In response to the controversial use of the term “anchor baby” by some GOP candidates, high school student Jason Fong inspired Asian Americans to share their varied stories under the twitter hashtag #MyAsianAmericanStory.
Below are a few #MyAsianAmericanStory tweets that made me smile, cry or both:
Margaret Cho: Why are we #AnchorBabies – is it because we always end up doing the news? #conniechung
Multiracial Ahjussi: #MyAsianAmericanStory was hearing my white mom’s friends ruthlessly add an accent when imitating my Korean dad’s voice after he died
N’jaila Rhee: Explaining to people where Trinidad is and that yes Asian people live there too and Asians can also be Brown.
Bruce Reyes-Chow: My US Army Grandfather was told he might get shot by his unit because he “looked Japanese.”
Abida Haque: I have more! Being asked, “are you a feather Indian or a dot Indian?”
ESCH: Being called “oriental” or “exotic” – I’m not a rug or a vase. I’m human. I’m Asian.
Dragon Lady: My Filipino ex-boyfriend calling me out for wearing a shirt that said “Pinay” cause I’m “only half so it doesnt count”
Alyssa W. Christensen: “American men will like you becuz [Asians] are traditional & [subservient].” Yeahhh ask my husband about that…
Officer Ahoge: So does your family like… bind your feet??
Susanna / 13 DAYS: Americans care more about making Kim Jong Il/Kim Jong Un jokes than helping North Koreans escape their living hell.
Ma Anneliese Clare: “You’re not like ‘math chinky asian’ you’re like ‘third world asian’”
Kathy Khang: Being told by vets I should be more grateful for what they did in the Korean conflict/war
Thao: Them: “You’re very assertive for an Asian female.”
Me: “Fuck off. How’s that for assertive?”
Alice Wong: Understanding the anti-blackness roots of the model minority myth and trying hard everyday to resist & dismantle it
The following were some of my own contributions to #MyAsianAmericanStory:
Onjena Yo: Being told I could start a sweatshop with my family when I shared my goal of starting my own business…
Onjena Yo: Exposure to a new slur… Kigger… Korean-N*gger
Onjena Yo: My mother stating that she missed diversity after returning home from her visit to Korea.
Onjena Yo: Telling my classmate that I was not different from her but we were different from each other.
Onjena Yo: [Being asked] “Why don’t you pass?”
Onjena Yo: My mother being “accused” of having a different father for each of her children because we varied in complexion & hair
Onjena Yo: Correcting my verbal attackers that I was Korean and not Chinese.
Onjena Yo: My mom (@ogi_gogi): “I’ve been an American citizen longer than you’ve been alive.” In response to taunts to “go back”
Onjena Yo: “So, how did you get such pretty hair?” Toddler Me: “Rice!”
I also shared the following pics respectively titled: "Bathtime" and "Love."
Naturally many of our stories were dismissed as homogeneous and we were told to “go back home.” [Yes, in 2015]. To which I posit, perhaps the similarities in #MyAsianAmericanStory can be attributed to the force that inflicted the pain & not how we are somehow monolithic.
I’ve found it to be a very recent phenomena for Asian Americans to express their cultural pride, at least publicly. I’ve repeatedly stated that expressing one’s pride is not the same as proclaiming supremacy. My attempt at exploring and expanding what is perceived of as “American” is a questionnaire titled, PATRIOT SURVEY SAYS!!!.
We ask who you are and what experiences have shaped you, both here in the United States and in your “other” country. If you have an interest in sharing your experiences, the form/questions are here.
We encourage all to share their stories in every format available.
Thank you for hearing us. Thank you for hearing me.
~ Onjena Yo
#sayitLOUD #multinationalPATRIOT #nohyphen #human