BBC girl & BBC dad

6 reasons why the badass hapa BBC girl inspires my inner child

betty ming liu Inspiration 4 Comments

Marion Kelly is four years old. She’s hapa — half Asian and half-white. She has a Korean mommy, a white American daddy and a baby brother named James. On March 10, Daddy was Skyping an interview with the BBC. When she crashed it, they went viral. And now, I just love how this badass BBC girl inspires my inner child.

The world is blessed with this hilarious, 43-second news clip because Prof. Robert Kelly forgot to lock his home office door. So Marion struts up to his desk with James trailing behind her. Then, frantic mom Kim Jung-A appears. She grabs the kids and drags them from the room.

When I look at Marion’s Asian-y features, I feel hopeful. She is fearless, unselfconscious, unbroken. If she can live without second-guessing her every move, so can my inner child. Note to Mom and Dad Kelly: If you ever give a parenting talk, sign me up. I want your secrets for raising such a free spirit. Until then, I’ll be in this space, enjoying 6 reasons why the badass hapa BBC girl inspires my inner child.

BBC girl & BBC dad

If you missed the full video here it is:

And now, here are the 6 reasons why the badass, hapa BBC girl inspires my inner child…

1) Spotlight on Asian women identity  

At first many viewers assumed the mom was the Asian nanny. How insulting. But Asian Americans stepped up to set the record straight. In the outpouring of online rebuttals that followed, I’ve read some great articles. Suddenly, we’re talking around the world about implicit bias, and stereotypes that hyper-sexualize and victimize Asian women. And love this parody, “That’s Not the Nanny.”

2) Spotlight on working women 

What if the interview had been with BBC mom instead of BBC dad? I won’t spoil the jokes by saying more. But this parody had me laughing. So true. Women, we give too much.

3) Storytelling that goes on and on

The internet creates profound opportunities for instant engagement. I ate up this behind-the-scenes interview with Mom and Dad Kelly, absorbing every detail. I also enjoyed The Wall Street Journal written interview, which offered more tidbits. A thorough New York Times delivers this quote: “This is now the first line in my obituary, right? BBC dad, at least for a while.” Haha.

4) Marion <3

BBC girl’s parents seem sane enough to manage their new-found fame. Elle magazine has a lovely piece about the rise of Marion. It’ll be hard to let go of this kid and give her privacy. But I can do that. She’s already done such a terrific job of being the badass, hapa BBC girl that inspires my inner child.

5) Trending: biracial & multiracial 

In one of the interviews, Robert Kelly says he worries about how his children will be treated as mixed race kids growing up in Asia. Well, maybe this American dad should bring his family back home someday.

Studies show biracial and multiracial kids, couples and families are our future. As of 2013, 28% of all Asians in the U.S. married outside of their race, compared to 19% of all black folks, 7% of whites and 58% of Native Americans, according to an interracial marriage study by the Pew Research Center.

And look at this chart to your left. Multiracial babies and young people are changing the American population, according to another PEW study. 

The Changing Face of Multiracial America, According to Census Data

6) Collaging & curating our lives

Do you have an account on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account? Are you on Snapchat, Pinterest or Reddit? Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re posts are an art form. You’re collaging, which means pasting together random items into a personal statement. Check out my blog post about collaging as a social media art trend.

So now you have my collage in the form of this post. You know exactly why the badass, hapa BBC girl inspires my inner child. Can you relate to any of the videos or links I’ve shared? I’d love to hear about your favorites and favorite moments.

Comments 4

  1. Betty, when that video came out, I busted out laughing so much. I had to watch it over and over again because that little girl was so happy, strutting and swaying back and forth into the room and the subsequent added one two from baby and mom was hilarious. It lasted less than a minute and was just pure joy. That family is now famous and any appearance from dad for his expertise will certainly warrant more attention than if he had just made a normal expert interview.

    1. Post

      Mimi, I so agree with you! I’m still watching the video over and over. There’s an interview where Robert Kelly worries about the impact of this video on his career as an academic who is an expert on Korea. Is he kidding? I’m sure we’ll see more of him soon.

  2. Hi Betty! I also loved this video and was surprised by how many people had assumed the Mum was their nanny. It caught my attention since I’m also a HAPA (but half Taiwanese) and funny enough, I have a younger brother named James also. Marion seems so confident, fun-spirited, and absolutely adorable.

    Thanks for posting those statistics! I am not surprised by them, though. My mom was born in Taiwan and moved to America in her mid-20’s for a master’s degree. My dad (who is white and born in Pennsylvania) met my mom at her first year in college. My parents have always told my brother and me that at the time, their friends and family found their bi-racial relationship (and later marriage) to be far from the norm. Growing up I’ve had a handful of good HAPA friends who I met in NYC. (My brother has as well). But in our hometown in New Jersey, we didn’t have the same experience; we had a high percentage of asians and whites, but knew of only one other mixed family. In NYC now, it seems that bi-racial couples (especially Asian and white) are very common. (Maybe I am just more inclined to notice them and their cute HAPA babies). So I expected that percentage to have increased from the last generation. (I was born in 1990).

    But the mention of the father worrying about how his kids would be treated in Asia made me think…
    In both of my trips to Taiwan – to visit my mom’s side of the family – everyone assumed I was just white and had a hard time believing I was mixed. I didn’t run into any other HAPA’s there (but one can’t assume from looks, of course)…

    Thanks for a great post, Betty!

    Much love,

    1. Post

      Michelle, how lovely to hear from you. Your family is definitely a trending statistic. So interesting to hear your personal experience too. It sounds like being in NYC gives you a chance to feel like part of a community. How we define “community” keeps expanding and I think that’s really great.

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