7 Things My Biracial Sons Will Be Asked Because They Look More Asian Than White

July 14, 2015: Disclaimer: I’m no expert, but I’m a mom and teacher operating in my spaces situated in history. I’m not here to invalidate anyone truly willing to dialogue with me, because:

1. I am a real person.

2. My sons are real people.

3. My politics are personal and the personal is political. There’s context.

4. I work and exist in many spaces: Asian American, Toisan, Chinese, immigrant, feminist, straight, LGTBQ, brown, black, liberal, even some conservative, mostly post-colonial and my most new spaces are white spaces. because life… but I am not a cultural relativist. Nor am I an Anglo-phile or an imperialist sympathizer. Nor do I hate my Asian American brothers. Accusations of that nature will not get the light of day on this blog post. (Nor do I hate being Chinese American or Asian American or Asian and want to infect my sons with internalized racism and self-hatred.)

4.5 (and as for Asian American woman privilege, I do want to expand on that critique and also give space in my responses about my relationship with my kids’ white/Italian NYC type of father…but, why colonize my life with your presuppositions about me? And to respond to the many comments about my rejecting Asian men “all my life”; I have never dated a white dude prior to my kids’ father.  I only dated Asian American men by choice (personal and political) and social geography helped–Yayy Area! Moving to NYC really changed my social geography and because LIFE! ) Please, complicate the shit! For those that have or have tried to, I appreciate it…honestly ( even if I may have incensed you with this post–I’m a blogger who posted like 3 posts prior to this one…so I know there’s room for growth.  So, there is so much room for dialogue and context building if anyone is actually interested in that…I’m unsure as of right now.)

5. My time here is limited as I am off the summer running after my sons who are napping right now. I’m also new to this universe. My Android phone is like 2nd generation old and has no memory and I just learned about Reddit, like a few months ago.

6. So this blog post is definitely limited–so that’s why I’ll respond more in-depth in a later post if anyone actually cares–kids’ naps are almost up.

Thanks for reading thus far.

My biracial sons are turning out to be quite Asian looking. I can’t help but wonder what life would be like for them had they looked more white, like their dad. I won’t lie and say, while these babies were growing in my belly, that I hadn’t hoped that they would come out a racial melange. What if they looked straight Chinese, like me?

As they get bigger each day, it is becoming more and more apparent that they look like two cute little Asian boys.

Boy, did we miss something BIG here? Did my sons miss the chance to snag the coveted golden ticket of whiteness?! So close yet so far?! Did they win the ticket to the chocolate factory but forget to wake up in time for the tour?

Edit: If I ever imagined I’d be spitting such tragic colonial rhetoric, I would admit that I never knew fear until I had kids.
Do I think my kids’ will have an easier life as white men as opposed to being seen as Asian? Yes.
Is this fucked up? Yes. Racism is fucked up.

For instance, what if they grow up to be short but they LOVE playing basketball like their father did as a kid?  Would I be blamed for this due to my 5’ 1” stature in their myopic adolescent tirades?  Their Chinese grandfather barely clears 5’ 3”. And yes, their father is southern Italian, so not much of the tall genes there either, but we all know the Asian will be blamed for this genetic demerit. Man, my sons will be pissed once they realize they’ve inherited my physical stature, right? In due time, they will be reminded of this.

These were the common thoughts a subversive Asian American mommy like me pondered as other mothers-to-be were planning what sheets they wanted to buy for their babies’ cribs to match other window coverings.

Mothers of color worry about these things. We worry about crib sheets too, but we do not have the option to be colorblind in either case.

I’ve even uttered the common refrain that mixed Asian + white kids are just the cutest and always a winning combination to stay status quo.  Now that I see my sons look more Asian, have I somehow upheld the racial status quo, or do I work consciously to subvert racial hierarchies?

So I pose the thought:  how will perceptions of my biracial sons shape their experiences? What will they be asked throughout their lifetime as perceived Asian men as opposed to white men? The inspiration behind this post came when I read an account of this white father who shared (In light of the emerging mass protests against the murders of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers.) what he could do as a white man that his black son may not have so easily accessible to him. And this reporter who penned a letter to her daughter to prepare her for the inevitable experiences with discrimination, captured the melancholy of racism. Then what about these twin sisters, one white and one black but twinnies nonetheless!

What These 2 Girls Have In Common Seems Impossible, It's So Unlikely!!!
Twin Sisters. For Real.

Here are 7 things my biracial sons will be asked throughout their lifetime because they look more Asian than white:

  1. Being asked if they speak English.

This may not happen until they look old enough to know how to explain directions to someone. Furthermore, this will only need to happen once for them  to realize that to some people, they don’t look like they belong here in America.

  1. Being asked if they speak Chinese or Japanese or Korean…

My two sons have an Asian-looking mom who speaks broken Chinese.  Most people will think my sons are either Chinese, Japanese or Korean. At some point in their lives, they will be asked if they speak any of the trifecta of East Asian languages. It pays to be on safe side and have all bases covered when one makes cultural assumptions. I’m not sure if my sons will learn Chinese on their own, but I’m quite sure that they are not going to learn the language from me, as sorry as that may sound.

  1. Being asked to be the expert of all things Asian.

Since they look more Asian they are then by default the expert on all things Asian.  They will be asked why people at “Chinese food” places don’t eat the food they cook. They will be asked what the weather is like in China and why Chinese people eat that weird shit. It won’t be a surprise to me if they’ll be asked if they are sympathetic to communists. They may be asked what snuff jars are or who Li Bo was. They may even be asked to quote Confucius, every Chinese person’s dad. Maybe they’ll even know the answers–which would be awesome, but it’s likely they may even be chastised for not knowing any of the answers to the questions for which they are being asked.

  1. Being asked if they eat cats, dogs, rhino’s, and dragons.

Okay, I’ll make a half-hearted concession. For the average American palate, Asian cuisine contains some weird shit. Stuff with bones it in, scales, eyes, necks, vegetables, creepy crawly things that you dry and mash up with a mortar and pestle and then drink it up in the name of health. And yes, there are regions in many parts of Asia where the consumption of what the average American treats solely as pets as opposed to food in the meat aisle, is rather normative.  So, it is likely, my sons will be asked whether they’ve tried canines or cats because it is a joke so often echoed under the breath of the person ordering that sesame chicken or General Tso’s. Ha. Ha. It’s a knee-slapper. Racism is so funny! What my sons will have to learn; however, is that such questions are really just declarations confirming how otherworldly or unassimilable the people making the food or behind the counter, appears to the customer. My sons may be that person behind the counter or at least look a lot like him frying up that rat.

  1. Being asked if they have small penises.

We can measure (excuse the pun) the likelihood of this happening by the level of how “Asian” they look. The inheritance of the trope of the emasculated Asian man born with a small penis depends on what is on the surface more than what’s under those tighty whiteys (excuse the pun).

  1. Being asked if their penis size is attributed to their Italian side.

Say they are heavily endowed. Their partners may, by default, assume that their European genes gifted them with generous genitalia. That would explain it. End of story.

  1. Being asked where they are from (and they don’t mean what city).

The question that starts it all. They may develop a nervous tick because of this question. Again, being asked this is just confirmation that my sons’ facial features remind people that they look like they may be from somewhere else…like Shandong, China or Kamakura, Japan. My sons will have to develop creative responses to this question like, “New York City.”

Because that’s where my sons are from.  Because my sons are as much white as they are Chinese. Because it doesn’t matter. Because the answer is so beyond simply being American (Please don’t lie to them and say “We’re all the same.” while ignoring the awesome benefits of being white.) And because America is so “colorblind”, we’re left in the dark even as we explain ourselves until we’re blue in the face.

640px-President_Barack_Obama
President Barack Hussein Obama: Our 23rd Irish-American President!
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20 thoughts on “7 Things My Biracial Sons Will Be Asked Because They Look More Asian Than White

  1. i’ve read this three times, and i still don’t know what to say.
    i won’t have children because there is a chance i will have a son, and i don’t want to make anyone live my life. so there are two things to do. give up or fucking overturn some applecarts until your nephew gets to make that choice for other, better reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the share! I have conversations with my partner all the time about this. He’s more convinced than me that “things are different.” I disagree with him wholeheartedly, considering I still experience microaggressions multiple times a month: particularly since I stand out like a sore thumb in my predominantly white, latino and black work settings (NYC public school teacher.) I wish I could agree with him, but I can’t.

