ni h(ow)dy

The Olympics is a time to feel proud of your country and the hard-working athletes that have trained hard their entire lives to represent your nation. My family and I would watch the games together in the upstairs media room. I asked my parents which team I should root for and they said,

“China, of course. You’re Chinese.”

 

So I never questioned it. I am Chinese.

 

But whenever I visited the motherland as a wee toddler, I'd receive multiple stares and remarks.

 

“Oh, she’s the American.”

 

“Wow! I thought you just spoke English.”

 

“She probably doesn’t know how to use chopsticks.”

 

It became obvious to me that I wasn’t just Chinese.

 

Like ~6% of the US population, I am Asian American. And unlike those that are either American or Chinese, we grew up with two different sets of values and cultures that impact us in different ways. We constantly struggle to juggle these polarizing customs that we eventually pick and choose which ones will make up our identity and mold our own set of principles.

 

I’ve grown up with a plethora of Asian Americans that were raised by first-generation immigrants. Each one of us resonates with our heritages differently and would place ourselves on different sides of the Asian American spectrum. 

a spectrum that I made up, so please don't take this to heart :)

me

i'm a twinkie

white washed-

full out American

does not understand native tongue and only speaks English

parents most likely did not teach them

has eaten good asian food but will still prefer American cuisine

does not touch asian music/entertinament

banana-

yellow on the outside but mostly white on the inside

understands the native tongue but has trouble speaking/reading/

writing

parents speak both native tongue and English at home

loves asian food but still prefers orange chicken

probably knows some korean pop

twinkie-

half yellow half white

is almost perfectly fluent in native tongue - conversational

communicates with parents in both languages

thinks in both languages

prefers asian food over everything else

watches/listens to both asian and American entertainment/music equally

corn kernel-

mostly yellow with some white

bilingual. very much fluent in both languages

communicates with parents in native tongue

thinks in both languages

prefers asian food over everything else

unfamiliar with American pop culture

mango-

yellow. basically not American

speaks the native tongue only

communicates with parents in native tongue

thinks in native tongue

only eats asian food

disregards American pop culture

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