|My little self attending Japanese kindergarten in Kobe, Japan.|
I see that now the hashtag #MyAsianAmericanStory has joined the fray, and a lot of people are using it to whine about how they are mistreated. So let me tell you my #MyAsianAmericanStory.
I immigrated from Japan to the US when I was six. I got made fun of occasionally in school, yelled at by neighbor kids, and in 7th grade, our class was made to listen to a comedic routine (on cassette tape) that had some jabs at Japanese culture. The rude jokes hurt my feelings so much that I burst into tears in front of the whole class. Major embarrass. And of course when I got older, there were the guys who only liked me because I was another Asian-esque who fit into their Asian fetish. Gross.
If I search history, I can find that thousands of Japanese-Americans were put into internment camps during WWII though they had committed no crime. I can remember the story told by my grandmother in Japan, of how she was forced to move from her home because the city had been firebombed by the Americans. (Something you don't learn in American history books.)
But but but, does any race have a monopoly on suffering? Uh, no. Every person on earth has been mistreated by some other person on earth, simply because humans are cruel creatures who tend to dislike people different from themselves. If you search for sad stories involving your race, you’ll find them all day long. If you live life expecting people to harass you because of your race, it’ll happen constantly.
Knowing history is important. But using history to make excuses, create fake enemies, and find a personal ticket aboard the complain train is an insult to your ancestors and those who suffered before you. We are a nation of immigrants in a world of different races. It's about time people stopped dwelling on every possible negative thing and see how many good people surround them daily.
Oh, and here’s the latter part of my #MyAsianAmericanStory that continues to this day. Any negative comments regarding my race seemed to fade away and be replaced by kindly genuine interest and fascination. I'm not sure if everyone around me grew up, or I did. I've also learned to take a joke and will be the first to laugh about my rice addiction and actual need to create my eyelids in the morning with tape (#asiangirlproblems). Sure, I get an uneducated comment every now and again, but I don't let them bother me, because: seriously, does it matter? I live each day as an artist, my dream job. I have a lovely husband, fantastic family, and probably the cutest dog on earth. I have the greatest friends, and live in a wonderful community in a house which is safe and clean. I get to travel often, including visits back to Japan to see my sweet relatives and hilarious friends. I am very fortunate to belong to two countries which have so many positive things about them. My life is pretty great.
If you look around you, you will also probably see that that your life is great too. If it’s not… nothing in the whole world is holding you back from making it great. Fun quote from a TV show I’ve never watched: “When I feel sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story.”
#MyAsianAmericanStory, #asianproblems, #asiangirlproblems, #asiangirls, #immigration, #raceissues, #japaneseamerican, #japanese