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Choose a side?
Fri, 2011-01-07 02:26
I learned about and understood my ethnic identity at a very young age, and I always saw myself as black AND Korean. I wasn't given the "option" of choosing until I moved to Chicago at age 7. Having been raised as an Army brat, an environment where I met many kids like me - ethnically mixed, it was a bit of a culture shock to move from that life in Korea to a predominantly black community.
My paternal grandmother at one time had an argument with my sister, who was 12, about how she was identifying herself on a school form. Instead of simply choosing the African-American/Black option, my sister wanted to fill in for both. I didn't witness the beginning of this argument, but I did walk in on it.
As I did, my grandmother said to my sister, "Watch. Vicky, what are you? Black or Korean?"
"No... You're black. You're dad is black, so that's what you are."
I don't remember the rest, but yeah, that was basically my introduction to the "one drop rule." We probably didn't discuss it any further, but it didn't matter because my sister and I didn't change our views - just expanded it.
There have been a couple of times, talking to Asian classmates, where it was suggested that I only hang out with the Asian group. I don't think they meant it in a serious manner, of course, but it was just a weird thing to say to me. Why would I suddenly stick to one group, Asian or not?
I could never choose a side. To me, it feels like favoring one parent over the other, and I love them both dearly and equally. I belong to both sides.