Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Sometimes my kids will ask me what "nationality" they are and I will try to explain what the "Caucasian" means and fail.  I know there is Irish and English and Scottish and German and French but I try to not fall back on what we used to call it when I was a kid which was "white".  My kids are only a 1/4 Korean which to them means nothing at all.  They were born in this country, they speak English fluently and they have little knowledge of the country of the morning calm besides the stinky food their mother craves and inhales at an alarming rate.

There needs to be a creation of a half "nationality" because those of us that are half don't get to fit into anyones category.  People always say how cool it is to be half because you get to be two things at once but in all honesty it isn't so cool because you are denied a group by either of those groups for being only "half".  When people refer to the President they always refer to him being half black instead of mixed race or half white.  When people ask me what nationality I am I always reply that I'm half Korean so that explains  that ethnic look I carry around all the time.

I went to Korea for a wedding in my 20's and I was excited to visit my birthplace and see where I came from and what my people were like.  I was totally freaked out.  Not only was everyone there Korean (don't ask me why I wasn't prepared for this) but I didn't look like everyone else or fit in with my people, I was only half.  They looked at me as strangely as I looked at them.

It would be so much easier to just say I'm Korean which isn't true - I'm only half Korean.  And it would be so much easier to say that I'm white which isn't true either and not easy to carry off since I don't look like I'm white.  When we lived in Cupertino being half Korean wasn't so special but since moving to North Carolina I find that talking about my ethnicity has become more interesting.  Hawaiian?  Polynesian?  Mexican?  Philipina?

I think that I'm going to start telling people I'm half Caucasian when they ask and see what kind of reaction that gets. I'll let you know how that goes.


Lauren said...

That's brilliant, I can't wait to hear how people react.

Joy McKeon said...

Lauren, I'm in CA in August 1- 16!!!

Lauren said...

I hope I'm there for part of that time, I would LOVE to catch up!