I had a record breaking 3 racist comments towards me within 24 hours. All different people. One patient refusing my care until I proved to him I could speak fluent English. And I understand this is a burden I must bear for being born Asian. But it is not something I can help, I didn’t ask for my genes to be this way, and it is not something I can do anything to change. I can’t lose weight, or put on weight, or dye my hair, or cut my hair in order to change how people will see me.

But the most disheartening thing, is when people tell me to “get over it.” I joke a lot about when people are racist towards me, and someone once pointed out to me that that is another burden I am putting on myself. I can’t recall the exact term used for it, but I have conditioned myself, as an Asian-American, to make light of my pain to make other people more comfortable with it.

What the fuck is that all about?

My heart hurts extra because I go to my friends and colleagues, 90% of which are White American, and some of them actually tell me to, look who I am dealing with, why am I surprised? Why am I surprised? Because I am dealing with Americans, and because I am dark skinned and they are white skinned and they have no idea what it feels like to have someone automatically just see that I am different. Before even asking me what my name is, or bother to let me say, Good Morning. They have never experienced someone stop and actually walk the other direction after seeing them.

And this is what it means when someone says, someone of colour must work twice, three times as hard to be an American.

And I hate to bring the added adopted factor into this, but they also have no idea what it is like to feel like an outsider it America, and have the added burden of knowing that even though I am an American citizen and only know what it is to be an American, were I ever to “go back to where I came from,” because I am an American, I would be just as much an outsider in Korea. It will not make sense to an American, but Koreans would see it on me. The way I dress, the way I hold myself, the way I gesture. Before even asking what my name is, or allow me to say, Good Morning. So where am I supposed to feel like I belong?

I shouldn’t have to feel like an outsider in my own country. I am not saying that I need people to get up in arms when someone exhibits racism towards me. I am not saying that people need to paint their skin and walk around in my shoes to fully understand my plight. But I shouldn’t have to deal with anyone telling me to, “get past the racist comments.”

My American Dream

I’m not opposed to people who post political things. And I’m not opposed to people who voted for Trump. I am a strong believer in everyone having their own opinions and I’m not going to tell you they’re right or wrong. But I don’t want to see your open Trump support on my facebook feed. I don’t want to see comments like, “Build the Wall!” because you don’t understand what that phrase really means.
95% of my facebook friends are White Americans. 95% of my facebook friends have absolutely no idea what it is like to be descriminated against. They have no idea what its like to wake up every morning and not know what someone is going to say to you today. Half the time I laugh it off, because whats the point in making a big deal? But I guess I’m finally making a big deal, and I’ve been thinking about this for a while now.
Out of like 30 dayshift staff on my unit, there are 3 who aren’t White Americans, including me.
Whenever I work with the man, patients are constantly commenting on how we would be a cute couple. When I work with the woman, patients are constantly asking if she is my mother, we look so much alike. We aren’t even from the same countries. I laugh it off, because working in my unit begs a strong allowance for stupidity. But 90% of my coworkers won’t ever have to experience that.
The majority of the people in my life will never understand what it’s like to wake up and immediately have people treat you differently because you’re skin isn’t white. To have people offhandedly tell you that your English is really good. To have someone start a sentence off with, “I’m not trying to sound racist, but…” To have someone actually recognize that you are Korean and then tell you that they’re the worst race ever. To have someone spit the word “Gook” at you in the middle of a crowded room. To ask you if the Sweet and Sour Chicken they had for lunch is just as shitty where you come from too. “Where you come from.” The m
ajority of my friends will never have the phrase flung at them with such distain. I met a man recently. He was a law clerk in Forida, but packed up and moved here. He wanted to open a restaurant, so he did. A small hole in the wall with one table. He was telling us how just the day before a man was walking down the street and saw him. The man yelled at him to pack his things and go back to where he came from.
America used to be a country that the rest of the world looked at as a land of Hope and Opportunity. It promised people the chance at a better future. And in essence, I, myself, came to America for the chance of a better future. For Hope and Opportunity.
What people don’t realize is, even if I went back to Korea, I would never be fully assimilated and treated as a Korean, despite being born there. For 3 decades I have been an American, and I will always be an American. But I clearly will never be fully treated as an American. So where are people like me supposed to feel at home, if even a country built on immigration and the American Dream, can’t fully accept us? I guess all men AREN’T created equal, with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Isn’t THAT what “Make America Great Again,” should REALLY be about?