My mother is South Indian with a trace of English blood, and my father is 1/4 Irish with the rest being a mixture of French, German, English and Welsh.
I’ve grown up in a very, very liberal city in the Bay Area. Even so, when my mother would walk me in my stroller as an infant, passers by would assume she was my nanny simply because I had such fair skin as a child.
No one can even come close to guessing my ethnicity — I’ve heard Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, and Middle Eastern, although my liberal sprinkling of freckles most likely plays a large role in throwing people off track. I inherited frizzy, capricious hair and most of my facial features from my dad and my dark hair and eyes from my mom, but the rest is a strange amalgam that cannot be traced to either parent or their lineage.
I’m Dylan Meredith and I’m proud to be Hapa.
The concept of being Hapa never really occured to me when I was growing up. I was born in and lived in the United States until I was 9 years old.
I was obviously aware that my dad was white, but I grew up in a household that leaned toward my Asian side. I had high grade expectations, learned the piano at the age of 3, and have plenty of memories of a yelling mother regarding both of those and more. I even attended these math tutor classes every saturday morning (all of which were filled with Asian kids) so I grew up considering myself an Asian.
Little did I know, all the Asian kids saw me as a white kid, and all the white kids saw me as an Asian kid.
My eyes started opening when I moved to Shanghai when I was 9. I attended an international school so there were plenty of white kids, but the majority were Asian. It was then I started really identifying myself as half white. Continue reading
Hi, I’m Harusami (nee Linda Reiko Pickrell). My Mother was Japanese and my Father was Scottish, Welsh, Irish (actually, he disowned the Irish when they killed Lord Mountbatten), with some Powhatan Indian.
I’m an older Hapa, born in 1960. Growing up, there were not a lot of us around, and very few Asian role models.
I’m so happy to see this Hapa “tribe” grow and become empowered with their uniqueness. Growing up, people couldn’t guess that I was half-Japanese, they would assume I was white, or if I was tanned, they would mistake me for Mexican or Native American.
Once the other kids found out I was half-Japanese, I would be teased and called names. I remember once coming home from school and asking my Dad what a “slope head” was. I remember how angry he got when I told him some kid called me one… I was really concerned there was something wrong with my head! Kids would tease me about eating raw fish… there were no sushi bars back then, so I feel quite empowered now, knowing that these same kids probably grew up to pay big bucks for raw fish.
Growing up in a predominantly black neighborhood and being bussed to a predominately white school, I saw bigotry of all kinds. Anyone who believes the 60′s were “the good old days” never walked in my shoes. Continue reading
I graduated from college in May and am living in NY with my family. My mother is a Filipina immigrant who came to the US from the Philippines in the 80s to be a nanny. My dad is from Indiana and has been a preacher with a social work background for as long as I can remember. I’ve got Filipino connections and of course, white connections, but I don’t really know many mixed race/hapa individuals.
Being hapa for me has meant being “different,” knowing that I am unique, but often feeling like I am alone. I live with two cultures. Two cultures live in me. There’s this very emotionally driven Filipina part, and then there’s this mainstream logical/analytical part, and sometimes it feels as if they are conflicting. Then, there’s the communication differences that come with each part. Sometimes, things get lost in translation, and that’s when I’m just speaking English. Continue reading
Hi my name is Tiffany. I am half Japanese (dad) and half Caucasian (mom). Most people think I’m Hawaiian, Filipino, or Chinese. I guess Chinese is a good guessing strategy considering they are the most populous people group. The funny thing is, I feel more Chinese than anything else because I grew up in Hacienda Heights, CA- a semi- ghetto, semi-rich, Chinese mecca with a lot of boba shops.
I speak more Mandarin than Japanese. My dad often jokes that I was born into the wrong family. Hopefully I will learn both languages and live in both countries in my lifetime. I am learning to embrace every part of my heritage a little bit more everyday. It’s pretty interesting.
Sometimes we hapas come out a lil funny looking (I have an Asian eye and an American eye) but we’re pretty dang cute!