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Being Asian, my Authenticity is Questioned

Colette, Sacramento, CA. “I love Asian girls” “I love Japanese people” “Konnichiwa” “Ni hao” “Sayonara” “Kamsammida” ‘Your a bad Japanese. You don’t know Japanese.’ “Are you Chinese?” “I don’t think people in Osaka speak Kansaiben” “I know Chinese” “You look the most Japanese” “You could be an other Asian too” One Caucasian man approached my […]

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Not White Nor Asian But Wasian

Bryce Barrett, Summerville, GA. I am Asian-American and that means Asian jokes. People call me Wasian when I say am part Asian, Thai in particular. Im not offended by it and sometimes I play along with them. It sometimes gets on my nerves that that say “Hey Wasian!” instead of my name. :L

Lost in the buildings reflective surface

Natalie Rossi Canton, MA I am 50% Irish, 50% Italian, and 100% Chinese. I am adopted, I live with a white American family. I am Asian and when we went to Flushing NY and I looked at the building beside me and saw all the Asians, I could not find myself. there was a sea […]

Asian: Discounted everywhere but HR reports

My experience Seattle, WA People say “reassuring” discounting things like “I never think of Asians as people of color, you’re like white people with funny eyes.” and operate using stereotypical assumptions believing they are operating “color-blind”. In most workplaces recognition of racial diversity is limited to certain days of celebration and when it makes HR […]

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You’re not asian,You’re White.

Kristine Ratanaphruks Durham, NC I look ethnically ambiguous and, at times, I pass for white. I grew up watching white men call my father “boy” — I’ve heard countless racist remarks made by people who don’t realize my heritage — I’ve heard the question ” What are you? ” too many times to count and […]

Try To See Through (My) Asian Eyes

Juliette A Clancy, Culpeper, VA. Since I am half Asian and my eyes are the only Asian thing about me, people think that I’m automatically straight off a boat from China. I AM 50% SOUTH KOREAN AND 50% IRISH. Get to know me before judging me for what I look like.

Check One Box Only-White? Asian?

Elizabeth Soda Cupertino, VA Being from a mixed racial background brings a whole other set of issues. Your not White enough to be White and not Asian enough to be Asian. All the racial surveys out there that force me to pick one of my “halves” over another just highlight how much further we have […]

Last name Smith? But you’re Asian.

Trish Broome Baltimore, MD My father is white and my mother is Korean, so I grew up with my father’s last name, Smith. On the first day of teaching orientation they called my full name, Patricia Smith, so I raised my hand. I clearly remember the woman sitting next to me say, “You’re Patricia Smith? […]

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Tennerican Asian passes on only Asian

Rosita Gonzalez, Madison, WI. I am not who I seem. Roads converged to make me a person of three races, of which only one sticks. My children only identify with the one that sticks. But I cannot tell them much about that race that defines them. I blog about it to examine and heal both […]

“Are they yours? Are you sure?”

Adam Conner Washington, DC My sister and I are both adopted from South Korea. Our parents are white. One of my memories from childhood is being at the grocery store and constantly having people ask my mom “Are they yours?” point to my sister and me. I remember one time someone then adding “Are you […]

Excuse me, I was before him!

Ayako Sato Washington DC I often get passed up in line even though the person at the counter looks directly at me and knows I have not been helped. Sometimes I wonder if it is because I am an Asian-American female and the person at the counter has an image of a passive Asian as […]

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But where are you really from?

Christopher Lee-Rodriguez, Boston, MA. We don’t live in a post-racial society. We live in a post-race society. We live in a country where in a short amount of time, there will no longer be a majority race. And race is continuing to be reshaped and redefined. I am half Chinese and half Puerto Rican. I […]

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Why can’t I simply be me?

Jessica Seargeant, Bellevue, WA. I am half Japanese and half Caucasian. I’ve been told I’m not Asian enough by Asians and not “white” enough by Caucasians. I’ve been accused of choosing between my races when it suits me and advised to just say I’m “white.” Why can’t I just be both?

