALLY THINK THAT WE'RE CANNIBALS OR SAVAGES. >> THEY WOULD ASK FOR KARATE LESSONS. THEY WILL ALSO CALL ME A NINJA. >> INDIAN PEOPLE ARE REALLY CHEAP. WE SPEAK WITH A FUNNY ACCENT. >> BEING CALLED A DIRTY JAP. >> CHINKY EYES OR SQUINTY EYES. >> THEY AUTOMATICALLY ASSUME THAT I'M A SUPER GENIUS. >> KIDS SOMETIMES MAKE FUN OF THE ASIAN LANGUAGE, SAYING, "CHING, CHANG, CHUNG." I WOULD PREFER KIDS TO TREAT ME JUST LIKE THEM, NO STEREOTYPES, NO RACIST COMMENTS, NO, JUST FRIENDS. >> WHEN I HEAR STEREOTYPES AGAINST INDIANS OR INDIAN AMERICANS, IT MAKES ME FEEL THAT THEY'RE IGNORANT, AND THEY DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT MY CULTURE AND THAT WE HAVE TO TEACH THEM. >> PEOPLE SAY THAT WE ARE GOOD AT MATH, AND THEY JUST ASSUME THAT WE'RE NOT GOOD AT SPORTS. >> WHEN PEOPLE THINK OF PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES, THEY DON'T REALLY THINK OF SOMEBODY THAT LOOKS LIKE ME. IT JUST URGES ME TO PLAY BASKETBALL MORE AND PRACTICE MORE, SO THEY JUST THINK, LIKE, OH, I WAS WRONG ABOUT THAT KID. I'M MATTIE. I'M 11, AND I'M FROM SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA. WHEN PEOPLE ASK ME WHAT I AM, I'D SAY I'M HALF JAPANESE AND HALF CHINESE. MY MOM CAME TO AMERICA FROM JAPAN, AND MY DAD CAME FROM CHINA TO AMERICA. I'M THE FIRST IN OUR FAMILY TO BE BORN IN AMERICA, WHICH MAKES ME THE FIRST GENERATION. I'M GRATEFUL THAT MY PARENTS CAME TO AMERICA BECAUSE IT MADE LIFE EASIER ON ME. BEING THE FIRST GENERATION MEANS THAT I CAN HAVE A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE AND KIND OF PASS THAT DOWN TO DIFFERENT GENERATIONS. PEOPLE ASSUME THAT, LIKE, IF YOU'RE AN ASIAN AMERICAN, YOU'RE NOT GONNA BE GOOD AT A CERTAIN SPORT, 'CAUSE YOU DON'T HAVE THE ATHLETIC ABILITY OR SOMETHING. I'M PRETTY ATHLETIC, AND I'M PRETTY COMPETITIVE. YOU KNOW, I DON'T LIKE TO LOSE. I'M ON THE SAN JOSE NINJAS, WHICH IS AN ASIAN AMERICAN TEAM THAT GOES FROM SIXTH GRADE TO SENIOR YEAR. YOU KNOW, ASIAN AMERICAN PEOPLE SOMETIMES GET LEFT OUT A LOT IN SPORTS, SO THEY MADE THE ASIAN AMERICAN LEAGUE TO HELP SUPPORT THESE KIDS. IT'S IMPORTANT, BECAUSE IT COULD HELP KIDS, YOU KNOW, KIND OF BOND WITH OTHER PEOPLE THAT HAVE GONE THROUGH WHAT THEY'VE GONE THROUGH. I FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE PLAYING AGAINST THESE PLAYERS BECAUSE YOU FIT IN MORE. LIKE, YOU'RE NOT GONNA BE THE ONLY PERSON ON THE TEAM THAT'S ASIAN AMERICAN. EVERYBODY IS USUALLY THE SAME HEIGHT AND THE SAME STRENGTH AND ALL THAT. PLAYING ON THE NINJAS IS JUST A REALLY BIG HONOR BECAUSE ONLY SO MANY PLAYERS GET PICKED TO THESE TEAMS, SO IT WAS PRETTY ELITE. MY CHANCES OF MAKING PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL IS NOT THAT BIG, BUT, STILL, IF YOU KEEP ON TRYING AND PRACTICING AND WORKING AT IT, YOU STILL ALWAYS HAVE A CHANCE TO MAKE PROFESSIONAL. I KNOW I'M GONNA HAVE TO DODGE A LOT OF WORDS AND STEREOTYPES, BUT IF I KEEP ON WORKING AT IT AND KEEP ON PRACTICING AT THE SPORT, THEN I HAVE A PRETTY DECENT CHANCE. >> I WISH THERE WERE MORE CHINESE AMERICANS IN MOVIES OR ON TV. >> ON TV, I VERY RARELY SEE PEOPLE THAT LOOK LIKE ME AT ALL. >> WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, I NEVER REMEMBER SEEING INDIAN PEOPLE ON TV, UNLESS, LIKE, A CHARACTER WENT TO INDIA OR IT WAS, LIKE, JAMES BOND AND HE WAS IN INDIA, OR, LIKE, THERE WAS, LIKE, GANDHI FOOTAGE. MY NAME IS AZIZ ANSARI. I'M A COMEDIAN AND ACTOR, AND I'M INDIAN AMERICAN. I WAS BORN IN SOUTH CAROLINA. THERE'S DEFINITELY NOT A LOT OF INDIANS IN SOUTH CAROLINA. THAT'S