Thursday, April 21, 2005

Am I Mixed? - Charles



Sometimes I wonder if I am qualified to participate on the Generation MIX Tour. I find it at times a bit hard to communicate my story to a wider audience concerning my multiethnicity, because not only do I, as a multiethnic Asian, have to deal with the “What are you?” questions, I also have to deal with the general presumption that all Asians are the same. I mean, even though my parents come from vastly different cultures, languages, customs, and creeds, I am still categorized under the term Asian American because both of my parents are of Asian descent. So, technically under the American definition of race I would be considered monoracial. Unlike my other crewmates, I have never experienced the frustration of having to check only one box when filling out forms. I have never, unlike some of my friends, gotten the inquisitive stares from strangers when walking out with my parents. I will never have to deal with issues concerning white privilege. But I do still consider myself mixed because I am a product of multiple ethnicities.

So while my continual search for a conclusive ethnic identity very much parallels that of my fellow crewmates, it seems, in my experiences at least, that the Asian American community has been more recognizing and perceptive in my ethnic ambiguity. The “What are you?” questions I get are mainly directed from other Asians. I get mistaken for a lot of things: half-Black, Latino; even my extended family thinks I’m half-white. I don’t look like my parents at all. My dad has this joke that he tells his friends and family – he tells them that I was sired by the neighborhood milkman. He’s told this story more times than I can count, and in retrospect this is probably his way with dealing with those very same questions. People who aren’t Asian are not as keen on my multiethnicity, and I often wonder why the frequency of the questions aren’t as high when coming from them. I have my own theories, but will refrain from examining them right now.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being who you are - no matter who you are - and having pride in yourself is a goal my friend. People of mixed ethnicity are an incredible bridge between cultures and traditions and languages and customs and people. Just because you may not have caucasian ethnicity does not mean that your ethnic makeup and background is any easier to cope with than others - fight that Imperial crap!

People may always try and stereotype you and put you in a little box, but they do it so THEY feel like they understand you without any more thought. It's their baggage and not even about you really.

Instead of forcing labels on individuals - and demanding that people choose one race or another - we should try and accept each other for who we really are ... whether that is gay, Japanese, Latino, old, overweight, smart, Thai, young, underweight, tall, African American, Female, poor, Latina, Muslim, straight - variety is the spice of life and sometimes the people most unlike us have the most to teach us ... but we cannot stay behind our walls to experience them - or they experience us.

A perfect example is Generation Mix and the work all of you are doing. By you going out of your way, it is going to help others be more able to be themselves, to be proud of who they are, and comfortable with how they look. Think of the kids ... think of the hope ... think of the choices ... amazing!

Carpe Diem!

Keep asking yourself, and us, the questions -- we must all think!!

B.

"I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind, yet strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers"

- Kahlil Gibran

April 22, 2005 10:03 AM

 
Anonymous Teana said...

The beauty of being mixed is the ability to identify as whatever you want and that the mixed experience is so varied. Contrary to what American definition might state, you are mixed and as you've stated, that is something the Asian community has recognized. And like most of the mixed community. you'll eventually figure out where you stand.

April 22, 2005 12:29 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i gotta say that you being on the tour has really made me feel excited about what you are all trying to accomplish. it would be really easy to just stick with the old black/white or asian/white mixes, but i think your story and experience helps to show the diversity of mixed experiences and im really grateful for that!!!

April 22, 2005 11:11 PM

 
Blogger Generation MIX said...

Hi everyone,

I just want to thank you all for your comments and support! I really means a lot to me that people are reading what we're writing and contributing to the dialogue. Thanks again!

-Charles

April 27, 2005 7:40 AM

 

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