Growing up, others taught me that my language, my mother’s native tongue, was a party trick. I was asked to dole out silly sentences in Chinese for the amusement of my white classmates. In college, others taught me that being half Taiwanese meant I was either to help men check off “Asian” on their metaphorical fuckit lists or to serve as yet another conquest in the name of yellow fever.
These attempts at teaching me failed, though. I started an entire blog dedicated to fashion and feminism, where I began to tackle issues of race and culture. My most read blog post to this day tackled fetishization and enjoyed 15 minutes of fame on the infamous (but very problematic) hapa thread on reddit.
I’m about to graduate with a double major in Chinese and Advertising, have interned at Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and even marched in Obama’s inaugural presidential parade as part of an accoladed Chinese folk dance troupe.
If anything, those attempted lessons taught me to value my heritage and culture and be proud of it. They taught me to value myself and refuse to let others diminish my worth and where I come from. I grew up proud of my culture and intend to show others exactly why my culture is so damn amazing.