Ethnicity Essay

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Ethnicity has played the biggest role in Asian American Art because it is the one thing by which we are judged by the most. We are also judged by things such as our gender, socioeconomic class, and race but those things only give a small amount of what you can tell about a person. The ethnicity of the people making the art has shown what the people have been through and delivers messages that can be mostly related to by people of their same ethnic culture. An example of how ethnicity trumps all the other social identities were the paintings of Kango Takamura. His painting “Our Guard In The Watchtower Became a Spring Baseball Fan” was a cartoonistic painting that showed the internees playing baseball while a guard is watching. To any other person this would just seem like a funny, enjoyable painting of people playing baseball. But to the Japanese that were imprisoned it shows how they were being watched by someone even while doing something as innocent as playing baseball. By being part of this ethnic group Takamura was able to deliver this subtle message in his art work. Hawaiian music was also another thing that was very misinterpreted by many people. People assumed that the music of their culture was just like the phony commercialized songs that appealed to the tourists. However, the music was much deeper than that. The people kept guitar tunings for certain songs a secret and tackled different concerns in the music. Such as Keola Beamer’s E Ku’u Morning Dew. This song dealt with how the land was being treated. Again, only the Hawaiian ethnic group could really feel the emotion that this song delivers because they know the message that the song is sending and can relate to the lyrics. In music, we always see that much of the artist’s sound comes from their ethnic background. Other examples like this are the Lang Toi diaporama. Also, even when

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