Which Side of Me Do I Feel Closer To? 🤔 & Other Eurasian-Related Questions
Being half-Caucasian and half-Cantonese has allowed me to be a part of both the American culture and the Cantonese-Chinese culture… but in the end, being a part of both worlds means that I, in my entirety, essentially belong to neither.
Being mixed-race has been a huge defining factor in shaping my identity throughout my life, but it was only relatively recently that I realized exactly how much of an impact being Eurasian had on me. As a child, little things like speaking different languages towards each of my parents and having family — and homes — on opposite ends of the world were the norms for me. Once I gained more knowledge about the lives of other people, though, I realized that many of the things in which I love and do are more or less related to me being a part of two cultures — and that made me different than many people around me.
Though I know that there must to be plenty of people out there who share the same experiences as me in terms of being mixed-race, I’ve often found that these experiences are unique to myself within the community that I currently live in. It is a possibility that I haven’t talked with enough people yet about this topic to see if my experiences being mixed-race are truly so unique to me in my community, but I hope that I’ll find more people with similar stories as I travel to more parts of this world. 🌎 If you yourself are mixed-race or grew up surrounded with more than one culture, perhaps you can impart to me any advice or similar experiences you have to me in the comments below. 😊
Even if you yourself aren’t Eurasian, multiracial, or have grown up in a family and/or a community of two or more blended cultures, I hope you will still enjoy this post, learn a few more things about me (hi! 👋😆), and gain a new understanding of the life I had and currently have.
In the end, whether you can relate to these topics or not,
this post is still a collection of human experiences and revelations
that I’ve gathered throughout my life,
and I believe that all of the above
is worth sharing
for everyone to read, understand, and learn from.
So, without further ado…
let’s get started! 😁
What kind of Eurasian am I?
I am half American-Caucasian and half-Cantonese Chinese! 😊💕 The reason why I always specify my race and culture when answering this question is because it immediately allows people to know which two cultures I am a part of and racially who I am. For my dad, even though he is of European descent, he doesn’t share any cultural connections with any European cultures, so I would consider his culture to be American. My mom is from Hong Kong and is of Cantonese descent, and thus I consider myself to be half-Cantonese Chinese. I usually clarify what kind of Chinese I am because China is a country with 56 ethnic groups, even more languages, and a complex blend of cultures. By clarifying that I am Cantonese Chinese (and that my mom is from Hong Kong), usually people who know about the distinctions between Chinese cultures will understand what specific Chinese culture I am part of. 😊👍
Was it difficult growing up mixed-race?
I am extremely grateful that I live in a diverse part of this world where many cultures blend together, so I’ve never faced any discrimination or bullying for being mixed-race. The only one exception would be one time in elementary school when I was in second grade. I was speaking to one of my childhood friends in Cantonese during recess, and a group of fifth grade boys had mimicked us by making random sounds. Even though something like that hadn’t happened to me before, little ol’ second-grade me felt insulted and I told my mom, who had previously educated me to tell her if anything like that had happened to me. My mom reported it to my second grade teacher, who was very adamant about finding out who these boys were — but we let it slide. Nothing like that has ever happened to me since.
However, if I broaden this question to include my mom instead of myself, my mom remembers several instances in the past when I was younger that involved people telling my mom to not speak to me and my younger brother in Cantonese because 1) we should speak English in America, and 2) our English wouldn’t be good when we grew up if we spoke a language other than only English, which… come on. 😐 However, I’d just like to point out that being bilingual has not caused me to fall behind in my English classes at all, and if my passion for reading in both English and Chinese and this blog isn’t enough proof that it’s possible to be fluent in more than one language, then I don’t know what is 😊
However, since I don’t remember those instances, all I can say is that being mixed-race has been overall a really positive thing in my life. People are always surprised when I speak Cantonese and also compliment my mom for the hard work she’s done in encouraging me to love my Chinese side even when I don’t live in Hong Kong. I was never embarrassed to have fried rice or Asian lunches at school (in fact, friends envied the delicious feasts I had — and still have! 😆 — during lunches), and when Chinese New Year came along, I would wear my Chinese dress (cheongsam) to school — though that only lasted in elementary school. I never wear dresses anymore 😋
It was only in the past few years that I began to feel a little bit alone in my desire to talk about being mixed-race, since I felt like there was no one I could share these experiences with and have them relate to me. I currently am still trying to accept that it’s okay that, thus far, I haven’t met anyone in my community who shares the same mixed-race life experiences as me. There will be plenty of people for me to meet who share similar experiences in the future, but I will need to be patient and wait for those people to cross paths with me in life.
How has being mixed-raced influenced the way people view me?
Where I currently live in California, it doesn’t seem like many people care about the fact that I’m Eurasian. I wouldn’t say being mixed-race is common here, but it’s definitely not something that is unique, either. However, as everyone might know, that’s not the case everywhere in the world, and being mixed-race is, I would say, one of the biggest factors that have determined how people view me as I travel.
How do I put this 🤔 … I feel like a target when I travel in Asia because I am mixed-race.
