Growing up mixed race Asian/white, very light skinned, and encouraged to be as white as possible by both my parents, it was possible for me to identify as white (I think) and pass as white most of the time (I think). Still is. Maybe sometimes sorta.
But like everyone who grows up in the public school system in Canada or the US, the culture that’s taught to us is whiteness. I was marinated in this, as much as any of the non-Anglo culture that was my home life growing up. At home there were pieces and fragments of Chinese culture around the house, pieces that I owned and lived without thinking about them, like not remembering a time when I didn’t know how to use chopsticks, or prepare the rice cooker, or hearing my father speak on the phone and not understand him. My connections to Jewishness on my mother’s side, cultural rather than religious, was also fairly nebulous, including such fragments as “Chanukah gelt” from my Jewish grandmother once a year, which also included chocolate gold coins. That the “outside” world, a vast sheath of oppressive whiteness which I wrapped around myself was so different than the “inside” world of my family was simply a switch I made when traversing between the two. Having one Chinese parent and one white Jewish parent was normal, even while I knew it was not normal to my classmates and friends.
In the “real world” though, I was culturally white, and North American. I learned all the racism, sexism, anti-immigrant trash that is taught, and somehow filtered it into what my lived reality was. Not really sure how I did that, to be honest.
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