Growing Up Asian American (Part 1)

I’ve recently been discussing the widely distinct yet powerfully unifying Asian American narratives in my Asian American film class. These discussions have subsequently brought back waves of memories from 2012 when, basically, the entire Asian American community on YouTube made videos like, “You know you’re Asian when…” My point here is that Asian American lives all have characteristics, funny or serious, that bring us together in shaping a voice for us to be heard. So here’s Part 1 of Growing Up Asian American.

1. When you were a kid and you sat down at the lunch table with rice and vegetables in your Tupperware whilst all your friends ate sandwiches:

2. When you have to explain foreign American things to your parents:

3. When kids didn’t have their own cellphones or iPads so we played with a deck of cards (Big 2, anyone?):

4. When you tried to assimilate with the majority:

5. When you go home with a grade that’s not ideal:

6. These bowls:

7. When people stereotyped you because of the Asian characters they saw in movies (like being a martial arts master…):

8. The sound of people shouting in an Asian supermarket is music to your ears:

9. When you were in elementary school and you didn’t know how you should draw yourself:

10. When your bilingualism surprises people because they thought you couldn't possibly speak both English and an Asian language:

11. When this conversation is all too familiar to you:

All Asian American experiences are different and it’s nice to reminisce and joke about our commonalities. However, it’s also really important to be aware of the struggles we all have because, even though sometimes it can definitely feel like we’re the only ones having them, we’re not. And it’s time we speak up and share our stories. Stay tuned for Part 2.