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(mellow guitar music)
- Hey, everyone, it's your girl Jenn
and I am so excited to film this video for you guys
because the month of May is Asian Pacific Heritage Month
and in the spirit of that, I thought that it would be
very timely to do the Asian American tag.
I wanted to share with you guys my experience
growing up Asian American and my friend Amy gave
this whole concept structure and made it very simple
by creating questions and so I just wanna
dive right into it so let's get started.
I am Korean-American.
I was born and raised in Southern California.
So my parents immigrated from Korea
and they first moved to Chile
and that's where my mom had my brother
but after my parents got their green card,
they were able to come to America and they had me.
And so I would categorize me and my brother
as first-generation because like, my parents didn't speak
any English so we were truly the first generation
to really grow up American here.
The first experience when I realized that I was different
from the rest of the kids, was when I was
in first or second grade, my mom packed my favorite food
which was kare rice which is basically just curry
with rice and it has vegetables and meat
and it's so delicious and I remember
being so excited to eat it for lunchtime
and when I opened the Tupperware, I remember a kid
looking at it and just being so disgusted
and he just called me out, he was like,
"Jennifer packed poop for lunch!"
and I remember being so mortified and so embarrassed
and I just completely lost my appetite
and I don't, I didn't even eat that lunch
and when I got home, I told my Mom that I never wanted her
to pack things like this again.
I told her that I only wanted her to pack like Lunchables
and sandwiches just like normal American food
so that I would fit in.
When I was younger, there was a period where
I was super proud to be Korean.
It happened when I was around like nine years old.
My mom took me and my brother to Korea
for the entire summer, and we stayed at my aunt's
and it was such an amazing experience because for once
like I realized like that everyone looked like me
and I felt really, just like, I just felt like I connected
with everybody and I remember always hanging out
at this park where all the kids used to hang out
and I made a lot of friends because everyone was so
fascinated at the fact that I was American.
And so I would bring like chapter books that I'd packed
and I'd be like (speaks in foreign language),
and everyone was like so impressed and it was just,
it was just a really great time for me
and that's when I was really just like proud of my culture
and when I brought that back to America, like that,
that pride stayed there for a little bit
until I went to middle school and middle school was
when everything just kind of changed for me.
I feel like it was a lot of factors just hitting
all when I was like 11.
It was puberty, it was the fact that I was like chubby
and then the fact that like there weren't that many
Asians in my school.
I remember there was a group of these boys
that walked the same route as me home
and I remember hating when we would like cross paths
because they would always say something to me
and they would say something so like racist.
They would say things like "Hey chink do you wanna
do my homework?"
or "Hey, you dropped your calculator" and now,
I wish that I had the strength to just clap back at them
because at the time, I just didn't say anything,
I was so scared
I was, I was genuinely afraid of my, for, I was afraid
for my life and I wish that I had the courage
to just like stand up to them and be like
"Hey yes, I did drop my calculator, thank you.
"I'm really, really gonna need this when I'm just
"calculating all my finances in the future"
but unfortunately, I wasn't like that.
I think this also crossed at the same path
when my parents made me go to Korean school on Saturday
and I was so pissed that they were making me and my brother
go to school an extra day.
Like we already had Monday through Friday
and now they're adding like a whole new curriculum
for Saturday and like we also, they also made us go
to church every Sunday so I felt like I had
no days off, like ugh!
So we had to go to Korean school and there was this
one instance with a teacher that just really stuck with me.
She was telling us that when people ask us what our
ethnicity is, we need to say that we are Korean-American.
The Korean always has to be first and I remember being very
unsettled by it because I felt like in my heart that
I was American so I rose my hand and I told her my piece
and she said, "No, you are always going to be Korean.
"You're Korean-American."
And I just said like, "Why can't I just be American?
"I was born here, I speak the language, I don't understand."
I just felt like this big distance between my culture
and what I was brought into.
I associated being Korean as a negative thing because
number one, the bullying sucked and number two, I would
see the way people would treat my parents.
Like my parents didn't speak English very well.
I would just see the way people would treat my parents
because of their accent.
People lose their temper, people get frustrated,
people treat you like you're an idiot when you have
an accent and it just really frustrated me and my Mom
is already kind of a shy, timid person and I think
when she was thrown into this world in America
as like a foreign person, I think that
just made her reclusive even more.
One stereotype that I absolutely struggled with growing up
was the model minority stereotype.
The fact that all Asians are amazing at crunching numbers
and they're just really great academically blah, blah, blah
and I think from an outsider's perspective
people might think wow like, that's actually a really
good stereotype, like people just think you're really smart
but it puts a lot of pressure on you especially
when you are not academically smart.
Like I, growing up I tried my best to be a good student.
Like I would literally spend hours and hours doing
my homework and all this stuff and it just
wouldn't register to me.
Like I was always like a B minus, C student, like one time
I got a D and like, in an Asian household like that
is unacceptable, like my B minuses were such disappointments
to my parents and they would always compare me to like
other kids and because I wasn't the best student, I felt
this distance between my Asian American peers that were
very studious so I just found like a new group of friends.
Like friends that I can connect with artistically
and creatively and obviously like there was
Asian Americans there too but it was like a whole mix
and it was really cool like we would,
you know burn CDs for each other, we would go to shows,
we'd go thrifting and I felt really blessed that I was able
to have my own community in high school.
Yes I can speak Korean.
I would probably say I speak the equivalent of like
a seven year old, maybe a six year old now.
Like I know how to get by.
I know, you know, how to ask for directions, order food,
have like light conversation but anything with depth,
I'm just like ugh like, I don't know.
