Hi my name is Taylor Hurst and I am from Southern California. My Father is English/German and my mother is Japanese, born and raised in Hawaii.
Growing up I was “colorblind” as I identified peers due to personality traits rather than race. It was not until I had to complete an assignment in elementary school requiring me to ask my parents about our culture, that I gained knowledge about my ancestors.
After realizing my ethnicity, I embraced it to its fullest extent. As a young child, school lunches would vary from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, to rice with furikake and spam musubi. I was never ashamed of being a mix of ethnicities. I felt unique, confident, and excited to be me. I learned early on that I was the “other race” on school forms and checked the box proudly.
Many people still have trouble guessing my ethnicity. I have partaken in many conversations inquiring if I am Inuit, Hispanic, or even full European. Some people don’t believe me when I tell them I am half Japanese and appear shocked.
I reside in a diverse community in California, but it is not until I visit my family in Hawaii that I feel most welcomed. People there understand me more and I feel a greater connection to the blending of cultures, evident in the spirit of the islands. Being connected on that level is the most amazing feeling.
On another note, I have had the opportunity to travel to countries like Peru and China for collegiate vocal competitions. In other countries, once they discover I am mixed, I am asked for photo opportunities and become surrounded by the locals.
Being Hapa is a genetic gift, a blessing, and something never to be ashamed of. I celebrate my unique mix of cultures and continue to learn about my roots.
Discovering this site has shown me how wonderful our mixed community has grown. Not only am I ecstatic about a website dedicated to us, but I am extremely pleased to know that other Hapas like me are excited about their identity.
Being mixed is truly the best of both worlds. I have never been more proud of anything in my life than being who I am. 100% Hapa.