We all have unconscious biases. That is, the beliefs we form about the identity of groups through personal experiences and societal norms.
What’s interesting about the biases around ABCs [Australian-born Chinese individuals] is the flittering reaction speed and switch response between feeling proud and feeling offended when my identity is questioned.
Sales professionals have taken one look at me and greeted me in Chinese. People of other ethnicities have asked me with intent, ‘Where are you from?’
It is the unconscious bias we all have which leads to the switch between pride and taking offence. I’ve felt affronted in both the scenarios above because I know that I am an ABC and it is almost as if I expect everyone else to know that as well. I know that my first language is English but I forget that my features and outward appearance give every indication that I am not local. I forget easily that the person on the other side sees only who I am on the outside, and this is my unconscious bias.
At the end of the day, my world is a wonderful calamity of my dual cultures. I love dumplings. I have blonde hair. I have never had ‘the talk’. I think all tourists should be warned of drop bears. I wash my chopsticks with tea at restaurants.
My dual culture fuels my sense of self and is what guides me in the celebration of multiculturalism and ongoing fight for diversity. Being an ABC is my hidden weapon and...I love it.