Mixed Race Baby, What A Joy Luck!

This latest article about mixed-race kids traveling the Middle Kingdom (New York Times) explains my fundamental existence in China. I can’t exactly be picked up anymore but my mother tells stories about my first visits as a kid to the mainland where locals commented on my appearance as “he’s not Chinese.”

Then again, I suppose my mixed-race experience in China is a bit more refined this time around. I spend a lot of time testing the limits of my race. Can I pass as Chinese? This time, I get a real shot at trying to pretend to be a local because of having a grasp of the language. I try really hard sometimes and it works. I can pass as authentic Chinese without a head-turn or an odd look. There are some giveaways: wearing sunglasses, wearing shorts, the way I hold chopsticks, my messenger bag, an mac computer, no umbrella in the rain, etc.

Then again, sometimes I get frustrated at not getting the opportunity to play foreigner. No one is clamoring to get pictures taken with me (I’m not as cute as I was when I was a kid). No one wants to get my autograph. No one knows to start speaking English with me. The job fair two weeks back was a perfect example of Chinese locals not knowing what to do with me: what are you? What language do you speak? Sometimes Chinese locals don’t believe I’m American. Americans don’t look like me, apparently. The melting pot idea of America isn’t quite cemented in the minds of the Chinese…

Do I have a chance of being a pop-star in China? Mixed race Chinese and ABCs are popular with mainland audiences right now…


2 thoughts on “Mixed Race Baby, What A Joy Luck!”

  1. I’m not surprised they don’t believe you’re American. No one in Egypt believes I’m American either, apparently even just having brown hair means you have to be from Europe. Whenever I tell someone where I’m from they immediately ask where my parents are from. I once tried to explain that my family has been in the US for 200 years, but they didn’t believe it. Now I just say my parents are from Italy.

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