Loving and Hating being Asian

Vivian Li
San Jose, CA

I deeply appreciate my heritage as a Chinese-American. It has taught me about a complex culture, thousands-of-years-old ideology, and a strong sense of identity. I am proud of the country my ancestors hail from and its incredibly rich and its understudied history. It has given me beautiful looks, and the wisdom of being a minority. But I can’t help but feel so angry every time I see the complete lack of representation of Asians in every aspect of American life.

Why is it that Chang, one of two Asian characters, on Orange is the New Black has so few appearances, speaks broken English, and is perceived as the weird, foreign other? Why am I judged so quickly because I have black hair and soft, almond eyes? Why are the mental and emotional problems of Asian-Americans largely undiscussed and generally regarded as nonexistent? Why is it so taboo among Asian-American communities to openly discuss race issues?

I’m always angry but I hide it well.

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