Koreans (Or How I Came to Love My Own Ethnicity)

This is a compilation of Koreans Part I, II, III with some modifications.

Part I
I think I’m racist
against my own race
against other Koreans
which is odd
because as a Korean myself
I should naturally love my own people.

Now, before you say anything
I can tolerate an individual
but I am not inclined to develop
some Kimchi connection
just because we’re both Korean.

When I see a group of these
Koreans
all huddled together
speaking their exclusive
Korean mumbo jumbo
I get an icky shudder
all over my body.

It’s worse when
I’m in a room full of them
I want to yell
and crawl out of my skin
because when I see them,
I rather jump out the window.

I can’t take it anymore!
I need an explanation
why I feel this way!

Do I feel this way
because I have no grasp
of the Korean language
and I get insecure of myself?

Do I feel this way
because I am disconnected
from their culture
and their way of life?

Do I feel this way this way
because I believe Koreans are
narrow-minded,
conformist,
prejudiced,
racist,
and the angriest Asians in the world who
hates everybody and
beats up people
when you don’t bow your head
or put “yo” at the end of your sentence?

Or do I feel this way
because the discontent lies deeper
within the core
that I am afraid to uncover?

Does my anger at my own people
reside in the possibility
that I hate myself?

Part II
I realize I do hate myself
I hate being Korean so much
that I’m trapped
confined
inside a suffocating dank prison
I see everything through
a tiny grated window of my hate
and I become
disillusioned
bitter
enraged.

At first I took my anger out
on those who ridiculed me
on those who did not understand me
I blamed them all for putting me
in this prison.

But one day
a cellmate came in
a Korean just like me
who has
the same anger
the same rage like me
but after speaking with him
I then came to realize
he wasn’t quite like me
that I put myself in this prison
because I have put so much of my hatred
against myself
against Koreans
on my own father.

When the discovery was made
I finally made peace with my father
I inhaled
exhaled
then broke the chains that held me
smashed the prison walls that kept me
and ran out to the light that awaited me.

I don’t speak their language
I don’t understand their culture
I don’t exactly fit in
and I don’t know why
but I’m entirely okay with that.

Part III
I still don’t know the language
I still don’t get the pop songs
I still don’t get the culture
I still don’t quite fit in

But that doesn’t matter anymore.

Because what I do get is
everything that truly does matter
the things that I connect with
with me and my own pride
Pride in being Korean.

I love how there is no food
that can satisfy me like some
good, rich jjajjangmyun
where I get into a childlike frenzy
get that black soy bean sauce
all over my mouth
and lick it all up
like an eager hyperactive puppy
wagging its tail frantically.

I love how I can unleash
my inner true diva
in a light frenzy noraebang
use my voice as a vessel
a vessel for chaos
and sheer ecstatic
nosense.

I love how when I look at these
beautiful, amazing women
I just go
Damn.
What’s your name?

I love how I can just be
be with my family
be with my grandma
smell the home-cooked sensational delights
feel simply connected
to my own heritage
to my own people
the Seoul of my identity
and just
Be.


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One comment

  1. hoj201 · September 7, 2010

    My wife expressed feelings in part I many a times. I thought it was funny.

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