Last Thursday I participated in a conversation group with three international students. The other volunteers were Caucasian; I was the only Asian-American (as usual). Immediately when I met my group, I felt like they thought they got the “most un-American” American out of the volunteers. So immediately I felt down on myself.
Yet, with this kind of thinking, I know it is only self-destructive and self-prophetic: If I project to the students that I am inferior to the other Americans, then they will also think that way.
I find this has been one big defining insecurity of mine: despite enjoying helping international students out, I’ve always felt that they don’t think I’m as good of an English partner to have as someone who “looks” American. I know that other Asian-Americans have experienced the same feeling: standing in the middle of the road, not accepted when we give our help freely to our brothers and sisters from overseas….yet, getting treated like foreigners ourselves by other Americans.
This was the spark I presented at Ignite Denver, and only a few weeks after the presentation am I able to etch out all these thoughts into a blog post. There is much more I can say, and I’ve thought about writing a book about this experience. Perhaps others have already. Still, everyone has a unique experience.