My Face is a Face of Asian America

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-16 03:28Z by Steven

My Face is a Face of Asian America

Hapa Mama: Asian Fusion Family and Food

Candace Kita

“Blending in” has never been my strong suit. As a generally shy and rather bookish individual, I have always wished that I could more naturally fit seamlessly into my surroundings. However, my inability to blend into established categories–particularly in regards to race–unexpectedly led me to become the Asian American community activist that I am today.

As a hapa Japanese American growing up in the flat plains of suburban Chicago, I knew that I stood out from a very young age. I looked different from the rest of my family, and especially from my mom, who was my primary caretaker. A second-generation Swedish American, my mother embodies the Scandinavian archetype: tall, lean, blonde, and blue-eyed. I, on the other hand, was a racially ambiguous, chubby, Asian-ish child with a chocolate brown mushroom cut. Although my mother and I sometimes sported matching Hanna Andersson sweater sets (not that I had much say at age two, mind you), clothing was not enough to prevent the attention and astonishment that came from our largely mono-ethnic community. Once, on a family shopping trip to the neighborhood grocery store, a stranger oohed over my almond-shaped eyes, pointed to me and asked my mother, “Where did you get her from?” Due to my “look,” my mother’s womb was clearly not his first assumption. I was a foreigner two blocks away from my childhood home…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,