If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.1
— AUDRE LORDE
When I was 10 years old we moved from a small city to a neighboring town in Massachusetts. The kids were really fascinated by me, because they’d never encountered an Asian before in real life. It didn’t bother them at all that I was only “half”; they thought I was the real deal.
One Saturday, some of the boys went to see Blue Hawaii, Elvis Presley’s latest film. I wasn’t invited. On Monday when I went to school they had a surprise for me — a new nickname.
I knew it wasn’t going to be Elvis but was dumbstruck when they gleefully announced they had found the perfect name for me — Ping Pong! Johnny explained ...