Okay. I am part of the hapa experience. I’m a hapa. I wrote an autobiographical play called Overflow about being a hapa. I love Tiger Woods cuz he’s a hapa making me proud. I take note of hapa actors…even Keanu Reeves. I have written/talked/researched the hapa experience. Hapa. Hapa. Hapa. I’m all about the hapas. I am Asian. But always more accurate: I am a hapa.
I have been DYING TO CALL OBAMA A HAPA! But I can’t call Obama a hapa. Cuz he’s not. And I honestly don’t know the term for people who are half and half without an Asian half. But did you know his sister is a hapa? Indonesian/Caucasian. That’s right. Obama’s sis is hapa! HAPA IN THE HOUSE! HAPA IN THE HOUSE!
Sigh, this is a stretch. Oh wait! he’s also all about Hawaii…that’s so hapa!
But he IS of mixed heritage. Are there other hapa-centric bloggers thinking about what i’m thinking about? Well, let me see… I’ll be right back…
Well, well, i found a few.
Here’s a nice, concise chat about “hapa Obama.” And even shows one of my favorite hapa movie posters. This is really hitting the nail on the head of the hapa experience.
Here’s an excellent one that touches on why I didn’t want to call Obama a hapa. The half-black experience I think is inherently different than the hapa experience just like the Asian-American experience is so different from the African-American experience. This hapa writer goes into Obama’s journey as seen in “Dreams of My Father” and how it differs from his own.
Oh, here’s one calling him the Hapa Emperor. Not very nice, and I totally disagree with the White White House sentiment but hey, “Hapa Emperor.” Pretty well coined.
Well, a little google search shows what I feared and yet yearned to do has been done with abandon in the blogosphere for over a year. There’s a ton of hapa talk about our President. I’m glad I’m not the only one all crazy about this. I am a hapa, who when trapped, will settle for “Asian” but loves to distinguish that checking “OTHER” in the racial identity box is unique to us people of mixed heritage. I feel a kindred link to my mixed-heritage counterparts of any ethnicity more than I do to full blooded Japanese. Growing up never feeling I had answered fully or accurately that strange question “What are you” has made me want someone to look toward when I feel like my identity isn’t strong enough…isn’t real enough.
Obama is the first African-American president. Yes. For me (and those of us of mixed heritage), he is also the first mixed President and that is just as true, just as historically important. A hapa’s racial identity is real, is part what we are and how we think. We make a statement with our mere presence.
Long ago, during the early years of our country, the term “melting pot” was coined. It actually was a dream that Europeans would create a melting pot of offspring…like a half French and half Irish kid would send the country over the moon. They did not dare mix colors, but they dared mixing white with white. As generations passed, that dream of the melting pot evolved. A few decades ago, mixed-race marriage became legal in America and mixed-race children were legitimate. That’s right, only a few decades ago a mixed race child could be conceived by a legally married couple. 60 years ago, I’d be a bastard and so would our President. Mixed-race people say nothing less than “America’s dream came true.” The melting pot exists. And it is accepted, embraced, and loved…and as of today holds the highest Office in our country.