Recently I wrote an opinion piece that was centered on my voting experience. My entire editorial that was published in The Miami Student was centered on the fact that since my physical features denote my I was hounded for multiple forms of identification and to declare my race when trying to vote . To put it mildly, if you don’t read my full piece, I was very shocked. I was surprised that in this day and age, someone had the audacity to subtly imply that I might not be an American citizen because of how I look.
As far as I know, “American” doesn’t have a specific look, it is not set and you shouldn’t have to “look American enough” to escape questioning. This reminded me of the perpetual foreigner status that Asian Americans can never escape, we are consistently told that we don’t belong here, can’t belong here in America. I am half Asian, but I am also 100% American. I was born here, grew up here and have just as much right to be here as any other citizen. And you know what? Who cares if you weren’t born here, if you have citizenship, you have a right to this country. And you are a part of the image of this country.
Race, ethnicity, or whatever box the government puts us in, does not denote our citizenship or even give you a clue about someone’s citizenship. We all have to recognize that no one is defined by just one aspect about them, and when we learn that, hopefully no one will have to go through what I went through.