By Lavina Dhingra Shankar, Rajini Srikanth
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Extra info for A part, yet apart: South Asians in Asian America
Page ix FOREWORD: SOUTH ASIAN IDENTITY IN ASIAN AMERICA Rajiv Shankar Asians are a distinct minority group in the United States, and in the past few decades they have contributed significantly to its overall population growth. In fact, in the half-century ahead, after Hispanics (which is a linguistic and not a geographic classification, anyway), Asians, with attendant economic, social, and cultural shifts, will affect the country's demographic makeup more than any other single group. 1 With this in mind, government and academic institutions are increasingly focusing attention on Asiansfor instance, by developing a fully detailed census category,2 or by adding Asian American Studies to the standard college curriculum.
Who decides questions of inclusion in and exclusion from Asian America? At a deeper level, the essays address other issues: How do power structures within minority groups develop? How do South Asians' postcolonial identities overlap with Asian Americanness? How do gender, class, sexuality, and generational differences among South Asian Americans affect their identification as South Asians and as Asian Americans? Are the gaps among the various Asian American subgroups created by differences in experiences of oppression versus real or perceived privilege?
A Part, Yet Apart maps the site of South Asian American inclusion within Asian American studies and complicates its terrain. Who defines what constitutes Asian American studiesshould it be European Americans who still make most hiring decisions, or East Asian Americans, who gave birth to the discipline in 1968, some of "who[m] now serve as gatekeeping faculty and staff in Asian American studies programs" (Kiang Page 16 530), or South Asian Americans themselves who are beginning to develop a collective identity?