Racial Awareness at CHS – Leo Rassieur


Amy Zeng

Q: What ethnicity are you?
A: I am half white (American) and half Chinese. My father is white, and my mother is Chinese.

Q: How did your ethnicity influence your childhood?
A: Ultimately, I don’t really feel white nor do I feel Asian, or really anything in between. I just feel like a person. I don’t think that my race in any way impacted how I grew up. But I definitely experienced that people have perceived me differently based on my race.

Q: Did you notice you notice race as a kid? Did it affect you in any way?
A: No, I was in a unique position because of my race. I wasn’t feeling that stereotyped as a child but later I kind of acknowledged that, especially in high school, there are a lot of stereotypes out there, and unfortunately I have had to deal with two of them.

Q: Growing up, did you ever notice or experience racism?
A: Yeah. Especially right now, I’ve experienced a double standard in that because I’m Chinese, I’m expected to try really hard in math especially and excel in school. But because I’m white, especially at Cupertino High School, people have the perception that I have so much privilege and everything’s handed to me on a silver platter so I am expected to work hard but if I do succeed, it’s meaningless because I’m treated as if it was just handed to me.

Q: Do you have any unique experiences being mixed race?
A: Definitely. When I visit my family in America or in China, both sides of my family treat me a bit differently than everyone else because I am biracial and I do have multiple cultures going on in my ethnicity.

Q: Have you ever noticed racism affecting students at Tino specifically?
A: I’m aware that because a large percentage of the student populus is Asian, a lot of people experience a lot of pressure to do well and get into a top college. Personally, what I experience is that people are a bit annoyed when they perceive that because I’m white, I’ll get into the top colleges more easily than other people. And of course, with them being Asian, it’s very difficult for them to get into the top colleges. At least, that’s what the perception is. Everyone feels like they’re fighting against society and there is so much societal pressure.

Q: How do you think we can get past this problem?
A: It’s been really unique for me in that I’ve just felt like a person and I didn’t really have to deal with being thrown in one category or another a lot of times. I think that if everyone just realized that we’re all just people, that’s it’s not sensible to be putting us in categories all the time. I don’t even fit in a category, really. So if we could just acknowledge that everyone is just essentially the same, we could move past all the pressure that we are experiencing.