The fact that I am half black and half Asian is the coolest thing about me. It’s like being a one-man Wu-Tang Clan. It’s like being the handsome result of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker having a baby. It means having the freshest Jordan’s but knowing to take them off when step in the house. Being mixed does have awkward drawbacks, I’ll admit. I’ve been asked what my ethnicity is at least 9001 more times than I’ve been asked my name. Folks joke about what race I am “down there,” and they always want to touch my hair.
I thought I had placed the same amount of importance on my two cultures until my grandma came to visit me from the Philippines. To prove how wrong I was, she went on one of her longwinded, heavily accented lectures. She pointed out that I didn’t have a Filipino flag, couldn’t cook basic Filipino food and couldn’t speak Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines. I felt like an uncultured douche for neglecting my Asian half. Right in the middle of my downward spiral of contemplating life and drinking vanilla milkshakes, my fully Filipino friend Al invited me to the University of Florida’s annual Go Fest. By the time he finished the question, my bags were already packed.
The Filipino Student Association at UF throws this weekend long celebration every year. Go Fest really knows the way to a guy’s heart: Filipino students from all over the state, girls that look like Chun Li, parties and free food that even had my cheap ass more than willing to pay. It begins after the first FSA meeting of the summer term and is the one time of year that every Filipino student parties together. The main event is the “Turn Me On Party” at the club. Think of it as an unofficial Filipino pride convention, but with less lumpia. And a lot more liquor.
To pregame the party, we went to a traditional Asian party where everyone took off their shoes at the front door and talked about Super Smash Bros. It was an hour of directionless conversations and shots that had me more faded than The Weeknd.
Finally, we headed to the club for the main event, I was a little nervous because I didn’t know anybody. We got in the line that went from the door to BFE. Al, a celebrity among students, introduced me to everyone. One guy who Al introduced me to tried to give me an over-the-top handshake. I guess he had seen it in a Trap music video. I’ve noticed Asian people always want to test their black knowledge with me. They don’t usually do so well. I guess this is the one exam they didn’t study for.
I met one guy who assumed I was a token black guy, and I felt the need to prove my Filipino-ness. I didn’t want to come off as some weeaboo who probably got off to Mulan so I bet him that my karaoke was better than his. He laughed and conceded that I must be Filipino to say something like that. We got to the front and the register lady asked if we were there for Go Fest. I said I was and she gave me a look that said “C’mon, I know you’re not Filipino.” She saw we were ALL on the list, and I resisted my overwhelming urge to cuss her out.
The club looked like a scene out of Jersey Shore. There was EDM playing and more fists in the air than the Million Man March. There were plenty of pretty Asian girls in the building. That was super cool, but getting one in a club like this would require small talk and dancing. I’m not good at small talk. I have a short attention-span. I hate EDM, and I’m allergic to girls who can’t dance.
These girls’ definition of dancing was throwing their bodies around in random directions and then sloppily making out with whoever they were dancing with. Like The Weeknd, I’m not really into kisses leading tonothing. There was one girl who was really interested in me though: the one white girl in the club. I’m blasian so it makes sense that I would find a way to be in a club full of fine Asian girls and still catch the attention of the white girl. Just like Tiger Woods.
As the club continued going up, I got more and more sober. The more my buzz went away, the more I realized just how lame this party was. I did run into someone who was really buzzed though. Literally. This girl bumped into me and spilled liquor all over my white Nike Air Force Ones. It was at this point I said “G.G. I give up.”
Al and I waddled out the club after hours of lame fist pumping. Just like that, my Go Fest was over. As soon as we got in the car I began cursing like a sailor and yelling about how much I hated that club. My collar was ruined and my white sneakers were now brown and drenched in liquor. I threw a tantrum like I was three years old. The hissy fit lasted the whole ride back. I screamed that the whole weekend just made me feel even less in tune with my Filipino side.
Go Fest made me realize that I’m tired of having to constantly prove how Asian I am. I’m not Rachel Dolezal so just trust me when I tell you what I am. I’m also fed up with being compared to black and Asian stereotypes all the time. My jumpshot is not black, and my GPA is not Asian. My fellow Asians shouldn’t feel the need to talk about rap music to me. Stop. My fellow black people shouldn’t feel the need to talk about anime to me. Stop. Don’t think of me as black and don’t think of me as Asian. Just think of me as Manny. Like Pacquiao.