Interview Race

“I am both”: Growing Up Biracial in America, an interview with Taylor

As America becomes more and more of a racial melting pot, the amount of citizens that are biracial has been steadily increasing. My long time best friend, Taylor, is one of these individuals. Half-korean and Half-white, Taylor has grown up exposed to two different cultures and offers a valuable perspective on American nationality as a mixed person. To learn more about this aspect of her life, I asked her to do an interview with me and she accepted without hesitation.

I opened our interview by asking her how she identifies her ethnicity on her own terms.

“Even though I am both, I sometimes feel as if I am neither. Both sides see you as the other. To anybody who is white, I am asian; to anybody who is asian, I am white.”

She went on to clarify her feelings on this misconception. “No person means harm by doing so, they simply do not understand how tiring it is to be told how I’m the other.” Taylor concluded her response with a reminder. “I am proud to be half Korean and half white.”

Going off on her previous statement I proceeded to ask her what the best things about being biracial are.

“I have two cultures to identify with at any point of time and two cultures to learn from and grow from as a person.”

I’ve always thought Taylor had a very unique and fluid personality, but I had never considered that perhaps her exposure to two very different cultures helped foster her ability to adapt to whatever situations come her way.

Although her outlook is predominantly positive, when asked about representation in the media, Taylor did express some clear and specific distaste.

“Allison Ng from Aloha was supposed to be one of the first people on a mainstream Hollywood screen that I would be able to identify with in a long time. Yet instead of attempting to cast an asian or half asian actress, the people behind the movie of Aloha chose to cast a white woman for the role of the half asian and half white Allison Ng. It’s hard to look at that and not call it whitewashing.” Taylor went on to further explain her position on the issue. “I don’t blame Emma Stone or most people for not seeing it as such. However, it does hurt a little bit when Hollywood neglects to tell your story because they only have a few people who have experienced such things as being biracial or a minority.”

Taylor was incredible eloquent and considerate of both sides of the situation which must have taken great composure and grace considering the circumstances. It is truly upsetting that such a diverse country still neglects to represent such a dynamic and massive ethnic group in it’s media. As a white person, I have never had a difficult time being able to find characters that look like me and come from similar background. Being represented in media is often looked over by people like me as normal. It makes me angry to know that while I’ve been oblivious, my best friend and others like her, haven’t been able to connect with characters in popular TV, movies, and books.

We concluded the interview with a final question. What do you want people to know about your identity as a biracial individual?

“I have never been ashamed of being biracial. I am always proud of being half Korean and half white, especially due to my vast heritage on both sides”, Taylor concluded, “I want everyone to know that it is a blessing to be biracial despite some of the difficulties like being underrepresented in the media or being misunderstood with both cultures.” Taylor’s shamelessness and pride was both heartwarming and humbling. She hopes that by spreading her message of acceptance and positivity, she can inspire confidence in others like herself.

Interviewing Taylor was both fun and educational and I hope that her story and experiences will allow others to understand the biracial community better, or have someone to relate to.

Until next post,
Bekah

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