Because May is Asian Pacific Heritage month, I wanted to write about all the people I assumed or rather wanted to believe were Asian/Pacific Islander. Some of these are more benign than others but they all stem from the simple fact that as a child (and as an adult) I wanted there to be more people that resembled me in politics and entertainment.
- Snake Eyes (from G.I. Joe). I’ve written about this before but as a kid I always believed that under his black helmet Snake Eyes was Asian. He was the closest thing I had to a good guy Asian in G.I. Joe or in any other cartoon/toy at the time. I remember playing out whole scenarios in my head where I would grow up to be just like him — black helmet and all!
- David Carradine. I remember watching this show and REALLY liking it. I assumed that Carradine was part Asian because he was playing a hapa character. Imagine my surprise when I found out he wasn’t hapa. I wasn’t angry at the time (I was too young to be angry about such things) but I was more perplexed, I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t find someone Asian to play the role. Thankfully, I didn’t find out that Carradine had been cast over Bruce Lee (my childhood hero) or my child brain may have exploded.
- Mickey Rooney. I admit I had a huge huge huge huge crush on Audrey Hepburn as a teenager. In high school, I went back and watched every single movie that she was in. I remember seeing Roony’s character on Breakfast at Tiffany’s and wanting to believe that the actor playing the offensive Japanese neighbor was at least Asian. Deep down, I knew he wasn’t but there was a part of me that was hoping. I still am.
- George Noory. Unless you’re a talk radio nerd, you’re probably asking yourself, who the hell is George Noory and why is he on this list? George is the popular host of Coast to Coast AM, a radio show that discusses paranormal related phenomenon very late at night or in the morning (depending on where you’re listening). The first time I heard George, I wanted to believe he was Japanese/Japanese American because of his last name. I assumed Norry was “Nori.” Of course, this has nothing to do with him and he never said he was Asian but a part of me was saddened when I found out the truth.
- President Obama. Of course President Obama has never claimed to be Asian but deep down I believe he is. He was raised in Indonesian and Hawai’i. His sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, is half-Indonesian. In my book, it doesn’t get more Asian than that (or at least more than any other President before him)!
Do you have any non-Asian Asians I should included? Leave a comment and let me know.
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