Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Asian American Alliance Hosts AAPI Heritage Month Trivia Night at Cat in the Cream

Erin Koo
AAPI Heritage Month Trivia Night is held at the Cat in the Cream.

The Cat in the Cream was filled with freshly baked cookies and choruses of laughter on  April 30 as the Asian American Alliance hosted their Asian American and Pacific Islander Trivia Night. Throughout April, AAA has put on a variety of events celebrating AAPI culture, heritage, and activism. Hosted by tiara-adorned College fourth-years Lanie Cheatham and Sophie Winner, Tuesday’s trivia night was full of charm, spirit, and fun.

The categories were as expansive as possible in order to include a wide range of topics. A particular hit was the name-that-tune round inspired by Slow Train Cafe’s weekly Thursday night trivia, with a focus on AAPI artists.

“A lot of times, the questions feel like tapping into a culture we’re not a part of…” Cheatham said. “The music ones [at Slow Train] are Bob Dylan, which is fine, it’s just not music I grew up listening to.” 

Artists from this round included Asian icons such Rina Sawayama, Japanese Breakfast, and M.I.A.

Even with categories that stumped participants, such as the sports round, there was still a hearty effort put in as points were given to the team with the funniest answer. This resulted in a dynamic where teams would try to come up with as ridiculous of a solution as possible, often poking fun at common Asian stereotypes, such as answering with Harry Potter character Cho Chang — whose name has gained criticism for sounding caricaturistic — when asked about historical female Asian figures.

A prize was also given out to the most enthusiastic player as another way to encourage audience participation. This was awarded to College second-year Erin Koh, who in a very endearing moment — which the co-hosts shouted for the Review to include — was invited up to the stage and had Cheatham’s tiara placed upon her head.

The night had a DIY feel — the small turnout created an intimate atmosphere, and the prizes consisted of trinkets from around Cheatham and Winner’s house. The team  “Just Me and My Aunts” officially won, but there were enough prizes for each and every player to grab a small reward for their participation.

The AAA was clearly tight-knit, seeming like a group of friends. 

“Now that this semester is closing out, [trivia] is just another event where we can all get together,” Koh said. “AAA has gotten really close this past year, especially with all the trips we took in the fall, so it’s always fun to get together.”

Cheatham also spoke to the community of AAA, saying that there was an active effort made to reach out. 

“In the past, we’ve had a lot of trouble, as a lot of us are fourth-years … then we just started hanging out with and getting to know more underclassmen,” Cheatham said. “I feel like the way that the community is built is we become friends with [the underclassmen] and then they want to come to events and be involved in leadership.” 

Winner pointed out another reason that explains the close-knit community of the AAA.

“It was brought up from the dead because COVID knocked it out,” Winner said. “People who are upperclassmen now are actively working towards bringing different cliques of people together to be on the board.”

However, Cheatham still has ambitions for expanding AAA. 

“Sometimes, people turn away from AAA because it’s a political club and people want to do something cultural,” Cheatham said. “I wish more people were open to engaging with us, hearing from different perspectives, and existing as political Asian-Americans. Even if that didn’t happen, I wish there was more togetherness.”

The trivia night did take a stab at being political with a round devoted to raising awareness about offensive portrayals of Asians and Asian-Americans in film and television. They were able to include this while still balancing the night with lightheartedness, creating a space for enjoyment and community as well as politicism. 

Cheatham, Winner, and Koh all spoke of community and friendship as one of their favorite parts of AAA and the trivia night they held.

“Events like this are really important because it brings the community together,” Koh said. “It allows people to just have fun, have a good time, and learn about people in the community.”

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