One parent is Chinese and first-gen American, and my other parent is British by ancestry and American by nationality.
Unfortunately they have been split for some time, but I love them both.
As for me- I look “confusing” or “like something from over there somewhere” or “exotic” (like a parrot or iguana, I suppose). Usually people who try and guess think I’m Filipino, Hawaiian, Indonesian, Native American, South American, Japanese, or something else entirely.
My mixed heritage has brought me complications as well as enrichment. Ups and downs. When I was in school my friends, most of whom were white, called me “Eggroll”. They did so endearingly, but it was obvious that ethnicity played a bit role in the perception of who I am.
Meanwhile, I also failed to fit in as a fully Chinese person. Even though half my family speaks Chinese, my brother and I never learned because we grew up with the other side of my family speaking English and living a very white-American life.
Now as an adult, I’ve lived in Germany and Eastern Europe for nearly a decade.
When people ask where I’m from, I tell them the United States, but often I get a puzzled look with follow up questions such as, “but you’re really American?” Or “your parents are from Asia, though?”.
Traveling through busy touristic places like Rome or Paris, cat callers yell out “Ni Hao” or “Konichiwa” to me on the streets to try and get attention or money, which is obviously a bit annoying.
I spent 6 months in South Korea and met many foreign English teachers there. Often the complaint was that if you look Asian, you will not be accepted as a true American or a true native English speaker there, and therefore it’s difficult for people who look like me to land a job teaching English.
Luckily that was not my goal, but I did feel out of place in Korea because I also did not fit their beauty standards. But, I also really enjoyed my time there and it was incredible to be in a whole country where nobody would label me as ‘the asian person’.
I still have a dream of going to China one day. But for now my little piece of China is when I visit my family and eat dinner with them in the Bay Area, the food fresh from Chinatown.
I’m not sure where I fit in, but I do speak German fluently, of course with a strong American accent.
I identify with the German way of life – I came here as a very young adult and my years here have shaped me greatly as a person. When I visit the US on my trips home, I feel like I’m in a familiar place, but I don’t feel 100% American. My friends back home say I do certain things in a European way.
All in all, being of mixed heritage to me is something that others should learn about. Ignorant or racist comments can be avoided if there is a better understanding about the different possibilities there are for an individual to come from many different cultures.
And being of mixed heritage also has immense beauty to it as well.
I get to experience many different things and get many different perspectives in this short life.
Do you have a story of your mixed heritage to share? Let us know your story here