December 13, 2019
Half Cuban and half Chinese but equally proud of both, junior Nadine Tong, struggles with others often ignoring her Hispanic heritage while believing stereotypes about her Asian heritage.
Her physical appearance may lead people to think she is only Asian, but her mom is from Cuba while her dad is from China.
As Tong appears more Chinese than Cuban, various assumptions about who she is, such as attributing her intelligence to the fact that she is Asian. “When people assume I have to be smart because I’m Asian, I feel an extra weight on me that I have to live up to that,” said Tong. Although she is smart, her ethnicity does not control whether she is intelligent or not.
It is also often assumed that her Hispanic side of the family is Mexican rather than Cuban. “Nobody ever considers the other Latin American countries. They always think that if you’re Hispanic, then you’re Mexican,” said Tong.
Although Tong has grown up embracing two different cultures, she feels as if she has found an accepting community within her school.
She has not met another Cuban student at SJHHS, but her classes on campus are diverse which makes her feel like she belongs. “We all have our own culture and all have something different to contribute to our classes,” said Tong.
High school has different cliques and groups, however, Tong has also found a group of friends that is diverse. “I feel like I am part of a community because my friend group is very accepting and doesn’t take race into account,” said Tong.
She wishes more people would disregard race when it comes to making friends or who you surround yourself with.
Many struggles come with having a bicultural background but it is important to acknowledge that no one has one single identity. “If people have two cultures to identify with its hard to tell what culture they are… I am Hispanic but I identify with both- I’m proud to be both,” said Tong.