Don Gordon Bell « I Am Korean American
“I am a Korean-American” and at that time I was pondering just what does it mean to be Korean-American or any other HYPHEN-American. Help other and yourself by first checking other short bios then Submit your Adoption Story. It will help you sort out WHERE you are at in working through your Adoption Identity.
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I have come to realize that as a TRUE AMERICAN when I was first a child in elementary school I had to fight for my IDENTITY because SOME PEOPLE’S CHILDREN just don’t get it. Yes, I got SOME kidding about being Oriental (back in the 1950’s!!) but there were Negro kids (Again this was a good word and some said “Colored child”- better than the N-word) and some Mexican kids in my school. America is a MELTING POT but this kind of stuff just happened.
I never remember “thinking I was WHITE” because I always got the “What ARE you?” or “Are you Oriental, Japanese…Chinese?”. NEVER EVER heard “Are you Korean”, so I told them “My Story” etc. NO BIG DEAL.
Now there are always those “ten percenters” who never get the MEMO that it ain’t cool to be prejudice. What I learned as a young boy was I had to stand up for my rights, and if I got knocked down by a bigger kid I got back up again and kept attacking…I earned respect. NOW, now, you think…I must need HELP, psychotherapeutic counseling ( thank u spell checker), and so forth. NAY. I be fine. Now I have always been for the underdog and stood by anyone who was picked on by bullies.
SOME PEOPLE have thought that I, the Korean War Baby have threatened SOME WOMEN Adoptees who just happened to be AAAA (Anti-Adoption Adoptees Associates). Why I have never even hit whores that robbed me, YES, in the past I was quite a BAD PERSON and frequently PAID for SEX though most of the time I ‘worked for it’. In fact I paid MORE than other guys because I thought my own Korean mother had been a prostitute. NOW, I have information that makes me believe that ‘OLMA’ was instead a girlfriend of my Birth Father and stayed with him over Three years. BUT I digress.
From the time I learned Judo from a Japanese friend and all through my years of Martial Arts training (TaeKwonDo, KajuKembo, Uechi-Ryu, weapons, etc) I have maintained the basic principals of Bushido and the disciplines that I learned from all my teachers.
Gi: Justice. Deciding the proper course of conduct.
Yuu: Courage. Courage is doing what is right.
Jin: Benevolence, love, and magnanimity.
Rei: Politeness, courtesy, etiquette, and manners.
Makoto: Sincerity, and truthfulness.
Meiyo: Honor, pride, and glory.
Chuugi: Loyalty and devotion.
I AM A KOREAN-AMERICAN, YES! I am of BOTH Peoples, yet the level of Culture, language, knowledge, etc are at different levels for everyone. The lines are very thin between one level and another. Korean-American can also be a genetically ‘pure’ Korean (IF there is such a thing) yet if one was born in the USA, or moved there when young, children in Korea call them Kyopo and “Not Real Koreans anymore”.
The “Kyopo” and IbYangIn/Adoptee are often SHOCKED to find out that they are considered MIXED, just like a Mixed-Blood the label applies, though there are many differences. We who were Adopted have varying degrees of SOME to almost NO language, cultural understanding, knowledge of traditions, habits, etc. It’s a Sliding scale of Koreanness.
See my post on “Real Koreanness” on the first post for “I am a Korean American” and find where are you on the SCALE of Real Korean.
We can learn but can we 'make up' for the lost years? Doubt it but go ahead and try. Don’t give up, learn what you are comfortable with wanting to do. You will have to accept that you ARE a Unique human being, One of a Kind? No, there are tens of thousands of brothers and sisters JUST LIKE YOU…even tens of thousands who were adopted In-Country and many are just learning that they were Secretly Adopted. Are they not our brethren too? YES, they are indeed.
SO, continue on YOUR JOURNEY, be strong and full of courage, SUCK IT UP if you can, AND help those who are staggering under the weight of personal suffering. Lift them up and help them, together we can move forward and find peace, love, understanding in,