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.