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“You’re such a wannabe Korean,” my friend wryly observed. And it was rather true.
To understand this statement, you should know a bit of my background. My parents were relatively Americanized: my mom had lived in Los Angeles since she was a child, and my dad moved to the U.S. sometime between sophomore and junior year in high school. I myself have never left the country of my birth. I was considerably “white-washed” until I entered high school.
I attend one of the best public high schools nationwide. My school is mostly Asian. I felt as if I had never seen so many yellow people in a single place. I began listening to Asian music, started trying Asian foods, and watched Asian dramas in my spare time. It was all so new to me, and I liked it.
Though I shunned American culture to pursue one that I thought suited me better, I realized that eight years of Korean school were inadequate when juxtaposed with my friends’ lifetimes immersed in their languages. I want to be Korean, but I am quite American.
This American-ness is what makes me outraged by racism against Korean-Americans. Not out of fiercely nationalistic feelings, but because I am too American to be shunned by Americans. How dare you, I think. I am far too assertive, eloquent, creative, and opinionated to be looked down upon like this. In order to succeed in a society dominated by white males, I had to be better. I am fiercely determined to speak, to write, to excel. I will not settle for equal, I will be better. But is better enough?





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