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    1. In my limited experience, one being “convinced” things are different for Asian males is a position taken only by a party with racial privilege. It indicates (1) ignorance over recent and ongoing data showing the multitude of social and sexual dysfunction asian men get as their prize for choosing the wrong family prebirth, and (2) racial privilege because, to be crude, white dicks aren’t on the chopping block.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I tell my partner that he’ll be heartbroken the day our sons experience their first racial slight. I know it will happen. I know for certain it will; and hopefully, they are informed by these experiences to be bad asses.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You should of thought of all these things before you procreated in western society. Read Elliot Rodger’s manifesto, he hated being 1/2 asian so much he went on a murder spree.

    As an asian female you will never know the struggles of asian/eurasian males in western society. How many positive role models do they have? they’re all going to be the kim jong un/psy/jackie chans/gay guy from hungover.

    Get him out of America before he hates himself. Western society is toxic enough as it is for the asian male, but for the eurasian male who does not fit in they will go insane.

    Elliot Rodger:
    “I envied the cool kids, and I wanted to be one of them. I had to make every effort to rectify this. I had to adapt. My first act was to ask my parents to allow me to bleach my hair blonde. I always envied and admired blonde-haired people, they always seemed so much more beautiful.”

    Wilkes McDermid:
    The reason for my death is simple. I have concluded that in the realm of dating and relationships the primary characteristics required for men are as follows.
    Height: above 5ft10
    Race: huge bias towards caucasian and black
    Wealth: or other manifestation of power
    https://wilkes888.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/my-final-blog-entry-love-you-all/

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    1. Yikes. I hear you. See, I know a shit load of Asian dudes that don’t have this fatalistic view of being Asian and they get trim. It’s a battle my sons will fight (if they do) and it’s the job of a mom like me to worry the crap out of it, but I can’t move–I rather learn to fight and I rather my sons learn to fight and learn to fight and be….men about it. Thanks, I hear you and I’m going to read those pieces when I get a chance. No to E.R. though…not giving more psycho’s hits. He’s just as bad as Dylan Roof–which I definitely have a few things to say about….

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      1. Getting trim… it’s awesome, yes… but there are layers of damage beyond that. Internalized hatred, maladaptive behaviors, continuing hostility over time. the fewest of this demographic will get to experience that which you hold primary in your love of life….marriage and starting family.

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      2. I hear you bro. I worry bro and I will fight it with my sons…as much as this mommy can. I work things on an intersectional tip. Some of these bros are spitting some misogyny which undermines any attempt at subversive work. And it is work and agency…. Thanks for the counterpoint. Solidarity with real dialogue.

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      3. Hi-yah! Karate chop right? Anyway, I got nothing but love for my bros.
        In all seriousness though, if we can sit at the table, metaphorically, and really face to face, this Asian mommy, who has always loved her Asian American brothers and sons, would happily “dialogue” with you more. Thanks for the share and I’ll check your blogs out later — when I really get a minute. Seriously. Peace out son.

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  4. I was going to write a comment but my comment became so long that I turned into a blog post. http://everydayvoices15.com/2015/07/25/biracial-racism-in-all-its-glory-et-al/
    I hope you read it and see the other side…which is a biracial girl who looks more white than Asian.
    You are amazing and keep doing what you are doing. You sons will be fine and they’ll grow up to be amazing as well.
    One other thing, I didn’t know that my fellow Asian-American brothers are so angry and so full of angst ~ I have nothing but love for you all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First of all, thank you for your encouragement and your thoughtfulness. I’m sorry for not getting back to you earlier as my 17 month old has decided to become a climber all of a sudden. So I’ve been making dinner at lunch and making breakfast after dinner and re-childproofing all the nooks and crannies. (We’ll see if this amounts to anything!)
      In regards to your piece about being Hapa and passing as white, I really appreciate your candor on the matter. Racial identity is no easy package to unpack. We’re defined by how we’re seen so much as wlel because that dictates how we’re socialized (how we’re perceived, treated and ultimately, how we feel about ourselves!). I think social geography (neighborhoods ie. more white vs. more ethnic) also informs racialized people because we’re often informed by what we are NOT. As much as I would like it to be, racial identity is more of a choice for those what can pass as White..hence my whole post centered around what my sons would be asked because they don’t pass as White, even though they are. I can’t wait to find the time to read your posts. I scanned your titles and you sound like my cup of tea… (I’m making dinner right now.. hopefully kids will eat it.)

