When I was in kindergarten, some kids sang the “Chinese-Japanese Dirty Knees” song to me. It made my mom sad when I came home and asked her what it meant. That’s when I first felt like an outsider.
It’s been a long road from there to embracing my Hapa heritage.
Some of my ancestors rode to the New World in a ship called the Ark and the Dove; others were samurai knights and Buddhist priests.
I grew up going to Catholic Mass with a red-haired, freckled grandmother; saying “Baruch Atah Adonai” and lighting the Hanukkah candles with my step-grandmother, and sitting zazen with my sansei jichan (grandfather).
Being a unique mixture of cultures and traditions can be lonely. Sometimes I feel like a chameleon, like I am a card-carrying member of the “people of color” club, but often, I feel culturally white, cut off from what it really means to be Asian.
Regardless, I’m different, but not an outsider. Each one of us, mixed-race or not, is unique. Our race is the human one.
Great crane tattoo..
Be proud of yourself and your heritage! Others should be so lucky to look as lovely as you do. That’s a great tattoo, by the way!
The beginning was sad, what does “Chinese-Japanese Dirty Knees” Mean? It’s great now that you are embracing yourself (: