To My Future Half-Asian Child

  • Chances are still high you will look different from your classmates. You will have to find pride and strength in being just who you are.
  • Chances are still high you won’t learn the history of people who look like us, even though American history and definitions of citizenship (who “belongs”) have been shaped by Asian Americans for centuries. Even though the American railroad, entire regions, and entire industries (including the one your dad and I work in today) have been built on the backs of Asian immigrants. You will have to seek out and share this history. Our stories are American stories.
  • Chances are still high you will be assumed to be weak, passive, too smart or too strict (beware the model minority myth, it is used to pit us against the Black community). You will rarely be seen as “from here,” no matter how loudly you speak in your accent-free English. Too American to your family in Asia, and to most everyone else not American enough (simply because of how you look). You will grow to love living in between cultures, in between worlds. It will help you see each one more clearly.
  • Chances are still high you will be the butt of the joke in conversations, TV shows, movies — and no one will say it’s wrong. You will find your voice. You will learn to call it out even when few are brave enough to back you up. Many are still learning how to speak up. Many will get it wrong.
  • Chances are high you will succeed if you set your sights on a goal. Even so, you will rightfully wonder just how far you can rise in your ambitions. You will wonder what ceilings you’ll bump up against next. But you won’t let it stop you from trying anyway.

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I write about personal growth, identity, and leadership. Product marketing director @ FB Financial, formerly @instagram @foursquare. @ForbesUnder30 alum.

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Nina Yiamsamatha

Nina Yiamsamatha

I write about personal growth, identity, and leadership. Product marketing director @ FB Financial, formerly @instagram @foursquare. @ForbesUnder30 alum.

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