November 14, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 43  

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Putting the 'Asian' in Caucasian

On the DL
David Lee

Sports Editor

It's interesting to grow up in Canada with two different ethnic backgrounds.

As a half-Chinese, half-Canadian youth, I had many questions and sometimes, as it happened, answers. When people asked if I ate Chinese food at home - and if I just called it "food" - I didn't know how to respond. Sure, I said, my family eats a lot of rice, but doesn't everyone? I suppose the difference between my family and a non-Chinese one is that I never ate an Uncle Ben's product growing up. Such things were blasphemy.

Everyone expected I'd be good at math, too. As it happened, I was, but I was never sure if it was the result of my pseudo-Asian background or just a good grasp of the decimal system.

But being from a multi-ethnic background has its advantages. I look back on my childhood as one of privilege - I was exposed to two cultures at an early age.

Nevertheless, one of the benefits about having a multi-ethnic background is the so-called "joke immunity," like in the Seinfeld episode where Tim Watley, the dentist became a Jew just for the jokes.

If I triumph at any game of skill, I'll often refer to myself as "The Asian Sensation." But if people start needling me about China's questionable human rights record, I'm quick to point out they can't blame me - I'm only half-Chinese. (A sidebar: being Chinese, I used to believe the term "euthanasia" was akin to "teens in Canada" or "adolescents in Estonia".

So, with this in mind, I feel like I'm the ideal guy to write about the Caucasian Club. Personally, the idea doesn't offend me. The only way I'd speak against such a club was if it espoused hatred, exclusion or white supremacy. If it doesn't do those things and if it makes an attempt to include everyone, then it should be entitled to the same privileges as any club.

I'm all for someone celebrating his or her roots. At the same time, I worry if those celebrations turn into self-congratulatory praise and the vilification of others. So, to Lara Love & Co., go ahead and create your Caucasian Club - just don't expect to see me in line to join.

I guess the biggest problem for me is that, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has invented a group specifically for people like me. There are groups that attract Chinese-Canadians (100 per cent Chinese people who have become Canadian citizens), but as of this writing, someone with the same background as me has yet to create the Chinadian club.

Here's to hoping.



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