Kip Fulbeck asks students to ask themselves, ‘Who are you?’


Central Michigan University students were intrigued when they were asked to sit as close to the s

tage as possible Tuesday evening in Plachta Auditorium.

The Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month keynote speaker Kip Fulbeck said he wanted to have an interactive experience with his audience.

Fulbeck questioned what it means to be a diversity speaker.

"It drives me nuts because when we hear diversity, we think about race," Fulbeck said. "But race is only a small part of diversity."

As an artist, a spoken word performer and a filmmaker who focuses his work on exploring people with different identities, he was invited by the Multicultural Academic Student Services and the CMU Speaker Series.

Fulbeck said having a Chinese mother and a white father made figuring out his identity as a child challenging. He started his presentation by performing a poem where, at the end of an interview, he was forced to pick only one box for his race.

"As a little kid with my Asian mom and white dad, picking one box was like asking me to pick which one I loved more," Fulbeck said. "When you're a little kid, that is not a fair question to ask."

Fulbeck talked about the various projects he has worked on, exploring the concept of identity. One of his endeavors, The Hapa Project, takes minimalist pictures of primarily multiracial individuals and then asks them to answer the question, “Who are you?"

"No one gets to tell you who you are, but people love to do it," Fulbeck said. "No one gets to tell you who you are unless you give them permission.

Romulus junior Morgan Earby said she was glad Fulbeck brought up the one-dimensional nature of race.

"I thought his talk was really beneficial," Earby said. "He showed how you do not have to pick one race."

Fulbeck also discussed his other projects, including his books "Permanence: Tattoo Portraits" and "Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids." Additionally, he showed his short film "Lilo & Me" during the presentation.

Davisburg junior Dannielle Hurst said she enjoyed Fulbeck because he was unique.

"He presented something different, something other than what we've been ingrained and taught," Hurst said.


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