Hello, friend! Join us for tea, or grab another of your favorite drinks. June 12 is Loving Day! This is the celebration of the decision of the 1967 US Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia which struck down anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, making multiracial marriages legal in the US. Both Pineapple and Raspberry are children of mixed race marriages, and we wanted to honor the history and celebrate multiracial and multiethnic identities!
What is your family background and how does it fit into you and your life?
My mom is White, and my dad is Asian. My dad is actually mixed ethnic as well, half Japanese and half Filipino. Growing up, and still, I don’t know that much about the Philippines because my grandfather cut off ties when he left. I’m not sure if it’s because of the times he came over to the states or for personal reasons, but apparently he became really interested in my grandmother’s Japanese culture. So growing up, I had some of that from my aunts and my dad.
I think that it’s definitely impacted some of the choices I’ve made and some of the friends I’ve made, whether I knew it or not. A lot of my friends are multiracial as well. My family makes egg rolls on the 4th of July and on New Years. I’m not sure when that started, but it’s always been a fun tradition of ours.
My dad is White, and my mom is born-Korean/raised in the US for almost all her life. I was raised without really knowing much about Korea, and I definitely have memories of being told by adults that I should just ‘pass’ for White. I think I learned about Korean culture when Apple introduced me to K-pop in college? High school? And then I took interest in learning more about the history and culture and language. Then I moved to Korea to connect more with this side of my heritage. So I think being mixed race affected me a lot.
Are there specific struggles you’ve faced as a multiracial person? What are some uniquely good things you’ve seen or experienced?
The “what are you?” question!!!! Growing up, it didn’t bother me. I thought, ah yes, this is how people ask this question. Nowadays, I make people clarify what they mean. I’m pretty open about myself, so I don’t mind talking about it at all, but people have to be respectable about it. I hate when forms don’t let you pick more than one ethnicity or race. I occasionally feel… othered? By one side of my family when they talk about my other side. I’ve never been able to figure out if it was a multiracial thing or just a family who isn’t close thing, but sometimes people would assume it was an Asian thing when it was really just a my parents thing, or someone would assume it was a White thing when it was really just a not-them thing. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I am ultimately my parents’ child, not the child of my aunties’ heritage.
Like I said in the first question, a lot of my friends are multiracial. I’ve gotten to know them and do so many fun things with them. There’s so much culture in being multiracial. There’s a lot of struggle, but a lot of fun, too. I’ve gotten to blend things into something entirely new. I don’t have to give up one part of myself to experience something else, and that’s a lesson a lot of people could learn.
I mean, I’m constantly getting the “what are you?” question from people. I grew up in a mostly non-Asian area, so I didn’t really identify with my Korean background until college. When I moved to Korea, I also got confused looks from locals, who sometimes mistook me for White and other times mistook me for full Korean and seemed shocked when I opened my mouth and an American accent popped out. I’ve felt out of place in both my hometown and Korea, because it feels like each place only kinda fits me. A good thing I guess is that I’m ethnically ambiguous enough that I can pass for a local in most places. When I traveled solo in Thailand and India, I was mistaken for a local a few times, which probably helped me stay safe haha.
Are there any books or media that you’ve seen with multiracial relationships or characters you enjoyed?
I am constantly on the lookout for multiracial rep! One of my favs, I can’t recommend it enough, is I am Princess X by Cherie Priest. Also, The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig was a really fun read. There is a sequel, but I haven’t read it yet. (It’s on my TBR shelf!) Natasha Tretheway’s 2012 poetry collection Thrall is one that every time I read, I get something new out of it. She mentions the struggle of not looking like your parents, which is something I really vibe with sometimes.
The tv show 9-1-1: Lone Star has a really cute mixed race couple! In Texas! They had a baby!
I am very excited when I find mixed-race couples, especially when different cultures come into play. There was a YA romance novel I read recently called Counting Down with You that I really loved. I feel like there aren’t enough mixed-race relationships and characters though, so I’m always trying to make my own haha.
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