In my blood, not my face

Lauren Via “Visualizing Change at “PROOF” – The National Geographic Blog about Photography and Culture To me it’s not about race, it’s about culture. I am 1/4 Japanese, and don’t look the least bit Asian (though my brother does). I grew up in America, but with my mom growing up in Japan, she passed down […]

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Don’t think of you as Asian…

Dan Ellerman, Baltimore, MD. I was adopted from S. Korea at the age of 3 by a German/Irish couple. I grew up in a white household and neighborhood and went to predominantly African American schools in Baltimore city. The words I chose were told to me by my family and friends with the best intentions […]

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China, Yellow, hardworking, dream, versatile, active

Yilan Miao, Selinsgrove, PA. Maybe we should improved the inaccurate term “racism” with the much more accurate and potentially productive term “stereotype”. As American people always think, I am really good at math and this is the beginning of the third month for me to study in a small town of America. As you can […]

“Asian” to whites, “white” to Asians

Anonymous Being of mixed race can make a person feel out of place, and lacking of identity. My friend and I were talking about which race we feel closer to and he said to me, “white people think I’m Asian, Asian people think I’m white.” of mixed Asian and white I do feel similar. Being […]

“They’ve never heard of us before”

Lucy Moua, Fresno, CA. My name is Lucy and I am Hmong. “Hmong” some may question and say as most people are not aware of this particular ethnicity. Growing up, I’ve always thought my ethnicity was well known and familiar to people as I grew in a community where people embraced the Hmong culture even […]

The plantation haunts my gay marriage.

Erik Shawn Frampton, Charlotte, NC. I am the descendant of a line of plantation owners in South Carolina. As a gay man, my upcoming marriage will finally occur on our 20th anniversary together. My larger southern family struggles to see my identity as sacred, just as they struggle still to see minority life as sacred. […]

You’re not like other Asian people!

Julie Phan, San Jose, CA. Hey, what are you? Uh, I’m Asian…? Really? You don’t look Asian. You’re tan, and chill, and not like other Asians. And you’re kinda ghetto. Honestly, you look Mexican or mixed. 1. My skin color does NOT identify my race, nor does it identify anybody else’s race/ethnicity. 2. Is not […]

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Biracial White/Asian Travels to Southern States

Sean B., Riverside, CA. I am half white and half Filipino. Growing up in a melting pot such as Southern California has been awesome. I never truly understood how lucky I was to live here until I traveled to the south (multiple states) to visit family. My wife is Filipina (born in the south). While […]

I Won’t do your Math homework.

Nicholas Le, Sanger, CA. Since im Asian people always say im really good at math. Some people ask me if I can do their homework. I really suck at math so I couldnt even do my own homework. One day there was this dud in middle school and he told me to do his homework, […]

What I am, not just “Asian”.

Alvin Vang, Fresno, CA. Well as you can see I am Asian but if you dont know what type of Asian I am you can’t just call me a Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Philipian, Thai, Laos, Cambodian, Malay, and etc. You can ask me likw what race of asian are you instead of taking a huge […]

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My friends forget I am Asian.

Ben, Reno, NV. One time a bunch of friends and I were hanging out, and I forget what exactly was said, but one of them whispered in another ears. I asked what what it was, my friend laughed that the other friend forget I was Asian lol.

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What’s having an Asian baby like?

Taylor Pederson, MN. Almost 2 years ago I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl. She has my smile, my big eyes, my fine hair with a touch of red that shows when the sun hits it, my long fingers, and so much more. But no one sees this. They don’t see me in her […]

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Indian American South Asian Desi American

Jacob Kuriakose, San Diego, CA. I would like to bring up the idea of “Indian” to label Native Americans, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, etc. I would also like to talk about lumping East Asians, South Asians, and South East Asians into the general term “Asian” as well.

Race envy on school’s cultural day

Andrea Krida Goff, Providence, RI. I’m a teacher in a wonderfully diverse urban high school in Providence. Every year during Spirit Week, one of the days is devoted to cultural celebration. We have African-Americans wearing colorful headwraps, Asians wearing kimonos, Dominicans waving their country’s flag, and me. Every year I struggle with a wardrobe that […]

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I am not your curiosity game.

Victoria, Salem, OR. As a biracial person, people often ask me, “what ethnicity are you?” – aka what race can I define you as? People who first meet me will ask me this question without ever asking for my name. They seem to only care about what I am not who I am. However, I […]

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Are you Chinese or something?

