Stop Erasing Me


One of these things is not like the other; one of these things does belong

Emma Franklin, Senior Editor

My grandmother is from the Philippines. She was born there, raised there, and then married a white man: my grandfather. They had six children, and the children look Pilipino. One of them was my father, who married a Japanese girl, and then a ginger girl from Tennessee.

I am pale but I am not white; I am white passing. My ethnicity is only part Caucasian; the other is Asian/Pacific Islander depending on the paper work. I do not sign that to get ahead of anyone; I check those boxes because they are who I am. I am not lying. I am not doing it to be a special snow flake. I am the ethnicity I sign.

I do benefit from the dominance of white culture because I do look white, but that is a problem with the overall culture, not with me or other white passing people of color. We do benefit from racism if we keep a part of ourselves hidden. I have a foot in both cultures and I feel like an outsider in both. I am too white and not white enough.

It also hurts because apparently Pilipino people are not even Asian. We do not count, whenever there is an Asian culture club it always ends up being a “let us talk about Japan” club. When people think Asian they think Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. People forget that Asia is a huge place, encompassing many countries and that does include the Philippine Islands. Since my father and I are a not very well known ethnicity we are also constantly being mistaken for a race in which we are not. Being “misraced” is better than just flat out being erased.

It is just me my mom and my dad. When the three of us go out it feels like a mother, daughter and step-father outing. When my dad and I go out alone, some people look at us like “what is this older brown man doing with this pretty young white girl?” I look a lot like my father except for the fact that he is brown and I am not, people assume that we are not related and then make assumptions about our relationship. I do not want to know what they assume but it is wrong

I know that it seems hypocritical of me to talk about not feeling welcome in spaces specifically for people of color, but I do think that white passing people do have valid concerns and valid experiences. No, I do not classify myself as a person of color, I am however a person of ethnicity. I do want to be heard and I do not want to be erased by either group I belong to.