The Biracial Bind Of Not Being Asian Enough

There’s a photo of my great-grandmother I look at often. She is small, wearing thick black frames, with my grandmother, my aunts, and my mother huddled around her like she’s queen of the hive. My great-grandmother was a widow and a landowner in China who lost everything during the Communist Revolution. She was punished for her wealth, and tortured and robbed before she fled to Hong Kong with her daughter to survive. For a long time, that’s all they did: survive.

My mom tells me this story late one night over a cup of tea. She whispers, like she’s afraid that if she talks too loudly, history will barge through the front door and repeat itself. “The people in our family are very strong,” my mom says. “Especially the women.” When I look at the photo, I’m reminded of my family’s resilience. I’m fascinated by the women who came before me. I feel proud of my lineage when I look at that photo.

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