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Parents w/ half-asian kids: strange phenomenon?

sweethoneysweethoney Posts: 17Registered User New Member
edited May 2007 in Parent Cafe
OK, first off I am not a racist. I am NOT going to start spewing propaganda (so please don't delete my thread)
I just want some peer's input/opinions on a situation that happened today and left me crying.

I started the Asian Pacific American Club in my school about a year and a half ago with my best friend (we'll call her Sara). The thing is sara is half white and half vietnamese. She looks 100% white.

Back when we started the club, Sara was even more enuthusiatic about it than I was. She would organize all the meetings. Since most Asian Clubs revlove around FOOD and only FOOD, we decided that our club would be active. We would rally and protest, etc, agasint hate crimes (which happens alot agasint Asians since Asians don't speak up agasint them like black and latinos do).

So, fast forward a year and a half...Sara has decided to quit the club, the club SHE founded and was President of. It had nothing to do with her being half-white and feeling left out, which is probably what you are thinking (there are many mixed asians) but eventually I called her and what she told me completly shocked me.

She basically said after I kept on pressing the issue why she quit all of a sudden, "what is in it for ME? "Ya know, I LOOK white (w/ a white last name), it's not like I will ever suffer any anti-Asian HATE crime, so why should I waste MY time in a club that spends most of its time rallying agasint hate crime (the club spends alot of time doing outreach and being vocal about hate crimes). It's not like any thug will beat ME up or shout go back to your country you viet girl. Nobody's gonna judge me negatively cuase I'm asian, I LOOK white, ya know I AM white!!! I have lots of stuff to do, I could have spent my time hanging out or shopping!!!

Ok, so those weren't her exact words 100%, but basically it's 98% correct. Plus, she is one of those types that speaks as she thinks so everything comes into her mind and out her mouth.

When I go to sites like angryasianman.com (the name is a play on words...he's not really angry) It lists hate crimes that the media never wants to report on. Why is it that an asian girl (fillipina Marie Stephanie Gonzalez) can be attacked on a bus by thugs for "looking chinese" and the NY metropolitan Police department keeps pushing off looking into the case? The same thing with alot of asians suffering hate crime and the agencies don't want to look into it becuase the asian population in america and is so small that the agencies know they won't complain to media, sue, etc. Whenever latinos or blacks get picked on the agencies look into these hate crimes right away...becuase the latino/black population is a very large minority group and very vocal.

OK so this is my theory...(please mods, I am not being racist)...since Asians are the "invisible" minority group, lots of times Radio and TV people will make negatvie comments degrading Asians. This perpetuates an aura about asian being sneaky, devious, etc. (For you college kids this does trickle down to you, this stereotyping makes it harder to get GOOD teacher recs).

But now more Asian-Americans are protesting about this. They are speaking up agasint hate crimes and hate messages, and so maybe there is hope. BUT as Asians mix (usually with whites), something like 70% of asian Females marry white guys, their kids usually look white and stop caring about their half-asian roots. They turn a blind eye to racism, don't speak up, and reduce the asian census count. This makes Marketing agents, media, and other outlets more easily wave off Asian Racism.

This is only for Hapa mixes. A half-latino, half-black kid will always think of themselves as half latino or half-black, but all the half-Asian kids in my school say they are ONLY white!!

arrgh....I am the only one seeing this very strange phenomenon? I asked my friends and they were like either "duh!" or "whatever!"
Post edited by sweethoney on
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Replies to: Parents w/ half-asian kids: strange phenomenon?

  • geomomgeomom Posts: 742Registered User Member
    It just sounds like Sara got tired of spending so much time with the club, and when you pressed her on her reasons, she said stuff that probably she didn't mean the way it came out. You are really into your Asian identity right now, and she just wants to take a step back. You can still be friends, even if you don't share the same level of passion on this issue right now.

    Be nice to her. People are more important than politics. The politics are so that the people can have better lives, not the other way around. Love your friend; try to see things from her perspective.
  • maritemarite Posts: 21,586Registered User Senior Member
    I know several kids who are fully Asians and checked out their school's or college's Asian-American clubs then decided not to join. Their reason was that the members were always complaining about not being visible and other social wrongs. They themselves did not feel that way and were uncomfortable with portraying themselves as victims when they had grown up with all the comforts and privileges that came of being middle class.
  • ADadADad Posts: 4,920Registered User Senior Member
    Moving on to new activities and interests often happens and is normal. I hope that you can continue to befriend and treasure Sara.
  • citygirlsmomcitygirlsmom Posts: 13,158- Senior Member
    I guess I have a problem with the "well, no one hurts ME, so I will not bother to worry about others who might be hurt" mentality

    And its not portraying themselves as victims, I find that term strange....

