When Being Half Asian Isn’t Asian Enough

Having a 5 year old daughter of mixed race (Chinese and Caucasian), I’ve often worried she wouldn’t be accepted as Chinese by other Chinese or Caucasian by Caucasians, and living in some in-between land. So far we’ve been lucky; there’s never been an issue of racial identity by any of our friends, family and associates. I know this will change as she gets older. It’s not hard to find reports of complaints against Asian beauty pageant contestants who were not considered Asian enough to be eligible for the contest–not that it’s an ambition of mine for my daughter to enter a Chinese beauty contest, but I do wonder if she’d even be considered for one based on her background.

It was a bit of a disappointment to me when I learned about Arie Kapoor and younger brother Nigel, who are two mixed Indian-Caucasian brothers from Bakersfield, CA. The brothers were dropped from an all Indian soccer tournament for not being Indian enough. The Bakersfield Soccer Cup claims the rule sheet for their event specifically says no half-Indian players are allowed to participate. It’s a change from their prior year, when the two brothers (pictured above) were able to compete in the same event.

I’m sure news stories like these are especially disappointing for mixed-race kids. It was eye opening for me to find out they don’t generally view themselves as being ‘half-this’ or ‘half-that’ as mentioned in the comments of a previous blog post on mixed race America.

My own daughter has said to me that she considers herself Chinese, not “half-Chinese” and she considers herself “American”, not “half-American”. She is just who she is, and we try to support her in her self identity. As someone who was quoted in the Bakersfield article said, “We need to be more inclusive than exclusive.”

(H/T Jason S.)

[Photo credit: Bakersfield.com]

Thanks for rating this! Now tell the world how you feel - .
How does this post make you feel?
  • Excited
  • Fascinated
  • Amused
  • Disgusted
  • Sad
  • Angry

About Tim

I'm a Chinese/Taiwanese-American, born in Taiwan, raised on Long Island, went to college in Philadelphia, tried Wall Street and then moved to the California Bay Area to work in high tech in 1990. I'm a recent dad and husband. Other adjectives that describe me include: son, brother, geek, DIYer, manager, teacher, tinkerer, amateur horologist, gay, and occasional couch potato. I write for about 5 different blogs including 8Asians. When not doing anything else, I like to challenge people's preconceived notions of who I should be.
This entry was posted in Discrimination, Family, Local, Southern California, Sports. Bookmark the permalink.