Sometimes I Forget I Am A Minority

Sometimes I Forget I Am A Minority

But should that bother me?
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The title says it all. I forget. How do I forget? I, fortunately, feel lucky enough to have never undergone much adversity when it came to my race - Asian. Specifically, however, I am Korean. "North or South?" one may ask. Without hesitation, I would answer "South" and jokingly respond that there would be a slim-to-none chance I would be standing here talking to you if I was North Korean.

I've grown up experiencing a range of demographics from moving homes throughout my lifetime. In between moving schools as well, I learned about many cultures and religions growing up. But in between dance classes, horse shows, and even in the classroom, I never saw myself as anything, really. I knew I was Korean. I knew I was American. But straddling both realms was something I didn't think I'd struggle with, until now.

When I was on the beach in the Dominican Republic, I remember my brothers and I were making a sand castle. We were laughing and playing, speaking in English, until a grown man walking by stopped to say, "Ni Hao." I knew that was "Hello" in Chinese. But that experience became a story to laugh about later on.

I've taken Mandarin at school for the past 7 years of my life, and it didn't hit any of my peers that there was a possibility of me not being Chinese. It wasn't until I was asked if I spoke the language at home, if I was fluent, or I just flat out said I was tri-lingual in Korean (because my parents are Korean), Mandarin, and English.

The other day, I got a text late at night, from someone I had not heard from in a while. It read, "Have you ever ate a dog?" I knew this person. I knew this wasn't a question I would be asked from this person. They know me. Until the next morning, I got an apology because the question was asked to prove a point.

Sometimes I forget I am a minority because I never saw myself any different from anyone else around me. There would be times where I would strongly stand my ground amongst my differences with others, but most of the time, I just thought of myself as, well, American.

But I am an American. I was born in New Jersey. I never had a problem with friends. My parents tried their best to protect me from ever having to face any obstacle that could be associated with my ethnicity. But I am proud of who I am. Heck, my college essay was even about my culture and how my "Teddy" was also from Korea.

This may be an uncomfortable topic for some. And for anyone that knows me, this isn't really a topic I would ever really talk about at all. But maybe that's the problem. And I find some kind of responsibility to shed light on this issue that anyone can face, forgetting their "roots" in the process of "Americanization." But before I conclude, I just wanted to thank my friends.

Past, current, and even future.

For all the people that have known me in my lifetime, never pointing out our differences, never excluding me on purpose, and accepting me for who I am. I feel so grateful to have never met someone who didn't do any of that.

I am proud to be an American. This country is so diverse. But sometimes we try to ignore our differences and find a relatable similarity in the smaller, maybe even materialistic things in life such as a pair of Jack Rogers or Lululemon pants. There is nothing wrong with that. But it doesn't hurt to embrace our differences, too.


Cover Image Credit: Naya Shim

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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If You Have 20/20 Vision, You Can’t See These 10 Annoying Problems Anyone Who Wears Glasses Can

Forget plastic surgery. I want lasik eye surgery.

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Being "blind" is not fun, and it's not for everyone. I started wearing glasses in the 3rd grade and I tried everything to avoid getting them. That whole "carrots are good for your eyes" thing is totally a lie! I ate so many carrots thinking it was going to help but it did nothing. Having glasses is super annoying and I'm about to tell you why...

1. They get dirty so fast.

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Honestly I feel like I'm always cleaning them.

2. People always want to try them on.

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Then, even worse, they hit you with the, "Wow, you really can't see". Uhhh no Susan I can't.

3. You can't lay down in them.

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Whenever you lay on your side, your glasses do the thing.

4. Once you put them down, you can't find them.

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If I'm wearing contacts and I'm doing my makeup, I'll throw my glasses on my bed and then have to feel around for them.

5.  You can't wear cute sunglasses.

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Double glasses is a major no.

6. You can't see what you look like when you're picking out new ones.

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Reasons my glasses have not always been the cutest.

7. You miss spots when you shave.

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The struggle is real when you're trying to shave and you can't even see two inches in front of you.

8. Swimming...

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Either you swim blind or you swim with the risk of breaking and/or losing your glasses

9. Getting asked why you don't wear contacts.

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Because I work at 3 and 4 a.m. or I have class at 8 a.m. Contacts are for special events because I'm lazy.

10. The eye doctors.

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Okay, so the eye doctor actually isn't bad, but you have to go over every time you start to squint your eyes, which for me is every 6 months.

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