    I don't take the girl's words so lightly, she is denying half of who she is and in fact really disrespecting one of her parents by her attitude

    I think there is more to her words then just an ugly spew, I think she herself was feeling and seeing the discrimination that asians may see and decided to just be a white chick.

    This is more than just moving on, this is rejecting herself, and her very own attitude is a reflection on society at large

    Remember, during the civil rights movement, it was many white people coming down to the south to help, though it didn't personally affect them, they felt racism was wrong enough to step up, a concept many youth today can't seem to embrace

    There was that old saying, first they came for the Jews, then the Gypsyies, the the Polish, then the Catholics, and I did nothing....now they are coming for me

    If we don't stand up for our fellow man, we are not worthy
  • citygirlsmomcitygirlsmom Posts: 13,158- Senior Member
    And the idea that we should stay friends with bigots, well, sorry, not my idea of a friend

    and I am not saying she needs to stay in the club, or embrace her heritage totally, but I am saying that her attitude of saying, well I look white, so I am just fine, no one will bug or discriminate against ME, so why bother worrying about anyone else

    It is her attitude that is ugly....and I would treasure noone with such an ugly attitude

    and I think the members of the club had a very valid reason for asking why she left, she was the founder....and she blurted out what sounds like more than just a deathbed utterenance, usually people with say, I am just to busy, and you don't need me anymore, you are doing a great job- appeasing the questioner

    And if she felt the emphasis was wrong in the club, she was there, she could have said, let do more cultural things, etc, but seems she didn't even care about that
  • nycnyc Posts: 1,355Registered User Senior Member
    If accurately reported, Sara's rant undeniably displays an ugly attitude - - as opposed to a child of priv refusing to pretend she's a victim of discrim. And of course, she also wrong about impossibility of ever being the target of anti-Asian hate/discrim -- unless she's never in public w/ her mom or other Asian family member.

    But I also find her words to be heartbreaking. It's sad that she wants so very much to assimilate - - to be just like everyone else in a culture where White is normative and anythis else is, at best, a neutral "other." But rather than just being diff, the other is, more often, a lesser being in some signif way (w/ the stereotype changing dependig on the race/group at issue). And even though she looks White, she probab wouldn't be so troubled if she could effectively pass for White (hard to do and have continued contact w/ non-White family members).

    Sweethoney - - I applaud you efforts to found a group that did more than sponsor a pot-luck dinner; I too hate that almost every school sponsored diversity group inevitably deteriorates into a food-fest.
  • poetsheartpoetsheart Posts: 5,085Registered User Senior Member
    Like Citygirlsmom, I found the response your friend gave you disturbing! I can't imagine that she could be so...well...stupid---as to think that racism against Asians cannot effect her. Nor can I fathom her apparent lack of concern about such racism. If she were my friend, I'd probably ask her if she realizes that her claiming to be fully white effectively rejects one half of who/what she is. Does she think she can be a whole human being while living in such denial?

    I do wonder what prompted really this apparent about-face, though. You've pointed out that she was an enthusiastic co-founder and former President of the club. What's the real story?
  • Opie ofMaybery2Opie ofMaybery2 Posts: 1,815- Member
    Here's the thing, some people can only be outraged for so long. Ya know, when all you're dealing with is the negative in the world, can you honestly expect everybody to maintain a level of "outrage"?

    One school we visited had a function every friday that kind of turned us off. The friday protest. Every friday the students could take public transportation (for free) and head into the city and protest.. What were they protesting? What ever they wanted to.

    If you don't see how that can get old. How about trying to make at least 50% of the activities fun? Bowling night, trick or canning for the food bank, working with innercity kids? Ya know, it is OK to rise above how others see you or treat you and act like ya just don't care. Want to **** off a bigot? Act like you just don't care.

    I can see where you're friend is coming from. There was a time where I guess I could be called a conservative. I listened to the radio, read the stuff and so on.... After a while I tired of simply hating or being outraged about everything the world dumps on my lap. After a while I realized it was much healthier socially to just live a better life (not necessarily monentarily) than the day before. When people who carry those feelings towards you can't get your attiention, they lose power. You have to care about what they think and frankly why should you?

