Little does she realize that Half Asian sons can easily recognize that their parents are different races – and that Asian women’s refusal to marry Asian men indicates that it is next to impossible to be proud to be Asian – let alone an Asian man, hence many Half Asians, as I did, attempt to play up their non-Asian heritage.
Choose Your Own Identity, by Bonnie Tsui.
From the New York Times, dated December 14th, 2015.
The key tidbits of this article can be found in the first three paragraphs.
I never realized how little I understood race until I tried to explain it to my 5-year-old son.
Asian women are exceptionally privileged in society – and don’t think about how naturally they pair up with white men as almost “honorary white women” – even better than white women, since guys like my dad seem to love traditional, pro-white Asian women. After their sons are born these women attempt to hoist their Asian heritage onto their children, since they start freaking out that the kids look totally Asian.
Our family story doesn’t seem too complicated: I’m Chinese-American and my husband is white, an American of English-Dutch-Irish descent; we have two children. My 5-year-old knows my parents were born in China, and that I speak Cantonese sometimes. He has been to Hong Kong and Guangzhou to visit his gung-gung, my father. But when I asked him the other day if he was Chinese, he said no.
This kind of behavior was even manifested in both fiction, and reality.
A movie was produced in 2013 – a year before several of the most violent Eurasian criminals (many of whom adamantly insisted that they were white, or at least better than full Asians) began emerging.
“You’re Chinese, but I’m not,” he told me, with certainty. “But I eat Chinese food.” This gave me pause. How could I tell him that I wasn’t talking about food or cultural heritage or where we were born? (Me, I’m from Queens.) I had no basis to describe race to him other than the one I’d taken pains to avoid: how we look and how other people treat us as a result.
My son probably doesn’t need me to tell him we look different. He’s a whir-in-a-blender mix of my husband and me; he has been called Croatian and Italian. More than once in his life, he will be asked, “What are you?” But in that moment when he confidently asserted himself as “not Chinese,” I felt a selfish urge for him to claim a way of describing himself that included my side of his genetic code. And yet I knew that I had no business telling him what his racial identity was. Today, he might feel white; tomorrow he might feel more Chinese. The next day, more, well, both. Who’s to say but him?