Growing up African American and Korean was a struggle in itself. I not only faced biased complexities, but I had no one else to share these situations with. You see, I was raised an only child; the daughter of divorced-parents; a little girl in a small world. I’ve always heard the expression: “You can do anything you want to do or become who you want”, although I hold strongly to this philosophy even until today, the haunting experiences of facing biased racial extremities still hold a place in my heart.
It’s tough waking up every day, not knowing what the world will offer you, if that! I was brought into this world with just that, having two different worlds that I “live in”. My father, who is African American, and my mother, who is from South Korea, offered me the best of both worlds. I was, and am, able to see a diverse spectrum of this unrelenting world that most people do not get to experience; and even though I feel blessed to have called myself cultured, not everyone sees that opportunity as a gift from God. When I was eight years old, I remember walking over to a friend’s house to play, it wasn’t until her mother opened the door and assumed I had the wrong house, that I realized something was “wrong” with me. Was I different from my friend, did I upset her mother because of something I’ve inadvertently said? These were the questions I pondered while walking back to my house.
Speaking with my mother, she briefly explained that: ignorance is part of this cruel world, and that some people do not appreciate, accept or acknowledge something they…don’t understand. With this, I sighed a little sigh of relief, knowing that I didn’t do anything wrong, but that it was my friend’s mother who was the “wrong one”. When I turned 10 years old, I slowly understood and was able to process racial biases, modes of stereotype and fully conceded that the world I’ve been living in for the past 10 years has been a lie. No one really accepts one another, no one understands what I’m going through and no one will realize that I am who I am, a mixed child, raised in the diverse culture of half-black and half-Korean descent. Growing up an only child, and living with a single mother, I did not want to upset my mother with the guilt I’ve felt for being “different”, or the anguish I’ve dealt with from classmates, especially knowing my mother worked as hard as she could to support me. Giving in to the details of my problems would upset her, I thought, so I withheld my feelings to spare hers.
When I finally reached my teenage years, I started to notice that people were more accepting of me. Was it because I grew fond of them, or was it because I’ve been around this group of people so much that they just finally accepted me as one of their own? Either way, I was in, and couldn’t be happier! As time passed, I still felt that deep, emotion strain of having faced racial discrimination all my life, what was I to do? I came to a point where I spoke out, received the help that I needed from trusted sources, family, “better” friends and more importantly, from God.
Being biracial is a gift, yet can be a curse, depending on societal views, but the fact of the matter is: race means nothing. People are all the same race; we are humans, living together in a biased world. This I believe: The world is beautiful place, once you accept that change is a good thing, and let go of something silly as unjustly biasing and stereotyping others because someone’s skin color is “different”. In the end, it’s all nonsense.