NOT, LIKE, THE GO-TO HOT SPOT FOR INDIAN PEOPLE IN AMERICA. WHEN I FIRST STARTED ACTING, INITIALLY THE ROLES I GOT OFFERED WERE VERY STEREOTYPICAL, YOU KNOW, GUY AT THE GAS STATION, CAB DRIVER, ALL THAT STUFF, BUT I ALWAYS TURNED THOSE ROLES DOWN, AND I WOULD JUST PLAY CHARACTERS THAT I THOUGHT WERE FUNNY, WHOSE HUMOR DIDN'T RELY JUST ON ETHNIC STEREOTYPE JOKES. IN MY STAND-UP, I DON'T LIKE TO WRITE ABOUT, LIKE, OH, AND THEN I SLIPPED ON SOME CURRY AND LANDED ON A CHAPATI. YOU KNOW, LIKE, THAT IS BORING TO ME. YOU SHOULD WRITE A CHARACTER THAT'S JUST FUNNY AND LET AN INDIAN PERSON PLAY IT. DON'T WRITE A FUNNY INDIAN CHARACTER. >> BEING FILIPINO, BEING ASIAN, IT IS A LITTLE BIT HARDER TO GET ROLES IN HOLLYWOOD. THEY DON'T OFFER A LOT OF ROLES TO ASIANS. I MEAN, A LOT OF TIMES YOU'LL GET CASTING BREAKDOWN SHEETS, AND THEY'LL GIVE YOU THE DESCRIPTION FOR A ROLE, AND I CAN SEE IT, AND I'M LIKE, "OH, I CAN TOTALLY DO THAT." AND THEN YOU KEEP LOOKING, AND IT SAYS, "WE'RE LOOKING FOR CAUCASIAN ACTRESSES," WHICH IS JUST WHITE ACTRESSES, WHICH I THINK IS KIND OF UNFAIR 'CAUSE SOME ROLES I'D REALLY LIKE TO AUDITION FOR AND I THINK THAT THEY SHOULD BRANCH OUT AND GIVE OTHER PEOPLE SOME CHANCES. >> EVERY YOUNG ACTOR TRYING TO MAKE IT IN HOLLYWOOD FACES ALL KINDS OF BARRIERS, BUT FOR ASIAN AMERICANS, IT'S PARTICULARLY CHALLENGING. I'M GEORGE TAKEI, A JAPANESE AMERICAN, AND I'M AN ACTOR. WHEN I STARTED OUT IN HOLLYWOOD, THERE WERE VERY FEW OPPORTUNITIES. SOMETIMES I WAS REJECTED BECAUSE I WAS TOO ASIAN. OR OTHER TIMES I'M REJECTED BECAUSE I'M NOT ASIAN ENOUGH. I TRY TO AVOID REALLY OFFENSIVE KIND OF ROLES, AND I WAS FAIRLY LUCKY IN THAT RESPECT. WE STILL HAVE A LONG WAYS TO GO, BUT WE HAVE COME A LONG WAYS TO THIS POINT. >> Ellerbee: BEING AMERICAN MEANS MORE THAN BEING A U.S. CITIZEN. BEING AMERICAN IS ABOUT SEEING OURSELVES REFLECTED IN THE FACES OF PEOPLE WHO MAY LOOK DIFFERENT AND SPEAK DIFFERENT LANGUAGES, WHO MAY PURSUE DIFFERENT DREAMS. THAT TOO IS BEING AMERICAN. AND ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH GIVES ALL OF US ANOTHER CHANCE TO BE PROUD OF ALL OF US. >> I'M INDONESIAN AMERICAN, AND IT MAKES ME FEEL SPECIAL BECAUSE I'M THE ONLY ONE WHO IS INDONESIAN AMERICAN AT MY SCHOOL, AND IT'S KIND OF LIKE THERE'S JUST, LIKE, A PART OF ME THAT, LIKE, NO ONE ELSE CAN TOUCH, 'CAUSE THEY CAN'T, LIKE, DECLINE MY HERITAGE. >> I'M PROUD TO BE SAMOAN AND SRI LANKAN BECAUSE I HAVE GOT TO EXPERIENCE ALL THESE DIFFERENT THINGS IN AMERICA, BUT MY MOM AND DAD HAVE DEFINITELY EXPOSED ME TO THAT KIND OF CULTURE. AND SO IT'S A GREAT EXPERIENCE FOR ME. >> I'M PROUD TO BE A FILIPINO BECAUSE, BEING A FILIPINO, IT'S LIKE YOU'RE FAMILY WITH OTHER FILIPINOS. LIKE, WHEN YOU MEET SOMEONE, IT'S LIKE, "OH, HEY, YOU'RE FILIPINO? I'M FILIPINO TOO." IT JUST GIVES YOU A SENSE OF PRIDE. >> I FEEL A CONNECTION TO INDIA, 'CAUSE THAT'S MY HERITAGE. THAT'S MY CULTURE, AND I'M PROUD OF IT. >> IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE TODAY AND WHO YOU WERE WHERE YOU ARE FROM. I'M AN AMERICAN, AND I'M FROM PAKISTAN. THAT'S WHO I AM. >> I DON'T THINK I'VE EVER HEARD OF ASIAN HERITAGE MONTH BEFORE, WHICH I THINK IS REALLY COOL, 'CAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF ASIANS HERE NOW. >> IT MEANS TO ME THAT ASIAN AMERICANS ARE RECOGNIZED, AND THEY'RE NOT LEFT OUT. >> WE HAVE MONTHS FOR ALMOST ALL HERITAGES AND BACKGROUNDS, SO I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO CELEBRATE EACH ONE SO THAT WE LIFT UP ALL PEOPLE. AND WHEN WE LIFT UP ALL PEOPLE,