Brigitte Dees, Stillwater, OK. Growing up half Japanese, Native American, and white in Oklahoma was a challenge. I don’t look like anyone else and people have reminded me of that my whole life. As an Asian girl I was expected to be quiet, studious, and polite. The reality is I have ADHD and dyslexia, which […]

No thanks man, I speak English

Manny DeVera, Gurnee, IL. A couple of my friends and I (all Filipino) were in San Francisco at the Golden Gate Bridge taking pictures when a white guy came up to us and said in HIS best impression of an Asian person ” You want me take picture” while making a camera motion with his […]

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How did you get a boy?

Claire Wallick Moy, Maplewood, NJ. This is what I was asked in 1998 when I moved to NJ. Our 3 children look much more like their father than me. so many girls have been adopted from China in this generation, but not boys. A white Jewish woman with an Asian looking boy is outside of […]

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Boy From America’s Heartland, Indian American

Rahul Iyer, Mesa , AZ. I graduated high school from Dixon IL, a small town halfway between Rockford and Moline, in the Northwestern part of Illinois. Dixon IL is a small town, and boyhood home of former President Ronald “Dutch” Reagan. Cornfields surrounded the town. I am the son of two medical doctors who practiced […]

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Little bit of everything and everywhere

Ashlee Johnston, Ladera Ranch, CA. People tell me they thought that I am White but once I tell them about my Asian/Hawaiian/Spanish/Canadian…. background they say they can tell. I am proud to be so many things from all over the world.

Image portrayed, impression made. It DOES matter.

P. Contreras, Benicia, CA. How you choose to dress gives an impression about you. Whether that impression is accurate or not no one will know unless they get to know you. But, they won’t get to know you if your image repels them. Example. Teenage Boy (black, Hispanic, Asian, white) in your neighborhood in jeans […]

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He should already know the answers

John David Rodriguez, Sacramento, CA. Being an Asian-American today is not even a far cry to what it was 20-75 years ago, especially if you were a Japanese American who had to endure living in the American Japanese Camps. Not even many Americans remember those days. I am a Californian that is Japanese, Mexican, Irish, […]

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They told me I couldn’t be Asian

Phil Vongsavang Midland, GA I volunteered to join a faith based prison ministry and was told by the local sheriff’s department that I was not allowed to join as an Asian. Said the deputy “we only do white or black. Do you want to be black today?” After more than a year, including receiving a […]

Always desired culture. I’m just white.

Cassandra Coats, El Cajon, CA. I grew up in a very multi-cultural school where being white was the minority. I was never teased for it, but I felt like I was missing out. I spent most of my childhood wishing I could be Asian, or Native American, or speak Spanish, etc. Sure, I have red […]

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My culture is what I choose

Raquela Petre, San Francisco, CA. I am half Filipino and half Swedish, Swiss, and German. However I was born in Hawaii and grew up around second- and third-generation Japanese friends. I decidedly learned Japanese in school and studied there for a year, yet I know close to no Tagalog. I also studied in England, where […]

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The Pinoy Debate: Asian? Pacific Islander?

Vince Domingo, Fresno, CA. I’m proud to be Filipino. And I’m also proud to be an Asian Filipino. No, not a “Pacific Islander Filipino”, whenever you see them, avoid them as much as you can, they’re terrible people. They hate puppies. Okay, okay, I jest. They are just misunderstood. This is not even a geographical […]

Most white college students don’t care

Gene Gruber, Houghton, MI. College students don’t seem to care about racial inequality, On campus, there is a lot of racial diversity but off campus is mostly dominated by white people. There is even a place where “the Asian people live.” Nobody ever seems to try to mingle outside of campus though. I wish there […]

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The Asian/Pacific Islander category is very enticing.

Cheryl Mercado Arnedt, West Orange, NJ. My grandmother and her sister — red-headed daughters of NYC cops — both married full Filipino men and were disowned. There was no race in our family – just rice AND potatoes at every meal. My grandfather “Pupa” intentionally didn’t pass down his Asian-ness or his language Tagalog so […]

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Oceanic? I’ve NEVER heard of that.

Lee, Saipan, MP. Oceania is the proper geographical name of a defined region, as are North America, Europe, Asia, etc. People are Native American, European, Asian… I am, among other things, Oceanic or Oceanian; a person descended from ancestors from Oceania. Specifically, Micronesia. The term “pacific islander” as a racial category is an oddity that […]

Am I here because I’m Asian?

