Recently, I been thinking about how I grew up and how being Blasian (Black and Asian for the ones in the back) played a part in my everyday life. My skin complexion registered me as Black, because that was the selected choice on my paperwork for school, making my Asian-ness secondary. So now I’m older, I’m able to look back on certain situations and see how being biracial played a part.
The earliest I remember when I felt I was different was in elementary school. I had weird looking hair that grew every which way. My eyes were slanted and squinty but I could see just fine. My skin complexion was different. I knew all of this. But at a young age, I wasn’t prepared to answer the question “What are you?”. I didn’t know how to answer that question, and usually answered with “A boy.”, and generally get hit with, “no, like are you black, cause you don’t look black”. Not a question I expected to answer on the monkey bars…
My mother is 100% Southside of Seoul and my father is African American. My mother had to get used to his culture, and even though she never really expressed how she handled racism that she endured, I witnessed it. Not only from outsiders, but from those who were called family as well. Now that I’m a parent, I can see how hiding the truths of the world to protect your child can seem like the right thing to do.
Growing up in the 80s and 90s, and even now to be honest, being a product of a interracial relationship, you tend to lean towards one culture or another, rarely, but sometimes, both. You may get bits and pieces of the other, but as you get older, the influences of your surroundings tend to help mold a decent portion of you. For me, I gravitated towards the African American culture: Hip hop and R&B music, the haircuts (I had a straight hair box cut, imagine that), fashion, etc. But even though I liked and loved a lot of things from the culture, in certain places, I wasn’t “black” enough. On the basketball court, I was good enough to play with the “bruhs”, but in the locker room with the same “bruhs”, I was “Mr. Fuji”. Was it laughs and giggles? I guess; but it was something I accepted just to fit in.
Then there were days I was just enough Korean for the stereotypes – “Man, you one of them smart Asians huh” I heard often in math class. Sometimes, I wasn’t enough Asian – “Ol chinky eyed ni****.” (Alexa, play “The Story of OJ” by Jay-Z) At the time, I figured it was something that came with being mixed because me expressing “your statement is offensive” was always met with “You don’t count, you’re mixed”, as if I’m only allowed to feel whatever your perception allows me to feel.
Now as a parent, I have the pressure of the responsibility to teach my daughter both cultures, Korean and African American. And I think teaching her about the cultures will make it easier to explain the difficulties that come with it. There will be times she’ll experience racism, and I hope I prepare her the best way I can to handle it. I may not have all the answers, but hopefully we can answer them together. At her age, her curiosity still runs deep about the world, and as a parent, I have to exhibit the attitude, the behaviors, the values and morals I want to instill in her, simply because to make the world a great place, a more impartial place, people need to develop the will to be anti-racist.
GrowingUpKorean – The Hospital Visit
It was the summer after 4th grade and I was walking around the neighborhood with some of my friends. I was walking backwards (I know, I know), play fighting with one of my friends. I slapped him in the face and turned around to start running and BAM! Ironically, I ran into a stop sign. I popped up like nothing happened -you know how you do when you try not to be embarrassed – but my friends were like “Are you okay?” I was like “yea, why” trying to play it cool. My homeboy was like “Yo, your face is covered in blood.” I touched my face, looked at my hand, and made a b line straight to the house.
Now, my momma was outside doing yard work and when she seen me running she knew something was wrong. She was like “Aigoo, what did you do to your face” (Now, Aigoo is basically Korean for “WTF” and Korean is my momma’s first language). I told her I hit my face on a stop sign. I kid you not, my momma said “you dummy”.
So we go into the house and my momma washes my face off with the water hose and I had a gash on my eyebrow. This gash was pretty deep so my momma took me to the ER.
Hold on, here’s the fun part.
So growing up, we were a military family (Like 80% of our city), which means if you went to the hospital, you went the military hospital. Military hospitals were always packed and slow for some reason. We were at the ER for 3 hours… in the waiting room. My cut stopped bleeding but my face was still throbbing. This guy sits beside my mom, looks at me then back at my mom and says “You know, they have a sign that says serious head injuries are a priority and seen first.” This is the moment I thought I was going to die.
My momma didn’t see the sign but didn’t need too. I honestly feel she was like “SAY NO MORE”.
She stood up, hid my body from view, and squoze (is that a word?) the hell out of my forehead.
So now guess what happened… there is blood gushing out my eyebrow. I’m screaming and crying, my mother runs over to the nurse fake panicking (you know, lying), speaking in Korean (remember, first language), the nurse has no idea what’s going on, the nurse finally sees me and they take me back to the surgery room to get 8 stitches and I was done..
