Emma-Li Thompson was resistant to the Mandarin courses her mom enrolled her in in the fourth grade.
“I just remember being so angry and frustrated and humiliated because there are other Asian kids in that class and I was the only one, in my perception, that wasn’t doing well,” she explained.
Thompson, who is Chinese, is a transracial adoptee. She was raised in Scottsdale, Arizona by white parents. Her opposition to Mandarin courses, she said, was an example of her internalizing racism. In this non-narrated audio story for NPR’s Next Generation Radio project, Emma-Li sits down with her parents for a conversation about the limits of a colorblind love.