Monday, November 12, 2012


A quick break from NaNoWriMo to check in here: I'm at my sister's house and my oldest daughter, S-Boogie, is upstairs doing Native American beading with her and some friends. My two oldest sisters are both half-Seneca. S-Boogie has benefited from this connection before, when my sister took her to hoop dance classes along with my nephew, and S-Boogie ended up getting to perform in the BYU Pow Wow. I'm grateful that she gets to participate in these cultural traditions, even though the culture is not technically her own.

I grew up in Hawai'i, where I was a minority. My friends called me Slappy White, White-White Boy, or Whitey (again, that's what my friends called me). I had friends who learned hula from their aunties, who spoke Japanese with their grandparents, who went to the Chinese Buddhist temple with their parents. Although I'm glad I was exposed to all these cultural traditions while growing up, I never felt like they were mine. I always felt cultureless in comparison to everyone around me. The irony is that my culture is everything else around me--from McDonald's to our system of government, the bulk of American culture is European in origin. But that fact doesn't exactly make me special.

My sisters all married men of Hawaiian, Chinese, or Thai ancestry and have beautiful hapa children. I always imagined I'd do the same, but I ended up marrying a white woman, and we created beautiful children who (to our surprise) are very, very white. I hope my kids are able to strike a balance I've never quite managed to strike myself--between appreciating other cultures and not being ashamed of my own. Perhaps their Seneca, Hawaian, Chinese, and Thai aunts, uncles, and cousins will help them feel like they belong to a broader human culture.

If my family were a superhero team, we'd be the Global Guardians--a collection of multicultural stereotypes.