Being HAPA

By Alice Vo Edwards

I am Hapa.

From the Hawaiian, meaning “half”

I am one of many

Who are half Asian, half “other”

Am I the only lonely Hapa, I wonder?

Part displaced Asian, part white mutt

Wholey longing for connection

To some deeper meaning

Some family tribe?

As an immigrant

Who couldn’t speak English well

My mother decided being Asian

Was not a blessing

And did her best to Americanize me

But she couldn’t take away 

The color of my skin

The slant of my eyes

That make Chinese airline attendants

Try to speak to me in Chinese

And Vietnamese nail salon workers

Try to speak to me in Vietnamese

With American arrogance

(Is this what it means to be

A White supremacist?)

My father taught me nothing

About our family history.

Was there nothing to be proud of?

Or did he simply think

Being American was enough?

I am Hapa

I am a partially-filled void

Feeling ever “half”

Ever searching to find meaning

Struggling for completion

Still looking for my tribe.

Contact Info:

Alice Vo Edwards

Graduate Student at Walden University

Industrial / Organizational Psychology

Published in the APA Div 35 Section 5 (The Asian Pacific Women’s Connection (Section V))

Summer 2018 newsletter

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