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This post is based on a video from Megan Bowen.  To view her video, click here.  My review of her YouTube channel will be coming shortly.  The video deals with the comments she gets from people regarding the changes that they feel she has made since she first moved to Korea.  While most of the comments she gets are kind and positive, some are very negative.  To some, she’s lost her identity and has morphed into a stereotypical Korean who is obsessed with her looks more than anything else.  This got me to think about what people have told me about my own  personality since I started learning more about Korean culture and associating with Korean people more.  What is my identity?  Have I lost it?  What do other people think of me?  And do I really care what they think?

What Many People Feel About Me

 I am not immune to negative comments about who I am and what I do.  There are some who feel the need to “remind me” that I’m Black.  Others feel as if I try to hard to be Korean or Asian.  Some feel as if I have somehow turned my back on being Black or Black people because I do so much with Korean people, or because I have the goal of moving to Korea.  There are so many definitions of being “Black” that people have, and I’ve often been told that I don’t seem to fit any of them.  I don’t talk Black, sound Black, act Black or seem to do any Black things.  I’m still get confused as to what Black means to the people who say these things.  But whatever it is, I’ve either had it and lost it or never had it at all.

What Is My True Identity?

Am I colorblind?  No.  Issues that are a concern to Black men in America are a concern to me also.  I am very much affected by what is happening in the world today.  And the truth is there are many Korean people who will never accept me based on the color of my skin.  If you know me, you know about the prejudice that I’ve received from some in the Korean American community because of me being Black.  No matter what I do, I will always be a Black man in this world.

While I may be confused as to what some people consider Black to be, there is one thing I do know for sure.  If you need everyones love and approval, you cannot be a Black man in America.  Just the fact that I have darker skin will cause people across many demographics to feel anger and disgust when I walk into a room.  (And I do have a story of that happening that I will go into on a future podcast.)  But one of the most beautiful aspects of the Black culture that I was raised in was the welcoming and accepting of people who were good people, regardless of their skin color or ethnic background.  The culture that I identify with looked at your character before making a decision about you.

Do I like Korean things?  Yes.  I like them a lot.  Do I like being around Korean people?  Yes.  I feel very comfortable around Korean people.  Do some Korean people love me?  Yes.  I am considered to be an adopted Korean with a Korean name.  Does that mean that I am truly a Korean person?  To many people, no.  To them, I’m in a no man’s land.  I don’t fit into Black society, and I don’t fit into Korean society.  I’m just a foreigner, or waygookin, in both cultures.  So instead of trying to find an identity that fits one culture or the other, I just live like a foreigner.  My life is the lived the waygookin way.  In the end, that’s my true identity.  And in the end, there’s nothing wrong with that.

You can check out the episode of my podcast on this subject on YouTube.