Hapa: but always the wrong half.

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Elissa Yukiko Weichbrodt,
Chattanooga, TN.

I’m half Japanese and half white. In Hawaii, where I grew up, mixed race people like me are called “hapa” or “half.” Although I feel most at home in the primarily Asian culture of Hawaii, I also felt like I stuck out physically because I was tall and had fair, freckled skin. But, when I moved to the mainland for college, I didn’t fit in there, either. People ask, “What are you?” “Do you have foreign blood?” But sometimes they also say, “I never thought of you as anything but white,” and that hurts just as much.

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