    Look at your club and look at what you're doing. Is it a place of anger, or is it a place of fun?
  • TutuTaxiTutuTaxi Posts: 1,524Registered User Senior Member
    sweethoney wrote:
    A half-latino, half-black kid will always think of themselves as half latino or half-black, but all the half-Asian kids in my school say they are ONLY white!!

    sweethoney, I can only comment regarding the kids who are half-Black. Most interracial children w/ one parent being AfAm considers herself/himself as Black, not half-Black.
    sweethoney wrote:
    something like 70% of asian Females marry white guys, their kids usually look white and stop caring about their half-asian roots. They turn a blind eye to racism, don't speak up, and reduce the asian census count. This makes Marketing agents, media, and other outlets more easily wave off Asian Racism.

    IMO, based on what you have said, AsAm and AfAm view their life/goals in American differently. It seems as if AsAm want to become white or just like Whites. Whereas most AfAm want to keep their identity…… being accepted as equal… but not the same as Whites.

    Regarding Sara, one person does not make or break a club.
  • corrangedcorranged Posts: 6,684Registered User Senior Member
    People form their race-identity in a variety of ways, and as a high school student Sara is probably still working on this. Many people fight with these issues their entire lives. I know many people from other countries or who moved around a lot or are adopted or have one parent of one race or whatever else who are exploring their race and ethnic identity.
  • BayBay Posts: 10,668Registered User Senior Member
    Have you ever noticed how the founders/board members/most active proponents of fundraising organizations for childhood diseases are those people who were "personally touched" by the disease? (They, their children or their relatives were/are sufferers).

    My point is that Sara may not feel "the rage" against racism that the other kids do because she has never personally felt it. This does not mean she does not support the issue, but she is a teenager afterall, and if her life is anything like my teenagers's, there is a finite amount of time to get everything done that needs doing.

    I would certainly not portray anything she said in OP as "ugly." Perhaps she was stressed over the practicalities of her life, and this was an activity that she did not have time for right now. (BTW, its important for teenagers to have time for "hanging out" and "shopping." Their lives should not be overprogrammed with weighty projects and activities.)
  • citygirlsmomcitygirlsmom Posts: 13,158- Senior Member
    If she supported the issue, she wouldn't say what she did, she wouldn't say, well, I look white, so who cares? that is not supporting the issue at all

    I do find it ugly when people say, well, it doesn't affect me personally, so "whatevah", when we ignore racism, bigotry, we are just as bad as the bigots because we do nothing, and then to deny half of who you are? that is hateful to one of your parents

    I am white, middle class, striaght- does that mean I shouldn't care how my fellow humans are treated, just because somethings don't affect me personally? And it does affect me, when I see it, hear about it....and I do what I can to make the world better and to bring into the light what I see as wrongs

    If people just said, well, because I look white, I really don't care about how others are treated, this place would be in an even worse mess

    I am not saying she has to walk around with asian or white pride, but to dismiss who you are, and to in fact try and hide that is really distrubing to me
  • Dorothy_ParkerXDorothy_ParkerX Posts: 491- Junior Member
    "I am not saying she has to walk around with asian or white pride..."

    …perhaps a sandwich-board?
  • BayBay Posts: 10,668Registered User Senior Member
    While what Sara said could be portrayed as selfish, according to OP she did not say "who cares?" or "whatevah" about racism or "I really don't care about how others are treated." Those are your words, CGM.
  • maritemarite Posts: 21,586Registered User Senior Member
    sweethoney:

    Some further thoughts. There is definitely racism against Asians in some sectors of the population, as there is against African-Americans, Latinos and others. But as others have pointed out, it is difficult to sustain a level of outrage if you have not personally experienced racism and discrimination.
    And sometimes, protesting against racism toward one group can be very uncomfortable for someone who is half-white because protests are often directed against the white majority. This may have happened to Sara.

    Kudoes to you and Sara for wanting the club to be more than about food. But it might be a good idea for the club to consider activities that could be more directly helpful to Asians. How about tutoring, especially ESL kids? How about organizing some cultural events that will showcase the diversity of Asian students in your school or community? If there are some older, non-English speaking Asians in your community, could your club help them with tasks that require English?
    There are many ways to show support for Asians and Asian-Amerians that your club might follow. this does not mean that your club should not protest if information about discrimination comes your way. But it is good to have a long-term program of activities that does not depend on sporadic events and that all can support.
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