Twitter user Hershey Neri shared how a simple question could easily offend someone.
She shared about an incident that happened during her second date with her boyfriend. The blogger asked her boyfriend, Josh, if he’s pure Chinese or Filipino-Chinese and he reacted in a way that she didn’t expect.
On my second date with my boyfriend, I asked him—are you pure Chinese or are you half Filipino?
His face was so transparent—I knew he got turned off by my question. Maybe even hurt.
Josh told her that even though his parents are Chinese, he grew up in the country, which makes him 100% Filipino.
He told me–“I’m 100% Chinese AND I’m also 100% Filipino. My parents are Chinese, but l grew up here. I love my country. I love my fellow Filipinos. I don’t understand why people ask me if I’m a half-because I’m not a half of anything. I’m proud to be Chinese and I’m also proud to be Filipino.”
Hershey realized how hard it must be for someone with ‘mixed blood’ to identify themselves in their community.
And that’s when I realized that I should be more careful questioning people about their identities. I can just imagine how hard it is for a person with “mixed blood” to identify with their community-because people may also have ahard time identifying with them.
The situation made her remember her cousin sharing how confusing his childhood was.
I have a cousin in America who once told me how confusing his childhood was. He was Filipino, but he lived and grew up in America. Pinoys there didn’t identify with him because he was culturally different-after all, he didn’t grow up in the Philippines. He knew how to speak Tagalog, but he didn’t know any Filipino tongue twisters. He liked adobo, but he didn’t
know how to play “Nanay Tatay”. He sometimes visits us in Manila but he didn’t grow up riding the jeep.
But at the same time, his American classmates bullied him because he was Asian -a minority. He looked different. His skin was brown, his hair black. He even got bullied in school for his non-Western packed lunch- ulam+kanin! He was a 10-year-old Filipino- American who just didn’t know where to fit in.
She proceeded to ask how someone’s nationality is defined.
Which brings me to question-when can we say that a person is truly Filipino? Truly American? Truly Chinese?
It’s hard to define it, because identities aren’ta cookie cutter thing. But one thing I’m sure of is this-
It’s not always about the shape of your eyes, the color of your skin, the texture of your hair.
It’s about your heart.