Like every child, I observed around me trying to find people that looked like me.
I think we all want to find someone that has some kind of traits or looks that remind us of ourselves.
We all do this as children to come to terms with ‘what we are’ and try to identify with our race and heritage. I remember doing this but never really finding anyone like me.
Since a young age I’ve always felt alienated but never really knew how to express it. It’s not so easy to express how you feel about your race when you’re surrounded by only two opposite sides of the spectrum. Caucasian and Asian.
I’ve always had trouble identifying with my racial background. Obviously, I look much more western and I’m more western or “white” influenced being born here. But being Asian (more specifically Viet) is a part of my life as well.
Half of my family is Vietnamese and I’ve grown up around a Vietnamese family and the culture all my life. Yet I’ve grown up being “mixed” according to my White family and being practically denied Vietnamese by my own Asian family. So I’ve always felt stuck in the middle, who do I identify with?
I think in such a culturally diverse world we live in today, it’s sad that it has to come to this. Many of us are of mixed race, but I think what makes it so hard for Hapas is that Asians are very very proud. And dare I say, a little stuck up sometimes?
We all know the stereotypes and prejudices asians have against other Asian countries. (Viets think Chinese are dirty, Koreans think Vietnamese and Chinese are inferior etc). It’s embedded in many Asian people of older generations and even generations of today to do this. The same applies to Hapas. In my experience from previously working at a Vietnamese restaurant, I’ve had so many full Asian people literally fight me about my race. I’ve had Viet people refuse to believe me when I say I’m Vietnamese as well. It’s hurtful, because that’s part of who I am and how I was brought up.
Thankfully i’ve met some wonderful people in my life that have proved that not everyone is so judgemental and accept me as the gal I am! I’m Caiti. Dad’s Viet. Mom’s Irish/Native American descent. 50% Vietnamese. 50% Caucasian. and 100% human. So why treat others like an outsider? Be proud to be Hapa. (:
I am 1/4 French and 3/4 Vietnamese with an Indian background since my great great grandfather is a Punjabi, people keep asking me if I am half Caucasian or Indian whenever I go to an Asian market, or even when I went to Vietnam when I was a little kid. My hair is pretty dark cause of my dad’s gene, but I have a long nose and kinda pale skin with a few slight differences compare to full asian people. It doesnt really matter what my appearance looks like cause my friends think being multicultural is really awesome, and I’m honestly very proud to be Vietnamese and French :)