Is the term "AAPI" Alienating or Inclusive?

By Devika Rao, The Week |

"Asian American and Pacific Islanders" (AAPI) is an umbrella term encompassing all those in the U.S. with heritage from "all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia," according to the Library of Congress. In turn, the label applies to a large number of cultures and includes approximately 24 million Americans, per the 2020 U.S. Census.

The Asian American label originated in the 1960s on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. It was a way of uniting against the Vietnam War and rejecting racial slurs that were being used at the time by the media and politicians. In 1978, Congress added "Pacific Islanders" to the term, and the two were grouped in the 1990 Census. The groups were separated in the 2000 Census, but the association remained in the political spectrum, as well as in the media.