My Granddaughter Will Be a KPop Star

Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD
10 min readFeb 18, 2024

What’s the timeline/cutoff for reclaiming a heritage identity or claiming a new heritage identity? How many generations/years?

Overall, 80% of Multiracial Asians don’t experience #AsianGlow when drinking, though 100% of those who don’t indicated that their Asian parent does. (Tweet)

Asian Glow — Katherine Wu, 2023 (via The Atlantic)

— “Asian Glow is caused by “a genetic mutation called ALDH2*2 that produces broken versions of an enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase 2, preventing the body from properly breaking down the toxic components of alcohol.

The higher aldehyde baseline within ALDH2*2 carriers (a genetic loss-of-function mutation impairing the metabolizing of acetaldehyde) may be protective as aldehydes help our immune system fight tuberculosis & other pathogens (Berry et al., 2023).

When immune cells receive certain chemical signals signifying infection, they’ll ramp up some of the metabolic pathways that produce aldehydes… that’s good news for ALDH2*2 carriers” ‘who already have a higher baseline.’

Timelines of Heritage & Identity

A family would have to live somewhere for how long/ how many generations for it to be considered their heritage culture, heritage language, etc?

One of the stories in Mixed Student Union was someone who was ethnoracially Chinese as all known ancestors of her family tree up to her grandparents were born & raised in China. However, her grandparents moved to Vietnam around 1950ish so her parents were born & raised in Vietnam. She was also born & raised in Vietnam and lived there until coming to the US as an international student.
Her grandparents speak Mandarin & imperfect Vietnamese, her parents speak Mandarin & Vietnamese, and she speaks Vietnamese & imperfect Mandarin.

Nationality = Born in Vietnam
Cultural Identity = Vietnamese

Cultural Language = Vietnamese
Heritage Language = Mandarin

Ethnic Heritage = Chinese
Ethnoracial/ 🧬 Background = East/Southeast Asian

I just wonder what the cutoff is on heritage language & ethnic heritage. If all of her descendants through the year 2250 are born & raised in Vietnam — 300 years after her grandparents’ migration — wouldn’t her descendants’ heritage language be Vietnamese at that point? At some point the heritage language & cultural language should be the same again.

Identity shouldn’t be contingent solely on one’s most ancient DNA or genealogical history. For example, great/great-great grandmothers on both sides of my family were Native American, and Native Americans first arrived in the Americas after leaving East Asia about ~20,000 years ago & traveling across the land bridge known as Beringia.

So if I identified based on my most ancient DNA then I could identify as East/Southeast Asian… which would be insane.

So we obviously have cutoffs somewhere along ancestral timelines; the question is whether the cutoff would be based on generations removed from an ancestor whose identity hasn’t been reintroduced (e.g., several generations since last Native American in the family tree), centuries removed from an ancestor who was born & raised in a different culture/ country, and/or both.

(Up)Rooted vs (Re)Rooted

An ancestor being raised in a different culture/country wouldn’t serve as a heritage-level reset if they were the sole voyager. For instance, if the voyager’s kiddos moved back to the country their grandparents & all previous generations were born/raised in, then the voyager (and perhaps their spouse/co-parent) would essentially be the sole cultural sojourners in the heritage tree.

Consider a Korean citizen adopted by Brazilians in 1980. If the Brazilian offspring of that transnational adoptee decide to go to SNU for college in 2024 & subsequently continue living in Seoul after graduation, then they and (especially) their offspring would serve as the continuity of Korean heritage from the pre-1980 generations.

That family tree wouldn’t have to become Korean again or wait 100–200 years before considering Korean to be their heritage language in the same way that someone whose family recently moved to Vietnam after centuries in China may not consider Vietnamese their family’s heritage language until after another 100–200 years of living in Vietnam.

Moreover, the Korean citizen who was transracially adopted into a Brazilian household in 1980 wouldn’t consider Portuguese or Spanish their heritage language or the heritage language of their kids who were born in Brazil & permanently relocated to South Korea when they were 18. Their heritage language is still Korean… though if they & all future generations of their family through 2280 were born & raised in Brazil, those born in 2280 (if not sooner) could legitimately say that Spanish or Portuguese is their heritage language.

