Skin Deep

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    “Chinese culture [...] has an impact on a lot of [Chinese] people, even if they don’t admit it. If you dig deep into it, like those stereotypes, even if you deny the existence of them, they’re embedded in your mindset.”

    “I prefer to say I’m from Hong Kong just because of what everyone else thinks [...] I think it’s the way people expect you to act or expect you to be depending on if you’re from Hong Kong or China.”

    “It’s better to focus on who people really are versus what they look like [...] The people who matter don’t mind, and the people who mind don’t matter.”

    “People assume I’ve lived in Korea, but I didn’t live in Korea, just because I look Asian.”

    “I feel like when I’m with my Asian friends, I’m the white one, and when I’m with my more white friends or non-Asian friends, I’m the Asian one.”

    “I feel like I have to sort of keep my ideas hidden--things I identify with, hidden--just to please my family, but I’m really doing it for my mom. I couldn’t care less what my extended family thinks, but it’s really important to her, so I’ll do it.”

    “At some point, our own nation, even the government, kind of forces us to believe in a certain way in how to define [ourselves].”

    “My parents raised my family [...] has been very much about the kind of people we should be rather than contrasting our lives and other people’s lives.”

    “Sometimes it’s really hard for me to have a balance between both [my Northern and Southern Chinese cultures] [...] I can feel sometimes there is a gap between these two and I have to cross that gap to communicate with the other side.”

    “When I define myself, the first thing that comes to my mind is not my artistic ability or [...] being able to play basketball or something else. The first thing that comes to my mind is the fact that I’m Ethiopian.”

    “I think a lot of the times because people don’t know what I am on first glance, and then when I tell them, they still don’t know where Iran is or what Farsi is [...] it gives me more pride in my identity and makes me feel like [my identity is] something to celebrate.”

    “I don’t really identify with being Bulgarian anymore simply because I’ve been immersed in so many other cultures [...] but it’s been a hard reality to get faced with because even though I can feel and identify as American, I’m still legally not American.”

    “When you look at me visually, unless I say to you, ‘I’m Black African-American,’ you would just assume I’m Black-American, and that’s what most people do, but most Black people don’t consider me Black.”

    “I feel with my Latino identity, there is a bit of conflict navigating the Brazilian and the American contexts [...] I tend to think of the Latino identity more as a cultural identity [but because my family's Japanese] people don’t think of me as a Latino person.”

    “All of these identity factors really comes down to performance and what you’re expected to do [...] There are certain performative things I’m expected to do, there’s certain types of labor I’m expected to excel at, or not be as qualified to perform.”