ERIC KIM Boy Scouts Eagle Scout Korean times newspaper

How to Succeed in America

I am pretty sick and tired of all the petty people who throw shade on America and American values … especially if they weren’t born or raised in America.

Some of my personal thoughts on success and America:

Yes, America is racist

The fact:

America (and perhaps every country and nation) is racist.

For example it *IS* true that if you are a certain race, ethnicity, skin color tone, or morphology, you will be treated differently.

For example, when me and my homeboys would go to the Best Buy in Dublin, Pleasanton (primarily rich caucasian area) we would get tailed by the security always asking us ‘if we needed help’? And note … it is totally true that Asian (East Asian, South Asians) are a ‘model minority’ in the sense that we are not seen as a threat.

I do not have the experiences of growing up African-American or Latino-American. Also growing up, I didn’t really have any African-American friends, and there weren’t that many African-American kids in my schools.

I was born in 1988 at UC San Francisco hospital to two Korean immigrant parents (mom is from Busan, dad is from Seoul). I went to preschool and kindergarten in Alameda, California, went to elementary school at LUM in Alameda, and further elementary school at PS 169 in Bayside, Queens New York, middle school back in Alameda at Lincoln Middle school, and high school in Castro Valley High (Castro Valley, California … a more affluent neighborhood). For college I went to UCLA (entered a biology major and pre-med, but quickly changed to Sociology). I graduated college with a major in Sociology, got my first job out of college at Demand Media (, as an Online Community Manager) in Santa Monica (Demand Media is now known as the ‘Leaf‘ group).

I could say this about growing up Asian-American (I am Korean-American) in America:

  1. I was seen as a non-threat (being Asian), thus … no socio-economic opportunities were denied to me.
  2. In high school assuming you take app AP (advanced placement classes) and all honors classes (even if you get straight B’s, like I did), it is relatively easy to get into a decent college (in California, it is quite easy to get into Cal State schools, or even the ‘entry level’ UC’s [University of California] schools such as UC Riverside, UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC Merced, etc]. The more elite UC schools include UC Berkeley, UCLA [where I went]. and UC San Diego.

Growing up poor in America can be an advantage

I grew up pretty poor. Not uber-poverty poor, but poor in the sense that my mom was the primary bread-winner (she worked under-the-table as a waitress), and my dad was a degenerate who just smoked all day, watched TV and movies, and would gamble away the rent money. My mom declared bankruptcy twice, and my dad was also physically and mentally abusive to my mom. The good thing is when I got into college, I was offered a lot of scholarships and work-study (I got paid around $13 an hour getting a job working IT at UCLA Undergraduate Admissions). I was essentially able to pay myself through school without taking on any debt or loans. In short, my scholarships, grants, and work-study (I worked all 4 years of college) was able to pay my full tuition, room and board, and materials. The only loan I took out was a $10,000 loan in order to do some backpacking through Europe, but this wasn’t necessary.

Via negativa (what *NOT* to do):

  1. Don’t do drugs (I drank alcohol, but I am glad I never started smoking because I hated how my dad smoked, and I am soooo glad I didn’t get into weed. Weed makes you dumb and lazy).
  2. Don’t get into drug dealing or join a gang. I saw my friends go down this route and it fucked them up.

What *TO* do:

  1. Go to college, without debt. I am certain debt is the devil.
  2. In college study computer science. The best major for the future. You don’t need great grades; just graduate.

In praise of a ‘ghetto’ lifestyle

Buy the cheapest groceries possible. I only eat industrial meats — I can buy pork for 99 cents a pound, chicken for 99 cents a pound, and ground beef for 2.99 USD a pound. I had the epiphany the other night, after eating 5 pounds of pork loin shoulder roast (only coast me $5 USD):

I can eat 5 pounds of meat a day, every day, for a month … and it will only cost me $150 USD a month in groceries.

And this is me eating like a body-builder. I doubt the average person can eat this much meat.


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