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Hi. I've only posted once or twice on this board so far.

I am Chinese. I am also a U.S. citizen so I call myself an American. They are two different ways of identifying myself.

I don't like the term "Asian-American" because it's too generic and basically meaningless. I remember a few skits with the Korean-American (as she identifies herself) comedienne, Margaret Cho, who was often confused with other Asian groups, such as Chinese, Japanese, and others. Using Chinese-American may help, but most non-Asians still don't know the difference *sighs* My opinion is that, as collective "Asians," we all have distinct cultures, histories, and backgrounds.

I also sometimes vehemently respond, "American," when asked by certain people who are trying to find out what ethnic group I belong to. I give them a hard time. It's mostly none of their @#$%#$ business to start with, except in the format of an anonymous survey which requests (usually elective) racial demographic info. I often object to filling out that information, though.

One thing I've noticed: The last time I had to go to a federal office to fill out some forms, I left the "optional" demographic information blank. When I gave it to the cashier at the window, he reviewed all the info. and then checked off a box under the "demographics." I was insulted. Later, I spoke with somebody who works with some of these types of documents in a federal setting. She told me that the clerks are required to fill out the form if the person leaves it blank. This makes me think that some people are erroneously assigned a racial identity due to profiling, especially multi-racial people who might prefer multiple identities marked, or something else. In my case, though, I look evidently Chinese so there's little confusion, but I have a few multiracial friends who would vehemently object to an inaccurate marketing.

Also, I read an intro in one of Iyanla Vanzant's book about her choice of "African-American." She said she didn't want to use the word "black" because the word "lack" is in there. I thought it was interesting. I also thought it was a way of taking out the color issue out of race, by not using "black" literally. I think there should be a way of using the terms according to how the person referred to chooses... usually the best way is asking directly and lessen the chance of accidental offense.

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