Asian-American My San Francisco Chronicles observation race


I don’t know why it still shocks/surprises me when I encounter another Asian-American like myself; for the longest time, I was one of very few Asian-Americans living in my hometown. Even though I met a considerable amount of Asian-Americans in college, I always ended up just hanging out with the caucasian kids anyway. Plus, in my classes, it seemed that there were more non-native Asians than Asian-Americans most of the time.

San Francisco and probably California in general has a huge population of Asian-Americans. Actually, today marks the beginning of the 11th Annual United States of Asian America Festival, which is a month-long celebration of Asian-American artists through visual art, multimedia, theater, and dance. My friend and I went to the opening reception today, where we got to see artist Flo Oy Wong’s work on display, and some Noodle dances.

Anyway, at the event, there were many Asian-Americans, which my friend said reminded her of Hawaii. For me, I felt at home with other Asian-Americans, since we all could relate in many ways; I am sure most of the people there had been mistaken before as “non-native” or whatnot. Possibly most of them grew up in dual cultures as well; maybe even some of them can only speak English now, and not their mother tongue.

This brings me to another story from earlier today; I was on the bus on the way to get bubble tea and do some window-shopping. A woman came onto the bus and sat a few seats away from me and was gabbing away to a friend on her cell phone. It seemed that she was having issues at work, since she was speaking rather loudly and I could hear everything she was saying. I hadn’t noticed the woman when she first got on the bus, so I didn’t know how she looked like. I just automatically assumed, from the way she was speaking, that she was caucasian (it’s a horrible assumption, I apologise). When I was about to leave the bus, I turned and glanced at the woman and realized she was Asian-American–just like me.

I guess the point I am trying to make, is that even though I now live in a city where there’s so much diversity, so much more chance to meet others with similar backgrounds as me, I still find it strange to run into another Asian-American. Most of my friends here are Asian-American, but I never really noticed our similarities before. Is it strange to think like this?