Acceptable, only after identified as Hawaiian

Nedra De Lima,
White Plains, MD.

Experienced “minority status” when we moved stateside from Hawaii in the 70s. I was most often identified as Hispanic/Mexican. Was also identified as generic Native American or African American. Also Inuit or Louisiana Creole. Too many times, I only became acceptable after I identified as Hawaiian Chinese. Then I became exotic and welcome. People would break out into a relieved smile which I found offensive because it was always the folks who thought I was Mexican or Black. Most of the time they would pat my back or arm and want to engage in a conversation. I was safe enough to touch and interesting enough to talk to now. I was always polite but in my mind and in my heart they sickened me.

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