As we were leaving, although I not 100% sure, but I swear I seen my mom give that guy a thumbs up…
Have a great day ya’ll
Lord, as our daughter heads toward a new school year, we come to you in prayer. We pray You will guide and protect her. Please shield her from any harm, viruses, anxiety, and doubts. This year will bring forth new pressures and challenges, so we ask You to protect her mind, heart, and body. We pray to You to provide her with the strength to focusing on her studies, learning and growing. We ask You to give her patience as this school year will look much different than last year. We also pray You will provide her with the strength to provide friendship to a fellow student who seeks a friend, and also provide a friend to her when she’s in need (masks on, of course). Please fill her heart Your love and compassion.
We, as parents, ask for the strength and knowledge to assist her this school year. We ask for the strength to remember what we were taught in school as we will be called upon to assist in more ways than before.
Common Core we rebuke you in the name of Jesus! I mean, we pray for You to equip us to help her and keep us all safe.
We pray for our teachers, principals, and their staff for a successful year. We pray to provide them clear guidance as this academic year will bring forth a new set of challenges than they are used to. Provide them with the wisdom to clear the hurdles placed in front of them. Please guide them all; and provide them the emotional and spiritual support to keep them grounded.
We pray to You for all students, elementary to college, teachers and professors, principals and deans, and everyone surrounding and in between. Please help them be a witness, whether in or out the classroom.
In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen
A part of Joshua 1:9 KJV says “…Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest …” and I think strength and courage will be needed for all this school year. It will really take a village this school year…
Be blessed and be safe yall!
It’s been a while since I wrote. Simply because of everything that has been going on. From coronavirus shutting the country down to killer bees (who knew) to videos of police officers killing black men on the street, again. It’s been a lot to take in. But I felt the need to tell a story.
I remember my first racist interaction with the police as a kid. It was the summer time, and alot of my friends were in a neighborhood a few miles from my house. We were out playing basketball in the street in front of one of my friends house. Cars would occasionally come by and we would respectfully move out the way. Apparently, someone called the police and said we were cussing at cars going by. I don’t remember anyone doing so towards cars, but a police officer showed up. Short, frail white guy, sunglasses, typical tv cop lookalike. First thing he does was gather us around on the side of the road and tells us it was illegal to play basketball in the street. We had never heard of that but we complied and move the goal in the driveway. He then went on to say “The last thing we want is one of these drivers hit you mother f*ckers”.
Interesting choice of words.
I replied back “Can you not cuss at us?” It wasn’t disrespectful, just a simple request. So I thought.
I was then met with his reply of “Oh, we got a smart mouth badass, huh?”
I said “Excuse me?”
“Alright, let’s go. Get in the car.” He replied.
He then put me in the back of his car. I couldn’t believe what was going on. He went and gathered more info from my friends and he got in the car. He then told me “Listen here you lil shit. A lil nigger like you needs to respect police officers. Tell me where you live.” There were more words said after that but I got mad, and then I got shook. I realized the danger I was in. I wasn’t for sure what was happening, but I told him my address. I had too.
“Can you read and write?” He asked.
I replied “Yes.” He handed me what looked like a contact sheet on a piece of cardstock like paper. He handed it to me thru a plexiglass window separating the front and back seats. With my hands shaking, I filled it out… name address, age, etc… all while sitting in the back seat of a police car. I gave him directions to my house while sitting in the back of a police car. I seen someone walking on the street, which seemed like forever seeing someone since leaving the front of my friend’s house. It was a classmate. I saw her but I don’t know if she recognized me sitting in the back of a police car.
When we got to my house, he got out. My father was outside washing his blue van with a Kool cigarette in his mouth. They spoke for about 10 minutes and then the police officer came and open the car door. I got out with my head down knowing I was in big trouble. My father smacked the back of my head as I walked by. I went inside and went to my room.
Sad as it may sound, that was the end of it. I never recieved any type of talk, punishment, or anything. My father never gave me a talk about how a black kid should interact with white police officers. My father never talked to me about how there are some bad police officers out there. My father never told me about the negative outcomes that could have happen by getting in that car. My father never heard my side of what happened. My father never spoke another word about it. I’ll never know why.
My first encounter with the police was one I’ll never forget. I learned even being respectful and polite will never change the color of my skin. It will never change the fact that to many white people, I’m just another nigger with some chink in him. But I’m alive to speak on it. There are many who are not, like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. We have to continue to be vocal about racism and have these uncomfortable conversations about it. If protesting isn’t your thing, then maybe organizing a fundraiser is, or running for local government seats, or financially supporting those who are willing to be on the front line, or even speaking and writing, performing, raise a fist, making tik tok videos, or whatever you want to do, you have to continue to support the fight against police brutality and racism. We’ve been fighting a long time and we must continue to fight.
Continue to fight.
Starting Chapter 37
This past year was full of ups and downs. From starting a new hobby, to visiting a new country, to celebrating 10 years of being married to my best friend, to starting a new job, to date nights, to daddy daughter dances, to death of friends, to spending time with friamily, to comedy shows, to meeting famous people, to Broadway shows, Chapter 36 was pretty eventful.
