So to answer your final question: no, I am not embarrassed that my family cannot blend in. Sorry, I am proud that my family WILL NOT blend in. We are solidly middle class, if not upper middle. I am well educated, attending one of the most prestigious post-secondary institutions in the world, studying under some of the leading minds in my chosen fields. We are Canadian, but we are also Chinese. We have our cultural differences. We have different practices. If the point is to blend in, then it takes away the significance of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is good PRECISELY BECAUSE we are all allowed to act differently and NOT to blend in and fully adopt all western practices. If we were required to blend in or risk social ostracization, then there is no point in multiculturalism. People practicing cultures different from the mainstream would be socially ostracized. I am happy that we will not blend in, and that we are different, and that we do not face popular oppression in Toronto.
Nor should you be embarrassed by "being different." There's no reason at all for you to completely blend in, or "hide" among the masses. In fact, as much as people claim, it is almost impossible to "blend in" to a point where no one will see a difference.
You're Chinese. I'm Puerto Rican. I may think that I "look like everyone else" (read: caucasian), but I am not, and people can see that just by looking at my skin tone. My girlfriend is Jewish (ancestry is Polish) and she calls me a spic. I call her a kike. She makes "latino jokes." I make Pollock and Jewish jokes. We laugh. Because as much as we pretend that we are all the same, we are not, and stereotypes exist. Stereotypes exist.
I'm getting away from my point, which is: when you set yourself apart, when you are proud of your differences, when you're proud to "NOT blend in" you also have to be ready for others to point out that you're different. You have to grow a little bit of a thicker skin if you set yourself apart from your peers or community. There is no choice.
It has nothing to do with race, but as a young man (in the early 90's) I pierced myself up. My hair was ridiculous colors. I dressed in outlandish ways. Of course, I've grown up since then, but I spent most of my teenage years and my 20's TRYING to look different.
It accomplished 2 things: one, it attracted the attention of people who were either like me (dressing the same, etc) or wanted to be like me. Great. The second thing it accomplished was that I was different, very different at the time; this was the early 90's... body modification and "being a freak" hadn't become as popular as it is now and getting your tongue pierced wasn't as common or as "cool" as getting your ear pierced in the 80's. I received the attention that I wanted and TONS of attention that I didn't want in terms of derogatory comments, ladies clutching their handbags, people outright asking what was wrong with me for "messing up my body" and asking why I didn't want to "be like everyone else." I was called freak.
Point being: although CHOOSING to be different is not the same as being born a minor ethnicity in a majority, you have chosen to hold on to what you think is your cultural identity. It's your choice. If, occasionally, someone hurls some Chingrish at you for a laugh, you need to learn to deal with it. Just as I CHOSE not to be like my peers, and received negative attitudes toward it, it was my choice, I dealt with it, and I grew a thicker skin because of it. I also think I'm a better person and more tolerant of others because of it.
Don't even get me started on the thinly veiled racism I receive when someone thinks I'm caucasian and they find out that I am Puerto Rican. Or the typically horrible "chicano accent" people try to affect at times, or the mistake of thinking "puerto ricans and mexicans are 'the same thing'"
It happens all the time. I pick my battles and most of the time, they aren't worth fighting.
I wonder how many people on
Sometimes I enjoy the fact that I feel I'm "different" because I don't force my opinions on others and I don't bash people over their heads with my Moral Ruler every time they do or say something that I find questionable.
I choose my battles. Someone making fun of latinos by using Spanglish on