My Experiences Growing up Asian-American in America

One of these buyers got eyes like a Korean, it’s difficult to read ’em. The windows to his soul were half closed, I put the key in. – (JAY Z [REASONABLE DOUBT])

First and foremost, I would say I had a good childhood. I had a good growing up in America, even in spite of all my scars. Let me begin:

I cannot speak for you but let me speak for myself.

My thought is this:

At this point, South Korea is a pseudo-colony of America.

This means, Korean Americans are almost the model minority.

Are Koreans really the minority anymore?

The funny thing–

When it comes to entertainment, K POP, Korean drama, Korean beauty supplies, dancing, academics, etc.. it doesn’t really seem that Koreans are the minorities anymore.

I didn’t grow up as a minority

At 0 years old, I was born in San Francisco hospital. My first pre school and kindergarten was in Alameda, California. Elementary school, I went to LUM school (Donald D. Lum Elementary). I believe I was there from first grade to second grade, third grade, and fourth. From fourth grade onwards, my mom took me and my sister and fled to New York (running away from my abusive and deadbeat dad), and we re-settled first in College Point New York.

Memories in College Point, New York.

I suppose when we first arrived in college point, New York, I was in the fourth grade. I went to some random school there for a year or part of a year, then moved to Bayside Queens. I think when we fled my dad, my mom literally took nothing but perhaps two suitcases. Our first home was the basement of a random house with no natural light. We had blanket futons to sleep on the floor. No furniture. Our first piece of furniture was a donated fold out futon couch-bed. At that time, we had no TV, no video games, no nothing. So what did we do for fun and entertainment? I have fond memories of going to the library, checking out all these books (I remember reading a 400 page Star Wars book at the age of 11 with great interest), made some neighborhood friends, ran around, and stuff like that.

Bayside, Queens

This is where I lived from around 4th grade to sixth grade. This is my formative years as a kid.

Bayside Queens was probably the best place to grow up; the ultimate immigrant community! My best friends were like the rainbow crew. Spencer (Spanish American), Aditya (Indian American), Christian (Brazilian American), David (Korean American), Steven Chen (Chinese American), Steven Pai (Taiwanese American I think), Eric Davinci (Italian American), Jason (Italian American), Jonathan (Jewish American) and so forth.

This made for a very interesting childhood. Why? I didn’t grow up racist. I saw us all the same. We were different pigments and stuff, but I never saw nobody as different. I still remember teasing our friend Aditya because his house smelled like curry, but they would also tease me for smelling like Garlic and Kimchi. But it wasn’t out of hate, spite, or malice… it was just kids being kids and noting differences! And once again — differences aren’t bad. Differences are just different!

My childhood ideals

As a kid, I loved art, working out, sports, and stuff like that. Why? When I moved to New York, I got fat. How? Eating lots of hot pockets. My mom busy working all day and this is how I fed myself. I then was sick and tired of all the kids teasing me, my fat and my thunder thighs, so I decided to get fit. Spencer always tells the story of me putting rocks in my backpack, running around Bayside, doing pushups, asking my mom to buy me weights and so forth. And along that time wrestling got popular (WCW vs WWF), and I aspired to become this hyper buff alpha-male type of guy. This was my ideal.

Middle school

Long story short, my mom opened up a business in the Bronx for a grocery store, but it went defunct. Bankruptcy ensued, and we moved back to California. I sent a tearful goodbye to my friends but I knew even at age 12:

These friends were great, I’ll always be with them, but I am sure I will make better friends. Life goes on!

And still yet, I’m friends with Spencer, Aditya and Jonathan and see them whenever I visit New York!

Anyways we moved back to Alameda, and I remember starting in the 7th grade. I had my cousin DJ, and started making friends. 8th grade and so forth.

What happened in middle school?

Lincoln Middle School. Interesting. Mostly asian kids. Almost no African American kids. Not that many caucasian kids. Based on my crude estimates, it seemed that our school was around seventy percent Asian-American. Thus as a kid growing up during my teenage years, I was part of the majority.


Then also was this strange phenomenon of “AZN PRYDE”, or ‘asian pride’. To be asian was good, to be white was bad. It was seen as the worst sin to be ‘white washed’ or to look white, act white, think white, etc.

Also being Korean American was interesting. Most of the kids at school were Chinese American, but there wasn’t much of a difference. A lot of the girls I dated in middle school and high school ended up being Chinese or filipino. The only bias was against the Vietnamese guys; they were all seen as gangsters and thugs. For the most part, I was scared of the Viet guys.

Fast forward to college

Anyways for college I went to UCLA, which was predominately Asian in my eyes. Asian kids were definitely over represented at UCLA. Why? My thought:

Asian culture is Confucian, which prizes academic learning above all. Thus parents train their children to excel in academics. No racial intelligence; it is all cultural.

Also my clubs; Kyrie (Korean American Catholic Club), my church (St. Agnes, Korean Catholic Church), my Photo Club at UCLA (mostly Asian kids), and my classmates (mostly Asian American girls — Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean).

Thus almost my entire life, including my adult life, I have been surrounded by asians or asian Americans.


My simple conclusion thus far:

I am American.