A few months ago, I saw a sketch with the Korean-Irish comedian Steve Byrne. He said that when people first meet him, they stare, look puzzled and then ask “Errr…what’s going there?” pointing to his face. That’s a similar reaction I’ve gotten ever since I can remember.
People also like playing “guess this girl’s background.” I’ve gotten everything from Spanish (understandable), Italian, and Greek, to the slightly bizarre: Iranian, Israeli and Lebanese. I’ve encountered strangers whom I’ve held doors open and they reply “gracias.” Often, people don’t believe that England is the country of my birth.
I sometimes wish people would ask rather than making blind assumptions – I’m proud of my heritage and happy to tell people where my parents are from! On rare occasions, I’ve met people who’ve guessed my background first time round!
Being hapa has allowed me to be more culturally aware and understanding of diversity. I thank my parents for falling in love and ignoring the negativity towards their relationship in the early 80’s.