The past few months have been more than busy, busy enough that I had no time to make a blog post and keep people updated on my ongoings. To that end, I can only apologize. It has been quite the turbulence, and anyone knowing I went to San Francisco recently will understand I did not mean to pun there. For once.
I had a difficult spell in February around Valentine’s Day, mostly because I had taken interest in someone and one weekend was ripe for a lot of frustrations. Keeping in mind we are not committed, just interested in seeing how things go. He has to meet some standards before I can consider, and he knows it. Either way, I made a friend and I do value my friendships. Our cultural clashes combined with some defensiveness on his part caused some hurt, and I was not the kindest in handling it when already having a lot of misfortune (for a Lunar New Year). Fortunately, it all worked out. We are hoping we have a better understanding of each other now.
I made it to San Francisco and just a week ago, I returned. Not only did I get to see some friends I have not seen in years, I also had the privilege of watching a very awesome dissertation. The Golden Gate bridge was not the only wonderful experience I had in San Francisco, and I would say that my love for the city was something else.
For once, I did not feel like I stuck out like a sore thumb. Despite that I have a lot of European ancestry in me, I still have one of those looks that begs people to ask, “Where are you from?” or “What is your ethnicity?” Thus, my multiracial experience is not the same as some other Eurasians who are more passing. In both cases, we do not generally look like our more Asian relatives. I have been mistaken as more than a handful of other ethnicities, though. Having a break from that, likely because I am surrounded by many others like me, was rather nice.
A little trivia, for anyone who is curious: according to local gossip, San Francisco is 40% people of Asian descent, either ‘pure-blooded’ according to the U.S. blood quantum standards, or with Asian ancestry. Thirty percent or so of the population is coded Caucasian/White and the rest of the population are a good split between African-American, Latinx, and a sliver of the “Other” category. In an ideal world, this would not and should not matter, but it sadly does until we figure out how to resolve it. Multiracial children, saying this as a multiracial child myself, will not resolve the issue of racism, and we complicate it a whole ton in the process. More needs to be done than celebrating people mingling. Just as race is a social construct, so are many other things we have to pay attention to in life, and we risk being blindsided by ignoring it. France has tried, with the best intentions and not the ideal results. Then again, we can all deconstruct race, gender, and many other social constructs of society while still respecting one’s identity to either.
And by respecting identity to either of the above, no, I do not mean by okaying a Rachel Dolezal. She tried to lie about her background from the start and never apologized for it. As much as I hate the blood quantum rules for how they are used against legitimate multiracial and multicultural people, she needed to be upfront about her background. It was not like the journalist who impersonated African-American people for the purpose of discovering just how hard they had it, and was honest about it. Some people I speak with from the African-American community were rather sympathetic to that and would choose including this person over Rachel Dolezal any day. At least the person was willing to embrace the baggage, and understand. People using Dolezal as an example of just picking-and-choosing group affiliation, while defending her, really do not get why people were upset over her stunt.
To one degree or another, Elizabeth Warren also exploited the Native population to a lesser degree by not checking with them before choosing to “represent” them. After having seen that, I am suddenly grateful that the process for having government funding from Native ancestry is as strict as it is, despite that, I heard stories about my great grandfather on my maternal grandfather’s side of the family. Because I never had met any of my relations from this part of my family tree, it makes absolutely no sense to attempt representing that experience. My mother’s family on my grandmother’s side is the one I know the most and spent a significant of my time around growing up.
I digress. So, I felt like I belonged in San Francisco. I would live there if I had the resources to afford it. Sure, I would have to adjust to several subcultural norms and get used to being in a metropolis again. Last time I lived in a metropolitan area was maybe when I lived the Denver metro or in southern California.
Speaking of complex cultural identities: I have taken an initiative that is ambitious, exciting, and also terrifying. I had been asked to put together a committee for doing an early celebration of Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. In good conscience, I could not do it without having a committee involved, especially without a committee that included people of multiple Asian backgrounds. Doing any celebration of anything without the community in question involved is little more than cultural appropriation, so I am thankful there had been people happy to help with this. It has never been done in the university where I work so this will be a first. Because of commute and scheduling issues, I could not have someone from the nearby Southeast Asian communities speak, so I am being asked to supply that part of our proceedings.
To do this, I basically made sure to compare the stories I remembered to my mother’s and grandmother’s account, making sure I am not forgetting important details. I also sought my grandmother’s blessings for this endeavor. It was only right. Because my experience is something one might consider peculiar, I am also making sure people understand that. After all, not all people with my make-up are so closely raised in the Asian-American community. One other Eurasian I met who is 1/4 Asian very much had no connection to her father’s family, who was the Asian one, and very much passes as Caucasian. No multiracial experience is the same.
Still, I am finding that my case is not too out of the ordinary like it used to be. The article here has indicated as much. It was eight years ago when the article was written, but it is becoming more relevant even now. Fortunately, I have some family members and some peers from the Asian-American community who are very supportive of me. They have been encouraging me to do more on keeping connected to that part of my ancestry while striking my own path. When I was stuck in the airports and in the air for over twenty and a half hours, I spent a lot of the time writing silly poetry about my background. These particular poems are not something I will share on my blog because they were an inspiration from a very special poem, one that many think I should look into publishing. So for now, no one will see them.
I sadly have not been working on my novel as much with my interest in other initiatives. It is not something I am doing away with, I just simply have not had time. During my stay in San Francisco, I did a lot of sightseeing, walking, but also spending time with my friends. It was going out, hanging out with them, and then bed. And repeat. This past week, I did a few days of over-time. I do not regret taking on additional projects. It has been very exhausting though, and I hope I can soon get into a groove.
And, I am hoping I am not getting sick. I have been absurdly tired this weekend. There had been occasional coughs. Perhaps it is all the trees doing their thing causing it all. Regardless, I will be in a groove again soon enough. Spring break is next week, so I have fewer classes I need to attend. I will have a few hours more to do what I need most: spend time on my own things.
Please be good to yourselves, everyone. I will try to be more regular with my updates.