I recently read “Not That Korean” by Irene Park. I thought it was just going to be another tale about trying to figure out where you came from and where you belong. Oh, how I was wrong. This article is wonderful. It can relate to you no matter who you are, how old you are or where you came from. Park writes of her journey through cultural identity. She knows she is Korean, but she doesn’t feel that way.
I myself am Eastern European by heritage, but I believe I am one hundred percent American. Other than the food I eat and my religion, I don’t connect to the culture. I can’t speak the language. I don’t know any traditions. In one part of the article, Park writes “Whenever I said something, it would be repeated back to me in question form, followed by ‘You call yourself a true Asian?’”. I get the same reaction from others in my cultural group when I speak about the things I like or my family’s traditions.
As I kept reading, I had the same question bubbling in my head. Should what you like ultimately decide what your cultural identity is? If I like all American rock bands, but I have nothing but Polish blood in me, does that make me Am erican instead of Polish? I believe that no matter what you like or believe you will always be tiedin one way or anotherto your roots. I think that is what’s most important. People are going to like what they like. We don’t have to understand it, we just have to accept it.