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Interviews

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Raise your hand if you ever wanted to be white? Wished-hoped-prayed to one day be a white person because then you would fit in and life would be good? You would actually like what you saw when you looked in the mirror and not this slanty-eyed girl staring back at you. I did. But what would you expect? I grew up in a primarily white, conservative town in Wisconsin. I went to Catholic school even though my parents were Buddhist — begged to be baptized in third grade so I could fit in.

. . .

So on one side, I pleaded to God to wake me up the next day with white skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair and on the other, I was an ABC Ripe Banana (American Born Chinese -- white on the inside, yellow on the outside) to my family in Taiwan. I felt I wasn’t good enough for either. Fast forward to today, I am healing my Asianness that I suppressed for most of my life.

 
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It’s funny because I was never one for academics. I seriously contemplated dropping out of school many times. And now, in the strange way that life works, I teach at the collegiate level.

If you told 18-year-old me that I would be a Professor in the future, I would have scoffed in your face. But present-day me really loves my job and teaching students all about photography and art.