Family Timelines: A Daughter Reflects on Being Biracial

PatternSquare06I was born in Vancouver in 1960. My great-grandfather, a Christian missionary, came here from China to minister to the Chinese that were building the CN railway. When my father (Chinese) fell in love with my mother (Dutch-Irish) and wanted to marry her, his family opposed it. My mother’s family was not keen on the idea either — they hesitantly gave their approval but that was only because she was pregnant. They never did marry because interracial marriages, in those days, were just not acceptable. Both of my parents have terrible memories of how they were treated in those days.

Growing up bi-racial in Vancouver was, for the most part, a pleasant experience for me. However, as a result of a handful of extremely racist experiences between fourth and eighth grade, a shadow of darkness used to loom over my happy memories. Conversely, my bi-racial half brother and sister who are 18 and 20 years younger than I am, have never experienced racist attitudes directed towards them.

When I compare my experiences to theirs, I can really see how much times have changed, especially towards Chinese. Society has figured out that Chinese people are capable of more than just working in Chinese restaurants and laundrymats.

Multiculturalism has come a long way in the last 40 years; however, that is not to say that racism has been eradicated. Nonetheless, given the progress we’ve made, I am confident that we can and will achieve a truly tolerant, accepting, multicultural society.

- Lori-Ann in BC