First generation immigrant; you’d never know.

Choua Yang,
Green Bay, WI.

I was one of the lucky to escape Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War conflict. It was 1980 and I was only a baby when I came to the United States. As I progressed through school, I was immersed in western culture everywhere but my home; and it frustrated me to no end growing up. I eventually learned to accept my background and I’ve come to terms with my “baggage”, but where that has left me is that I can barely speak my own language, meaning I can barely communicate with my own parents. Professionally, I’ve advanced due to mastery of the English language. If you spoke with me on the phone and didn’t know my name, you’d never know I wasn’t Caucasian, that I wasn’t born in the US. But what this means is I get to be the token “minority” most places I go. They celebrate that with me, they are ushering in “diversity” but in reality, they only want me because I talk and think like they do. It’s a bonus that I can check the “Asian” box on the EEOC forms. Where it leaves me is I’m an outsider everywhere I go – at work, at home. My personal turmoil has left in a space where I don’t fit in anywhere.

 

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