Let me tell you a few things.
I’m 40% Korean, 40% Japanese, and 20% American. This does not mean I’m a descendent of Jeremy Lin nor I speak Mandarin.
My mom has a last name Kim and first name Miyuki. This does not mean she is a chinc or a tiger mom.
My grandmother is Japanese American, and she has a strong accent. This does not mean she is not American enough nor she should feel the shame of being Asian.
For decades, the word ‘Asian’ has been a term that homogenizes 17 million Asian Americans; (pause) a term that justifies the rest of the country to force us to fit into the stereotypes and to hind behind our heritage; A SYNONYM FOR ‘LESS-AMERICAN,’ ‘SHAMEFUL,’ ‘EXOTIC,’ AND MANY MORE; a term that makes you assume that your Chinese classmate is an awkward math genius or a musical virtuoso.
But I believe the word ‘Asian’ should mean nothing more than my ethnicity.
I refuse to conceal that every time you confuse me with some other nationality that I might share similarities with, you turn me into a racist joke and strip away my individuality.
I refuse to appreciate J.K. Rowling for making her only Asian character Cho Chang an overachieving nerd, and to remain silent to the media that portrays Asian women as hypersexual, exoteric objects.
I REFUSE TO LIVE IN A SOCIETY THAT LABELS ME AS MINORITY, BUT TREATS ME LIKE A FOREIGNER; a society that protects me as a secondary role, but never as a leader; a society in which my ethnicity is regarded as a long list of derogatory terms engraved as an enduring tattoo on my back; a society that forces me to suppress my heritage in a culture that appropriates it, fetishizes it, and marginalizes it.
And I ask you, to see beyond the word, and learn who I really am.
The Cultural Ambassador Committee is hosting the 1st International Festival from 3/27 to 4/2 on campus to appreciate the cultures of 13 countries Episcopal students come from. Each day of the week is assigned to each continent, and we’ll celebrate the art, food, and music of the countries represented by our students. We hope this to be an event that raises awareness on diversity, and give a voice to all students with various backgrounds.
My paper on “The Development of Multicultural Education in the 1960s” is now published on 2016 ISSCY online journal! ISSCY (International Social Science Conference for Youth) is an international research competition for high school students that selects around 50 finalists who showed understanding in humanities and social sciences. Selected journals have a variety of topics in a number of fields such as history, philosophy, and politics. My research focused on the setbacks in creation and development of multicultural education in the United States during the civil rights movement. I believe this research not only shows how multicultural education were developed to fulfill the changing demands of ethnic minority in the States, but also allows us to understand how multiethnic education should be developed in modern days. Please take a look at my paper!
In the beginning of the year, I became a part of a group called ‘LAON Culture’, a student-run online magazine on Korean culture. Run by Korean students studying in the US and in Korea, LAON aims to explore various aspects of Korean culture such as history, music, art, and food. We write articles with various themes that reflect the views of Korean students, and try to promote Korean culture to the world. I’m currently working as the Art & Society section editor. We are also raising fund to run the website and for the Liberty in North Korea through ads and articles. Come visit us and give us some support!
On October 14th, I performed a Korean traditional song called “Destiny” with the Haegum during student-run chapel at Episcopal High School. I believe this chapel performance became a great opportunity for me to share my cultural values with the school community and appreciate traditional music.