Lâle (22) From Overijssel. Her mother is Dutch and father is Turkish. Studies Security Management and work at Asian Raisins as a Privacy Security Officer.
What kind of upbringing did you have? There is also a term: “Tiger parents or Tiger mom”. Did you have a similar upbringing?
Both my parents are always supportive, but quite strict about my upbringing.
Are there any taboos or things that you can’t discuss with your parents?
I cannot discuss my sexuality. It is not accepted because of their religion (Islam and Christianity). I can discuss all sorts of topics with them, except this.
Do you feel close with your Asian roots or not?
Yes, I feel connected to my Asian roots. I was truly raised with two cultures, and I also have a lot of family in Turkey. It’s just my identity and I’m proud of it.
Did you ever feel ashamed of you being Asian?
I’ve never been ashamed of it, even though I’ve experienced racism throughout my life. My parents also told me that I should be proud of being Asian.
Did you ever have a role model when you grew up?
My role model was my grandmother. She really was kind and warm-hearted, even when people weren’t nice to her. In addition, she accepted everyone the way they were. I always thought that was so incredibly beautiful, I admired her strength and sweetness. Hopefully, I’ve taken over that part of her character.
What do you think of the Asian representation in The Netherlands?
Nowadays more attention is paid to Asian representations, but I know we still have a long way to go. In general, I have the idea that people only think of y China, Korea, etc. when you talk about Asia. In addition, people do not really know the different cultures. The full picture is rather absent in the media.
Do you feel like you’re the ‘The Asian Model Minority Myth’? x
To a certain extent I feel affected by it. I find myself in a reasonably prosperous environment, but because of my name, it is more difficult to get an internship or job, for example.
What made you who you are now?
Definitely the experiences I’ve had during my life, the people I’ve met and the current problems in the world.
Have people also made comments about you being Chinese? How did you react to this, what did you feel?
I’ve had plenty of experience with this. Usually, I try to engage in a conversation and inform them about the Asian community. However, I’m a little less calm when the comments are aggressive, then I explain it in a somewhat fiery way.
What are stereotype Asians in your opinion and where does that come from? Do you see other Asians like those stereotypes?
Thet “standard” Asians (as the average white Dutch person sees it), would be considered particularly smart. This is by far the biggest stereotype. But, when you talk about Turkish people, for example, people tend to think that they are scum. This is of course not true, Turkish people are just as neat and hospitable. In addition, you are quickly labelled as stupid if you do not master the Dutch language well, while obviously that is ridiculous since mastering the Dutch language does not represent your IQ – you are fluent in another language.
What stereotypes and comments have you heard about your appearance? Do you identify with that too? How do you see yourself compared to how others see you? What do you feel and how do you feel when people make such comments?
My appearance is rather layered . Most white Dutch people I know say that I look Dutch and that I am Dutch. However, the Turkish community can immediately tell I belong to their group. In principle, I can pass aswhite due to my white skin color passed through by my mother. It just feels really twofold because I feel 50/50 and people usually can’t understand that.
What racist remarks and discrimination have you experienced? Have you experienced it before? Where, when, how? Which experience do you remember most? So has it gotten worse with the Coronavirus? What do you feel and how do you feel when people make such comments?
I’ve encountered different situations throughout my life. There is, however, a situation that has particularly stuck with me in which a friend of a colleague made extremely hateful remarks about Chinese, Turks, Moroccans, etc. I’m usually very calm, but then I freaked out. In short: I told him that he should have a conversation with people with different backgrounds, and that he should educate himself before spouting this nonsense. Hopefully this got him thinking.
What is a funny trait or tell something that not everyone knows about you
I am Turkish, but I am not very good at the Turkish language.
In Asian culture, it is normal as a woman to get married as soon as possible, have children, and become a housewife. Because when you have a husband, you have children, you have “made” it in life. How do you see it?
This is generally the idea in the community. However, I think that this should not be the standard as you walk your own path of life . You do you!
Where do you stand now and what are your plans for the future?
I am busy completing my studies. IOnce done I would like to work in the public sector and make a name for myself. Not only for my own gain, but also to show my parents and to people from different backgrounds that it is possible to achieve such a position, and that they can achieve it too.
What do you want to give to the readers?
I hope that the readers get an idea of the different backgrounds and life stories, and that they can relate to these stories and/or learn what situations we, as Asian Dutch, have to deal with.
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