Categorized | Opinion

Am I Asian enough?

By Agape Alfaro

From a young age I considered myself an Asian American. As I grew older, I began to struggle with my identity.

About a year ago, I told a classmate that my family was from the Philippines. The conversation led to them saying, “You’re not Asian.”

To me that was shocking. How was I not Asian? The Philippines is a part of Asia. I didn’t understand what they were implying and I was left confused.

Recently, I had a conversation with some friends about how they were kind of excited to see more Asians in the city. I questioned them, asking why they don’t act that way towards me and my Asian classmates. After all, we’re Asian as well. What makes us different from them?

A friend said I was like “the Taco Bell for Asians,” and that I was an “old” Asian.

What does that even mean? That I’m not an “authentic” Asian because I wasn’t physically born in the Philippines? Is is because I’m not completely familiar with the language and culture?

I knew that people had misconceptions of Asians, but maybe it’s on a much larger scale than I thought it to be.

Asia consists of 48 countries, yet when most people are asked which countries are Asian, most would reply with only China, Japan and Korea.

Not only are there many more Asian countries, Asians make up about 60 percent of the world population. That results in many Asians who aren’t acknowledged.

So where is the heart of the problem? How does the Asian community allow people to become aware of Asians?

You can’t base our Asianness by skin colors, eye shapes and other physical features. As a whole, Asians can look vastly different. Sure, some of us look like the Asian stereotypes that you see on T.V., but many look like stereotypical Africans, Caucasians or Latinos.

So if it’s difficult to judge who’s Asian based off of looks, do we base it off of culture? Because, yet again, depending on where Asians are from, there are going to be lots of differences in culture.

I can understand if people are confused on who’s considered Asian and who isn’t. That’s okay, even I can admit that I get confused too.

What’s not okay is being ignorant, and I feel like many fangirls for Asians aren’t taking that step to learn about countries and cultures.

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