What It's Like Growing Up Half Asian

Growing up, I never really realized how different I was from my classmates. Throughout elementary school, I blended in pretty well with the majority of my classmates since we all had similar skin tones but when then middle school came around and I started getting questioned about my appearance, it was really weird and hard for me because I was never questioned about my ethnical appearance before.

My dad, a pale skinned man with brown (now gray) hair and blue eyes, was born in Ireland. My mom, a tan skinned woman with dark brown/black hair and really dark brown eyes, was born in South Korea. I, however, was born pretty pale but now olive skinned, with brown hair and brown/orange eyes, and I could honestly say that to this day, I still look nothing like my parents. But I never cared if I looked like my parents or not growing up because I was a kid that just liked to play outside or go to the playground like every other kid.

But I always kind of knew that in the back of my head that I didn't really fit in when it came to ethnical appearances. I distinctly remember sitting in my classroom and looking at everyone, pinpointing and labeling all of their ethnicities and being jealous because I couldn't be easily identified like they could because I came from two backgrounds. I mean, the white kids looked white, the black kids looked black, the latinos looked latino, and the asians looked asian.

Then middle school came around. People starting learning that I was half white and half asian and they would make comments about it. They would tell me that I wasn't "asian enough" because my eyes weren't pointy enough or that I wasn't "white enough" because I was just simply mixed with asian blood. I absolutely hated it. I would always wear my glasses I had back then and never take them off anywhere but at practice and at home because people would always tell me that I looked "too asian" and at that time, it wasn't what I wanted to hear. I wanted to be fully "white" because I would get so many comments about me being asian and I was tired of it. So I thought that if I changed my brown hair to blonde or coloring it or whatever the hair trends that American teenagers were following those days, I could hopefully convince other people that I wasn't biracial.

I hate looking back on this because I remember being so mad at my parents for making me biracial. I would sometimes lay in bed and wonder why my mom couldn't have married an asian guy or why my dad couldn't have married a white girl. I feel extremely guilty looking back on it now but I was just a kid who wanted to be like everyone else.

And then high school came around and the amount of racial stereotypical comments that I have received for being half asian kind of stunned me.

"Oh, you're Korean? You're basically related to every asian out there." *eye roll emoji*

"Korean? You're probably North Korean. Terrorist!" You do know that there's a South Korea right?

"You should be good at math, you're asian!" I hate math. Just like 90% of the student population.

"Try not to eat my dog." I'm the biggest dog lover in the world, thank you very much.

"I colored you yellow because you're asian." Has anyone ever actually seen a "yellow asian" before?

"Asians aren't very good at sports. That's why they study all the time." BS. Have you seen me studying 24/7? Nope. I was at practice, getting ready to swim at states.

"So you're gonna be a doctor or lawyer right?" Do I look like I want to study for 8+ years?

Some of these comments were from people that I never really talked to before and some of those comments were made directly by my friends. But for those who don't personally know me, I'm very much a relaxed and chilled out person and that I would either just smile it off or resort to self-deprecating humor to just shrug it off. Looking back on it, I should've known that it wasn't okay to be thrown these kind of comments and to just shrug it off like it wasn't a big deal. Being stereotyped isn't necessarily a good thing in general.

To the people that are reading this, please keep in mind to never one-side a biracial's ethnicities. I'm not 100 percent Asian nor 100 percent Irish. I'm half Asian and I'm not just saying that as a claim to my white race, but I'm saying that because it's important. The biracial/multiracial community faces a lot of struggles that people of "one race" and even minorities don't ever come across. People like to label and organize things into categories to help them identify what is what or where things belong but when it comes to us biracial/multiracial people, we don't know where we belong. We always come across forms and surveys that asks us to select what race we are and we're forced to pick "other" because I can't pick "asian" and "white", while some of my friends can't pick "african american" and "white".

Despite the journey that I have had to overcome, luckily for me, I've learned to fully embrace my heritage and I'm tremendously proud of who I am. Yeah, I may not be like everyone else but that's the best part of being biracial. I was raised learning two different languages while learning about two different cultures all in one household. I don't know a lot of half-Irish and half-Koreans out there so I mean, I'm limited edition. I've got to travel a lot visiting my dad's side of the family, from Wisconsin to Canada and to Ireland, and visiting my mom's side of the family, who are located all over South Korea. With that said, I'm also a Canadian citizen who was born as a naturalized South Korean citizen AND can get my EU passport because of my Irish blood. I've learned so much about both the Irish and Korean cultures that textbooks can't even teach you.

But the main reason for why I'm writing this piece is for my family, for two reasons.

One, I'm going off to college very soon, therefore, I'm leaving my two younger siblings behind. One is going to high school for the first time and one is starting third grade. As excited as I am to head back to Miami, I'm also a little skeptical and worried to leave them behind because they won't have their big sister figure there for a long time. I don't want them to go through what I went through when it comes to learning how to deal with being biracial because it's really a confusing concept to understand. So to my two younger siblings and any other reader who may be biracial, don't ever feel like you need to be put in a labeled box. Forget about those boxes and just be you.

And two, I want to thank my parents and all the other parents who are either biracial or have biracial children. Thank you for being you and for giving us the blessings to be not only one major race, but two (or more) races. Thank you for giving us the unique lifestyle we get to grow up in that many other people don't get experience. Thank you for constantly reminding us that our background is nothing to be ashamed of, even with all the racial slurs we come across with, and to continuously be proud of who we are. You truly gave us the best of both worlds. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.

NBC

From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less
Adulting

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments