I've been struggling with what to write for my next article and finally decided I wanted to share a small glimpse into my biracial identity crisis. It definitely sounds more dramatic than it actually is, but I hope to share some insight on the biracial experience, something I don't personally hear often. I hope you enjoy!
Who Am I?
I am Jasmine Crabb, and I am a Korean American. A simple title, but it is one I am extremely proud of. My mother is Korean from the Southern Gyeongsangnam-do province, and my Father is Caucasian from Helena, Arkansas. I was born in Jinju City, Korea and moved to the States as a one-year-old, visiting Korea several times afterward. I grew up with intense Asian parenting amidst the background of a majority-white culture, which was a constant reminder of my mixed background (among other things).
Growing up, my mom taught me I was special and different as a bicultural kid, and for that, I should be proud. And I am, but the present culture for biracial kids doesn't always seem to agree I should be.
I Am Not Enough
Even though I am both Korean and American, neither ethnicities see me as one of their own. When I travel to Korea or interact with the Korean community, I am called "too American" to be seen as Korean, and in America, I am identified by my minority instead of my Asian and American combination.
For either of my ethnicities, I am not "enough" to be seen as one of them. Growing up and understanding that I was in this weird gray area of biologically being Asian and Caucasian but socially seen as neither left me confused on who I was. I would brag I was Korean American but in my heart know I didn't really see myself as either. This is the story for many biracial kids. Modern society judges us not only on our minority status which presents its own difficulties in an overly color-concerned society but furthermore, it also views us as a separate type of minority, one often ignored and outcasted because we do not fit the typical mold.
I like to tell the story of when I was interviewing for an honors program and in mentioning my biracial background, the interviewer responded saying my "racial hybridity" could bring interesting insight to the honors community. I laughed. My racial hybridity. I will never forget those words. Though he meant them harmlessly, the connotation of hybrid and its meaning towards my bicultural background made me understand I was seen differently as a minority because I was biracial. Moreover, while this is my own journey for self-identity, many other of my biracial friends agree there is a recurring theme of reluctant acceptance from our two ethnicities.
I know that throughout my personal journey of identity, I've felt lost, unwanted, and unsure because of this heavy understanding of not being seen as enough.
I Am Who I Say I Am
However, I am not here to complain about being biracial. I am here to say that biracial people have a story to tell too, and we struggle with a unique journey of identity that shouldn't be hidden from the world! I am so proud of who I am. I am slowly understanding that despite society saying I am not enough to be who I think I am, at the end of the day, I hold the power to determine my identity. I am who I say I am, and no one can take that away from me.