TCHS Rampage

Temple City High School



Focus

April 17, 2017

Candid with Candace: Explor-Asian

candace

Since watching Dora the Explorer as a preschooler, I’ve felt destined to travel the world and the seven seas with a talking map.
Thanks to amazingly supportive parents and Google Maps, I’ve already made progress. Last June, for example, I had the chance to explore western Europe and attend a human rights summit with other US high school students. I casually mention the award on too many applications, but the trip did lead me to have significant revelations as an Asian American.
During an entire tour and conference dedicated to promoting diversity and empathy, I found myself bonding mostly with another Asian girl. Don’t get me wrong: everyone was incredibly kind (not to mention ambitious and intelligent teenagers I admire dearly), but I found comfort in having obvious similarities with a person with a last name that spelled home—home being the mental reminder that I could never be excluded.
Although I am an ABC (an American born Chinese), the trip was the first time I truly felt as if I were a minority. I felt as if I were probably perpetuating Asian stereotypes as I shyly sat in the back of the tour bus, yet also too afraid to react.
The majority of people around me had a culture of their own, and I foolishly assumed they wouldn’t want to know or appreciate anything about mine.
Until then, I had never explored my racial identity with much depth. Having grown up in the bubble that is the 626, I’ve easily been able to embrace my heritage thanks to the area’s vast acceptance for Asian traditions.
However, I surely was not accustomed to the fact that the rest of the world wasn’t one big Asian American fanfest. It’s not a shocking claim, but it’s a tough reality: my identity is conditional depending on where I’m at or who I’m with.
But, because I’ve been able to explore different regions with both friends and strangers, I’ve gained all the more reasons to find the right balance between pride and reservation, and to be more conscious of whether I’m taking accountability for society’s racism or for insecurities I generated myself—often, it’s a complex mixture of both.
Just because I’ve had my fair share of social failures and identity crises, I can still be my own, Asian American version of Dora the Explorer: I can’t isolate myself from people I automatically perceive as Swipers, nor can I allow actual Swipers to swipe away my confidence, either.
Like Dora, maybe it’ll take me three times to realize that (“Swiper, no swiping!”).



About the Author

Candace Tan
Candace Tan is the Editor-in-Chief of Rampage. Tan is often known as "Cantdance," because she dabbles in the art of dance and stuns everyone with her natural talent. Some even call her "Camdace," as they are blown away by her superior spelling skills and overall intellectual brilliance. Those who are really tight with her often call her "Lil Can T," which is her alter ego (i.e, Miley Stewart - Hannah Montana) and stage name. As "Lil Can T," she dropped her multi-platinum rap album, "If You're Reading This It's Probably Not Late Enough," and critics claimed it was "straight fire."




 
 

 
 

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