'Talking It Out': Ivan Hall on Being Black and Asian in This Country and How He Embraces Both Cultures
Ivan Hall stopped by “Talking It Out” to speak with co-hosts Mike Johnson and Bryan Abasolo about what it means to be Black and Asian in the United States.
“I’ve always taken an amazing amount of pride in where I come from in both my parents and both their histories and cultures and whatnot,” said the Bachelor Nation star, whose father is Black and mother is Filipina. “I love being who I am and I’m very comfortable with who I am.”
Ivan — who fans fell in love with as a contestant on “The Bachelorette” Season 16 in 2020 — went on to say that while he is proud of his Asian heritage, he feels mostly seen as a Black man.
“Most people view me as a Black man. They don’t see me and go, ‘Oh, that’s an Asian guy,’ when I’m walking down the street,” he said. “That’s definitely what most people see when they see me.”
Despite perceived optics, Ivan said that he feels better connected to his Asian culture because he shares a stronger relationship with his maternal family members.
“My dad isn’t really close with his side of the family and my mom’s side is extremely close. It’s like my three aunts and my mom, my grandparents, and that’s where all the cookouts happened,” recounted Ivan, who grew up in Plano, Texas. “All I ate was rice almost every single day.”
He added, “That’s really rubbed off on me in a lot of ways too and they’re just such a tight-knit family. I’ve just learned so much [from my mom’s side of the family].”
Ivan then clarified that he’s inherited invaluable wisdom from his father as well. “My dad’s much older than I am. I just turned 29 years old. My dad is 73 years old. He was born in Mississippi, grew up on the South Side of Chicago,” he told Mike and Bryan. “He had nothing. He lived when times were really racially tense.”
Ivan continued, “He told me a bunch of stories — like his friends and the white kids would go meet up at the railroad tracks and fight each other for no reason other than just being different races. He’s had a lot of crazy racial experiences, just growing up, just being Black.”
Ultimately, Ivan’s parents raised a very successful man who currently has a thriving career in aeronautical engineering. But in today’s divisive sociopolitical climate marked by heightened racism, his father continuously tells him to take caution.
As he mentioned to Mike and Bryan, Ivan has felt the weight of the racial reckoning that has occurred in the U.S. over the past year — beginning with the reignited Black Lives Matter movement, a direct response to the May 2020 murder of George Floyd and unceasing police brutality against people of color.
Later, in 2021, the Stop Asian Hate movement launched in the face of growing attacks against Asian Americans amid hateful rhetoric incited by former President Donald Trump. (Trump and senior members of his administration were often criticized during his time in office for calling the novel coronavirus the “Chinese virus.”)
“[My dad’s] extremely cautious. When I bought my first nice car, when I started working as an engineer, I bought this BMW 6 Series and he was like, ‘Ivan, be careful where you’re driving that thing around. There’s a lot of haters out there.’ And I’m like, ‘Dad, don’t worry about it. I’m fine, I’m fine,’” Ivan said. “Those are the types of things he always reminds me of no matter what because he just knows how things are. And he’s honestly scarred a little bit because of the way he’s grown up and the things he’s experienced.”
Listen to the latest edition of “Talking It Out with Mike & Bryan” below.
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