The Black Lives Matter Movement As An Asian American

The Black Lives Matter Movement As An Asian American

Bozeman Magazine
Bozeman, Montana

Cassie Pfannenstiel

The issue of race in America is complex. Many communities of varying cultures exist together often without accepting one another in a meaningful way. Growing up in a multicultural home as a mixed-race child, I often felt as a cultural outsider to either half of me. Around my white friends and family, I was the minority and with other Asians, I was “too white” to really fit in.

I had two different sides of me that were never really brought together. I wasn’t allowed to learn Tagalog from my mother growing up, which caused me to miss out on a lot of Filipino culture and deeper relationships. Even today, my mother and I have a strained relationship because of the language barrier between us. The lack of that half of my culture was filled by the other half of my upbringing: a mostly white-washed experience in which I still wasn’t fully accepted because of my mixed origins. As a child, I was unable to understand where I stood amongst the white kids with “normal” upbringings. When I looked at myself, I couldn’t tell if I even looked Asian or not. I became used to random strangers asking questions like: “What are you?” “What’s your heritage?” “Where are you from? No, originally.” These questions solidified my racial ambiguity. I became used to identifying as white and American first before my more prominent Asian culture. The questioning reminded me that although I had embraced and assimilated into white culture, I was not white…

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