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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
Lisa Harrison Long Beach, CA This is such a common reaction from people over many, many years. I don’t look half Cambodian by others standards. I just say I’m multi-racial. The list of my heritage is too long!
Janice Ng Nashville, TN “How can you be full Asian?”
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, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
Judith Molthen Nelson Madison, WI Remarks made when I tell people I was raised in Thailand.
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 [...]
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 [...]
Chung Ho Santa Clara, CA Apparently apart of my Asian genes is supposed to make me good at math…if not then I should at least be good at kung fu…
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 [...]
Rehenuma Meadville, PA As an Asian American Muslim women, I have been asked many times to represent my “people.” As I have gotten older, I no longer feel eager to do so. I am now more sensitive to who benefits from this type of representation and the effect it has on my own psyche. Sometimes, [...]
Sean Ji Ann Arbour, MI The reason I said these 6 words is because ever since I came to the U.S at the age of 2 years old, I never really grew up around other Asian people. My hometown is Ypsilanti, Mi, which is really close to Ann Arbor, but much derided by those in [...]
Marilyn Lee Sacramento, CA
Tiana Tran Kailua, HI I thought of this because even though I am Asian, it does not mean that I am going to be the best at everything. I am not a genius. Sometimes it’s hard to live up to this “bar” where you have to be perfect.
Lisa Lee San Francisco, CA Asian Americans are constantly reminded that they don’t “belong” in America, despite their contributions of building up this great nation. We are reminded in ways big and small, such as the seemingly harmless remark of “but you speak English so well!” The Civil Rights Movement paved the way for all [...]
Will Chiang New York City, NY Brooklyn
John Mendez Las Vegas, NV Just because I’m Asian, it doesn’t mean that I have to be good at math. As a matter of fact, I struggle in that subject.
Derrick Busman Grand Rapids, MI Being an Asian, living amongst primarily white individuals, I tend to receive a lot of racism. One of the most common things, is the assumption that all Asians excel at math or scholastic studies in general.
Katherine Pan San Francisco, CA
Gaby Segalla Washington, DC Most people see me and assume I’m Chinese. As an adopted Asian girl most people think “Oh that girl is probably Chinese.” I don’t take offense to that mostly because I have become used to being asked I’m Chinese. I’ve gotten used to people asking me where I am from and [...]
Carey Tan Brooklyn, NY Biracial (white and Asian). Partnered with a white man from rural West Virginia. We don’t experience much (if any) hostility. I’m told that this is increasingly normal in society, and this demographic development is supposed to fill us all with hope and pride. But I look around at all the entrenched [...]
Raj Merchant Philadelphia, PA Hey my name is Raj Merchant. I am Indian so technically I am Asian. I am a high school student, and I go to a magnet school called Central High School of Philadelphia. My grandfather said this line when I was going over the thing that were on the PSAT. When [...]
Matt McDonough Morris, MN I chose these six words because I find that I sometimes will forget that I’m Asian just because I’ve been raised in the United States my entire life and live in an Irish-American family where we don’t really practice any traditional Korean customs. Most of my friends are white and it’s [...]
Thi Thumasathit Palo Alto, CA I’m Asian-American. I was born in Thailand, but immigrated here when I was 3 months old so I speak perfect accent-free English. Since the age of 4, I grew up in Hull, Iowa, population 1,500. Invariably, I am asked (even in the Bay Area), “Where are you from?” After I [...]
Alec Dughi Castro Valley, CA I am always asked if I am Asian. And the answer is yes, I am. I think the politically correct term would be Chinese American, but sure, I’m half Asian. But I’m also half white, and the two races are constantly fighting to rule my life. I don’t really fit [...]
Tara Conforto Sharon, MA I was adopted when I was less than 3 months old and raised in a non-diverse area of NJ. People have always made assumptions about me based on my Asian appearance, such as saying that I’m so respectful because Asian children are taught to respect their elders, asking me for Asian [...]
Weston Mui Bellevue, WA I’ve always felt white, yet to my friends, I’m Asian. My racial identity is often confusing, even to myself.
Roland Groce, Jr. Seattle, WA All 52 years of my life has been affected by white privilege and racism. My son is bi-racial, now graduated from college and approaching grad school at a racist institution (University of Washington). I am concerned that at the UW, Asian people have taken over and continuing to carry out [...]
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 [...]
Karen Jericho, NY Racial discrimination towards asians is unfair. We deserve the same treatment in the media, politics, and college application process. It makes me wish I was black.
Jacob Tanes Durham, NC A stereotype that people call the Asian race is Twinkie because Twinkies are yellow on the outside and white on the inside.
Ken Cincinnati, OH “anti-racists” are not pushing diversity on to Black countries “anti-racists” are not pushing diversity on to Asian countries “anti-racists” are not pushing diversity on to Arab countries
Phuong Christian Portland, OR Just because someone is Asian does not mean they inherently have the “smart genes”. I’ve seen hopes and dreams shatter because people couldn’t live up to this expectation.
