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.

 

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.

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.

Tweets by Michele Norris