The Forgotten Minority

A Podcast Episode Titled "Asian-Americans Talk About Racism, and We Listen"

An exploration of my racial and cultural identity

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I recently listened to a podcast episode titled "Asian-Americans Talk About Racism, and We Listen," where different people called in and shared stories and experiences that affected the development of their identities as Asian-Americans. As I listened, I found comfort in knowing that so many people carry the same sentiments as I do in regards to my racial and cultural identity.

Although I have never felt endangered or discriminated against because of my race, I do feel a disconnect with my heritage. This affects me in ways that are difficult for me to understand because at times other people will pass judgements on a part of me that I can barely identify with. I want to explore this inner conflict in terms of my upbringing, fetishization of Asian women, and having to prove who I am as if the act of my being isn't proof enough.


Family

Both my parents are Filipino. My mom was born in the Philippines and moved to the U.S. when she was eight and my dad was born in Mississippi. Their entire adolescence - or at least a majority of it - took place here on American soil, and I was brought into the world on that same ground.

I wouldn't say that my parents didn't expose me enough to Filipino culture because they did. We have tons of family and friends, we eat the food, we watch every Manny Pacquiao fight like it's our job, but aside from that, I do not know the national traditions nor do I have much knowledgeable on Filipino history. Even though I feel this dissonance between me and the Filipino part of me, it does not limit my ability to connect with my family members.

At times, however, I feel so un-Filipino when older relatives at family gatherings try speaking to me in Tagalog and I have to tell them I don't understand what they're saying. The looks that I've gotten are of disappointment. Or when other Filipino kids growing up would ask me why my parents didn't teach me Tagalog, that made me feel like I was missing something in myself that apparently - in the eyes of other Filipinos - I was supposed to possess.


"He probably likes you because you're Asian"

You know how many times I have heard someone tell me, "He probably likes you because you're Asian" ?? And how many times I've heard it from someone who's supposed to be my trustworthy friend, AND who is also Asian. When someone who I comfortably identify with in certain aspects of our childhoods and upbringings is using one of the things we have in common to discount my character? To listen to that nonsense – to hear it multiple times – tells me she really believes that one of the sole reasons men value me is simply because I'm Asian. Maybe I'm just a really cool person.


I think it's also important to note that men love coming up to me at parties saying, "You're cute, I like Asian girls." I've even gotten a "I've never been with an Asian girl before." My favorite, though, is when I was having a normal conversation with a guy and he had to tell me, completely out of context, that his ex was Filipino. That one made me laugh, a lot. Now, obviously people have "types," and some people are attracted to specific groups of people, but I'd prefer not to be approached in such a uncomfortable and sexually charged manner.


"You're basically white"

It's weird, the way young people now have an overwhelming amount of various cultural influences and still must find categorizations for who we are and how we define ourselves. I've had people of all races tell me that I'm "basically white." Which, while I can see where they pull that point from, only perpetuates ideas that the middle-class suburban lifestyle of living nice houses, owning the latest tech products, and doing brunch and going wine tasting is reserved for white people only. If you go off of where I grew up and how I grew up, you could say that most of my childhood friends who aren't white are basically white too then.

I am not the way I am because of a lack of exposure to Asian culture; the Bay Area has a broad Asian presence. I just don't feel that my race is a significant factor in how I define myself. I don't need to prove my American-ness or my Asian-ness, all of me is made of these parts whether I feel like it or not. When I think about what makes me who I am as a person, being Asian would not be anywhere near the top of the list and yet, it is something that I am still discovering on my own.


Listen to the podcast "Asian-Americans Talk About Racism, and We Listen" here:

https://open.spotify.com/episode/0YISaeBCpg9Pojxsa...

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Dear Nancy Pelosi, 16-Year-Olds Should Not Be Able To Vote

Because I'm sure every sixteen year old wants to be rushing to the voting booth on their birthday instead of the BMV, anyways.

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Recent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi have put the voting age on the political agenda in the past few weeks. In doing so, some are advocating for the voting age in the United States to be lowered from eighteen to sixteen- Here's why it is ludicrous.

According to a study done by "Circle" regarding voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, 31% of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted. Thus, nowhere near half of the eligible voters between 18 and 29 actually voted. To anyone who thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen, in relevance to the data, it is pointless. If the combination of people who can vote from the legal voting age of eighteen to eleven years later is solely 31%, it is doubtful that many sixteen-year-olds would exercise their right to vote. To go through such a tedious process of amending the Constitution to change the voting age by two years when the evidence doesn't support that many sixteen-year-olds would make use of the new change (assuming it would pass) to vote is idiotic.

The argument can be made that if someone can operate heavy machinery (I.e. drive a car) at sixteen, they should be able to vote. Just because a sixteen-year-old can (in most places) now drive a car and work at a job, does not mean that they should be able to vote. At the age of sixteen, many students have not had fundamental classes such as government or economics to fully understand the political world. Sadly, going into these classes there are students that had mere knowledge of simple political knowledge such as the number of branches of government. Well, there are people above the age of eighteen who are uneducated but they can still vote, so what does it matter if sixteen-year-olds don't know everything about politics and still vote? At least they're voting. Although this is true, it's highly doubtful that someone who is past the age of eighteen, is uninformed about politics, and has to work on election day will care that much to make it to the booths. In contrast, sixteen-year-olds may be excited since it's the first time they can vote, and likely don't have too much of a tight schedule on election day, so they still may vote. The United States does not need people to vote if their votes are going to be uneducated.

But there are some sixteen-year-olds who are educated on issues and want to vote, so that's unfair to them. Well, there are other ways to participate in government besides voting. If a sixteen-year-old feels passionate about something on the political agenda but can't vote, there are other ways of getting involved. They can canvas for politicians whom they agree with, or become active in the notorious "Get Out The Vote" campaign to increase registered voter participation or help register those who already aren't. Best yet, they can politically socialize their peers with political information so that when the time comes for all of them to be eighteen and vote, more eighteen-year-olds will be educated and likely to vote.

If you're a sixteen-year-old and feel hopeless, you're not. As the 2016 election cycle approached, I was seventeen and felt useless because I had no vote. Although voting is arguably one of the easiest ways to participate in politics, it's not the only one. Since the majority of the current young adult population don't exercise their right to vote, helping inform them of how to stay informed and why voting is important, in my eyes is as essential as voting.

Sorry, Speaker Pelosi and all the others who think the voting age should be lowered. I'd rather not have to pay a plethora of taxes in my later years because in 2020 sixteen-year-olds act like sheep and blindly vote for people like Bernie Sanders who support the free college.

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