When I look at how much life has changed since the early 1960's when my father first settled us in an all-white neighborhood, I'm astonished. Today, that one-square block where we lived also houses a Korean/black family, a gay couple, and a family of Latinos. Back in the day, when I was a teenager growing up in the harsh light of judgment, you would've never convinced me that things could ever change, but 40 years later, I must confess, the change has been radical.
As I began to toss out some coupons that had arrived in today's mail, I took a closer look at an ad that featured a little girl with mixed-race looks. Her wild, brownish hair looks like mine, and her complexion is nearly identical to my own skin. As pleased as I was to see a racially unidentifiable model in a national advertisement, at the same time, I was a little envious that I had made my way through most of my life without this type of reinforcement. For biracial babies in my age group (boomers), it was rare for us to see ourselves anywhere.
In my teen years, I'd come across photos every once in while (perhaps in a pop culture magazine like Eye) that would showcase someone who was racially unidentifiable. I'd get really excited and that excitement would lead me to hold onto those images forever. In fact, I have two such images still in my possession that I will dig up, scan and broadcast here as soon as I find them. What I discovered, most often, was that these people were Puerto Rican--which often meant that they were mixed with the blood of the local Indigenous, European Spaniards and descendants of African slaves. No wonder they looked like me!
These days, we have a biracial presidential candidate making a national speech about race. Neither of those events could have occurred even a decade ago. Hopefully, the miracle of life will continue in a positive way.
The photo above was taken by my sister when I was 17 and sitting on the family patio. I wish I could remember what I was thinking about then.
Your Hip Hapa,