Saturday, September 09, 2006


Australia? Philippines? What Are You Guys Anyway?

The other day, the kids were talking, as kids often do at a melting pot school, about the complex subject of "what are you?" You will commonly hear that and other questions and answers:
"What are you?"
"Are you mixed?"
"Are you Cambodian?"
"Are you Filipino?"
"I'm part Mexican and part black."
"I'm black and Filipino."
"I'm Filipino and Mexican."
I can give you no good reason why, but I would feel uncomfortable asking that of someone, like I was prying into their personal business. Not so with the kids. They'll talk and joke about race all day long. One kid will tell another, "No, I'm not Cambodian, I'm Laotian. You think all Asians look alike?" And both will get a laugh about it.

There's talk about how, given another twenty or thirty years, gay marriage will be a non-issue thanks to the gradual change of societal attitudes. When I see pleasant and positive interactions between kids of all races, it gives me a hopeful feeling that in another twenty or thirty years, racism will also be a thing of the past, and for the same reasons.

Back to the title. Some kids were debating whether or not, if you're from the Philippines, you are Asian, or if you're a Pacific Islander. Help me out here. And Australia? Are you mates Asian, or Pacific Islanders (you do live on a big island after all), or what? And is "Asian" a racial characteristic, a regional characteristic, or sometimes both, or always both?

Week Three: Same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse!

Just kidding about that, but I thought it sounded cute. Emailed three AP's once each regarding three separate students. No reply from any of them. Not a positive development.

Actual Update: I got an actual reply from one of them, and you know what they say: one out of three ain't bad!
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