Multiracial, Living with a new step family border-line racist.
By Charissa Rie Del on October 21, 2011
Sorry, this is going to be a pretty long article.
I've wanted to write about this situation I've gotten put into for a while now, so I'm finally giving it a go. So for those of you that don't know my history, I'll explain briefly. I am a Hapa of half Asian descent, half Caucasian/Hispanic. My dad's side of the family is mixed between various Asian descents, and my dad is who I currently live with at the moment. My parents had gotten a divorce several years back when I was still in High School. My mom moved out and I remained home with my father. Let me note before I start my story, I was never very close to my dad, I had a challenging childhood.
Photocredit - Charissa Rie Del (Grandparents)
About 2 years ago in January, my dad had introduced me to his new Girlfriend. She was a Caucasian lady, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that because my mom is half Caucasian. She also had two daughters at the ages of I believe at the time were 8 and 11. So I had only met them once, briefly. No conversation, no questions, nothing. Just a brief, awkward Hello. I didn't think much of them but I was constantly wondering why he had moved on so fast right after my mom left, and also why with someone who had two daughters when he couldn't even connect with his own properly. Plus it was my first experience of my parents going through a divorce, so I didn’t want to let any "step parents" into my life either.
5 months later, my dad tells me that they are going to be moving in. Moving into the house that I was raised in, my dad was raised in and my grandma had gotten when she came to America. It had history. I was honestly shocked. Strangers I knew absolutely nothing about besides the fact that they can say hello, moving in with me.
So it happened.
All 3 of them had completely moved in by the month of June, with only a two week previous "warning".
I didn't have an issue living with "sister or brother" type figures even though I was an only child because I had lived at Aunts' and Cousins' houses in previous years of my childhood, around a lot of my family. To this day, it has been about a year and a half, since they have lived at my father's house, and I still live there also. In just this previous month of July, my father and his Girlfriend had gotten married, now being my new step family.
Now, for the challenging part of my story.
Living with and getting to know my step family has been a challenging experience for me. Not only has growing up multiracial being enough for me to deal with already, but living with people I had to get to know at the same time, and slowly finding out that they are very stereotypical, prejudice and in my opinion what I call "border-line racist". The only reason why I just don't call them plain out "racist" is because of the fact they my father and this women are married and they live with us.
I am just going to share a few of the situations I've been put in that have impacted me the most.
- When I home cook, most of the time it is going to be some type of Asian inspired dish. That is just what I am used to. So on a night several months ago, I was cooking in the kitchen. My two step sisters were eating dinner at the counter besides me, watching me cook. They also had a friend over the house sleeping over. Let me add that she was also a Hapa, half Asian half Caucasion descent. I was preparing a dish called Sopa, a Filipino soup type dish. When I was adding in the Cabbage and Bok Choy, my step sisters had said, "Ew, what is that?" I said, "It’s just cabbage and Bok Choy." One replied, "That is so gross, you’re putting it in soup?" Acting like I'm committing a food-crime or something out of this world. Their friend says, "Why do you guys think it's so weird? It’s just vegetable...” "Yeah but its gross, why do Asian people eat weird things, they gross me out. Why do you eat that kind of food anyways," speaking towards me "you’re not even full Asian, you don’t even look Asian." Then the other said, "Yeah, but she looks different than us." I said, "Does it matter what I look like? I was raised eating this, so it doesn't concern you and I don't need your opinions." They were eating Chicken nuggets for dinner and let me add, their diet ONLY consists of Chicken nuggets and Mac n' cheese. I continued saying, "Did I ever tell you that I think chicken nuggets are gross? No." Which I do think is gross, honestly.
-My step mother constantly complains about how many Latinos/Hispanics there are in the city we live in. Let me also add that we live in a mostly Latino/Hispanic Community. One day she came back from Kaiser, she had an appointment or something. I was downstairs using my laptop and they were near me sitting and chatting. She was nonstop complaining about how there were too many Hispanics at Kaiser, and the fact that she had to wait for an hour because they chose to help Hispanics over her. Which I don't think is true because there is a thing called appointments. She also kept saying how she was the only Caucasian there. My dad just sat there and listened, as I did the same not saying a word. She then said, "Everyone there speaking Spanish needs to go back to Mexico.” which completely angered me. I walked up to her and politely asked what she had against the Spanish language, and stated that my mom was half Spaniard, so I didn't appreciate what she just said. All she had to say was, "Oh". Not even a sorry or anything to show that she cared.
-Another Kaiser situation to bring up this story. This was not too long after the previous one. As I was walking downstairs, my step mother was just walking in the door as my dad was coming to greet her. So we all basically ran into each other. She was all red and flustered, obviously upset about something. Then she straight up said, "I hate our Doctor, I hate Asians! I hate how you all have crooked teeth and I can’t understand a word what they say! You’re all dirty people and you don't shower or take care of yourselves!" My jaw had completely dropped and same as my dad. After that she had just barged into her room and slammed the door, as if she was a kid throwing a tantrum.
-Last Christmas, I decided to spend with family but there was a twist. In order to see my dad's side of the family, I had gone to see my step mother's too. Which I think was completely unfair, but I gave in anyways. So first we went to see my step mother's side, and let me add this was the first time meeting any of these people but my dad already knew most of them. Everything seemed ok at first. In my opinion, their family wasn't as harsh as my step mother and step sisters. I honestly don't know where they got it from, because my step aunts weren't even as bad "stereotypically" as my step mother. But they were still curious, and that is ok. When I starting meeting and shaking the hands of my new step family members, I did get a lot of questions about where I was from which I am used to because I get asked all the time. My step aunt asked me if I was Mexican, and I said no and simply explained. Then my step mother comes and rudely says, "She's an Asian mutt, she doesn't matter." I did get a lot of awkward stares and looks the rest of the time I was there.
There are plenty more experiences where that came from, it would be too many to even list. Let me add also that I am not trying to ridicule them or put them down in any way, I am just sharing my experiences that have affected me.
Another thing that has affected me a lot is not just the harsh words said towards me, but also the way of living so to speak. My dad, my house and I were raised by strict rules under my grandma. Very traditional, clean, neat and Asian. Religious Catholic from my Filipino side to strict, clean, neat and formal from my Japanese side.
But the way things are now, are completely opposite. Messy, loud, obnoxious and in my opinion just outright crazy! A way I’m completely not used to, and neither is my dad. I always wonder what they see in each other. Complete opposites, living under one roof. My dad and my mom were complete opposites, but she complied with the "Asian standards" of my grandmother's household. My step mother on the other hand, has completely taken over and made the way of living - her way.
It is very hard for me to overcome all of this and is what I call "topping off my difficulties of being multiracial". Giving me just more and harder experiences to go through in my already complicated life.
Everyday seems like a struggle.
A racial struggle. Between complete, now by law related - opposites living under one roof.
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