- First of all... many people (including myself at some points) refer to me as "half-Asian". I would first like to remind everyone that Asia is not a country. I think it's weird that all Asian people are lumped into one large group. I have a feeling that most of the people who read this will be white. Well... do you like being lumped into one white group? A Filipino person has as much in common with a Chinese person as a British person does with a German person. So first lesson... I'm half Filipino.
- For some reason, whenever I tell anyone I'm Filipino, they usually say something along these lines: "Oh wow, that's so cool! I have a cousin/friend/friend's mom/sister's roommates uncle's cousins bus driver that is Filipino/half-Filipino! They're so beautiful! In fact, everyone single Filipino person I've met is really pretty!" I kid you not, I have been told this by several different people. Apparently, people need to feel like they can somehow relate in some way to my race, and they automatically relate Filipinoness with beauty, much like people associate black people fried chicken, Mexicans with tacos, Japanese people with sushi, and "White People" worldwide with oppression of all the aforementioned groups. Ok, I bet people really don't do that, but if you find out that I'm am indeed part Filipino, there is no need to tell me that Filipino people are beautiful. You'd score more points if you told me I was pretty, but it has nothing to do with my race.
- People seem to forget that I am also half Irish, and I'm probably more educated in my Irish culture than I am my other half. I was a competitive Irish dancer for 7 years, and every year I would skip school on St. Patrick's Day and dance shows in various pubs all day long. I've also been to Ireland 10 times, have Irish citizenship and an Irish passport, and my parents own a home there. I also drink lots of Guinness (well, I drink a lot in general) and swear like a sailor. I'm really much more Irish than I am Filipino, but people don't really find that as interesting as my other race.
- Also, people seem to forget that this is the USA, and that we're all Americans. The fact that I'm half anything shouldn't matter. I'm an American first and foremost. I celebrate the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and the secular gift giving winter holiday known as "Christmas", own a red white and blue bathing suit, and I love our traditional foods of hamburgers, hot dogs, and the Philadelphia favorites water ice, cheesesteaks, and soft pretzels. My family owns 5 cars, two of which are SUVs, and we live in a big house in the middle of no where with the lack of any public transportation and drive 10 miles to the nearest grocery store. We are an American family, and part of being one is being multicultural, but still being a larger part of a whole people. Sometimes, I feel liek we use race in the US to make ourselves special. Maybe we'd feel more united by remember that we have "Americanness" in common, no matter where our parents or grandparents came from.
- In America, long blonde beach hair, tan skin, and perfectly toned hairless bodies are considered attractive. I read on wikipedia that Filipino people value skin whiteness in women. According to a poll taken in 2004, over half of women in the Philippines are using some sort of skin-lightening product to appear to look whiter. When I read this, suddenly all those times where my mom said to me as a child, "You were my prettiest baby. Look at this picture, you look like a porcelain doll! Your skin is so white!" made sense. Since then, my mom has assimilated into more American culture, and has told me a few times, "You are so white. Do people think you are a white person?"
- I do not speak Tagalog, the language of the Philippines. I recently read an article that being bilingual was frowned upon by American society, thanks to xenophobia. I sometimes wonder if I was never taught Tagalog because my parents thought it would prevent me from being "American", I would have trouble with English in school, and in turn, people would act cruelly to me for not being as white skinned and fluent in English as they were. Or it could just be the fact that only one of my parents speaks this language and it's hard to raise the kids in a language if one parent speaks it. But I do know kids whose one parent speaks a language and that parent taught it to their child, and now they're fluent in a second language and I can only throw around phrases in Spanish and say random crap in German and Japanese. I want my kids to be bilingual someday, but not in Tagalog. I think it's important that they speak Spanish, since so many people in the US do speak Spanish and it'd be very helpful, and since I will likely be marrying a Jewish person, I think it may be useful for them to have a solid grasp on Hebrew, since there is a national language for the Jewish people for the first time in 2000 years. I think it's awesome that Europe, and even some Asian nations (including the Philippines- thanks to the American influence there, most people in urban regions speak English fluently) they value language so much, and many people speak 2, 3, or even 4 languages. In the US, we take foreign languages so for granted that we treat them like a chore, an unnecessary evil, and we expect the world to cater to us, which they've done for the past 50-100 years. But when the US economy tanks again and we no longer remain the world reserve currency, and when China takes over the world and Spanish speaking people become the majority in the US, we probably won't make any strides to improve our language learning skills. We'll probably do what we usually do: act out racistly and post signs on our buildings that say "this is America- speak English."
- We're living during an interesting time. There's youtube videos warning about the "Arabization" of European culture. There's a movement in Germany with posters saying, "German is hot!" with a picture of a caucasian chick in a bikini with her boobs hanging out. While we many of us feel we're safe from this "cultural takover" in the US, there are movements like this in our country as well. The Christian extreme right Quiverfull movement perpetuates having as many children as possible to outpopulate other groups, thus taking the majority of the country. As a mentioned above, people protest the immigration and rapid reproduction of Spanish speaking groups with signs in their windows to speak English. The people associated with these movements and signs are usually White, extremely Christian (and I'm talking about, ultra fundamentalist, women stay in the kitchen while men sell rods to beat children with because the book of proverbs says it's the right tool to beat your children and wife with. I differentiate because I have many friends who are thinking, intelligent, Christians who still follow the bible but do so in a thoughtful, discerning fashion, and i definitely am not talking about them) who usually decry any sort of modern science such as evolution, for example. But could it be that these groups are resisting cultural evolution just as much as they are resisting scientific, economic, and political evolution? While it is important to keep our traditions, resisting change to the point that it perpetuates hate and possible violence is wrong on all accounts.
I think the question I have here is: why do we act in different ways around people that are of different races? Isn't this the great American melting pot, an immersion of cultures that when put together make a most delicious soup? The way I view it is we're all different vegetables in the pot, and we choose to sit in the broth with the heat on low, and none of us are breaking down. Maybe are a little, but we're pretty much the same, hard, barely cooked vegetable, no longer how long we stay. Instead of making breaking down and being one entity, we're just stock with a bunch of hard undercooked vegetables. And that does not a delicious soup make. Maybe the key isn't to break down completely, but just slightly- enough to acknowledge the fact that we're all have the USA in common, but to stay a veggie chunk in the soup to remember who we are. In the end, we aren't color blind, but at the same time, we an make a better effort to understand one another, not because of race, but because we're all different people.
and I'll be fluent in some language one day. Maybe. I hope.