Hi, my name’s Olivia. I’m 17 and I’m half Filipino and half African-American. I was raised by my mom who is African-American, so I really wasn’t brought up with the Filipino culture. However, my mother tried her best to make sure we knew something from our Filipino roots, by explaining the culture based on what little information she knew.
When I was little all I cared about was making new friends — you could say I was bit of a social butterfly. But when I entered kindergarten and as I got older I noticed that people would treat me differently.
The Caucasian and African-American kids would tell me that I was too light to be black and that my hair wasn’t “like a black person’s hair.” They would torment me by calling me a mutt and a half-breed. I never really fit in with anyone. It was almost like it was better to be half black and half white than half Asian — they looked at me like I was some sort of alien life-form.
To protect me, my mother pulled both my older brother and I from school and home-schooled us until he graduated high-school and until I decided I wanted to go back to school in the 6th grade. When I went back it was just as bad as before if not worse, more then likely worse, and it really took a toll on my self-confidence.
I was called all sorts of racially derogatory names, girls chopped off parts of my hair, they would take my stuff, broke my glasses twice, and this lasted for about a year and a half when my mother pulled back out. Then I went back to being home-schooled until 8th grade when my mom sent me to this really small charter school where people didn’t care about me being different and just enjoyed me as a friend.
I was happy but still was alone because it was a mainly Caucasian school and there wasn’t anyone like me. Then I met one of my best friends Isa who is also half Filipino, and through her I met my other best friend Maria who is half Japanese. My other best friends are Aru (South Asian), Victoria (Caucasian) and Hans (Chinese).
Something else that helped me was my discovery of a Hapa Youtuber named Maya (AKA. ShamelessMaya) and a Youtuber named Lilly (AKA. iiSuperwomanii), who’ve shown me that it doesn’t matter were you come from, who you are, or what you look like and that I should be proud of who I am.
Moreover, I find that despite not being raised in the Filipino culture I get along and feel more comfortable around Asian or people of Asian decent. I’m still at the charter school and really enjoying myself, and now I’m starting to get closer to my dad through learning more about the Filipino culture.
Right now I’m at a standstill as I try to figure out how I’m going to learn Tagalog, but I will do it with some help from my friend Isa. Looking back at all the things I’ve been through, growing up being mixed is one of the reasons I’m proud to be Hapa, because I endured hell for years and I’m still standing.
I learned to love the skin I’m in and in the process gained some amazing friends. If I had to do it all over again I would in a heartbeat because being Hapa is who I am and I LOVE IT!