Generation 3

Quiet – doesn’t say a word,
There he goes walking, hidden by stacks of books,
And coal black, uneven rice bowl bangs which shade
Eyes so slim you can’t tell if they’re closed,

Two helicopters (parents) hover by the gate until he goes inside
Identical features, but all that’s heard from their lips is loud and incoherent gibberish
He looks back – nods – secures his ‘exceptional student pin’
And adjusts his fine rimmed glasses,

The further he enters, the more pressure he feels to go back out
He doesn’t want to go, but he’s the one who must succeed, go to college to succeed his family,

He passes the girl he likes
The only one with the compassion to look twice and smile at his foreign face

Her name is Brittany
Fair skin, blonde hair, blue eyes, off-limits
His parents would never approve,

Preparing for class
He gets his books, studies in between periods, and greets all his teachers with a yellow smile
But leaving the classroom feels like leaving the country
He’s pushed from behind and slammed into his locker,
This is a normal day for him

Three bigger guys size him up
And throw his stuff
He hears the same things everyday
‘Chink’, ‘alien’, ‘immigrant’

It hurts,
But who would stick up for the awkward student with honors grades
When that could mean involving yourself
And risking your own reputation?

He has no say, no voice, and no power
All he can do it sit
And wait,
And obey

This continues for years,
But by the end, he’s the one to graduate from Harvard University
With a Master’s degree in Neuroscience
And an internship lined up in accordance
He is an Asian American.
Born facing discrimination,
Challenging racism and hatred,
And expected to be a concert musician by the maximum age of 18

He does what he’s told
He becomes a professional
He marries an Asian girl of their (his parents)choosing
And he provides the family with a grandson that his own parents can feel relieved with

He is trapped between two worlds
Stuck and not knowing what he is anymore
He’s done everything his parents wanted
But what happens when they pass away

Has he wasted his whole life living their lives during his time
Or has he just never been able to break away from the respect that they beat into him
Maybe both

Nevertheless, he sees it now
He realizes what he’s done wrong
And he knows that if anyone can do the right thing
It will be his children, to grow up and follow their own dreams as

Asian Americans to set things straight
Generation three

Grace Pating ’18

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