Thursday, May 7, 2015

I am American.

I am American. 

You might read that post title and wonder why I would use that for a title. Well, it's because I am. 
I don't know how long you've been reading my blog or if you even know me in real life, but I felt that it was necessary to state that I am, in fact, an American. You might wonder again, what is making me say that? 

Well, if you haven't noticed, I am Asian American. To be more specific, I am Filipino American. What I am trying to say is that I am a born and raised American. 

However, people don't always think that. 

I grew up in an area where minorities were the majority, so while I've always known that I was American, it wasn't something that I ever thought about because almost everyone around me was born and raised in America too, with the exception of a few people. And you could tell which of those people were not born in America. 

However, when I came to college in a higher class area where there were much more white people than minorities, I was met with an interesting experience. For the first time, people asked me if I was from America, when I moved to America, and even when I learned English. 

My American identity was challenged, and it confused me. 

It sounds bizarre, or maybe you think it's a completely valid question, but mind you--English is my first language and I really don't speak with a Filipino accent. I will also add that the people asking me these questions were people that I just met. 

So why is this important or relevant to you, regardless of your race? Well Asian Americans tend to have that stereotype of being the "forever foreigner," that even people who speak perfectly well English are assumed to be immigrants because they are Asian-looking. 

For people who did not grow up around a large population of Asians, your only encounters are probably from what is portrayed on tv and movies as well as probably stereotypical Asian shop owners when you go to an Asian shop or restaurant. So I can't blame you for thinking that most Asians you see are foreigners, however, it probably isn't very polite to ask them if they are from America or when they learned English if you just met them anyway. 

If you ask someone where they're from and they tell you, don't follow up with "Where are you REALLY from?" if they give you a place that doesn't look like a country you think they would be from. Also, just never ask someone about how well their English is, no matter the race. It just isn't very polite. 

So there.

I am American. I am a Filipino who was born and raised in America, and English is my first language. I like living in America, but I am also very proud of my Filipino culture. I may not look like what people perceive to be "American," but I can definitely say that I am American. 

After all, we live in a country of immigrants. That's how this country got started, so naturally, there will be a bunch of immigrant families making up America. And in that, we are all American. 

Many of you may or may not know this, but May is Asian Pacific Islander Month, and I figured to bring more awareness and to incorporate more of my passion for diversity on the blog, I figured having API Heritage Month as this month's theme for the blog would be perfect. 

I hope you will read along with me and explore the Asian American culture with me! (and I hope you learn something as well!)
Chau for now

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