OAsians Identity Stories

Recently, the student leaders of the OAsian Affinity Group sent out a form asking about the experiences of Asian students in our community. The goal is to spread awareness and increase Asian student voices in our school. The students willing to share their experiences will remain anonymous. Here is the first story.

How has Asian identity affected you?
I know that my family is not from America. We are Filipino, so when I was younger I felt a little different from other kids. Now, it feels like a part of my identity. Also, whenever we see any other Filipinos, we always say hi in our native language because it feels like even if we are strangers, we have one thing in common.
I’ve never been Asian enough or American enough. I could never speak my mother tongue. That makes it impossibly hard to talk to basically all my relatives. I also don’t understand some cultural norms. Also, I recognize I have an accent when I speak English and an accent when I speak my mother tongue. Another hard part of being Asian is having the majority of your family living across the ocean. If someone dies, especially during COVID-19, you can’t do much. You can’t attend their funeral or share the pain with your other family members. I am lucky enough to have my immediate family living with me, however.

How has Asian identity shaped who you are and the decisions you make in your daily life?
Asians have a stereotype of being smart and good at math. If you don’t reach that standard, it’s outside of the norm. If you are good at math, then it’s expected. If you are good at math, you can feel like an Asian stereotype. The term ‘Asian Average’ is extremely hard to deal with. There is an added pressure of being smart just for your race/culture.

Any other stories you want to share?
By being Asian, there’s a bond between me and other Asians who are like me. Maybe it’s just me, but I often feel like “OH YOU’RE LIKE ME” whenever I see an Asian like me. I had a few conversations just bonding over the fact of different aspects to being Asian. It’s nice.