Monday, August 27, 2007
Halfway to Awareness
Being of mixed race has usually meant that I get to experience the best of both worlds. Part of my own plastic bubble world is that I have never really experienced open prejudice or discrimination, either here in America or in Japan. Being a whore for attention, I've always enjoyed the fact that people found my mixed background to be something of a novelty.
I'm lucky that my ethnic identity has mostly worked to my advantage. But it has also contributed to my lack of awareness. I have always taken for granted that I will never know what it's like to be completely Caucasian, no matter how 'white' I felt while growing up, or how 'white' I was treated.
But I will also never fully comprehend the experience of being 100% Asian American.
I'm still surprised, now and then, by the things that bring me to increased awareness. An Asian American on television--I wish I could remember who, now--was saying how people would sometimes marvel at how well he spoke English, despite the fact that he was born in the U.S. (or was it in the U.K., a line from "Cut Sleeve Boys?")
This was something I had never experienced. Domestic Partner told me that, as an ABJ (American Born Japanese), this was something he had been through several times, and he had always found it a little frustrating and a bit racist.
Yes, Domestic Partner is Japanese American, for those of you who don't know yet.
That's something else I take for granted, the fact that most people assume that I am paired up with a Caucasian man. Many people are still surprised when they find out that my guy is also Asian American.
The thing is, it doesn't bother me. Maybe it should. That way of thinking can perpetuate the stereotype of all of us rice-eating, slanty-eyed types wanting to be coupled with the Aryan ideal. It's twisted, but I understand it. I used to want to be with little blonde, blue-eyed girls (who never wanted me back!) while growing up. And then I wanted to be with blonde, blue-eyed surfer boys from about the age of 19.
But only for a while.
Being accepted by a white significant other helps to carry over and further reinforce acceptance by white society in general, at least, in some minds.
Maybe I have it all backwards. In Japan, Domestic Partner would be looked at as the one paired up with a whitey.
Mmmmm. "Sticky Rice."