So if you’ve been reading my blog for a while some time or from the beginning (shoutout to those who are loyal AF or my roommates) then you know that I tend to write about raw things including relationships, love, careers, life, boys, etc. Topics that are always discussed behind closed doors or only with your closest friends. Now, you may be wondering is that all you write about? Why don’t you ever write about fashion, beauty or something other than how being a twenty-something-year-old is v difficult. Well to be honest, 1. I rarely wear makeup so you probably wouldn’t want beauty advice from me and 2. Fashion is something I love but so far have only taken it as far as my OOTD on my snaps (rmcx220) and 3. Because I am a twenty something year old who is still struggling with how to survive in the big apple so why not share the struggle with you guys?
I enjoy writing things that are relevant to my life. Much of my inspiration stems from things in my life or things that happen to the people in my life. So lucky for you, this post is about my life as an ABC. I hope you’re thinking, what the hell is an ABC? Don’t worry, it’s just getting good.
An “ABC” is an American Born Chinese- literally word for word. It is a person who is of Chinese descent but grew up in America. A “banana” if you will (yellow on the outside but white in the inside). Now most ABC’s often come to a crossroad in their early teen life of whether or not they choose to take the path to become fully immersed into the Chinese culture or to play into the “white” culture they are surrounded by. This decision first came to me when I was in middle school. This is when I began to realize that not everyone ate with chopsticks or even had white rice with EVERY meal. This also is when I realized I didn’t have to take my shoes off every time I entered a household. I was shocked that not everyone had a basket full of slippers in their doorway, like in my household.
Growing up in a predominately white community, I really only had white friends but to me that was normal. As a young, shy, asian girl I didn’t really understand the difference between races or skin color. I assumed that we were all the same. Racism isn’t just about being white or black, it’s so much more than that. My parents had my siblings and I attend Chinese school from a very young age AND they even put us in cultural dancing lessons. (Let’s just say they are very proud of being Chinese, as they should be).
Although Chinese culture has always been a positive part of my life, I’ve also struggled with it. Growing up, I’ve always had teachers speak about different cultures, religions, and people during class. They would always talk about how blacks and whites were portrayed in the media and in the world -- but what about Asians, Hispanics, and Middle Easterners? Their answer? “They tend to be a model minority”. Now, don’t get me wrong I was always flattered when kids in school would ask me what I got on my test or if I wanted to be in their group. Ignorant young Rae thought that they actually just liked her or wanted to be friends with her. Not ever did I think it was because of my race and that the Asian race is deemed to be smart.
I’m not going to lie, of course it was nice to have that persona where others thought I was intellectual-- but in actuality that came with whole lot of pressure. I didn’t want to live up to that stereotype. I didn’t want to be a doctor, engineer, or lawyer. I wanted to be on TV and in a creative space. I dreamed of making videos, writing blog posts, and producing creative content. That’s when the pressure really started to escalate.
Of course there are pressures among any race, but since I am Asian I’ll just speak to that. I’ve come to the conclusion that Asian American is just another race in our world who is also facing the same struggles as any other. At this stage I am proud to be Chinese AND American. I’m not going to apologize for the way Asians travel in packs or how fragrant their food smells ( which honestly is bomb so def no apologies here). I have learned so many things from both cultures which shapes who I am today. The Chinese culture has taught me to be selfless, respect elders, and to be open and loving towards others. The American culture has taught me to be hardworking and to fight for your dreams. It’s impossible to get anywhere in this world without putting work in and wanting to put work in.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve been able to appreciate the eccentricities of my culture. I love being able to share my culture with my friends of other backgrounds (hit me up if you want to learn how to properly eat dim sum at the best hole-in-the-wall in New York). Instead of hiding my cultural differences, I’ve learned to embrace and even showcase them. We all have struggle and this is one close to heart for me, so thanks for taking the time to understand where I’ve come from and how my struggle has influenced the woman I am today.