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Hi, I’m Jen Mak. I’m British, Cantonese, American, and a New Yorker at heart.

I think race is a fascinating social construction that I have gratefully been forced to think a lot about growing up.

We as humans have the tendency to gravitate towards people like us. So what happens when there is nobody that shares our physical features? Or when the people who do share our features don’t share our cultural beliefs?

I was raised in Rockland, New York. I went to a school that was predominantly Black and Hispanic, with a small Hasidic Jewish community as well.

Up until I was 10, my world had no color. I identified as the daughter of immigrants and seemed to blend in among the large community of Haitian immigrants.

My parents and I made frequent trips to England and Hong Kong where I was able to experience the two distinct halves of my identity. Upon dissecting my appearance, to my Asian side, I looked white and my British side, I looked Asian.

My colorless world was rocked when we moved to the greater Boston area. Almost every day at school I was asked the “What are you?” question and felt judged by my reply. I began to be jokingly lumped into the category of “Asian” but was never included by the Asian group itself.

Finding a confidence within myself is my way out of what I like to call “racial limbo land.” My race will never be a barrier of expression. I feel free to be and associate myself however I like.

I am Hapa.

2 thoughts on “British, Cantonese, American, New Yorker

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