Wednesday, May 23, 2007

We're Hapa(s): The Hapa Project

ha•pa (hä’pä) adj. 1. Slang. of mixed racial heritage with partial roots in Asian and/or Pacific Islander ancestry. n. 2. Slang. a person of such ancestry. [der./Hawaiian: hapa haole. (half white)]

We've always been very happy to be a melting-pot of ethnicities and cultures (see blog's title), but we don't ever go around telling people we're AsianCajun or CajunAsian. Sure it's part of our identity, but we kinda just liked how those two words rhymed. I don't think we ever think of it as a label. For that matter, we don't think about it until someone asks "what are you?" And that, my friends, is the idea behind The Hapa Project: a chance for multi-racial people to answer that question however they want.
Being multi-racial often makes people curious when they first meet you because you do look like a mix of things and they can't quite figure it out. I understand this curiousity and it usually has no (or very little) racist overtones. Still, I do sometimes wonder what it's like to look "all-american" and never encounter that slight tilt of the head and squint of the eyes as someone tries to assess why you look kind of hispanic, or maybe Philipino, or Italian, or Russian (?), or Indian, 1/16th cherokee, or....

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