Multi-racial Asian Americans speak up

I wrote an article for Asian Avenue magazine, about mixed-race Asian American Pacific Islanders. The print edition, which is available at 500 locations around Denver, has lots of photos with it.

The article highlights some of the issues facing people of multiple racial heritage in general: the lack of acceptance by either side of your racial background; the disruption — or not — that a bi-racial relationship and children might cause within families; the richness of their experience, but also the cultural clashes. And, it also reflects the strength of identity that the people I interviewed have found for themselves, whether they’re Filipino and black, Korean and black, Japanese and Vietnamese, Japanese and white, or any other combination.

Maybe growing up mixed-race simply gives you the foundation to grow up internally with a strong sense of self, because your identity is such a major part of who you are externally.

Here’s my favorite quote, from a friend of mine that I used to work with, Michelle Butcher, who’s half African American and half Korean, and spends many weekends helping out her mom at a Korean gift shop on Havana in Aurora:

“I definitely feel that it makes my life more interesting to come from such a diverse background. How many black, kimchi eating, hip-hop listening, Korean girls do you know?”

Here’s also a sidebar article about the use of the word “hapa” for mixed-race Asians — its origins and the controversy over its use — as well asd a list of famous mixed-race AAPIs.

(Full disclosure: Erin is currently the Editor-in-Chief of AAm.)

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