RITUPARNA “RITU” ROY
June 17, 2017
SHANN ORMSBEE
June 17, 2017

DAVID YUEN TAM

“Grey, not a color but a hue. Not accepted as black, not accepted white but uniquely grey.

That is who I am, who my son is, what my grandchildren will become and what the future of America will become.

I came up with this term of calling myself a grey child because growing up in America with Chinese immigrant parents; I faced challenges that are uniquely mine as I clashed between the Chinese culture at home and the American culture I was born into.

As a child I did not see color, culture, religion or many other factors that help define who we are today. I saw other children who I could play with, laugh with, cry with, argue with and no matter the situation, we were all the same.  As I became older I began to recognize that I was different, this was not because I focused on myself in the mirror, but because there were others who pointed out the differences for me.  The shape of my eyes, the funny foods in my fridge, the way my parents said my name with their accents, the different language that was spoke at home, etc.

I recall as a small child, I visited the bay area for the first time to spend time with my family, I was teased for not speaking perfect Chinese, not knowing how to read or write Chinese proficiently, not knowing some cultural aspects among other aspects of what it means  to  be  Chinese.    I  was  teased  by  non-Chinese  kids  when  I  was  younger because people wanted to know if I knew Kung Fu, called me Bruce Lee, asked if I liked to eat Dog and if I could speak Ching Chong.

Experiencing and growing with a different set of complexities, it helped shape me and grow with a perspective that is uniquely my own.  I can see the similarities and differences within the cultures I was raised in and have blended the two together to help bridge the gap.  That bridge that we form is to bring people together, unify, and create a deeper understanding and greater appreciation of who we are individuals and as communities.  Today the bridge is grey but as we continue to “blend” and mix cultures and races, we will hopefully then understand that we are all human with our unique stories, culture and perspective that can respect, appreciate and love all equally.”

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