One of These Things Is Not Like the Other (Ruminations of an Asian Girl in White Suburbia)

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Okay, I’ll say it: I’m a mutt. I’m half Filipina and half white. You’ll have to forgive my political incorrectness and jokes…Asians have a racist sense of humor and we’re allowed to get away with it to some degree.

My mother is full Asian and my father is a total white guy: black hair (what’s left of it) and blue eyes. That blue eye recessive gene is floating around in me somewhere. Tuck that into your memory because it will bear on my story later.

My parents split when I was 10. At that point, I went to live with my father and his brown-haired, blue-eyed wife. I guess that’s a good place to start…Growing up in Ohio where one farm community linked to another was difficult, yet interesting. The most different-looking girl had brown hair and eyes, second only to the dominant blond hair, blue-eyed girl. The only people I resembled in the community owned the Chinese restaurants.

Family reunions were awkward for Kim and me. Kim is my sister, another mutt with the same parents. We are both decidedly Asian-looking…we don’t even look like our father! So there we were, two decidedly Asian-looking sisters at a family reunion where most people were blonds or brunettes with blue eyes. We were curiosities, that’s for sure. No one really talked to us, just stared. That was pretty much our experience wherever we went. At least they didn’t ask us for Moo Shoo Pork!

Now that I’m an adult, I’ve learned that it’s okay to not blend in. I embrace the idea that I have a foot in both the white and Asian worlds, though I’m mostly white. Not valley-girl white, but whiter than Asian. These are the “I’m Asian” things about me:

Shoes. No, I’m not going to talk about Imelda Marcos. She’s Filipina, by the way. What I want to talk about is that Asians don’t wear shoes in the house. I never have to ask my Asian friends to take off their shoes when they come over…they just know. Wearing shoes in the house is punishable by death in the Asian community so we just don’t do it. Luckily, my husband grew up not wearing street shoes in the house, either. That was amazing because he’s white. He’s whiter than my dad, which is blindingly white. My experience with my white friends is that they all wear shoes in the house so the fact that Vince grew up with the same shoe rules I did just shows that we were meant to be. But onto our next point…

We know how to clean house. An Asian woman who doesn’t know how to clean house is an anomaly that should be shunned. Okay, maybe she’s not shunned, but the Asian women she’s friends with will have plenty to say behind her back: “Why can’t she clean better?” or “Why didn’t they teach her when they were raising her?”. Tsk-tsk.

More on the Asian White Girl in our next segment…

Writer Bio

CJ Heath is an Asian mutt basically living as a white girl. She is working hard to keep her ethnic jokes to a minimum so as not to anger both the Asian and white communities. Maybe when she reaches international stardom, like Margaret Cho, she can really let loose.

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