This piece could have been written by a 17 year old Korean adoptee. We need to keep in mind that the experiences of individuals from first and second generation immigrant families mirror that of international and domestic adoptees. We also need to remember that casual racism impacts us all.
Seven years later I’d like to say that my experiences have shifted, that growing up alongside aware and educated peers lessened my exposure to both inherent and blatant examples of racism, but that’s not exactly the case. Being a 17-year-old first-generation Korean-American in a predominantly white, upper-middle class Christian high school has its benefits, which is why I’m there in the first place. But more often than not I feel isolated, alone, and hurt by offensive comments and racial slurs…
For a split second, I wished I was white. If I were white, I wouldn’t have to worry about being racially profiled or hear slurs hurled at me like sharp rocks. Not a moment later I regretted even thinking that, but the thought still entered my mind. I resented the guy who had made the joke, mentally gave him the permanent title of “racist” and resolved to never talk to him again. Later, I confided in two Korean friends: “You see that guy in the white shirt? He’s a racist.” I recounted what I heard to both of them, and their frowns matched my own.