      As for your comment about angsty Asian Bros, I have to respond to that later with more literature; however, there is historical and social reasoning behind the archetype of the Asian-hating, White Loving Asian woman (colonialist, internalized racism, don’t want to date my little brother sorta thing and the emasculated Asian Man) It’s a common critique placed on Asian women who date non-Asian, but one often rife with misogny and hetero-normative ideation to offset that emasculated Asian man. It does deserve a lot of deconstruction and I see how some folks read my post within that framework; but the majority of the criticism really lost itself in painting me as a monolithic “white man lover hate asian brother” type of sister, without any consideration of my humanity nor my agency. They are wrong and I refuse to be someone’s masochistic punching bag.

      Much Feels,
      Subversive Mommy

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You should look at the subreddit https://www.reddit.com/r/hapas/ as well as some of the Eurasian male blogs. There is a lot of angst around precisely this issue of biracial sons of Asian moms, and their conflict with their Asian identity, especially when they themselves look Asian. This is a psychological pain that I myself as a Eurasian man have had to deal with. It seems from your post like you would never want to deliberately harm your sons self-esteem, and yet the little things like valuing white looks over Asian, or hoping your sons would look more mixed and less Asian (IE more white), come back to haunt you, when your son ends up looking Asian. And its both the implicit and explicit racism. For myself I identity with Asian male issues, and it should be no mystery to you, why I do, because you see in your own sons that they look like little Asian boys. But this puts me in conflict with my own parents, birth and identity. I feel extremely de-valued in Western society, and the flood of interracial marriage all in one direction, has done nothing to help my self-esteem in thinking that a Half-Asian male can be a man of value in American society.

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    1. Hi Hapa Man, Sorry for the late reply. I’ve been away from reliable Internets.

      I want to reply to your comment regarding:
      ” This is a psychological pain that I myself as a Eurasian man have had to deal with. It seems from your post like you would never want to deliberately harm your sons self-esteem, and yet the little things like valuing white looks over Asian, or hoping your sons would look more mixed and less Asian (IE more white), come back to haunt you, when your son ends up looking Asian. And its both the implicit and explicit racism.”

      I absolutely understand how you have developed that critique in what I consider my underdeveloped blog entry. I haven’t edited my piece or censored myself (only added a disclaimer to add context) because my entry is a snapshot into my workings at that moment.

      I have had no time to seriously engage in further explication of this as this will be my journey as a politically conscious mother– I think my entry may have missed the mark in expressing my newfound, guttural and animalistic FEARS of raising children of color. That fear is not rationale. That fear is pathological. In doing so, this may have sounded like complicity in racism–coupled with my attempt at expressing the hypotheticals of an easier life if my kids looked more white than the perceived subtext of my message–not my intention but the criticism is well taken.

      As an Asian American cisgender woman, I can relate to being de-valued. I wrote my entry from the perspective of a conflicted mother and within the framework of an imagined life with and without the burden I may or may not have passed onto my children–the burden of race. I also intended for my piece to be a “golden ticket” of satire BUT as most wannabe writers, I may not have expressed that tone even if my intent was there.

      Nonetheless, based on what I wrote, in its underdeveloped form, I understand your critique. When I have more time–I need time and more time, I will attempt to clarify–if you’re interested. The psychology for which you speak of is very familiar to me and it’s sobering. Thanks for the comment and sharing your own experience.

      Peace Out,
      Subversive Mommy

      Liked by 1 person

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