Lydia Ho Los Angeles, CA I moved to the U.S. four years ago, and having to come across my classmate’s Facebook comment identifying a picture she took of her friend with me standing in the background was nothing but pain in my heart, when I saw her commenting: “that Asian girl in the background”. I [...]
Jackie Tieu Beaverton, OR As an Asian American I am left out of conversations about race all the time. Conversations about race are centralized on blacks and whites. Asian issues are rarely talked about and not acknowledged enough. I am not white and I am not black. I am Asian.
Sonia Kang Northridge, CA Are you their mom? As a biracial mom (Black/Latina) married to a Korean man with children who look more Asian than anything else, we are often looked at with curiosity. They look at them then at me. Is she the nanny? Who can she be? Whether at their Korean language immersion [...]
Kipp Jarecke-Cheng Maplewood, NJ One day, out of the blue, my seven-year-old son said to me and my partner, “White people shouldn’t adopt tan babies like me.” We were stunned by our son’s comment, partly because it seemed so uncharacteristic of him, but mostly because my “tan” son is Asian, like me, while my partner, [...]
Sabrina Dendle Los Angeles, CA
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 [...]
AD Hammershaimb Radnor, PA My siblings see it as belonging everywhere; I see it as belonging nowhere. In Denmark, Danes see me as Filipino-American. In the Philippines, people see me as Danish-American. In the U.S. , I’m Danish and Filipino. or just American. Where can I be all three at once? Where is home?
Reich Krieger Germany Americans: “There are indigenous people that were here first.” Asians: “There are indigenous people that were here first.” Africa: “There are indigenous people that were here first.” Europe: “Race is a social construct, everyone is the same.” Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.
Barbara Schmidt Metuchen, NJ We are a caucasian couple that adopted our daughter from Southeast Asia. Random people in the supermarket make dumb comments and children have asked where is her real mom. We must carry her adoption paperwork when we travel internationally, since passport control sometimes questions whether she is really our daughter. School [...]
Heinrich Beck Melville, NY I am white. Both my parents are from Germany. I have reddish blonde hair and a red beard. My wife is Okinawan (from Japan). I went to register my older daughter for kindergarten, and they use “Power School” as an intake form. My daughter looks much more like my wife, but [...]
Sara Higgins Eugene, OR Explore Identity “I’m not interested in living in a world where my race is not a part of who I am. I am interested in living in a world were our races, no matter what they are, don’t define our trajectory in life.” – Kerry Washington (Behind the Scenes of Scandal [...]
Gabrielle Guzman San Diego, CA Yes, I am Mexican. Yes, I know I apparently hold the same facial features as someone who would be considered Asian. No, I did not just cross the border. No, I do not speak Spanish, although I can understand it fluently and am taking classes to learn it. I am [...]
Peter Kim Los Angeles, CA Heard the phrase “majority minority” on the radio the other day. I know exactly what they meant and I have heard it many times before, but it irked me. Used to express when an ethnic minority is greater than 50% or outnumber the “majority.” The implications are that the majority [...]
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 [...]
Jill T. Furutani Orlando, FL I am a 3rd generation Japanese American. I used to reply that Yes, I tried very hard to lose my New Jersey accent. And why are all Asian women mistakenly called Kim?
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 [...]
Karina Irvine, CA I live in an area that has many distinct Asian groups who are first generation Americans: Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. My grandmother was first generation Filipino and my Grandfather and father are both Caucasian. That makes me part-Asian. But to my Asian friends who are first generation, they see me as [...]
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 [...]
Susan Lee New York, NY On the phone no one can tell I’m Asian-American, but in person I sometimes elicit this response. Because I am Asian, some people expect me to speak with an accent. Once a real estate agent, on the phone, described the neighborhoods she was going to show me. In person, she [...]
Vincent Remolete Boston, MA I had blacks and whites chasing me home after school. Anyone Asian was considered a chink or a jap in 50′s America. My father was a veteran of WWII. No respect.
Katrina Nye San Jose, CA I am full Asian and my husband is a quarter Japanese. Once our son was born I asked my husband which one of us will have the responsibility to give him “the talk” about dealing with racism. My husband replied that it had to be me, because even though he [...]
Yuka Brooklyn, NY Least sympathy-eliciting kind of racism ever! It’s like complaining about being rich, smart AND hot! (Image: screenshot of Google image search for “Asian women”) HAHAHAHAHA I want to kill myself.
Martin Smith Mobile, AL We are told that the wealth and functionality of Whites and the poverty and dysfunction of non-Whites comes from “White privilege.” Yet it doesn’t work for Asians, who as a group are as wealthy as Whites. How did they overcome racism like that, and why did the Blacks not? The Jews [...]
Neil A. Sookdeo Baltimore, MD With six degrees, four from grad schools in the USA, I cannot compete fairly to teach African or Caribbean history in which I have a Johns Hopkins doctorate. I have NOT even experienced such race hate even in apartheid South Africa because I look Asian. I know fear feeds racism. [...]
