Share Your Hapa Story: Addi McClure
Share Your Hapa Story 010: Addi McClure @amiyakom
While I think I've always been proud to be hapa, I've never been so comfortable and self-assured with my identity as I am now, and I pour a lot of that into my art. These days I see so many hapa babies, and many of my friends are starting their own blended families; I try to be the confident example that I never had when I was growing up and figuring out who I am.
I spent a lot of my teen years caring way too much about what others thought of me (hey, didn't we all?), but when it came to my roots, it perplexed me when friends and classmates felt the need to tell me how I should self-identify. I will never forget the day a friend said to me, "Why do you have to act so Asian? Why can't you act mixed?" - whatever that's supposed to mean. It was the first time I heard a little voice inside me say, "You don't get to tell me what I am."
Bachan did not survive being interned at Topaz for me to pretend I'm not who I am. Jichan did not fight in the 442nd for me to lose sight of where I come from. I did not spend 16 years studying Japanese from scratch so I could just sound cool ordering at restaurants. Don't get me wrong - I never forget my Irish heritage. The Emerald Isle and the Land of the Rising Sun are both my heart's home.
I am not two incomplete halves. I am wholly Japanese-American, wholly Irish-American, wholly hapa, 1+1=1.
Originally published August 16, 2017 on Instagram, #ShareYourHapaStory010. Photo credit for the first photo (yukata, holding fan) goes to @otattemita.