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Who Is A Korean This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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You may think I am passive
and cannot think for myself.
After all,
you barely know me.
And,
of course,
that's my fault
for not being more outgoing.

You may assume I am a good math and science student.
After all,
I take calculus, physics, and biology.

You may think I am destined to be
the owner of a dry cleaners
or convenience store.
After all,
I would be honored to take over
my parents' business someday.

You presume that men
in my culture
exhibit violence and rage.
After all,
a Korean student
killed 32 students on the Virginia Tech campus.

Not a White student.
Not a Black student.
Not a Muslim student.
A Korean student
shot his classmates
in cold blood.

You may know
how to spot a Korean woman
by her lean physique.
After all,
my mother is 5Ƈ"
and weighs under one hundred pounds.

You may assume
Koreans are not good at sports.
After all,
they spend all their time
with their noses in a book.

But
I bet there are many things you think you know
but you don't.

You probably don't realize
that I abandoned my friends
and made a change
by coming to Crossroads
in the middle of my high school years.
I am not afraid
to take risks.

I bet you don't know
that I got a D in chemistry.
So much for your assumptions.

What you don't know
is my mother does not own
a liquor store
or dry cleaner's.
She owns a pharmacy
and worked her way to the top of her field.
I can only hope
to someday attain the same success.

Did you know
that one researcher found
that Korean men
in the United States
commit violent acts because
they feel alienated
by the mainstream media
that glosses over similar atrocities
committed by whites?

I have a newsflash:
Not all Korean women are bony.
Perhaps
the close-minded people
should take a closer look at Victoria Beckham.
And have you noticed Keira Knightley lately?
I will never be bony.

When it comes to sports,
your presumptions that
Koreans cannot compete are dispelled
by the fact that
Korea has ranked among
the top 15 Olympic medal-winning
countries in the world.

Korea's only competition
was either
highly funded First World countries
or nationalistic countries.

As for me …

You cannot put me on a list.
Or file me
away
in your drawer of statistics.

I am not going to fade
into the shadows
of a dimly lit library
or relinquish my independence
to another person.

I will play the sports I love,
I will speak my mind.

So you tell me …
Who is a Korean?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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iloveyou0429 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 20, 2010 at 11:03 pm
I love it!
 
dreamingonnie said...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm
this is really good, you can tell when you see good writing if you feel an impact, and boy was i impacted, i really like your writing style. it is very matter-of-fact? you do not suggest things, you state them and that's what makes this poem so powerful.
 
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