Jamie-Claire Chau, Philadelphia, PA. We have reached a dilemma in our fight for justice. How can we intentionally battle racism without being racist? We think reconciliation is embracing people because of their race rather than despite of their race. I constantly question whether I have what I have and am where I am because I […]

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I Am Not All Asian People!

Shirin Akhter, Philadelphia, PA. When I tell other that I am Asian, they don’t believe me because they think my skin color is a little dark or my eye shape or the way I talk. I am west asian, i am from the west side of asia. All asians don’t look alike, we don’t have […]

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“Are you Asian? Are you Caucasian?”

Santana O., Philadelphia, PA. I’m asked by new people commonly, “Wow, you look so Asian! Are you Asian?” I’m also asked, “You’re really pale, are you Caucasian? Are you sure you’re black? WOW! You’re Puerto Rican & black. That explains it.”

Teasing Asians because they’re smart=DUMB

Lauren Dalecke-Sabandith, Holland, MI. About my whole life people teased me because I was Asian. I also hear people teasing other people to. People used to say “I’m smart because I’m Asian” and I told them it has nothing to do with being Asian, it is only my race. Asians aren’t born with a computer […]

Try so hard – still see color

Sherri, Juneau, AK. As hard as I try to see people as people, not black or white or Asian etc., I can’t seem to deprogram my brain. I remember the day I was helping at a school giving enrichment lessons to a group of advanced students. When they came into the room there was one […]

Not All Asians Speak Chinese, Okay!?

Austin McGlothlin, Berea, KY. I’m an Asian studies major with a concentragtion in Japanese language. I have spent the only year I’ve been in college identifying the cultural differences in Asia that has created stereotypes about all Asians being smart or gifted at musical instruments,etc. But I’ve mostly noticed the fact that no one, even […]

Not white enough, not Asian enough.

Robert Zeboski, Autin, TX. I am born from a Japanese father and an Irish German mother. I was adopted by my Polish step dad years later. All my life, the white kids would tease me by saying things as “Go back to your home land,” or other racially tinged words. The Asian kids would dismiss […]

“Ching-chong” isn’t an actual word.

Tu Nguyen, Philadelphia, PA. I am a 9th grader at central high school in Philadelphia. I wrote these words because I know that I’m not the only one who has heard them before. I am Vietnamese, but people often assume that I am in some way, Chinese. I notice that often then not, people tend […]

I try but stereotypes still linger

Anastasia Rogers, Detroit, MI. I am a firm believer that everyone, no matter if you’re a man, woman, or something in between, black, white, Asian, or a different race, should be treated equally and with respect. That being said, I often find myself making snap, harsh judgments about people that I’ve never even had a […]

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Your husband’s black? But you’re Asian.

Nina Ball, Baltimore, MD. When people first meet my husband and/or see a picture of us together, the surprise is obvious. I’ve had a few people outright tell me that they just assumed he was Korean. More often than not, I get the question, “What do your parents think?” When they find out that, like […]

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Afraid of Not Being “Asian” Enough

Gwyn, Chicago, IL. My Dad was born in Japan to a Caucasian Father and a Japanese mother. He moved to America with his father and siblings and unfortunately had to leave his mother behind. He no longer speaks Japanese, but he still holds his heritage very dear to him, placing various objects from Japan around […]

My Obaa is Japanese – I’m not.

Livia Messenger, Northhampton, MA. Smith College Before I told you my grandmother was from Japan, I wasn’t Asian to you. I’m white. I don’t speak Japanese. I’ve never been to Japan, worn a kimono, or even met my Japanese relatives. I flunked out of calculus – but I suppose my “white side” was holding the […]

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Stop using RACE as an excuse.

Renee Chapman, Colbert, WA. I have seen race used as an excuse for bad behavior or saying something is happening to someone because they are Mexican, Asian, and Black etc. I had a personal experience with it when neighbors aggressive Rottweiler killed my 6 mo. old puppy, police were called and neighbor was really angry. […]

I am a proud Asian American

Jake, USA. Empowerment and civil rights for African Americans has not always translated into equality for those with Asian backgrounds. We may be viewed as model minorities but often we face discrimination and racism, especially from the African American community. One would think given the civil right movement, they would have understood what it meant […]

Not Asian, nor American, but Asian-American.

Margaret Lin, Houston, TX. Although ethnically Asian, I stick out like a sore thumb in Asia. When I visited China last summer, my mother told me that everyone there could tell I wasn’t raised in China. Perhaps it was the way I dressed, or my heavy accent when I attempted speaking Chinese, or how my […]

Why is this number so high?

