FUCK YOUR OPINION. I'M KOREAN-AMERICAN.
Updated: Aug 21, 2018
New York, New York
I was born and raised in America. As a kid in suburban NJ, it never occurred to me that I was “different.” It all changed when my family moved to Korea when I was in elementary school. It was temporary, less than a year, but brutal nonetheless. I was injected into the local public school system where kids were cruel and didn’t understand how I could look like them but be so different. They bullied me for not being able to speak or write as well they could. I was reprimanded for being Korean American; as if I had chosen to be ignorant towards a culture I had no idea about.
A year later, when my family moved back home, I brought back the weight of feeling like “other.” I felt stripped of being genuinely “Korean.” But coming back to America had its own challenges. I wasn’t “American” either, according to xenophobic strangers and ignorant friends.
I struggled for years with my identity. It’s difficult not to be influenced by how the world sees you and expects you to be. From one lens I was ignorant, selfish, entitled. From another I was quiet, submissive, inferior.
But I am none of the above. My life and my actions define who I am as a Korean- American woman, not the expectations or stereotypes the world might have of me.
Today, I’m proud to be Korean- American. I’m proud of who I am and where I come from. The stories of my family and heritage are those of strength and perseverance, which have made me who I am today. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.