Damien and I met in Portland, OR and spoke briefly about growing up around Los Angeles, CA and his travels.
"My father is Mexican-American and my mother is Chinese-American. Although both of them are kind of assimilated into white culture. So it was kind of weird... Being not white, but being encouraged to act white and being surrounded by a bunch of white friends. And even as a kid, I didn't like the normal standard of what white people were. So even though I mostly had white friends, they were all the weird-os. I was always attracted to the weird-os." - Damien C.
On growing up in areas around LA and his perception of race.
"We always lived in very mixed neighborhoods. Like I never really knew what racism was. My school was perhaps half white, and then from there on, Mexican-American and then many Black and Asian kids. Sprinkled all through. And because my mom was Chinese, there was a wide variety of kids I went to school with. The neighborhood was mostly white and Mexican-American.
Growing up like this, I just know that when I travel, I always get really scared if I am in a place and I see that everyone around me is white. It's just a weird thing. But as I have grown older, my pigmentation has gotten a lot lighter, like when I was 18, I was a lot darker. Especially when you are in California. People give you the automatic assumption that ‘Oh that person is Mexican’. But since I was a freak people were like ‘Oh he's not one of those Mexicans.’ But when I started to do a lot of traveling, especially through the South, there was always that fear. Even though, I guess I was pretty fortunate, because I never really got any real harassment." - Damien C.