being azn: thoughts on being half-azn

posted by the invazn

this response is from my former roommate’s boyfriend, who asked to remain anonymous. these are his words, verbatim:

“When I was growing up I always identified more as a white person since I’m half, and had grown up around predominantly white people. Until middle school no one had openly contradicted this point of view, so I was quite happy to live with it. Once I got back to Canada (I spent some time in Texas and Chile until grade 6) I was immediately exposed to the somewhat racist white people at school, who teased me endlessly about my last name (Wong) and refused to believe I was anything other than fully Chinese. It’s safe to say that this came as a shock to me in many ways, but mostly it made me question who I was, and whether that was dependent on my heritage. Those experiences changed who I was, but in the end forced me to forge a stronger understanding of what it means to be half Chinese and half German, and to come to terms with it.

The other story I’d like to share is about my mother, who is of German descent. When she married my father, she took his last name. When he died, she was left as a white woman with two half asian children, and a Chinese surname. She has and continues to have some difficulty with the assumptions people make when they see her on paper, and then in real life. Furthermore, when we go out as a family we always receive some strange looks: why is an older white woman with two younger asian(ish) children? When my sister and my mom go shopping they usually receive help from two separate employees who fail to see that they are together, and I’m sure people have assumed that we (the children) are adopted. I suppose the main point is that the way other people perceive you can depend heavily on trivial things like last names and appearances.”

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