in print
54
Blend
Stories about people of multiracial identity and when multiple cultures collide
Stories about people of multiracial identity and when multiple cultures collide
Explanation, Acceptance, and Belonging

On an episode of “Parts Unknown” that took him to Israel, Anthony Bourdain approached a group of Orthodox Jewish men and asked if he too could pray at the Western Wall.

How Do I Introduce Myself?
Navigating multiracial identity and dismembering language

In 7th grade my geography teacher — in the name of celebrating our respective heritages — split us up into cultural groups and had us research our personal and group ancestries.

The Danger of a Simplified Whole

The summer before I started high school, my family was in a bad car accident in upstate New York. When we returned home to New York City, we were still nursing a number of injuries from the crash.

Choose One
Black, Filipino, and Whole

In second grade, my teacher surveyed the class' ethnicity make-up to teach a lesson on sorting and categorizing. I remember looking at the paper, seeing the list of ethnicities, and reading those words: “Choose one”.

They Don’t Want Us to Get Married

It was an unusually warm March night in Northern Indiana. The expansive Midwestern sky was illuminated with starlight, but the beauty of the night was dimmed by the ire in my heart.

A Marriage of Differents

“I’m in an interracial relationship.” I remember the moment I heard those words. I was sitting on my girlfriend’s couch as she talked on the phone with her parents, and she had just — after three months of dating — stumbled upon that revelation.

Cultivating Appetites
Eating as the Initial Rite of Acceptance

After unloading the last box of books into my new office, a voice echoed from the hallway. Eat na tayo! Eat na tayo! Pastor Kevin, let’s eat!

Girl Meets Boy Meets Race

My romance definitely started out in a recognizable way: I swiped right on Tinder on an incredibly attractive 21-year-old guy named Cory. We matched, but I thought little of it.

On an episode of “Parts Unknown” that took him to Israel, Anthony Bourdain approached a group of Orthodox Jewish men and asked if he too could pray at the Western Wall. 

“Are you Jewish?”

Bourdain emphasized that he was only half Jewish — and that he was agnostic. But that apparently didn’t matter. 

The men enthusiastically embraced Bourdain and said, “Half is still Jewish”, as they sent him along his way with instructions on how to pray at the wall.

Here was an American with mixed Jewish blood, fully welcomed and invited to pray as a full-blooded Jewish man. In many ways, it’s been the complete opposite experience for myself in the Asian community.

I grew up fielding the ever-popular question asked by people who tended to marvel at my almond-shaped hazel eyes and stare at my wavy brown hair, as if I was some sort of exotic creature. What are you? How did you get that?

Explaining my ethnic background to others in my early years meant using a simple 50/50 percentage, later becoming more sophisticated and nuanced, as I wanted to be more precise.

As I got older, I felt like I didn’t belong to any particular group. I was always “the other”, even in tasks as innocuous as filling out paperwork. My only option was “other”.

I was always “the other”, even in tasks as innocuous as filling out paperwork. 

If Asian Americans tend to be excluded, I often feel even more out of place, defying ethnic classification. 

I never know if my appearance is going to help or hinder how welcome or unwelcome I am in different spaces. Asian Americans might see me as white and white people may only see me as Asian. But in all the subjectivity of appearances, there was always a question in the back of my mind: Am I enough? 

I didn't think I was Asian enough to work with INHERITANCE. Was I too white to be an effective story producer to my fellow Asian Americans? Is my whiteness seen as threatening? Am I Asian enough to be accepted into the Asian American church, as a mixed biracial Asian and not the token white person?

I used to interpret my whiteness as diluting my Asian American identity, but now I embrace my Irish roots, with a deeper understanding that Irish immigrants were marginalized by the bigotry of nativism, seeing the roots of systemic oppression threaded and interwoven into my family’s histories. My image of self is more holistic than dualistic. 

I used to interpret my whiteness as diluting my Asian American identity.

We invite you to see the ways that the Asian American experience is changing, not just what a biracial or multiracial Asian American looks like, but to re-examine the language we use and acknowledge that differences can be launching points for inclusion – that half is still Asian. You’re more than welcome to join us. 

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