I need to preface this by saying that Barnes & Noble is one of my favorite go-to stores. No matter where I'm living, I can always count on one being reasonably close to visit for an hour or three. Rarely does a visit leave me disappointed. Unfortunately, today was an exception.
We're well into the month of May, which means that it is officially Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the United States. Book stores and libraries often have displays during the month of February for Black History Month. I figured maybe something would be going on for APAHM, too. Wishful thinking? I cannot speak for the entire chain, but my local B&N had nothing. The selection of books on Asian studies was scant. There was one shelf; a comparatively small selection to other ethnicities represented. Bummer. I realize this is nothing new, to find a footnote on my heritage, but it's still disappointing. And I do wish APAHM had been acknowledged on some level. On my way out of the store, I saw an "Asian Tattoo Kit" and a feng shui guide with little Chinese characters splashed all over it in the bargain section. Is this really the best that can be done? These kitschy images? I acknowledge that the area I am in right now does not have a large Asian population, but I don't view that as an excuse to underrepresent a group of people. Sadly, it all comes down to money and what is marketable to the target consumer. I will say one positive that came out of this visit was finding Eric Liu's The Accidental Asian. The cover depicts a fork next to a bowl of rice. All I can say to that is...word.