Ok week 15 of #TWmememorymondays! Read this OR watch me talk through it via instastories. Something is wrong with my instastory highlights, but hopefully I will get it fixed so you can browse back to the different weeks.
This week and I think for the next couple weeks I'm going to focus on what contributes to this almost subconscious shame of being Chinese or Asian or not white. Woof.
Today's memory calls for a bit of background. I was basically born into a really tight knit chinese church community that was a huge part of my childhood. My family and I were a big part of that community up until I got Junior high. So apart from classes I took via homeschool groups, my main social group were other Asians from church.
I remember when I was a bit older (maybe 8 or 9) this conversation that wasn't uncommon between my friends and I. It was a casual conversation of how many white friends we had, and basically the more you have the cooler you are. The less white friends you had, the more "Asian" you are. Or that's at least how it computed in my head.
The part that really stuck in my memory was my thought process after that conversation. I felt embarrassed I didn't have more white friends and the worry that I was really Asian or foreign. It felt like I was losing at this game or competition of who can know the most white people and who can associate most with white people. I felt shame for being Chinese, and I felt like it drug me down in my social group (I probably didn't think this but I also felt like it drug me down in society as a whole).
The assumption was that you get ahead of this game of life if you associate with white people...or even better - come off as white to other people. That assumption was the water I was swimming in. It was obvious, and sadly was and is true. At a very young age I was highly aware of it, especially having immigrant parents.
White supremacy was strong and reigned back then as it still does now. The more foreign and brown or black you come off as, the more disadvantaged you are in society. .
This is one tiny piece of my unraveling and freeing myself from the chains of shame.
#TWmemorymondays: A painting inspired by a memory every Monday of 2018. Connecting abstract art to real life. Week 15/53. 'Game' / 8x8 in / mixed media on paper