Vancouver’s Hapa Festival, All Grown Up

Vancouver’s Hapa Festival, All Grown Up

The Tyee
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada

Christopher Cheung

From one generation to another, an identity conversation continues.

Jeff Chiba Stearns is about to be a father in November, and there’s an important conversation he wants to have with his daughter that he never had with his own family growing up.

It’s not about anything like table manners or the birds and the bees: it’s a conversation on race and ethnicity.

Stearns grew up in Kelowna in the 1980s, where most people were white. His mother was Japanese and his father had British, Scottish, Russian and German roots (one grandmother makes classic cabbage rolls), but “being mixed meant you were a full minority.”

Like many others with a multiethnic background, Stearns had confusion navigating his identity and faced being called things like “half-breed.”

“Not everyone goes through identity crises in their lives, but everyone has a story,” said Stearns. “Either they’ve rejected the fact they’re part of a minority group, or they’ve embraced that, or they’ve just wanted to be human [and say] I just want to blend in and fit in.”

There are a lot of different names for those with a colourful heritage. Sometimes it’s mixed-race or multiethnic, but it’s really up to the individual…

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