When I watch the Korean news, I'm just kinda like,
I don't know what they're saying.
They have to talk a lot slower.
It was a lot better when I was living with my parents
obviously, like I speak Konglish with my parents
so I'll speak Korean and then I'll just fill
in English words where I don't know the Korean words.
I just don't understand like where did all those years
of Korean school go, like, did I just bury them in a box?
Like it's, I don't know but I want
to change this desperately and so I'm just gonna do
like an open call now.
I'm looking for a Korean tutor if you are based
in the Los Angeles area, I would love for you
to DM me on my Instagram, it's IMJENNIM.
I guess you just tell me your name, your age,
what school you go to or if you did and just like
what kind of program would you put me on for, ya know,
my Korean tutoring session.
Being Korean-American absolutely affected my relationship
with my parents.
There was a lot of frustration and anger because
of all the miscommunication that would happen.
There were so many times where I would just try
to talk to my parents but there are just words
that I just didn't know and vice versa and we would
just have yelling matches.
I would scream at them being like,
"Why can't you (bleep) learn English"
and they would just say like, "Why don't you know Korean,
"like you are Korean."
And so it always felt like this battle and growing up
my entire life, I felt this huge disconnect
from my brain and my mouth, like I felt like I couldn't
say exactly what I was feeling or I couldn't articulate
and put into words so writing was a nightmare for me.
I hated writing because I would just look at the paper
and be like, "I just don't know what to say."
I don't know, like maybe was it because I was juggling
two languages, like I don't know.
I mean, but I just look at other people and I see like
you grew up with like four languages and you're fine
so I don't know, maybe it's just like a personal thing
but I've always had trouble communicating and so
with my parents with that language barrier, it was just
like an extra level of just ugh, just fogginess
and I just, I was just very angry growing up
and I feel really bad for my parents because
when I was a teenager, I was not, I mean I was
kind of a nightmare so now I wanna chat
about the power dynamics because I feel like
that was kind of off with my parents because when we were
at home, obviously my parents were in charge so we'd listen
to them but when we were out and about, we would always
be translating and speaking, especially for my Mom
and it's because my Mom is a very shy and fearful person
and I don't know if she was always this way because I
didn't know her when she was younger but I think it's
because of the judgment that people would give because
something really traumatic happened
to her while she was out here so
So when I was in preschool,
I remembered my Dad picked me
up from school and I knew something was wrong
because normally my Mom picks me up from school so we
go home and I go to my parents' room and I see my Mom
just lying on the bed with a towel on her face
and so I asked my Dad like, "Is everything okay?"
and he says, "Oh she's just napping."
We found out later that someone had robbed the store.
My parents had a really small shop that sold
women's clothes in El Monte and someone had a knife
and he told her to give her the money in the register
and my Mom refused because that was all the money
we had and so she said no
and he sliced her face and of course he took the money
and she was a very fearful, fearful person after that.
She never spoke and I think it took her a very long time
to recover from that and when she told me that story
again when I was older, it just, it just lit a fire
in me, like I, because I
never want my parents to be in a situation like
that ever again and the reason why
I'm telling you this story is because I feel like
first-generation parents, they have to do the shitty jobs.
They have to work in the dangerous locations.
The have to work at the salon, the convenience stores
and they do this because they want to give us a better life
and so it makes me want to try so hard and to be able
to provide for them and so that they never have
to worry about that again.
Every day I'm so grateful that they chose to move here
to give me and my brother a better life, to give all
of us a better life and whenever I'm feeling unmotivated
or I feel like I just can't do it, I think of that
and it just snaps me right back up
and it just fuels me to push harder.
I feel so proud to be Korean-American now
and it definitely took some time.
I think it's because the older I got, the more I just
had to accept myself and I started to embrace my heritage
when I was probably like a senior in high school
to a freshman in college.
I think that's when I realized I can't change who I am
so I have to accept it and I really hope that people don't
judge me for wanting to distance myself from my culture
because I think it all came from a place of me just
really wanting to fit in and really wanting
for people to like me.
I'm here now and I'm so freaking proud to be Korean-American
and I want to specify that I'm both.
In America generally people just see me as an Asian
and when I go back to Korea or when people
or Asian Americans go back to their motherland,
people categorize us as Americans so we
don't fully belong in either.
We're in our own category and I'm not mad about that.
I love the fact that I can have the best of both worlds.
It's like the Hannah Montana song.
My favorite thing about being Korean-American is the
resilience because I feel like Korea has gone through
so much from Imperialism to war and now the fact that we
are one of the major players in the economy just fills me
with so much pride, like we are killing it in the cars,
the technology, the cosmetics, entertainment, K-Pop is
frickin' nuts and K dramas.
So the fact that we were able to build from nothing
in such a short amount of time makes me so proud.
Like I'm just always cheering on the underdog
no matter where you're from, where your background is,
I just love when people realize that
it's never too late to evolve.
All right guys those were all the answers to my tag.
I would love for you guys to be able to fill out the
questions down below whether you wanna do it
in a comment or even your own video.
I wanna know what it was like growing up,
whatever ethnicity you were.
Just replace the Korean or Asian to whatever your heritage
is and I would love for you to share your experiences.
It's like we live in this globalized world where we can
share our stories, we can explain what happened so that
way we can learn from it.
I wanna thank you guys for finishing this video
and listening to me because it really, really means a lot.
So thank you for watching, bye.
(mellow guitar music)
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身為韓裔美國人 (Growing Up Korean American | My Struggles)

4115 分類 收藏
cc12cc1210c 發佈於 2018 年 7 月 25 日
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