It's always a race issue. Especially where I'm concerned. I'm tired of people telling me what I am and what I'm not. First off I'm of mixed heritage, secondly, does it really matter? I identify with all my family's cultures, and I was brought up with the knowledge of them. So let me clear it up right now.
My parents before I was even thought about.
My mom is Chinese and Jamaican. Her mother is Chinese Jamaican and her father is Chinese - he came to Jamaica from China. My father is Indian Trinidadian. I can't give the specifics on his side because I don't speak to him, and for awhile I didn't know who he was. But that's another story all in its own. I was raised by my mother and grandmother. So I grew up well versed in the Jamaican and Chinese cultures. It wasn't until I was older that I learned about the Trini side. I do identify more strongly with my Chinese and Jamaican roots, but I embrace all of them.
Grandma, her mom and her kids
Grandma (my mom's side) and some of my uncles and aunt.
I hate it when people ask me what I am, and then tell me it doesn't mean anything because I wasn't born there. If anything, I tell most people I'm American. I'm never black enough, Indian enough or Chinese enough to be accepted by the various cultures. Throughout my high school years I spoke to different groups and cliques, but I really didn't belong anywhere. When all else failed I just hung out with the Latinas. Why not? I looked like one. For the most part I just pretend to fit in, knowing damn well I didn't really.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not going through an identity crisis. Far from it. It's the rest of the world who has issues with who I am. And I'm tired of it. I'm always judged by the way I look, especially when I'm in certain neighborhoods with a specific demographic. I always feel like I'm being judged too. When I'm hanging with the Caribbean or African American folks, it's always about me being too American, not knowing enough about my cultures and not having the accent. Not knowing about the hair, or all the struggles they have gone through. With the Indians, I'm not Hindu or Muslim, so I don't subscribe to the same beliefs, know enough about the food, or the clothes. Chinese people don't even count me as "one of them." I always speak too "white" and am told that I'm trying too hard to be better than everyone else. No I'm not.
It's like I can't just be myself and have people understand or appreciate that. It's complicated. But I know who I am and what I believe. At this point I'm just ignoring what everyone says. I am who I am, get over it.