being azn: pineapple, not banana

posted by missmsian

Growing up, I really wanted to be white, whatever that means. I was embarrassed to speak a language other than English or French, so I never did in public. I told my mum not to pack me rice or other “smelly foods” (I meant Malaysian curries and such) to take to school. I wanted contacts that would make my eyes green or blue or bigger. People called me “banana” because I was apparently yellow on the outside, white on the inside.

In Grade 4, a (white) boy who was teasing me for being thin said, “You’re like a toothpick. No, actually, you’re like a chopstick because you’re Asian.” I pretended to laugh it off.

My dad and I were eating in a food court after he picked me up from school once and my dad was carrying a Canada Post bag that the mail guy had given him for a gigantic parcel we wanted to bring home.  An old (white) man walked over to us and, pointing to the Canada Post bag, started yelling, “You people are the reason Canada is such a bad country today. You stole that bag like you stole our jobs. You’re a crook. Just get out of this country.” I pretended to still have an appetite for my cheeseburger after, because my dad said if we didn’t continue eating, it would mean the old man won.

When I was 17, a (white) girl and I were rating male models in a magazine when she came across a photo and exclaimed, “Ewww. Is he really ugly or just really Chinese?” I pretended it didn’t hurt me so I could avoid the awkward we-can’t-be-friends-anymore talk with her.

I realized you can be as proud as you want of the “banana” label, but white people never actually want you to be treated like them.

I got over self-hate sometime after I turned 19. But I started trying to “be Azn” by fulfilling stereotypes (white) people threw at me. I made a big fuss at a Thai/Viet restaurant when I wasn’t given chopsticks. I went to Pmall a few times and attached some dangly egg/frog/thing to my phone. That went on for about a year.

Now I think I’m being Azn when I’m just being. Still trying to figure this out. In the meantime, if you must refer to me as a fruit, please call me “pineapple.”

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1 Comment

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One response to “being azn: pineapple, not banana

  1. kltw

    I share some of the experiences attending a majority white boarding school (ie. people automatically assumed I knew kung fu)… :(

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