A mom holding her baby in the park


I’m An Asian Canadian Mom Living In The States And I Don’t Know What To Feel Right Now

Mar 31, 2021

I was 22 when I was sexually assaulted by a young, white man. I was trying to get into my friend's house, where we were both spending the night. When I woke up, he had fled.

I was 25 when, walking with a white colleague down Yonge Street in Toronto, a man yelled to him: "Why would you ever date a f—king ch—k, traitor?"

A year later, I was assaulted by a white man at an event I had planned — an event he had paid to attend. No one helped.

And at 27, a white man chased me aggressively down a street in L.A.. I've never run so fast in my life — I hate running.

These are just a few of many memories that have been triggered in my mind since the murders of Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Soon Chung Park, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun and Paul Andre Michels in Atlanta.

This mom is muslim and goes through the same thing with her kids every time tragedy strikes — read her story here.

I'm a Filipina/Canadian woman, born and raised in Toronto. For the past six years, I've called L.A. home with my husband and our two young daughters (four months old and two-and-a-half years old). Soon I’ll be a dual citizen. My husband is white. My daughters are biracial.

Raising a biracial family has brought me closer to my own ethnic roots. I’ve discovered a newfound pride in my Filipino culture, and thanks to genetic testing, I also discovered I’m 30 per cent Taiwanese.

"I am scared for myself — but especially for my daughters."

In the past, when I'd learn something new, the cracks in my world opened up a bit more and I found some clarity in the chaos. But since the trauma of the 2016 election results and, well, all of 2020 and into 2021 — namely the murders of Black people at the hands of police, giving birth during the pandemic, the multiple mass shootings over the last couple of weeks and the spike in hate crimes against the Asian community — I’m at a loss.

I am confused. I am shaken. I am scared for myself — but especially for my daughters. My heart feels like it’s bleeding.

“We have to put them in judo and self-defense classes as soon as possible,” I told my friend over the weekend. They replied: “But M isn’t even three and J isn’t even close to walking.” They didn’t get it. They didn’t understand that my comment, which may have seemed ridiculous to them, was rooted in my personal experience. I have never been shot, but I've been assaulted in various ways over three decades. Honestly, I never really thought that it could be me or my daughters next, because I feel lucky. Lucky, or fortunate, that the men who thought so little of me and my complexion didn't kill me.

My daughters are my world. My everything. They are made up of me and I of them. Even long after I am gone, tiny parts of me will still exist. As a parent, I am trying to balance the idea of being keenly aware, but not run over by fear anytime we go outside for a walk or play on the playground. But I’ll tell you a secret: I AM scared.

“How do I raise anti-racist kids?” is a question this mom has heard over and over again. Read how she suggests parents approach the topic here.

I was raised by my complicated grandma, who is strong on the outside and soft in her heart. In a way, she let fear rule her life and I have tried so hard not to parent like that. But her commitment to me and my siblings was to always put our safety first.

"If I really stop and think about it, my job as a parent is to raise warriors."

I've come to realize that I am raising young biracial girls in a world where some may not accept them or may stereotype them based solely on the colour of their skin and the slant at the corner of their eyes — that my girls will be subject, or boxed into, a long history of systemic racism.

So, if I really stop and think about it, my job as a parent is to raise warriors. Strong women. This means I must also be a strong woman as their everyday example. But what does being "strong" even mean to me? For so long, I thought being strong meant buddying up with the boys' club at work, and not complaining or over-sharing.

Self-realization is work, and it sometimes feels overwhelming and impossible. I've felt at odds with my current state of vulnerability, to the point where I can talk myself into feeling lucky because I haven't been killed. But I want a different path as I raise my children, one that helps me redefine what it is to be a strong woman and mother. I will continue voicing my own thoughts, as fragmented as they may be, and be transparent in acknowledging our self-worth as a proud, mixed race family so that we can march toward a discovery of inner strength.

Every news item, every horrific event, all of the "isms," my history, my beautiful little girls — everything has me on high alert. As someone diagnosed with complex PTSD, I compartmentalize well and continue to parent the best that I can. But some things won't neatly fit into a box.

I can't deny that I feel the weight of the world in between moments of work, breastfeeding, building magnetic castles, park dates and big bear hugs more than ever. But I think, with the support of their mother, and a deeper connection to their heritage, I'm setting our family on a path that is scary, but rewarding.

Article Author Christianne Cruz
Christianne Cruz

Christianne Cruz is a film/TV producer and creator born in Toronto and based in Los Angeles. She is the mother of two young daughters under three. After becoming a parent, she used her experience working in media and advertising to co-found milowekids.com — a supportive and inclusive village for modern parents. She attended the Bishop Strachan School and is a graduate of Queen’s University’s drama department.

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