I’m just your average Japanese/Caucasian girl that was born in Hawaii, grew up in Japan and Texas, and is fluent in English and Portuguese. I love my genetic and adopted cultural heritage, but sometimes it gets a bit watered down when it comes to how much I connect to each of them. It was already overwhelming being my own melting pot of cultures, and then I had kids!
Growing up “racially ambiguous” meant I saw NO ONE in media that looked like me, and sparse representation of Filipino or Black people in mainstream media. Showing my kids movies now and hearing their giggles when the main character looks like them brings tears to my eyes. I spent so much of my youth wishing I was blonde, white, thin— you name it— because I thought I would be worth MORE if I was what was on every billboard, magazine cover and TV show.
For some of us, names are just names. It’s a word that other people call us by, a word by which we’re known to the world. Your name might be something familiar like Sam, Jennifer, Chloe, or David, but sometimes, it may be something that raises people’s eyebrows like Ruòxī or Aapikka.