“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 Geisha Girl call was made when I was walking alone in a hallway at high school, and someone opened up the door at one end and shouted this at me. I wasn’t wearing my glasses at the time and I couldn’t see who made yelled to me. There were many times growing up where people would ask me, “Where am you from” or “Where did you grow up?” and it took me a while to realize that my answer of “New York” or “Massachusetts” was not the answer they were looking for. I’ve been asked why I don’t have an accent. Um, because I’ve been speaking English since I’ve been 3?

Someone made a comment on Facebook once about people who were born in American being the only legal citizens here. I pointed out that I’ve been a naturalized citizen since 5 and America is the only country I know and remember. She quickly explained she meant “illegal immigrants” but I responded that being born in the US is NOT the only way to be a US citizen.


Tweets by Michele Norris