Chinese | French

Marie Cvennec.jpg

I moved around a lot when I was growing up. From France to Indonesia to Hong Kong to the States. In Miami where I lived for 5 years everyone thought I was a local because I look Venezuelan, because I look Cuban, Colombian, Hawaiian. I look anything that is South American basically because they are such a mixed race people. People automatically assumed I spoke Spanish. I would say I fully started to embrace my mixture in my early working life, my early 20s. I wasn’t necessarily getting social validation from it but I was always proud to be half French half Chinese and going back to Hong Kong where I had grown up originally was a big part of re embracing my Chinese roots to begin with which are the core. I grew up in a very French environment in terms of education and language but in a Chinese context because I was in Hong Kong. My mum is very Chinese and we grew up with Chinese food at home so still very close to the Chinese culture but from a very western way of doing things.

Living in mainland China in my early 20s as part of uni, they have a term for a mixed race child which is Hùnxuè'ér - literally meaning mixed blood child. From hearing a lot of stories especially in the U.S around mixed race black and white kids who are ostracized by both sides, I decided to do some anthropological research on what it is to be mixed race in Asia. I discovered that actually the Chinese have an expression, ‘mixed race people are as beautiful as they are intelligent’. Basically they are revered as demi-gods and I remember all the taxis when I mentioned it to people were always so amazed saying that I was the best of both worlds, that mixed race people were all so beautiful and so intelligent. And so that was a really interesting you know perception seeing that in China, they are perceived totally differently than in mainstream American culture. That was a really big turning point in my life. It was like, oh cool im part of this new super race!