West Asians Count As Asians Too

Ali Arturo Mansour Hull,
Anchorage, AK

Im mixed race. My maternal grandma is of Syrian, Lebanese, Yemeni, Saudi, Iranian, Indian and Pakistani Ancestry. My maternal grandpa is English Norwegian and French. My dad is English, Scottish, Irish, German, Dutch , Swedish and Danish. Growing up I didn’t fit in anywhere because I was ethnically ambiguous but didn’t fit in with any of the main ethnic groups in my area. I tried fitting in with every single minority group. I didn’t even know that I was a quarter Asian until I was in college and took a DNA test.

Being light-skinned I faced harassment and slander and was labeled as a fraud, including by people who I had known since preschool. Even today, my own dad doesn’t accept the fact I am mixed race/hapa and I have faced racism as well as racism combined with Islamophobia (I’m a Shi’a Muslim), Anti Shi’a bigotry and Orientalism. Many of my mom’s immediate relatives are so Americanized, so I wasn’t exposed to Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, Azeri, Gujarati or Rajasthani growing up, only English, French and Spanish. Also that was partly due to my grandpa’s racist and Islamophobic biases. I had to educate myself about my own family heritage because nobody else would and MashAllah, I have learned so much and Inshallah I will keep learning.

 

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