“So who do you support?” I asked my boyfriend when I saw a skateboarder soaring over a concrete skatepark at the 2021 Summer Olympics. “China or America?”
The question looked harmless enough, but the stakes still felt high. Immigrating at the age of eight, I thought about Chinese passports, especially the corners of the passports that the Chinese Consulate hacked when I abandoned citizenship to become a naturalized American. Was my loyalty in the country and heritage where I was born?I wondered, Or with my home country and precious autonomy?
“China?” I thought I was guilty.
Time has calmed this dissonance for several months.Then talk about world champion freestyle skiers Eileen Gu It started appearing in my social media news feed and re-embodied this internal tension.Gu was born in San Francisco to a Chinese mother and a white American father. announcement In 2019, she is ready to compete with China at this year’s Beijing Olympics and win a gold medal in slopestyle, big air and halfpipe. Her decision proved my decision to support China as an American citizen.
“This was a very difficult decision for me. I’m proud of my legacy and of the upbringing of Americans,” she wrote in the Instagram caption. “The opportunity to inspire the millions of young mothers born at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help promote the sport I love.”
Since her announcement, the amazing journey to the game of the 18-year-old star has been controversial. In the social media posts and comments section, Gu is referred to as a traitor, a Communist rat, and a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tool. At the same time, some of Irene’s loudest critics are her fellow Chinese-Americans.They claim that by competing with China, Gu tolerates what’s going on. persecution Hong Kong’s democratic violence from 2019 to 2020 among the Uighurs minority in western China protestAnd mysterious detention Peng Shuai, a three-time Olympic and tennis star who accused former CCP officials of sexual assault in 2021.
And I get it. I support Team China at the Olympics and will definitely be tickled when I’m ahead in the medal count, but I’ll never give up my decision to become an American citizen in a million years. I can’t even understand it.
But in this case, identity is not a foreign policy issue. It’s a matter of heart. For immigrants like me and first-generation Americans like Gu, “China or America?” The ultimatum raises a false dichotomy. This reaffirms the notion that expressing one’s love for Chinese culture is like signing a blood vow to CCP. Gu is not a pawn of some epic geopolitical struggle. She is a young woman who grew up in two worlds. The feat I bet on is even more complicated than her gravity-defying flip this week.
When I was Irene’s age and was tinkering with adolescence as one of only three colored kids in a high school class, all I wanted was an American. I imagined that the Chinese tradition of kitchen slippers, scolding parents, and endless ways of eating pork would be banished and reborn in the image of an adopted home. White, perfect and normal. Even now as an adult, I still think about what it means to be an Asian American.Being Asian in America goodlittlehardworking Model minority always reminds me of the closeness to whiteness. It’s virtually white, but it’s not perfect.
But model minority is an illusion. We make up the most educated demographics in this country. 54 percent Percentage of Asians over the age of 25 with a bachelor’s degree compared to 33 percent of the general public.Still our community 2.6% Diagonal eye jokes and passive-aggressive stereotypes persist even when we are diligent and doing everything white and right in the Fortune 500 corporate leadership.Even when we are Stung, punchWhen Pushed in When we go to the subway tracks, our suffering is overlooked by our peers. Ignored With our history textbook Civil rights discourse..
For years, I felt like an outsider who had no choice but to alienate my heritage and culture. Age and experience helped me get the course right. There is also the added benefit of living in New York City, where I am surrounded by Asian and Asian American communities. That’s why I support China. To be honest, I have never been concerned about skiing. I hadn’t heard of freestyle skiing until Gu appeared on my radar. But I will see and support her at this year’s tournament. Her decision to ski in China is a proof that I didn’t know what I was longing for. Finally, I learned how to be proud again. And as Asian Americans, all we have now is pride.
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