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hapa360Hey! My name is Sean and I’m a proud Hapa. I never knew what a Hapa was until recently, but I think it’s cool that mixed Asians have a group that they can identify with.

My father is French and German and my mother is Filipina. I currently reside in Riverside, CA, but was born in Los Angeles. Most people think I’m Spanish, Mexican, Brazilian, Romanian, or Italian. Filipinos usually think I’m white. White people usually think I’m possibly European or some type of Hispanic. I’m not offended when people ask, and If anything, I think it’s a good conversation starter.

Growing up, I embraced both sides. However, I mostly hung out with the white and Mexican kids, but after going to college and meeting my wife (a Filipina), I made more Filipino friends. I now have a very diverse group of friends, which is something thing I love about living in Southern California.

hapa360-2My family is super diverse. I have a half brother who is white and married to an African American women, a half brother who is Filipino and married to a Mexican woman, a full sister who is married to a white guy, and a full brother who is married to a Puerto Rican woman. I love the diversity, and I think that embracing our differences has allowed us to all live together harmoniously.

I dislike it when stuffy people think it’s rude to talk about ethnicity and our cultural differences. The differences exist and if they’re not acknowledged, tensions can rise and people can feel either excluded or disrespected. It’s healthy to talk about race and ethnicity.

I mean, sure, Hapas could view their background as a disadvantage, and focus on never being able to fully identify with one ethnicity. I’ve chosen to use it to my advantage though, and I feel that I can find common ground with pretty much anybody. I also think that I am better received by minorities once they’re aware that I am “half minority.”

Personally, I think that being part of two different cultures has given me an advantage in the workplace, especially since the health care industry has a lot of Filipinos and white people. I’m sometimes looked to as the middleman when tensions arise.

I’ve had an awesome life so far, but I’m sure things could have been different if I was in the Midwest or the South. I’m very fortunate to have grown up in Southern California where there is a large Asian and mixed race population. Life for me has been good.

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