Always Less Than The White Girl

8647_stdDanielle Cuddy,
Napa, CA.

Growing up as an adopted South Korean female in the city of Napa proved a challenging adolescence. I was called, “China Girl” in elementary school, but that was okay with me because the other children would come to realize that they were wrong and I was actually from the opposite side of the continent. My high school graduating class was comprised of 1.9% asians, and when my date cancelled on me for my senior prom, I turned to a friend from the local private school. “But you are asian,” my friend said, “Guys at Justin Siena only like white girls.” I will never forget that. In 2014 I moved to Honolulu, Hawaii at the age of nineteen years old. I started dating a guy in the army, only to be broken up with because at the end of the day, I was not what he was looking for. He was looking for a white girl. This taught me that racism is apparent in diverse cities, as well as in small towns. Even in the present day, I hear the snickers of “Chinita” and “Konichiwa” under my latino coworkers’ breath as I pass by them in the restaurant. As a child, Hollywood gave me the role models of figure skater Kristy Yamaguchi and Disney’s Mulan. As a country, we are taking small steps in the integration of cultures to diminish racism, and I could not be more excited. However, where is the change for asian culture? I do not want any asian girl to grow up the way I did, thinking that she is less than the white girl because she is not pretty enough. I now know that I am beautiful regardless of what others tell me, but I had to get to this point by myself.


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