In my 21 years on this planet, I've found that being hapa is no different from being any other ethnicity. My mom is Japanese, and my Dad is a Caucasian American of German, English and Irish descent. Unlike the horror stories I`ve read, my upbringing was rather positive. I've always felt comfortable being both white and Japanese, and have embraced both sides of my being rather than feeling ostracized from them.

My parents, I felt, did a really good job of helping me to accept who I am, by helping me to develop my own identity and my own individuality. I've only really come to realize what it really means to be hapa when I came to college, and started to understand that being hapa in and of itself is its own experience. Perhaps its because of the positive attitude I was raised in, or the fact that I was never really the only hapa around - there was always at least 2 or 3 other kids in my classes who were hapa - but I have always felt advantaged to be a hapa.

I like being able to speak both Japanese and English fluently, and being able to feel comfortable in the company of any group I come in contact with. I also feel that it has made me a more tolerant person, someone who has learned to accept and embrace the whole diversity of humanity. The problems I've faced growing up mirror those of both white kids and asian-american kids - well, asian-american kids a little more because of the nature of US society. I never felt that I had any special problems because of my background. I am proud to be Hapa, proud to be a Japanese-American, proud to be an Asian-American, and proud to just be human.

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