This past year taught me a lot, and in taking those lessons I’ve learned, Chapter 37 will be a great year. Here are some of the things I’m taking with me:
1. I’m using my PTO. At my last job, I was so stressed at work that the thought of using my PTO would put me further behind in work and in some cases, frowned upon by management. So I didn’t use it or if I did, I worked from home. Being in my new position for a while now, they actually encourage it, so I will take my PTO.
2. I’m going to do better at keeping in touch. I try to keep in contact with people mainly thru social media, but starting today, they’ll be more phone calls, more visits, more game nights, more double dates, etc.
3. I’m going to learn something new. I had 5 goals last year I wanted to reach, and some of them I didn’t reach, but in that process I did learn new things and accomplished some other things I didn’t know I wanted to do. So now, this year, there’s not a set number to reach, but a “let’s see how many” I can learn.
4. I will teach my daughter something new as often as I can. As a parent, one of my main focuses in life is to make sure I, along with my wife, teach my daughter as many things as I can. Whether it’s about handy work, cars, grass, etc, my focus is to make sure she knows we tried. So she’ll be learning a lot of things not only from us, but from experiences we introduce her too as well.
5. I will make new memories with old and new friends.
These are things I need to work on, because I’m not perfect in any way, shape or form, but I can do better at trying. Hopefully they work for me and I’m sharing with you. Everyone is different and everyone has had different experiences so these things may not work for you. But if they do, let me know!
What else would you add you this list?
I’m off to enjoy my day and birthday weekend. As I celebrate, I look back at some of the stupid things I did when I was younger and think to myself “I’m surprised I made it this far.” I’m truly blessed and I know I can’t take that for granted. Thank you for all the thoughtful texts, calls, and messages. I truly appreciate it them. Love you guys! A special thank you to my wonderful wife. Thank you for making me a better person, a better husband, and a better father. I love you more than word could ever express. Thank you.
I really couldn’t sleep well last night. It was weird. For some reason, this celebrity death hit different. I was super emotional all day after. As an athlete, specifically a basketball player, Kobe was one of the players everyone my generation wanted to play like (Either him of Jordan). He played hard and gave everything he had. But now as a father, to know he was in the helicopter crash with one of his daughter strikes a serious nerve. The way he interacted with his girls, the way he talked about them, showed he truly, unconditionally loved them. One of my greatest fears is not being able to protect my family. I think that one of every father’s/husband’s greatest fear. Kobe, along with Coach John Altobelli, lived through that fear in real life and I know it’s what hurting me the most.
We all grieve different. We all have feelings. Even though I didn’t know Kobe, his daughter Gianna, or any of the others involved in the terrible crash, I’m still sad. You don’t get the opportunity to tell someone how to feel. We all react to different situations differently. Console and be there for them. There’s a little kid who just lost his idol. There is a generation who grew up watching him on TV and we’re all hurting in some way.
Those are all the words I have because it still hurts. Even writing about Kobe in a past tense feels unreal.
Rest in Peace Kobe and Gianna Bryant, John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah and Payton Cheste, Christina Mauser, and Ara Zobayan.
Aye! First post of the year! I’m hoping to write more this year to keep a steady flow, but I have a few more things I want to put on my plate so I’ll see how that turns out.
Like a lot of people every year. We all decide to get back in decent shape. I started in December, but I’m noticing my body ain’t what it used to be. I would like to be around when mini me gets older so I need to figure out different ways to stay in shape than just the same old gym routine.
So not too long ago, a friend of mine posted up a video talking about Sea Moss and the benefits it has for the body. We had similar athletic backgrounds with present pain associated with playing sports. For me, its mainly bad knees (left knee surgery ’09, current osteoarthritis), back and neck pain, and crispity, crackity joints. Working out is painful, so I can only do low impact, non-stressful activities on joints, which really limits to what I can do. So my wife was like you should look into it. So I did. I read a few articles and watch a few videos on Dr. Sebi’s take on it and decided I would try it out. Although Sea Moss isn’t regulated by the FDA, I figured it could be any worse than some of the stuff that is (take 1 too many Aspirins, it’ll be the last headache you’ll ever have.)
This year, let’s live with ambition, let’s dream bigger, let’s love harder and love better, let’s inspire and be inspired, let’s spread integrity, let’s embrace honor, let’s seek tranquility, let’s celebrate each other, let’s laugh with each other (not at each other), let’s encourage, and always, let’s believe tomorrow will be a greater day.
Happy New Year Ya’ll! Let’s continue to grow together!
As 2019 comes to an end, I want to say thank you to all of you who took the time and shared my pain, my laughs, and my experiences. Hopefully in 2020, we’ll continue to grow together, grow mentally, financially, spiritually, and all ways possible. 2019 has been full of new experiences and opportunities. While we build on those in 2020, we’re going to step out of our comfort zones and branch out to new things. Let’s grow together yall!
My family and I would like to wish you and your a Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a Happy New Year!