Timeline of Reclaiming a Heritage Identity (vs Claiming a New Heritage Identity)

The Korean family tree that spent 1–2 generations/ 40–50 years outside of Korea can quickly reclaim Korean as their heritage language.

The ancestrally Chinese family that has now spent 1–2 generations/ 40–50 years in Vietnam after 1000+ years in China can’t quickly claim Vietnamese as their heritage language. (This would still be true even without 1000+ years elsewhere. That is, it still takes longer for a new identity to be claimed than for a previous identity to be lost.)


Reclaiming is a faster process than making an initial claim of something outside of ancestral, genealogical, etc lines.

Marilyn Monroe & Identity

Marilyn Monroe is an excellent example of Identity via Nationality vs. Ethnic Heritage vs. Ethnoracial/Genetic 🧬 Background vs Cultural Heritage

Her Mom

Marilyn’s mom, Gladys Baker, was born in Mexico because Gladys’ parents (Mom = Della Mae Hogan [Marilyn’s Maternal Grandmother], born in Missouri; Dad = Otis Elmer Monroe [Marilyn’s Maternal Grandfather], born in Indiana) migrated there “due to the farm failures that ravaged the Midwest in the 1890s. Gladys Pearl and [her brother] Marion grew up speaking English and Spanish, fully assimilated into the Mexican norteño life along the border” (Nevaer, 2020).


Marilyn’s dad, Stanley Gifford, was born in Newport Rhode Island (see image below).


The ethnoracial background of Gladys’ & Stanley’s parents & grandparents was White. No one in Marilyn’s (recent or known) ancestry had a Hispanic ethnoracial/genetic background.

So Marilyn Monroe wouldn’t be a Latina based on ethnoracial/genetic background. Spanish wouldn’t be her heritage language.


In terms of her cultural heritage, Marilyn Monroe was Mexican-American as she was the US-born daughter of a woman born in Mexico and a father born in America.


In terms of her self-affirmed identity, Marilyn increasingly claimed & identified as Mexican as she gained more independence during her career.

After forming Marilyn Monroe Productions (MMP) in 1955, Marilyn “began to embrace openly her Mexican heritage. She traveled more frequently to Mexico, particularly Baja California and the border city of Ciudad Juárez.

Marilyn was deliberate in reclaiming her Mexican heritage.

Marilyn Monroe chose to assume the multicultural identity of the Mexican nation as a bold affirmation of affinity and identity” (Nevaer, 2020).

My Granddaughter Will Be a K-Pop Star

Assume I marry a Black woman & we move to Korea to teach at Seoul National University & have our first daughter while living in Korea. Our first daughter’s ethnoracial background would be 95%+ African.

If our firstborn daughter has her first daughter 35 years later after finishing her PhD/MD dual degree in the US, our granddaughter would be Korean-American.

Thus, our granddaughter could consider her cultural heritage to be Korean (though her ethnoracial background would be African), like Marilyn Monroe’s cultural heritage was Mexican (though her ethnoracial background was White).


Spanish isn’t the heritage language of Mexico or Latin America broadly & Portuguese isn’t the heritage language of Brazil or other South American countries in which it’s broadly spoken. However, given that Spanish & Portuguese in the Americas differs from the versions spoken in Spain & Portugal — thanks in particular to the effortful preservation of precolonial cultures & the fusion of those original dialects with European languages — the versions that exist today could be considered the ‘heritage’ languages.


Olympic Skier Eileen Gu

Born in the U.S. to a Chinese mother and a white father, Gu often refers to herself as “a mixed kid”

Gu has said, “There’s no part of me that would ever hide my identity. It makes me unique and allows me to be more open to learning about new cultures.”

Multiracial Terminology: Interminority > Dual-Minority

— Interminority is more inclusive than dual-minority for the same reason that Multiracial is more inclusive than Biracial.

— It’d be inaccurate to describe Tiger Woods or Nicki Minaj as dual-minority.

