Dian Xiao

About

A realization on fitting in

It started with a request for mixed-race volunteers. A coworker had asked on an ERG slack channel if anyone of mixed race was willing to speak on a panel for parents of mixed-race children. I asked my friend, who is half Chinese, if she might want to participate. While she agreed, she felt that these children would not face the same struggles she faced as a mixed-race person in the 90s midwest.

"[I had to] talk for my mom as a kid when white people were being shitty about her accent."

It reminded me of my experiences growing up in a primarily white area. For most of my life, I attributed moving a lot as the main reason for not having many close friendships.

Recently, I realized that playdates are arranged because the parents are friends with one another. Often in a group of girls, the moms all hung out with one another. There was at least one girl clique that I felt like I could never be entirely accepted socially because my mom was not American enough.

I'm still friends with another girl who felt that she was similarly iced out because her mother worked. My immigrant mother stood no chance of fitting in with these parents.

I actually wasn't sure how social my mom really was until we went to China. She had gone back to the hospital she used to be a nurse and held a massive party for all her old friends. I think about how at that party, she was in an element I rarely saw her in.

It makes me emotional to think about her life in America. If I found it hard to fit in, she stood no chance.