I am Korean and Indian.
So much these days is focused on race. This is something that has never been a problem for me. But, it is something that has caused a lot of confusion, everywhere I go.
“People look at me like I’m a math problem.” Jo Koi once said. It is a feeling I am all too familiar with. Since I was taken to daycare, everyone has asked about my ethnicity. Some people don’t even ask. They walk up to me and speak to me in Spanish. Some people assume I’m Italian. It isn’t something that happens consistently, only enough to be a bit annoying here and there. I hear things like “you must love rice!” and “wow, how did that happen?”. I don’t take offense, although it is offensive. When black people bring up slavery, I don’t tell them that Indians were enslaved longer…and in their own country. And when people talk about Koreans eating dog, I don’t tell them about what they eat in their home countries or how that was only during the depression (which they also did here in the U.S.).
I never really encountered racism…you can’t when people don’t know what you are. But, once people find out I’m biracial and what ethnicity I am, the stereotypes ensue. “No wonder you’re short”, “But, you’re so tan”, “You must love spicy food”…
But, I am never accepted anywhere. And never will be. To Koreans, I’m Indian. To Indians, I’m Korean. And to Americans, I’m an oddity. Something that happened by accident one time- and isn’t that weird?
I’ve learned something in the thirty something years I’ve been living with this. None of it matters. Ultimately, it doesn’t. Maybe you didn’t get a ticket because of your race…maybe it was because you were speeding. Maybe someone really is targeting you because of race. But, isn’t that sadder for them than you? Isn’t it worse that they live in that world? I’m not saying it’s ok. I’m just saying that the way you talk about that gay guy behind his back isn’t any better. Nor the way you talk about the girl who just walked by in the short skirt. A little perspective can change the world. Or, at least yours.
Here is a buzzfeed video about being biracial that was a little controversial:
Here is something I wrote for Hapa Voice many moons ago…:
Korean, East Indian