by Leow Hui Min Annabeth, ’16
On the dropdown menu on the New Student Orientation survey, I was asked for my ethnicity.
“Asian American/Pacific Islander?” I’d only been in California for two weeks; over my dead body would I let myself be counted as U.S. American.
“International?” …no, Stanford, that’s not an ethnicity.
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My pink identity card, issued by the Republic of Singapore—it says so in amiably bold sans serif—reads, under the column labelled “Race,” “Chinese.” The census, last taken two years ago, prefers the term “ethnicity,” and defines “Chinese” as “persons of Chinese origin such as Hokkiens, Teochews, Cantonese, Hakkas, Hainanese, Hockchias, Foochows, Henghuas, Shanghainese etc.,” which is on a certain level tautological.
Here in America, where “Asian” is a race all to itself, I always dither over the “East Asian” and “Southeast Asian” checkboxes, especially when “Chinese/Japanese/Korean” are helpfully enclosed in parentheses beside the term “East Asian.” Continue reading