The South China Morning Post published a September 3 report detailing the experiences of a biracial university student in Chicago. Eric Steinhart is currently studying public policy at Princeton University and said that discrimination has existed in his community ever since he was a child.

Steinhart, 19, has a mother who hails from Shanghai in China and a father who hails from the Iowa state. He occasionally travels back and forth from their home in Chicago to their family in the East Asian nation. However, both the communities in these two areas treated him in two different, polarized ways.

He told the Chinese news agency that in the United States, people assume that he is just Chinese with no American background. He is often stereotyped as being "smart," or the usual traits that are associated with Asians.

When they are in China or anywhere in the Asian continent, people would also stereotype him as someone who cannot speak Chinese because he is of mixed race, and he grew up on the Western side of the world. He said he would get stared at on "the subway," and some would identify him as a “beautiful half-Asian,” the South China Morning Post reported.

“I definitely feel like a minority in America and I’ve been discriminated against,” Steinhart added. This situation has left him unsure about his identity.


When he was six years old, he experienced discrimination from his western fellow students at school. He shared that he was often placed in teams that consisted of Asian students in their sports classes when he fact he also has American blood.

Steinhart speaks fluent Putonghua, a renowned Chinese dialect and one of the main languages in the region.

He also is accustomed to Chinese food, since his family regularly visits their origins in China. The news agency said that it was not until his teenage years that he learned to accept his other identity.

Suicide and discrimination

This student is not the only one experiencing stereotyping in the United States. Marriages between two different races have reportedly increased over the years, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center.

There is certainly no way that Steinhart can change his identity as he grows older, and he will embrace it even more. But a report on the science website, EurekAlert, revealed that some elderly Chinese-Americans who feel discriminated against are more likely prone to committing suicide than people who do not experience racial labeling.

The study examined how racial discrimination affected the lives of the Chinese-American community in Chicago. Researchers found out that these actions can impair the mental health of the person and even lead to suicidal tendencies.

Steinhart said he has been using these experiences to his own advantage. He told the media that the more that he explores his identity, the more he is connected to two different cultures in the world.