CULTURE Chinese-American woman's tweets make emotional discussion about self-identity

CULTURE

Chinese-American woman's tweets make emotional discussion about self-identity

By Grace Song | People's Daily app

06:02, September 16, 2018

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(Photo: Kimberly Yam's Twitter)

Los Angeles (People's Daily) - Kimberly Yam, an Asian Voices editor at Huffington Post, recently posted several tweets about her struggling experience on self-identity, which evoked responses from many netizens to share their own stories about being different cultures.

Yam said that self-identity and recognition are the most difficult aspects for her as a Chinese-American.

However, the recent film “Crazy Rich Asians” inspired her to be proud of being Chinese.

“You’re 25 years old. You see a movie with an all-Asian cast at a screening and for some reason you’re crying, and you can’t stop,” Yam wrote. “You’ve never seen a cast like this in Hollywood. Everyone is beautiful. You’re so happy you’re Chinese.”

Yam said she was not always confident about her heritage and did not want to be Chinese when she was eight because other children mocked her father’s accent when he delivered Chinese food to the class.

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(Photo: Kimberly Yam's Twitter)

“You’re 9 years old. You attend ballet camp. Someone tells you that another girl ‘hates’ you,” Yam wrote. “She thinks your eyes are an “ugly shape.” You don’t have the vocabulary to describe why that’s hurtful. But now, you hate your distinctly Asian face. You don’t want to be Chinese anymore.”

“You’re 16 years old. It’s Halloween and two students come to class dressed as ‘Asian tourists’,” Yam wrote. “They’ve taped their eyes back, strapped cameras around their necks and chucked up peace signs. You feel uncomfortable. When a teacher asks if you find the costumes offensive, you say no.”

“[Because] you don’t want people thinking you’re uptight. You laugh along with everyone else,” Yam wrote.

Her stories attracted the attention of more than 40,000 people on Twitter. Many people were encouraged by her words and said they had similar experiences.

“Same script, different cast,” One netizen said.

Another reader, inspired by her tweets, thought back to his school days when he heard students making fun of people from his heritage.

“I remember wanting to tell them that my parents were from there and it isn’t right to make fun of,” He said.

Other readers thanked various people throughout their lives who taught them the importance of embracing other ethnicities – one of them specifically thanked their 3rd grade Chinese teacher for teaching him about Chinese culture.

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