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Here are a few stories from Asian-Canadians who can relate to this particular experience (all members of LWTA 2021-2022!) that we gathered for you to self-educate and empathize with
1. "Being a recent immigrant to Canada, I struggled to become accustomed to the standards and believes of people from this foreign country. However, as I interacted with different kinds of people, I realized that there are lots of individuals who are similar to me. I learned that despite having been raised in a different country from many others, I am still welcomed in this community."
- Sherry (1/3 of Diamond E)
2. "I've never felt completely Canadian, nor have I ever felt fully Asian. But that's okay, because I never really found a problem with that, and I can embrace both sides of the bridge. People who have more than one cultural aspect in their identity are beautiful nonetheless."- Joanne (2/3 of Diamond E)
3. "Growing up, I balanced multiple cultures and identities to fit in with different groups of people, but now I realize that by doing so, I didn't make friends with people who really valued and cared for me. By being myself, people got to meet the real me and decide whether or not they wanted me in their lives."
-Matthew (3/3 of Diamond E)
4. "My son, he wasn't fully raised in Korea, like I was, and he didn't feel the same sense of familiarity to Korean culture, but that doesn't mean the chances of forming a connection is doomed; there is still hope as long as there is effort and anyone can embrace all parts of their identity if they try hard enough."
- Judy C.
5. "So for me personally I never really had to “choose” which “side” I was on because I grew up in schools with a LOT of ppl that weren’t Asian. Anywho, fast-forward to grade 6; I finally entered a school where the student body was like maybe 65-70% Asian (mind you, before I’d maybe talked to 1 or 2 other Asian people in my previous schools), so this was definitely a shock.
The thing was, even THEN I didn’t have to choose whether I fit in more with Asians or Canadians, because everybody acted the same. I’m talking same personalities, same clothes, all down to the same pattern of speech. Everyone was basically just a carbon copy of everyone else? And then for a while I was like everyone too. You know, to “fit in”.
After a while, though, I found my little group of weirdos and found out I’d much rather spend time with people who made me feel like I didn’t have to act like a clone.
So I don’t know if this helped in any way because I do realize it doesn’t really fit into the spectrum of what the question was asking, but this was just my experience! "
"As an Asian Canadian youth I often find it hard to follow my Asian identity, mainly because I live in a very American society. I often feel embarrassed when I can't speak good Chinese, but I do try to still keep that part alive within me."
"Nope I have not experienced this (the Asian-Canadian) dilemma yet"
"Because of society, I naturally feel elements of Canadian culture in my life, which is normal and perfectly fine, of course, but sometimes it doesn't sit right with me; living this relatively new lifestyle without having a single thought about my ancestors'. But I do try to incorporate more elements of both sides now so that it feels more balanced and I can educate myself along the way."
"Back when I was younger, it was almost like a personality shift for me when it came to navigating between two different cultures. Not only was there a language change but it was also the way I acted, the things I discussed about... there was almost no overlap but when one cultural habit did cross over to the other, it often came with feelings of embarrassment, shame or frustration. Those encounters made me more cautious of blending both cultures and sadly, for a period of time, I had favoured the Western culture over my Chinese identity. It wasn't until I learned about internalized racism and developed compassion towards my Chinese community that I was able to embrace both cultures and accept myself for who I have become. Recognizing identity as a fluid and organic concept has helped me gain confidence in being myself as both Chinese and Canadian."
"I feel like it’s not about belonging in a certain single cultural identity, but more about having parts of both cultures. as an Asian-Canadian, it’s hard to identify with just one part of the term, which is why it’s ok to stay in the middle."
"The 'Asian' beauty standard is really different from the Canadian one. often times, you feel like you look too 'Asian' in a Western country, but when you look like an ABG, you look too westernized. it's like you aren't on any of the side nor fitting in with any."
"Since I was little, I always felt like I belonged neither here nor there - I was either "too Canadian" for my Korean friends and family, or "too Korean" to fit in with my Canadian friends, which was a feeling I struggled with for a long time. While I don't think this feeling has necessarily gone away, the older I get the more I've been able to accept my two lives as a positive and enjoy the best of both worlds. It's a truly special thing to be able to be the bridge between two cultures and help share aspects of each with people from the other."
- Lucas C
Thank you to everyone who provided testimonials!
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