Or perhaps my favorite scenario was my out of control crush on Adam, the pee-wee football quarterback. After months of blushing and giggling and carefully placed rumors, Adam finally came up to me on the playground. I remember that my knees were slightly trembling and my face was on fire.
Me: Um, … H-hi!
Adam: So, I hear you like me?
Me: Um, … um ….
Adam: Well, I think you’re really pretty.
Me: Really, you do?
Adam: Yeah, but I’m not allowed to date black people.
Me: Oh! Well, that’s okay because I’m not black!
Adam: Whatever, I’m still not allowed.
The saddest part of that little scenario is that I went home that day on Cloud 9 because Adam said I was pretty. I mean, I wasn’t allowed to date white boys either.
Anyway, I was just thinking about the confusion of race and classification after reading this article on how South Asians are often still classified as white in certain parts of the U.S. This article has a lot of interesting history about how South Asians were originally classified as Caucasian and how they tried to use this classification to avoid facing Exclusion Laws, like the Japanese, at the turn of the century. The most famous case was that of Bhagat Singh Thind, which went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1923.
I think being aware of this early Asian American history is really important when talking about a pan-Asian American identity. As one of Hyphen’s sole South Asian editors, it is my goal to bring these ideas and their connectedness to the forefront. To me, this article shows that Asian Americans – including South Asians – were facing the same issues dating back to the 1800s. There was difference in the ways we went about dealing with them, but at the end of the day – we were all excluded. In the same way, I feel like the issues facing South Asian Americans today – profiling, racism, hate crimes – parallel those of may Asian Americans. And I am sure most of you have similar stories from your own elementary school days.