I've been thinking a lot about model minorities and about how my Mom must have felt growing up in the 1960s in Kamloops as part of the only Chinese family in town, and one of three families of colour there. Her life working in a restaurant, as the eldest daughter of five children, going to school where she had her eyes made fun of by children who turned theirs up and yelled "ching chong China girl" at her, where she was told not to be so Chinese-y by teachers and authority figures, where she was teased for having smelly rice box lunches, left no room for her to be angry or uninpressed or *done* with the experiences she had and with the people around her. Her family ran a restaurant-- China Village, and then House of Marr, and needed customers to come in and eat food, so those very same kids and authority figures and individuals that teased her were their lifelines, their customers that my Mom, her four siblings, and her parents had to serve to make a living. They had to be model citizens. Their being Chinese was blamed for everything that they did wrong, and so in an attempt to change their fates, they buckled up their Mary Jane's, cooked Beef and Broccoli/Sweet and Sour Chicken/neon Red Sauce everything, and worked their asses off until they no longer had to serve these people. They never complained, and it was because they couldn't-- it was too risky, after migrating to Canada, after investing in a restaurant business, after reaching good terms with the discriminatory beasts of Canada.
I bring this up because we, as a family of five Chinese folk walking around small towns in Northern Yukon, BC, and Alaska, have gotten weird stares and comments and service and everything on this trip about our race and origin and I've always been slightly enraged by it, whereas my parents merely tell me to accept it, and to show these people who are treating us badly how nice we are as Chinese people by showing them kindness and love. The strength of my parents, geez.
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