Ethnicity: Check one. That was probably one of the toughest choices I had while I was growing up. If I chose African American or black that would be acknowledging my father and his heritage while neglecting my Asian side derived from my mother. Being biracial was difficult because as a person in a society that relies heavily on categorizing its individuals, I am an outsider. I am never black enough for my black friends nor am I Asian enough for my Asian friends. It was as if I was living on the margins of a piece of college ruled paper. I was not part of the white or black in a society where grays didn’t really have a big voice. No one wants gray because gray does not fit into a category to be easily stored away.
The idea for me to write about this and express the trials I’ve faced came from the morning of a drunken night that resulted in a stupid argument with a friend I had known for quite some time. It was quite a harmless debate that had seriously gone awry. We went over to a black guy’s house and he was the proud owner of a cat. Debate ensued about whether or not black people owned cats. I stated that I had previously owned cats and my friend responded, “But you’re Asian.” Yes it is true half of me is Korean but I don’t feel like that makes me any less black. Not only did I have cats, my grandmother and aunt had also previously owned cats, my black grandmother and aunt for that matter. Actually my Korean grandmother hates cats and loves dogs. My frustration came from the fact that what I had to say was invalid in the argument because apparently as I half-breed I have no understanding of what it is to be a part of the black community.
Throughout my life I have always identified myself more with the black community because face it, there aren’t any brown Koreans around. In fact, when people attempt to “figure” out which box I check, most often I’m Pacific Islander. Though strangely enough, it’s the white communities that don’t have much contact with black people that can usually identify me as black and then are surprised when they find out I’m Korean as well. They just assume I’m a pretty black girl. Which is a whole completely separate can of worms I will not open today but black women are beautiful is all I will say to that matter. Any ways, it astounds me all the lengths of non-acceptance and prejudices that exist out there, like for example, the whole beef between dark skinned black people and the light skinned. Also another can of worms I will not open. Though I will say, I have been called a “nigger” several times in real life by some ignorant white people, not to say you guys are all ignorant. Some of the times were actually quite recent and none of them were provoked, i.e., once I was just walking down the street and some guy yelled it out of a car. This is a subject I would need another blog to divulge about. Let me just say though, the ignorance and the prejudice are still widely around so if you think the fight for equality is over, you’re sadly mistaken.
I’m just going to close with what I know to be true. I’m half black and half Korean. Equally both and I’m proud to be equally so. I don’t need to prove I’m a black woman, because I AM a black woman. I don’t need to prove I’m a Korean woman because I AM a Korean woman. Period.