I spent the first four years of my life in Singapore, where my dad got transferred for a job opportunity. I don't remember a lot about living there, but I do remember the difference I felt when we moved back to America.
A lot of people call Singapore the "melting pot" because there are people from all over the world that travel there for opportunities and education. My sister recently traveled there for an internship and she described it as "an *ABC paradise". Because in Singapore, there isn't a "dominant ethnicity". There is so much diversity which creates a welcoming environment.
So, you can imagine, moving to America wasn't always easy. Throughout all of elementary school, I tried to avoid having a group of Asian friends because I thought that would make me seem weird to the others. I did my best to kiss up to my white classmates, and I'd feel an overwhelming sense of gratification every time they would invite me to hang out.
It didn't help that just when I felt like I was developing a good friend group, we moved again. I was going to be known again as the "new Chinese girl". This self-deprecating mindset I had developed persisted and shadowed me throughout the rest of elementary school and middle school. I always felt like I wasn't cool enough, or white enough, to approach the popular white girls. I felt like they'd never be friends with an Asian. And I blamed it on things like "my mom would never let me host a party" or "I'm too busy studying anyways", when really it was just my own insecurity.
In all honesty, I'm embarrassed to be sharing this because I see it as a stupid thing to be insecure about. On the other hand, that's why it's so important for me to share. I know that other Asian-American teens feel like this too, and I just want to let you know that you are no less than anyone else just because of your ethnicity. I have felt those feelings of insecurity and social-anxiety just because of my race, and I can say it's one of the worst feelings in the world. So, I'm sharing my stories through DeclarASIAN so that maybe it'll inspire some of you to feel empowered by your race instead of ashamed of it.
Author: Carina Sun
1/12/19- RepresentASIAN: Interview with Music Maestro Daniel Kim
2/3/19- Not Your Representative Heuristic
2/20/19- Being Labeled "The Asian Girl"
3/5/19- It's "Cao," Not "Cow," Not "Chow"...
4/1/19- Dear Fake Chinese Food
5/6/19- History Lesson: My Mom Was a Protester at Tiananmen Square
5/24/18- Asian RepresentASIAN Making American History
6/21/19- My First Encounter With Blatant Racial Harassment
7/10/19- Growing Up Alongside "RepresentASIAN"
8/15/19- Asians Need to Support Asians
9/16/19-Making Stereotypes Disappear: Interview with Rising Magician Kevin Li
11/8/19- The Impacts of Social Media