May. 13th, 2007

Hapa

May. 13th, 2007 09:37 am
asterroc: (doll)
A new word - Hapa - is the Hawaiian slang that refers to people who are part Asian or Pacific Islander. This video article discusses some of what it's like. It's a really good article, I don't think I realized that my identity issues were common to lots of "mutts." Mentioned about how the 2000 US Census was the first one with the ability to check more than one box, and therefore NOT have to choose one half over the other, people's attempts to guess what I am, being able to "pass" on one side or the other and yet not fitting either...

The main interviewee Kip Fulbeck has a book out called Part Asian, 100% Hapa in which he shows photographs of part-Asian people and each wrote a statement on a slip of paper, in which they were to answer "What are you?" When people ask me that, I usually reply "American," and only once I've seen that it's sunk in do I go on to explain I'm half Chinese and half Jewish.

I still want a "part" ethnicity word that doesn't put the Asian ahead of the Caucasian, but this's definitely a step in the right direction. It used to strike me that words like Nuyorican or Cablinasian were unecessary, but now I feel it's important to affirm all parts of my heritage, so I do think they're needed.

ETA: And here's another CNN video about Hapas.

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