Andrew V. Chavanak Falls City, NE When companies choose to make diversity a priority in hiring, or universities seek to create a more diverse student body and white people miss out, it’s not racism. Racism is about power, and no one can claim that power is shared equally in this country. Hearing other white people [...]
Imelda Rivera Edwards Antioch, CA My 13 year old son shared this statement with me when I picked him up from school in Dublin, California that has predominantly Asian and white student population. He said, “mom, I told my classmate that that’a racist remark.” I said, “Good for you.” (BTW, I’m Filipina and my son [...]
Christina Wong Seattle, WA I’m a second generation Asian American woman who married into a Caucasian family. I have always felt Americanized and never really identified with being Chinese while growing up, except for those occasions of childhood taunts that I must be smart because I’m Chinese or when I experienced the exceedingly rare occurrences [...]
Kenna Hensen Philadelphia, PA I’m so ashamed to say I have racist thoughts. I grew up in a small suburban town believing that no matter your ethnicity, racist remarks where never appropriate. I moved into a large urban city 5 years ago and found my thoughts and feelings on racism being altered by my experience [...]
Kimberly San Jose, CA Since moving to the San Francisco area, I’ve been told by a few men quite bluntly that I’ll never measure up to an East Asian woman. This is what I’ve heard; “You white women age faster. Asian women are so much prettier. Asian women don’t get fat. Asian women are nicer, [...]
Jenna Overton Langhome, PA I’m a half-black college student. My friends and I were having a discussion about race one day and a few of the white males in the group (my boyfriend among them) reasoned that they probably couldn’t think about race in the same way minorities do, because to be white is to [...]
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 [...]
Jennifer Chow Brookline, MA We seem to occupy this in-between space, identified as neither a minority, nor the majority. Where are we?
Ronica Johnston (Seon) Canada My Father’s family is Guyanese, they believe in the 1 drop rule, but for white, not black. So my very brown, fro haired grandmother says she’s white. My mother is German and English, but tans dark. She’s convinced she has brown ancestors (she doesn’t). Then there’s me, wavy dark brown hair, [...]
Sarah Pasadena, CA I love the words “Check all that apply.” I proudly check white AND Asian. Sometimes even Pacific Islander to honor the island where I grew up. I refuse to only check ONE box. I will not choose between my Asian heritage, my white experiences, or my island culture.
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 [...]
Thuc Luong Philadelphia, PA I am Asian and when I was a kid about 6 years old I moved to the US, this is when I finally feel like a minority. People treated me wrongly calling me Chinese. I am not even Chinese. They would mock the Chinese language by saying ching-chong macha hay to [...]
Cecile Nguyen Austin, TX Alternative title could also be “I hate the Asian Guessing Game.” I really don’t mind people being curious about my ethnicity. What I do mind is how people go about finding out my ethnicity. “Are you Chinese? Japanese? Korean?…[list goes on]” Believe me, they’ll keep going until I stop them. And [...]
Anne Guillory Thom Vancouver, WA Don’t feel comfortable in ethnically oriented gatherings, except in Louisiana.
Marcus Atlanta, GA Born of African American parents, raised by my African American mother and Irish-German (adopted) father. Big brother to a bi-racial sister and my cousins are white, Asian and Latino.
Radhika Guruju Chandler, AZ Education is what helped us get to this country and therefore for most Asian Indian families it still remains the top goal for their children, and education at a Ivy league school is what the focus is on starting as early as 7th grade. Study hard and develop a work ethic [...]
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 [...]
Teresita Tomita Gant Kailua-Kona, HI When I lived in the continental US, I found people generally judged me by the way I looked. When I was little, I looked more Asian so that’s the way I was treated. With the passage of time, my appearance has changed. Some persons think I’m white so the way [...]
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.
Lauren Mooney Elk Grove, CA As children, my mother always referred to us as Lebanese Leprechauns. She was first generation American, of hard-working Lebanese immigrants. My father was of Scots-Irish decent; his family having immigrated several generations earlier. American first and foremost, both parents also made sure we knew about the cultures of our ancestors. [...]
Luis David Garcia Huntsville, TX I am Mexican, my wife is Pacific Islander and our girls were born in Virginia and Texas. My girls are the minority among minorities and yet are lumped together with the largest population in the planet (Asian/Pacific Islander). Now try to tell my Chamorro wife that she is Chinese and [...]
Natasha Jane Chrisandina USA Is it wrong for an Asian to speak good English? You ask, why do I speak such good English. I ask, why shouldn’t I?
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, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Sandy Outside USA As an U.S. diplomat serving overseas, my job is to represent American society, with all of its varied nuances and complexities. However, I often find myself facing these very words in both my personal and professional spheres. Unfortunately, due to the nature of diplomacy, there’s often not much more I can do [...]