(To the left) This is what I brought for lunch to elementary school: a rice ball (a ball of white rice rolled up in dried seaweed). A couple of weeks later, I asked my mother to stop packing them, to pack me sandwiches instead. In Japan, it is normal, even expected for a kid to eat rice balls for lunch. In America, it was considered gross and weird. As I soon discovered, those who bring it to school can be considered gross and weird as well.
We are the kids with the "chinky" eyes, and the nerdy clothes. We are the kids that bring weird foods to school that smell funny and look foreign. We think that we must be doing something wrong, that being Asian is somehow a curse, a sin. And so we come home, and strive to disassociate ourselves with our culture. But then, our family becomes the problem. They ask us why, even get angry with us. Why aren't you proud of your culture? Why are you ashamed of me? Why don't you want to, do, eat, have this? What is wrong with you?
Today, I talk again about what this blog is truly about: to create a space for Asian Americans. I don't blame my culture, or even the people that called me a freak. I know now that people fear what they don't understand. This includes myself. I was terrified. Of being different, of being hated, I'm not sure. But I knew I felt alone. This blog was developed to promote the establishment of an Asian American identity. So many of us have these experiences. A way to deal with these emotions is to share them, and to identify with others who have similar issues. None of us are alone.
Racism is bullying. And bullying gets better. Later in my life, my rice ball lunches were something people approached me about; they wanted to try it, and kept asked me what it was. Honestly, it was a pretty great conversation piece. :) But same as bullying, to fight racism, you must actively try to do something about it.
As an Asian American, my racial background is a large part of my identity. So, I decided to educate myself, and become more aware of my culture. And now, I have started this blog. This is my way of fighting. What's yours?