“Do you speak Chinese?” *face palm*

Amanda McClendon, Houston, TX. For starters, I’m Korean, so no, no Chinese for me beyond “ni hao” and “xie xie”, which I learned from TV travel shows. Secondly, I was adopted as a baby by parents I like to refer to as American Euro-mutts–English, Irish, German, French, and a touch of Choctaw, and that’s just […]


Multi does not equal NO race.

Erin Yarbrough, Norman, OK. My husband is half black and half Korean. I’m white. Our son is three races, but I hear and fear that others don’t see him as any race. Multi-racial is sometimes a hard way to identify.


Your husband’s black? But you’re Asian.

Nina Ball, Baltimore, MD. When people first meet my husband and/or see a picture of us together, the surprise is obvious. I’ve had a few people outright tell me that they just assumed he was Korean. More often than not, I get the question, “What do your parents think?” When they find out that, like […]

You’ll find your real parents someday.

Alessa Abruzzo Philadelphia, PA Biologically I’m Korean. Ethnically I’m Irish-German-Italian. I was adopted at 4.5 months old, at which point I flew from South Korea to the USA and into the loving arms of my parents who happen to be white. To put it plainly, I was raised by white people – My entire immediate […]

“Hey, Geisha Girl!” What? Who, me?

Jennifer Luberecki Hagerstown, MD Being Korean-born and adopted at 3 by Caucasian parents, I grew up with my adopted parents culture (which is Polish and Scottish) and feel thoroughly American. Which is why it feels like a shock, and sometimes a slap in the face, when other people make assumptions about who I am. The […]

What I am, not just “Asian”.

Alvin Vang, Fresno, CA. Well as you can see I am Asian but if you dont know what type of Asian I am you can’t just call me a Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Philipian, Thai, Laos, Cambodian, Malay, and etc. You can ask me likw what race of asian are you instead of taking a huge […]

Asian baby

What’s having an Asian baby like?

Taylor Pederson, MN. Almost 2 years ago I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl. She has my smile, my big eyes, my fine hair with a touch of red that shows when the sun hits it, my long fingers, and so much more. But no one sees this. They don’t see me in her […]

Korean-American adoptee. Not white. Not Korean

Alyssa Perry, CA. As a Korean American adoptee, I bridge two cultures- physically and culturally. I will never be white enough as I was brought up as a white family. My monolid eyes and yellow skin dictate otherwise. I can never be Korean enough. I can barely speak my mother tongue nor truly what is […]

korean soutern belle

Southern Belle? No. Korean husband.

Leah Lee (now Leah Durst-Lee), Chicago, IL. Keeping cultural heritage is very important to me, so when I married my husband, Sihyun Lee, I wanted our kids to have a Korean surname. Our first year and a half of marriage, I took my husband’s name and became ‘Leah Lee.’ It was awful! Almost everyone I […]


No, where are you REALLY from?

Gerard Achilles Obnial, McAllen, TX. When I first worked in the hospital, it had always been routine that my patients would ask not for my name or how my day went as was customary (even though I knew that people don’t really want to know) — they would always ask for my age and where […]

As Korean as you are Korean

Tesha Post, Holland, MI. I was adopted from Korea when I was six months old and grew up living in the U.S. with my White parents. As a result, I do not speak Korean or know how to cook Korean foods. People are often surprised to hear this– they may react with disappointment, confusion, or […]

You’re the whitest Hipanic I know.

Annie Woodbridgem VA In high school, a white male classmate once said this to me. I am a half-Korean, half-Dominican woman. I had no idea how to respond. The context I perceived was that he meant that I spoke very clear, unaccented English, ate American-typical food staples for lunch, got excellent grades, and was in […]

I’m not your stereotypical Asian American

Dae-Hyun Jin Los Angeles, CA Being Asian American, or Asian (fill in the blank), means higher expectations and standards from society. And not in the traditional sense, such as our strong cultural values and morals rooting from ancient Chinese philosophy; but, rather, a new-age philosophy that has effected our own native culture. To clarify, I […]

Por supuesto que soy su mamá

Sonia Kang Northridge, CA Are you their mom? As a biracial mom (Black/Latina) married to a Korean man with children who look more Asian than anything else, we are often looked at with curiosity. They look at them then at me. Is she the nanny? Who can she be? Whether at their Korean language immersion […]

I am only Asian to non-Asians.

Karina Irvine, CA I live in an area that has many distinct Asian groups who are first generation Americans: Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. My grandmother was first generation Filipino and my Grandfather and father are both Caucasian. That makes me part-Asian. But to my Asian friends who are first generation, they see me as […]

Where are you REALLY from? Nebraska.

Teresa Volcheck West Des Moines , IA I am a Korean adoptee, raised in central Nebraska. I do not have an accent. I had a Swedish last name growing up and now have a Czech last name. I often get asked, where are you from? I say, “Nebraska”. Then I get, “Really, where are you […]

Korean, but I don’t speak Korean

Cliff Song Medford, MA I’m a Korean-American. My parents are from Korea. I was born and raised in Southern California (recently moved to Massachusetts). I spent some time teaching English in South Korea and traveled throughout Asia. Throughout my travels I’ve been asked by expatriates and locals to explain my origin but the complicated answer […]

Why do people steal from us?

Peter Chin Washington, DC That was the question that my daughter asked me when our house was broken into a second time in three years. As a Korean-American living and working in a predominantly African-American neighborhood, I was tempted to answer her question by telling her about the long-standing hostilities between the two groups. But […]

Korean, Norwegian, American-Confusing? Yes, son.

Aaron Sorensen Oneonta, NY I was adopted from Korea when I was 2 years old. Raised in a family of European descent. Who am I? More confusing, what do I tell my boys? How do I handle racist comments especially when I don’t feel a part of that group? So many questions awaiting answers.

Sometimes race isn’t enough; need language

Mary K. Coseo NY I am a Korean adoptee and was raised in the United States. I was reunited with my Korean birth family about 12 years ago. Although I am the same race as other Koreans and my birth family, what I really need to transcend the barriers is the ability to speak the […]

Try To See Through My Asian Eyes

Juliette A Clancy Culpepper, VA Since I am half Asian and my eyes are the only Asian thing about me, people think that I’m automatically straight off a boat from China. I AM 50% SOUTH KOREAN AND 50% IRISH. Get to know me before judging me for what I look like.


Ask WHO I am, not WHAT.

Jessica Hong, Philadelphia, PA. As an Asian American, people often ask “what” I am within the first 20 minutes (or sometimes 20 seconds!) of meeting me. Others feel self-conscious about asking but are visibly relieved when/if I happen to mention my ethnicity myself. I think the question of my ethnicity wouldn’t bother me so much […]