Let's begin with a classic childhood photo, shall we?
Now I know it's hard, but lets not be distracted by my obvious uni-brow and my top that if dipped more to the left would be too revealing for my blog. Clearly, my parents were unaware it was picture day. My bangs are doing that funky curl because I have naturally curly hair, but my mom has straight sleek Korean hair, so she had no clue how to assist me in the 'do department. I'm pretty sure I was on my own. For awhile I resembled Dora the Explorer. I swear someone at Nickelodeon found a childhood photo of me and Poof! Dora was born. Anyways, as usual I digress.
I was born in Korea, but have spent my whole life in the bible belt of America. I always got the feeling people were confused by my ethnicity, so the question most people would ask me even before a "How are ya?" was "Hey, what are you?" When I was little, I was always mistaken for Mexican. I'm assuming it's because I was so dark and not quit Asian looking enough. I have been mistaken for Mexican so much in my life that when people say unflattering comments about Mexicans, I think I get a little offended...like, "hey, that kinda hurt?" Weird.
I've also been mistaken for Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, etc...who knew I was so racially ambiguous. I should have worked for the CIA, I can blend in anywhere.
My mother is Korean and my dad is a mix of Scottish and Cherokee. I wouldn't say I was bullied as a child, but there sure was enough material there for an occasional tease. Besides the caterpillar resting above my eyes, I was a chub. I remember one time some boy at school called me Fat, so I went home and told my mom and she told me to go back and call him a "Chopstick" Really? So I did...and to my dismay, the cut-you-to-the-bone insult didn't fair well. I never used another Asian eating utensil jab again. Good try mom. Just so you know, if you ever want to call me a chopstick, my reply would be, "Awe, you're so sweet, I have been working out"
As far as racial insults are concerned, I've been called everything from Asian specific insults (i.e. chink, gook) to bi-racial insults (i.e. Mutt). It's never the highlight of my day, but sometimes you have to step back and remember ignorant people are everywhere. If you take it personal, it'll just eat you up inside. I remember when I was little, some kid told me I was going to hell because I was mixed. I thought to myself, "...I don't think I had a choice in the matter, I'm an innocent bystander....take it up with my parents"
To judge a single ethnic group by the actions of a few or simply because they are not like you or do not have the same beliefs as you, I will never understand.
The older I get, the less I like to be defined by my ethnicity. That is just a small part of who I am. I am proud of my culture don't misunderstand me, but more proud that I am a mother, a wife, a friend, and a daughter.