Katrena Kennedy, Kaneohe, HI. This was a question the Asian (american?) H and R Block representative asked me when she looked at my W2 form and saw how much I had already paid in Federal taxes ($51,000.00), the inference being ” You’re a black female. It is not possible that you could be making that […]

I’ve grown to hate white people.

Chiyoko, USA. I am one quarter Japanese. I have auburn hair, light brown eyes, and freckles. I am five foot nine, and my skin is paler than even my white friends’ skin. But my name is Japanese, which leads people to ask me where I’m from, no, where I’m REALLY from. I’ve been called J*p, […]

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 […]

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They only see the Asian half.

Katelyn Tsukada Northampton, MA My mother is of Irish and Italian heritage; my father of Japanese descent. Both of my parents were born in the United States as were their parents before them. Both consider themselves to be American as documented by their passports, drivers licenses and birth certificates. My mother and father speak English […]

Don’t define me by my eyes.

LiLi Alameda, CA Just because I’m Asian doesn’t mean I have dragon/tiger parents, I’m automatically great at math, I speak perfect Mandarin, play violin and piano, and have never gotten below an A- on an assignment. I break all of those stereotypes, every single one of them, and hey I’m still Asian.

Tired of Asians being a minority

Jaimie Nguyen San Jose, CA There are not much Asians in the media, not many Asians exposed in the light. Also, it saddens me how narrow-minded this society is. When there is a foreigner in America of a European descent, we say this person is “exotic”, “sexy”, “edgy”. Then, if there is a foreigner in […]

My skin is not your accessory.

Michelle K. Chicago, IL Racist men who are interested in me solely for their “yellow fever”: my skin is not your accessory. Racist people who want to befriend me solely because they “loooove” my culture: my skin is not your accessory. Racist people who think being Asian is all about KPop and “kawaii”: my skin […]

Being Asian doesn’t mean I’m Chinese

Kay West Jordan, UT I get called Chinese all the time, and I have a lot of Chinese friends, but I am Japanese. Just because I am Asian, does not mean I am Chinese. Just like being Hispanic does not make them all Mexican. Being Caucasian doesn’t mean they are all from England. Every culture […]

I wasn’t Asian. I became one.

Kasumi H University Park, PA I came to the USA to attend Penn State as an undergraduate student in 2010. I was born in Saitama, Japan and grew up in Shanghai, China. When I arrived, it felt like I was turned into a spokesperson for all Asians. Before, I was just a person, a girl, […]

Uncomfortable around non-Asians, don’t know why

Pamela Hung Boston, MA I grew up in a predominantly Asian neighborhood in Southern California. It was a hard transition living in places where Asians were the minority…non-Asians were just so foreign. But I’m doing exactly what I’m fighting against: making others the Other. My brain has learned to fight these Othering thoughts, but I […]

Growing up biracial was very painful.

Jim Roberts Atoka, TN I’m half Caucasian and half Asian. Growing up in the rural South during the eighties was a painful and humiliating experience. It seemed as if the only racial identities anyone could process were “black” or “white.” Fitting into neither category assured my brother and me years of abuse from all sides, […]

Hybrid Asian identity disconnected from roots

Shen Lin Philadelphia, PA I’m originally from mainland China but spent most of my developmental years in Europe. After moving to the US I realized the extent to which people are able to connect so deeply with their racial heritage and express their opinions so freely in this country is enviable by the standards of […]

I am an immigrant, and white

Tom Dierolf Brevard, NC If you saw a photo of me among asian, black and latino faces, and asked to pick the immigrants to the U.S., you would probably not pick me. But I immigrated from Germany in 1960, and I know that all of the others in the photo could have had family living […]

I am more than my color

Frank Benson Knoxville, TN I am native american from Alaska. I have been mistaken for hispanic, asian, hawaiian. it’s difficult not to see someones color, but to make assumptions about who someone based on skin tone before meeting the person limits us all.

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Asian descendent so is it wrong??

Ian Shi C Malaysia I’m Malaysian and some people classify me as other other races. It’s just silly. Just because I don’t look or act like a Malay or Chinese. There’s even a race column on my ID. It’s stated ‘Chinese’. Anybody had something like this? Plus I don’t get it why people are still […]