Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Take Ownership of Your Asian Identity

I received this letter recently which I thought I'd share with you. If you're one of those Asian-Americans who has felt alone and unwelcome living in the states or any other foreign country for that matter, don't feel bad. You're not alone. 
Hey, just wanted to say that I love your blog and agree with most of your sentiments (though sometimes, I think it borders a bit on extreme, but I think that's the nature of blogs). 
What I could definitely relate to was when you said that living in Korea was such an important experience for you. I was born and raised in Canada, and I went to university in the US. After graduation, I spent 2 years in Korea and it really changed my life. Before going, I was quite a wreck mentally, and I had many resolved issues with my racial identity. I was quite angry, bitter, and confused, despite the fact that on the outside, I was quite a well-adjusted and popular guy with a rainbow coalition of friends. A lot of helpless fury was burning inside me though, mainly at feeling so alienated by American culture, yet unable (and unwilling) to embrace my own Korean heritage. 
For most of my high school and college years, I was yearning for acceptance from "mainstream" America (and Canada). But after living in Korea, I realized that instead of trying to "overcome" my ethnic identity, I want to own it as much as possible, and I want the "mainstream" to seek acceptance from me. If they don't want it, then who cares. But I won't be asking anything from them ever again. 
I wish every gyopo, male and female, could have an opportunity to just spend a significant amount of time in Korea (or whatever Asian country their ancestors are from). I think there's such a sickness that's gone untreated in the Asian- (North) American community, one that's always glossed over for the sake of the forced idea of racial harmony in current America. I know my own mindset when I was a teenager and then a college student, and it wasn't a healthy one. I don't figure to be the only person who thought like that, and I shudder at the possibility that I could've spent the rest of my life trapped in that cycle of confusion. 
Anyway, good job on the blog. I could sure use a dialogue partner (this kind of stuff is not what I like discussing in polite company), so if you're down to talk some more, let's do so!

1 comment:

  1. All I want to do here is leave my mark. I don't have anything I want to say that I would be comfortable committing to 100%. Lots of here and there thoughts, none of them really sticking. Interesting post.


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