A few years ago, my brother introduced me to Natalie Tran’s videos and I found them to be pretty comical, but this is – by far – the most powerful video that I’ve ever seen from her and I’m really excited to share this with everyone.
Growing up, I’ve experienced having to answer every question under the sun about my heritage and the stereotypes that come along with it. The “where are you from?” question is one that I know all too well. In addition to “…but where are your parents from?” like Natalie mentioned, I’ve also gotten much more.
“You’re full Asian? But your eyes are SO big.”
“You must be really good at math.”
“Are your parents fresh off the boat?”
“Are your parents upset that you didn’t go on to be a doctor?”
“Do your parents speak any English?”
“Wait – say something in Vietnamese. Anything!”
It’s interesting for me to look back on my childhood and the types of things people expected me to answer. There were plenty of times when I received questions from those that were Asian that also confused me. “What do you mean you can’t eat spicy food? Didn’t you grow up on this?” “You only have a few Asian friends? That’s weird.” “If you grew up speaking Vietnamese, shouldn’t you still be pretty fluent?”
In the end, I think having to endure these types of questions has probably made me a stronger individual. At first, I felt pulled in a number of directions and naturally – it’s these questions that cause you to question yourself and who you are and who you should be. But we’re not alike. Not any of us. I don’t have to radiate “Asianess” to show that I’m proud of my heritage and where I came from. I want to show that in my actions and the things that I can accomplish. And goodness, it’s crazy to think of the things I still have to experience in 2015, but that just means that we still have a ways to go.
It’s important to know and continuously remind everyone through media or through our everyday relationships that not all Asians are the same and that racism does very much exist on both sides so let’s help each other out and just let people be who they are and be okay with that.