AAPI Heritage Month #9

May 9, 2023

What does heritage mean?

Heritage is weighty. In my most difficult times of childhood identity development, “heritage” felt like a burden. Desire for independence heighted anxiety around obligations and expectations. I felt beholden to those who came before me and I was overwhelmed by the responsibility of this concept.

Heritage is manipulated. It is used by blood seeking white people and high-caste Hindu people to determine worth and access. Conservatives abuse it to indoctrinate masses in the name of tradition. To shape and hoard power on the basis of legacy.

Heritage is shared. It is connection across diasporas with never-ending branches. Memories made tangible and current and future. A sense of belonging that opens doors to self-perception. It is clarity, consequence, and cause.

Heritage is ownness. What is owed to those of us whose ancestors’ riches and dignities were stolen. It is the cause for State reparations to Black people descended of enslaved Africans. It is the right of Indigenous Americans to ignore borders drawn with blood through their lands.

Heritage is history manifested in this current moment.

In May 2020, I planted over 20 Dutch Iris bulbs in my backyard. Each May since then, a few of these delicate beauties pop up amidst the untended weeds. (picture taken May 9, 2023).

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