I don’t know about other places in the world, but in comparison to where I live, people in Asian countries tend to stare a lot more at people without considering the staring to be rude, but it just seems like that happens so much more for me in comparison to someone who might fit into the place because they look like the majority of the people there, even though they might be a foreigner. In Hong Kong, I would say that 95% of the people I meet do a double take when they hear me speak Cantonese, or stare at me a little longer than normal before resuming the conversation. When I was in Taiwan, mainland China, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan, people had also commented on me being mixed-raced — and the comment is always, always, accompanied by this:
Oh, you look so pretty.
I mentioned this briefly in my post about the Asiatique Night Market in Thailand, but it’s interesting for me to note that in all of the Asian countries I have been to, the majority public seems to believe that a more Western-looking face is beautiful. There is this unhealthy obsession to have whiter skin, double-eyelids, a taller bridge nose… all features associated with the Western face. For the Chinese culture, I know that it’s very normal for people to comment on complete stranger’s appearances by saying they look pretty or handsome. However, it makes me very uncomfortable to think that people approve of the way I look because I have hints of Caucasian features to my face that fit into that country’s idea of the ideal beauty standard. 😟
I know this sounds stupid, but when I was younger, I used to wish that I looked less “pretty” (in the way that other people would say that I was) just so I could feel less eyes on me when I traveled. That’s when I started to change my walk to become more confident, and also when I began to meet the eyes of people who I felt like were staring at me too long. I would hold that eye contact until they looked away, and doing that over and over again made me feel less of a target when I traveled and more like I could take control of any uncomfortable situations if I had to.
Though being mixed-race has made me feel suffocated under the gaze of others while I’ve traveled in the past, especially Asian countries, on a more positive note, being mixed-race has helped me get me outside of my comfort zone in terms of talking with people. Most people I meet on my travels ask me where I’m from and whether I’m Eurasian or not, to which I answer that I’m from America, and yes, I’m half-Caucasian and half-Cantonese. If it were up to shy-me in the past, I would have probably gone through all my travels without speaking a single word to the strangers I met, but because I was constantly put on the spotlight, I learned to become more comfortable with speaking to strangers. These questions allow me to, in turn, ask the people I meet about their lives without having it be awkward, since they’ve already asked me about my own life. 😊 I’ve been able to learn a lot about the people I meet on my travels just by extending the conversation they start with me about my race and where I’m from.
There’s still a lot I would love to say about this particular topic, but for now, I think that answer gives you a nice overview of my answer on how being mixed-race has influenced the way people view me.
Are there any benefits to being mixed-race?
Well, this isn’t specific to people who are mixed-race, as culture is not not necessarily attached to race, but in my case, being mixed-race has allowed me to have footholds in both the American culture and Hong Kong’s Cantonese-Chinese culture. Being a part of two cultures has allowed me to become more open-minded, and I don’t feel suffocated by either culture. If there’s something I don’t like from the Chinese culture, I can easily take it out of my life, and the same goes with the American culture. I can pick and choose which aspects I’d like to keep and which ones I would like to throw out, and I know many people don’t have that ability to do so at home, which can definitely make people feel trapped by their culture.
Are there any drawbacks to being mixed-race?
Hmmm… this may be me being overly dramatic here, but I do genuinely believe that being a part of both cultural worlds means that I, in my entirety, essentially belong to neither the American or Chinese culture. I often feel like I’m on an island. On one side of me is the American culture, and the other, the Chinese culture. People often ask me which culture I feel like I am more close to, and ever since I was a little girl, I’ve told them that I can’t — and won’t — choose. I am a part of both, and if people can’t accept that… then I guess I’ll be content on this little island of mine in between the two cultures I am a part of. 🏝
I mentioned above that in recent years, I’ve begun to realize that I’ve gone through being mixed-race pretty much alone my entire life. I’ve had no one to share and relate to in terms of my Eurasian experiences, and that has made me feel a little bit lonely… but I have hope that once I travel more and meet more people, I’ll be able to find people with stories similar to mine that I can finally connect to. For now, I’m content with creating my own path in life by myself. 😉
Am I proud of being Eurasian?
Yes yes yes yes… and yes. 😊
I am so excited to publish this post and put this out there. Being mixed-race has been such a huge aspect of my life, yet I have never been able to talk about it as much as I’ve wanted to. I hope that you’ve learned a few things about me through this post, and remember to
You don’t have to be mixed-race to grow up surrounded by more than one culture in your family, so do you have any experiences with that? Do all of my experiences being Eurasian sound new to you, or were you already familiar with the things I mentioned above?
I would love to hear what you have to say about this topic in the comments below! 😊
I hope you enjoyed this post, and thank you for taking your time to read about my thoughts on a topic that I am very passionate about. I hope you were able to gain something positive from this post, whether it was from feeling less alone in your experiences if you happen to be in the same boat as me, or whether it was from learning about a life experience that differed from your own.
I will cya in my next post,
and have a wonderful day,
wherever you are in this world. 💕
🌎 🌍 🌏