Hapa; you see that word everywhere who claims being half Asian / Pacific Islander. Some people may even look at you funny if you’re white passing and you say that you’re of Asian decent. Mostly because white passing people have very few qualities that make them “look” or “act” Asian… It seems kind of racist doesn’t? Just because you don’t look, sound, have an Asian last name, or the so called intelligence of your forefathers, means that you can’t be Hapa.
But, the true question is, do we even recognize Quapas? The answer, sadly, is not really. Now you may be scratching your head saying what is a Quapa. Well they are a quarter of Asian decent. Now these people are in the ultimate search for self identity. They can’t exactly check off being Asian, yet, they aren’t fully white either. Being a quarter of anything and wanting to claim it, is easy, but it comes with a lot of ridicule and dirty looks. The “You can’t be Asian (insert a number of reason)!” Therefore, you are forced to keep quiet and go along with the I’m just White or Black or Latino. See Hapas’ face some difficulties but they can easily claim their ethnicity. We must open our eyes and see that Quapas are just as important as anyone else. Why do we feel to ridicule someone who wants to claim part of their heritage?
As someone who can claim being a Quapa I can personally relate to the challenges of trying to claim my heritage. I’ve gotten hate messages, dirty looks, and snide remarks saying that I’m not Asian because I don’t look or sound it. I’ve have been very hesitant to even claim it since I’ve had to keep throwing proof at people that I know still won’t believe what they see because I am not the textbook looking Chinese person. Of course I’m not going to look pure, I’m mixed, yet people are still saying that that is impossible to be of mixed Asian decent. But as I write this for everyone who is going through the same thing, we can unite and show the world that even though we may be a minority we are still here and that we deserve to be able to claim our family heritage that has been shoved into the dark!
Please feel free to share your stories about trying to claim your identity and showing it to the world!
Quapa: A hybrid of quarter and hapa. Refers to a person’s cultural/ethnic identity as being a quarter or three-quarters of something, in other words at least one parent is hapa or half. One could be three-quarters Japanese American and one-quarter European American or one-quarter Japanese American and one-quarter French Canadian and half African American.