My father is Chinese, my mother is Vietnamese, and I was born in America. I identify as Asian-American, Chinese-American, and multicultural. I have lived in the U.S. my entire life and my Asian identity is just as important to me as my American identity.
As a child of immigrants and American-born Chinese, I deal with all sorts of judgments, comments, and questions all too frequently.
And I’m certain that other American-born Chinese people will relate.
1. You can’t choose between American holidays and Chinese holidays
Being bicultural means you get to celebrate twice as many holidays and traditions. And you know that Thanksgiving and Chinese New Year are both awesome.
2. You’re constantly being asked to say something in Chinese
Can I not?
3. Or, where can you find the most *real* Chinese food?
Umm, my grandmother’s house?
4. When people ask you “where are you really from?” after telling them a city in the U.S.
“Where are you from?” Portland, Oregon. “I mean, where are you really from?” Oh, I am ethnically Chinese but born in America. *cringe*
5. You relate a little too much to Fresh Off the Boat
Your mom is exactly like Jessica Huang and it makes you laugh so hard. And if you ever watch FOTB with your white friends you always add your own personal commentary.
6. You love reading Chinese-American and Asian-American blogs
7. Growing up, you always dreaded going to Chinese school
But now that you’re an adult, you wished you paid attention more and had *actually* learned Chinese.
8. Thick Dumpling Skin is the bomb dot com
It’s the best blog that ties social, cultural and familial ideas with issues surrounding body image and positivity.
9. You’ve gotten used to the total lack of Asian representation in media
Chinese-Americans on TV? On one show about Asian people. Chinese-Americans starring in movies? Nope. Chinese-Americans on the cover of magazines? Also nope. *sigh*
10. The complete lack of regard for Asian-Americans in the U.S. is so damn annoying
You wish that people would talk about Asian-Americans when they talked about minorities in the U.S. because “invisible Asians” are a real thing and you’re trying to fix it.
11. The Model Minority is a myth and you’re trying to dispel it
All Asians aren’t one group and we need to recognize this ASAP.
12. You grew up eating warm, savory breakfast
Congee is the definition of breakfast comfort food.
13. Sometimes people will tell you “your English is really good”
…yeah, that’s because I was born and raised in America.
14. The best weekend brunch is dim sum
Not the “white people go to a trendy restaurant that serves dim sum” kinda place. But the “grimy restaurant, women shouting in Chinese while pushing metal carts and no ice-water kind of dim sum” place.
15. You never wear shoes in the house
It’s so weird to you that people wear shoes in the house. Why would you want to track in all the dirt from outside, inside?
16. You’re used to everyone fighting for the right to pay after a meal
The whole family erupts into screams while pushing, shoving and sometimes crawling over the table to get the check.
17. When you go back to mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan, you always feel super American
The downside of being bicultural is you’re too Asian in America and too American in Asia. But the perks of your bicultural identity definitely outweighs the discomfort.
18. You wanted white kid lunch growing up
But your mom always packed you rice for lunch. And years later, you still prefer rice over pretty much everything else.
19. You shower at night
Not until sleepovers or college did you realize most American people shower in the morning. But showering at night is just what you grew up doing and you wouldn’t want to go to bed dirty.
20. You are frustrated when people tell you that you’re a “bad Asian” for not following stereotypes
There’s no good way to be Asian or bad way to be Asian. I am sorry that I don’t live up to your stereotypes but I’m just doing me k thx bye.
21. You’ve grown up hearing stories from your parents’ or grandparents’ emigration
You know how hard your parents and/or grandparents worked to get to the United States and you’re forever grateful.
22. You know that no matter how hard being bicultural is, you wouldn’t have it any other way
Sometimes being bicultural sucks. People will ask insensitive questions and make rude comments. Growing up bicultural was especially difficult. But at the end of the day, you love being an American-born Chinese person.