Last October, I asked my friend what she thought about developing a dumpling for Dumpling. In short, she loved the idea.
The Dumpling dumpling, we decided, needed to encompass Asian-American culture, as represented by this magazine. It needed to be instantly recognizable and iconic, like the Apple apple and the Nike swoosh. When I was an undergrad taking Japanese, I befriended a young woman who embodied that same unforgettableness.
Ginger Chen-Sitowski, recently married, immediately caught my attention as a person with a big heart and a story to tell that often finds its way into her artwork. She currently resides in Eugene, Ore., and received a bachelor of fine arts in printmaking and Japanese culture from the University of Oregon.
Chen-Sitowski and I wanted the dumpling to be simple. It needed to capture the imaginations of its viewers and ask, perhaps, more questions than it answers. What is Dumpling? Why a dumpling?
Dumpling is both Asian and American. It takes the best of both cultures and doesn’t combine them but demonstrates that this combination, this melting pot, already exists. Asian Americans, be we Korean, Indian or Iraqi, are at a special place in the United State’s history.
Our demographic is increasingly gaining traction in popular media and becoming more recognizable as public figures, in general. We have a long way to go, sure, but we’re on the right track. And the Dumpling dumpling hopes to continue this positive trajectory Asian Americans are headed toward.
What is the Dumpling dumpling? It’s all of us. It’s the culmination of our current culture and society. It’s proof that what’s on the outside – this dimpled piece of dough – doesn’t compare to what’s housed within. And it’s proof that Asian Americans are just as viable in this society as any other person.
Take a moment to share what it means for you to be a dumpling in the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter. We’ll select 10 of the best to receive two free stickers featuring the Dumpling dumpling. Deadline is Aug. 31, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. EST.