Regarding My Racial Makeup

I’ve been assumed to be many of various races. To date, I’ve been taken for:

  • Eurasian (this is what I am seen as primarily, by people who notice such things)
  • Native American
  • Filipino
  • Hawaiian
  • Part Indian (from the country of India, not Native American)
  • Eskimo/Inuit

The fact of the matter is, people, that I’m American. I am a mix of a whole bunch of things, which my mother kept secret for a long time. She couldn’t hide the fact that my sister and I were a mix of something after I was born; my sister is older, but she takes after my mother and looks a lot more Asian.

I, on the other hand, appeared and there I was! Obviously not 100% Asian! In case you don’t know this already, Asians are very sensitive to the physical characteristics of other Asians in order to place them into specific categories (Chinese? Japanese? Korean? Vietnamese?). I’m not sure why, but there you go. It’s simply a cultural thing that you can’t get away from. During orientation week at Hopkins, a whole group of Filipinos came up to me and asked, “Do you speak Tagalog?”

“No,” I responded. “I’m, um, not Filipino.” Then they were like huh, okay. And walked away. That was it. I was not part of the team, apparently. That’s how it can be like; you can be ostracized or cut off at an instant because you don’t pass the DNA test.

I have a whole bunch of other similar stories, most of which include people assuming right off the bat that I’m half Caucasian. It’s not an insult to me in any way, it was more always amusing because I never thought I looked THAT mixed, just somewhat.

But, let me remind you that many people (unfortunately) still judge on race. I don’t know why and never will. I’m just not built that way; I have friends of various races and sexual orientations.

In my opinion, if a person is good and true, that’s all that really matters, right? And if they stand fast by me and I connect with them to the level that I will lay down my life for them and vice versa, what else really matters?

Anyway, this is what I’ve been told that I am comprised of (to-date, because who knows what else will be disclosed!):

  • Chinese
  • Taiwanese
  • Dutch
  • Korean
  • Possibly Japanese
  • Iranian
  • Turkish
  • Mongolian
  • Possibly Russian
  • Possibly Spanish
  • And, finally, “We are not sure on your father’s side, because he was South Pacific Islander”

All the “possibles” added to the “definites” may actually add up to a total of me being 50% non-Asian, which has been a shock to me. I knew about my Dutch lineage, but all the other information has been disclosed only recently by my mother. It explains my somewhat wavy and frizzy hair as well as some of my other physical characteristics, but I’m still kind of adjusting to the fact that I may not be as “Asian” as I thought.

And Dutch is way up there, as in that I am 1/16th Dutch, which doesn’t sound like a lot…but I was always told that I was “part Dutch, way back in your ancestral lineage” which was a translation to me of “1/100th Dutch way back when!!”. And, I mean, when I think about the Dutch, I envision blonde hair, blue eyes, pointy wooden shoes, and windmills. And cheese.

But a whole lot of things do make sense to me now, such as when my mother told me not to be surprised if I had children who had blue eyes. She always referred back to her own background. All she said was maybe because “You are possibly part Russian, that happens with Mongolians all the time! Blue eyes!” when I asked her why. But no. It was the Dutch thing. Combined with the Russian thing. And all the other things.

Am I bothered by these disclosures? Somewhat. Just because I was never informed of them and that it kind of changes my perspective somewhat. As in, that’s why a bunch of people always asked me about my racial makeup when I thought it should be apparent. But I guess they were in the right and I was in the…ignorant? And also, I suddenly have an entire history of peoples to enfold into my understanding of who I am. It’s a huge consideration and puzzle to ponder over.

My mother had me when she was older so she comes from a generation that I can understand may be intolerant or ashamed of having mixed DNA. In this day and age, I think (hope) that we are much more accepting or, actually, cavalier of the fact. Especially here in the States where, let’s face it, we are pretty much all mutts.

Which is a good thing, right? I mean, I had many dogs growing up and the muttiest and rattiest always seemed to survive the longest. They were the toughest and scrappiest. So that’s not such a bad thing.

So I guess this is a shout out to all my mixed, mashed, fellow Americans and people of other nationalities. We are here to stay!!

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