⭐Nicki Minaj = Black, South Asian Indian 12.5% Japanese

⭐Tiger Woods = 50% East Asian 12.5% Native American, 12.5% Black

Multiracial Composition: Genetic Proportions > Nominal Identities

Multiracial identity is always calculated based on genetic proportions as opposed to the absolute number of nominal identities.

For example, Pelody has a Latinindian mom (e.g., Guatemalan & Sri Lankan) & White dad.

❌ She isn’t 33% White due to being composed of 3 different ethnoracial groups.

✅ She is 50% White, 25% Latin American, & 25% South Asian Indian.

Research Coding

In some studies, the fact that Pelody is an interminority Multiracial may take precedence in how she is coded.
In other studies, the fact that Pelody is proportionately half White (as opposed to non-White or minority -White) may take precedence.

It’s fine that this may differ between studies based on the focus of the research, so long as the coding approach is made clear early in the article. The earlier the better as the coding approach may even influence how other literature is discussed in the Introduction.

2nd-Generation Multiracial Proportions (Preprint Findings — Haydel et al.)

There was no difference in 2nd-generation Multiracials’ phenotypic appearance based on their compositional proportions, whether they were 50–50 (n = 7; 10%), 75–25 (n = 27; 38.6%), or 50–25–25 (n= 36; 51.4%), though they were more likely to be 75–25 or 50–25–25 than 50–50 (p < .001), reflecting the fact that Multiracials’ parents are rarely from the same ethnoracial backgrounds.

“Mexico was a destination on the Underground Railroad, facilitating freedom for thousands of enslaved Americans” (Nevaer, 2020)

🌙🐇 Sailor Moon & the MoonRabbit

Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when someone perceives a meaningful image in a visual pattern that is random or ambiguous. For instance, people may see a baby in the moon.

In fact, the story of Sailor Moon (Usagi Tsukino), the most popular female anime character & 8th most popular overall (Knight, 2023), is based on the “Moon Rabbit” folklore in East Asian & Native American cultures. The Moon Rabbit myth is a result of “a pareidolic interpretation that identifies the dark markings on the near side of the moon as a rabbit.”

Sailor Moon’s name, Usagi, means “rabbit of the moon” in Japanese.



Jesus was #multilingual, speaking both Hebrew (his Jewish heritage language) and Aramaic (the common language in his region of origin).

Language & the Adoption of Outgroup Norms — He et al., 2023

In 2022, it was reported that the proportion of Chinese who can speak Mandarin has reached 80.72% (Ding, 2022) compared to about 53% in 2000 (Kan, 2017).

Mosuo men gain fitness benefits from the adoption of Mandarin as they start reproducing earlier than non-speakers.

We compared the adoption of cultural values among two co-residing populations, the Mosuo (Naru) & Han (Mandarin) in rural southwest China, which is considered a potential hotspot for the loss of cultural diversity. Our results indicate that the cultural norms of the Mosuo, a minority population nationally with restricted geographical distribution, are more vulnerable to change than those of the Han population.

Speaking Mandarin is associated with earlier first childbirth for Mosuo men but later first childbirth for Mosuo women.

Higher levels of education are associated with smaller family sizes & later first birth for both Mosuo & Han women, but not men.

Denim Jeans

Invented in America in the 1870s (Loverin, 2006), denim jeans have become popular all over the world, and were adopted by China in the early 1980s (Wu & Delong, 2006).

Generation Coding (Inman et al., 2015; Tummala-Narra et al., 2011)

2nd Gen = born & raised in the United States

1.5 Gen = born outside of the US & arrived by the age of 12 [early arrivals]

1st generation = individuals who are born outside of the United States and arrive as adults [e.g., for college; recent arrivals

Custody Decisions with #Multiracial Kids — Iankilevitch et al., SPSP2024

East Asians were more likely to assign custody of a Multiracial child to an East Asian or Black mother (dad was White) than to a White mother (dad was East Asian or Black).

Thailand’s Religious Syncretism

Thailand’s Theravada Buddhism ☸️ (predominantly non-theistic denomination) fuses/incorporates portions of Hinduism 🕉️ (polytheistic) into it (e.g., the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok for the Hindu Creator God Brahma/ Phra Phrom).



Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.