Growing Up Asian in Australia
Possessing differing physical attributes and cultural customs to the majority can make it difficult for migrants to feel as though they belong within a certain group. Unfortunately this is a position in which many migrants to Australia find themselves, struggling to feel included and comfortable with their changing identities. However while these differences may make it harder to belong to one group, they can also strengthen the bonds within another.
The most immediate and obvious indicator of difference within migrants is that of physical appearance. Automatically they are viewed as different based upon the simple fact that they do not look like everybody else.
These physical elements provide others with a solid basis on which to categorize migrants and offers a constant reminder to the migrant themselves of their differences.
In the collection “Growing up Asian in Australia”, Aditi Gouvernel recalls in her short story “Wei-Lei and Me” of her experiences of migration in the school playground.
One insult, she recounts, was based upon her dark skin colour; that it “even looks like shit” and both her and Wei-Lei were forced on different occasions to expose themselves in order to prove they had normal genitals.
Constant representations of difference as well as automatic categorisation make it incredibly difficult for migrants to feel as though they belong somewhere other than where their physical appearance may indicate.
On multiple occasions, Gouvernel recalls being reduced to tears and pondering why she “couldn’t move back to Delhi.”
Differences in physical appearance serve as indicators of difference that can result in stereotypical grouping and exclusion, preventing migrants from feeling as though they belong.
Childhood experiences aid in the development of an individuals identity and belonging. In ‘Towards Manhood” Benjamin Law understood what his identity is through his experiences between both feminie and masculine...