I was adopted into a white family and probably have one of the whitest names ever…Jessica Miller.
I lived in a predominately white town. I was one of maybe 3 asians in my school. There might have been 1 or 2 black kids. And one Indian kid.
Kids don’t always understand what they say, so I got asked a lot of questions just because of curiosity. And because I was a little kid, I didn’t know how to handle them.
- Why didn’t your REAL parents not want you?
- Why are your eyes so small?
- Is it difficult for you to see?
- Why don’t you have eyelashes?
- You must be smart, you are asian!
- You’re a chink! (I had no idea what this meant and just stood blank faced)
Through those years, I developed a habit of making fun of myself because I was asian to make a joke of it. If I was laughing at it, I wouldn’t feel as bad, right?
I even did something recently. Someone had mentioned that they wear their ponytail really tight when they get stressed. I said, “Well I’ll know that you’re really stressed when you start to look like me!! No one was making fun of me when I said this, and no one has ever made fun of me in the environment that I was in. But, it has become a habit of mine.
Dave always tells me, “You don’t like when people make fun of you, so you shouldn’t either. It’s offensive.” I know that he is right, and I need to stop. This came to my attention even more one day.
I was leaving work, and some man-I think he was a parking attendant-looked at me and obnoxiously said, “Hiiii Chineeeese girl!”. All I said was, “I’m not Chinese.” Then I kept walking. All I wanted to say was, “Oooh hiiiii blaaaack boy!” I would never in my entire life say that to anyone but this man made me want to say it to him so he could see how inappropriate it was to say that to me. Would this same man say, “Hi white girl!!!!”? (Who knows…maybe he would? But the tone in his voice didn’t indicate this) Is every Asian person Chinese? Whenever people say an obnoxious comment to me they assume I’m Chinese.
Senior year of high school I went to Disney World with my girlfriends. We were at the pool and these little white children were screaming “Chink! Chink!! You are Chinks!!!” I was there and two of my other girlfriends who are half asian. We were very offended and talked to the people at the front desk, but they couldn’t do anything. The children’s parents were right there. How could they let their children say this?
In college I had some trucker guys drive by and shout out gibberish as of they were speaking an Asian language and then they broke out in hysterical laughter. Is it really funny? I don’t think it is.
So why do I make fun of myself when I don’t like when others do it. If people hear me do it-some people will assume it is right. I should set and example. I think it might take me a little while to stop teasing myself because I’ve been so used to doing it-thinking it would make me feel better about other people saying things.
Luckily people from school grow up and don’t say things like that, but that doesn’t help how I felt then and not everyone in the world does grow up.
I think this is one reason why I really want to adopt a child from Korea. My child will look asian regardless, but I still want to adopt at least one child. I want to be able to make this child feel special and proud of their heritage even when they are young. Whereas when I was little, I was ashamed and kind of just wanted to be a pretty white girl. I hope by the time I have kids that the other kids are more mature. And I hope to learn more about my Korean background and visit someday. Maybe I will go when it is time to start a family and I can find my child-to-be!
I don’t want this post to be taken as a negative post. I really want it to be positive realization. I know that people who say rude comments don’t understand or haven’t been educated enough. By myself teasing myself is making them think it’s ok and it’s not! And it doesn’t just happen to Asian people. It happens to everyone. So make sure you stand up for how you feel and don’t let others hurt you. You are who you are and you are beautiful! 🙂
Have you ever made fun of yourself to feel better about an issue?
Have you heard any racist comments that just make you angry?
What a Tired Tuesday…My Asian Eyes