Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cultural Backgrounds, who are you?

I am a Vietnamese-American woman, and if there was any other racial backgrounds that I could pick I wouldn’t trade up my ethnicity for any other ones in the world. From Vietnamese culture to our country and our different religious beliefs, I am damn proud to have Vietnamese in my blood. Growing up was different though. When I was a child growing up in Eden Prairie there was a big part of me that wished I was White. There were so many things that I couldn’t do that other White kids could do because I was Vietnamese (or just Asian to them). I remember I could never sleep over at any of my school friends’ house for birthdays because my parents held certain beliefs that “We are Vietnamese, we don’t allow our children to sleepover at other people’s houses unless we are there with them.” especially because I was a girl! And one birthday I got my dad to let me sleep over (he was always easier going than my mom), but during the night, my mom called my friend’s house telling them that they were going to be over immediately to pick me up, after that night I remembered holding a grudge against my parents for not letting me stay. Even growing up in Richfield in my early teens, I got over the whole White thing and wanted to be Laos..took me awhile but I know who I am today, and I’m damn proud of it. I love the beautiful ao dai’s (traditional Vietnamese dresses), our fish sauce, our food, music, our people, our holidays, even the crazy stuff like superstitions…everything. Don’t get me wrong, I love other cultures, I just am proud to have the culture that I have. But am I so “Americanized” that I cannot recall the day where I first saw someone other than my ethnicity? I grew up with all different kinds of races and ethnic backgrounds that I think I’m pretty accepting and open minded about everyone, it was normal for me to walk into a classroom with a “rainbow” variety of kids. Today, was probably the first time I felt like a minority in a long time. Everyone in my intercultural class could relate to one another but me.

Growing up I hated that everyone in school who had dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, chinky eyes, and short, was automatically Chinese. Or when they call us 'Asian'' like it's an ethnic background. Yes, we're asian, but we're a sub group of that group, ignorant people! But now I love it when people guess my ethnic background, gives me a little taste of what I look like to others than those who already know who I am. I've gotten guesses on Korean, Chinese, and Japanese...I guess I look pale or something (haha..ok that was wrong, bad me for stereotyping).
It still amazes me how racial discrimination is still around though. You'd think since it's the 21st Century people would grow up and learn from past mistakes, but nope.
And it's funny how we conform to the "American" way so that we don't get discriminated. We now wear premium jeans and North Face gear just like "Americans"do. You don't see any one of us wearing those silk pj's they wear back in Vietnam out in the streets, and we did, we'd automatically assume they're "FOB." Yes, I'm guilty of this, but it's just funny isn't it? How we talk about how much different we are and blah blah blah but really we're still trying to conform to something?


Anticipating Release said...

you used to want to be LAO? what? damn. You're so cute in your ao dai! I think that ao dais are way sexier than most traditional asian dresses.

bebiix said...

its funny when people ask if you're asian. LOL