I am as Korean as you see me

A letter to SNL Korea


Dear SNL Korea (@tvN_SNL),
By now I’m sure you’ve had a lot of time to reflect on what you’ve done by releasing your “American Adoptee reunites with Korean Birth Mother” skit. I’m sure you’ve realized what you’ve done wrong and have released a public apology showing how wrong you were to mock so many of your own kind who were removed from this beautiful country to be sold to families across the ocean.

Actually wait, I’m getting an update that says that you have not apologized. Instead you have released a statement that just shows that you’re confused why anyone would be upset over a “comedy skit”. This statement is not an apology. Your confusion just supports the fact that you are insensitive to such a horrible and painful part to Korea’s history.

Do you want me to hold your hand and guide you through the pain so you’ll understand? If that’s the case, I refuse to hold your hand but I WILL show you one person’s pain. This does not reflect the entire population of us, it is only my own personal pain, but I will show it to you as I stand proudly with my fellow Adoptees.

In August 2012 I found my family. In August 2012 I saw my birth father and biological sister for the first time. And in August 2012 I realized, for the first time in my life, how much I had actually lost because of my adoption. Not only had I previously lost my family, but I also lost language, culture, and an overall sense of identity. In August 2012 I realized just how “not Korean enough” I am and would continue to be in the eyes of you and the rest of Korea. Being told by other Korean’s that I am Korean so I should be able to speak Korean instantaneously is ridiculous. But I’m told that and when I don’t deliver, I see the disappointment and frustration. I’m told that my pronunciation is terrible but all of my non-Korean friends are applauded for their first 안녕하세요/annyeonghaseyo/hello. I’m told that my way of thinking isn’t Korean and that I should realign my thought process to be more Korean because it’s “who I am”. I’m constantly compared to my non-Korean co-workers by other Koreans that they are much better than I because they can speak better than myself. And while I can continue I don’t want you to think I’m sending you a sob story.

No. I am sending you an angry story. I am angry and sick and tired of being looked down upon. As if I’m a lower class Korean. That because I cannot conform to everything 우리 나라/our country, this motherland called Korea, requests of me I am therefore a lost cause. And so instead of helping me to better understand Korean culture and all of it’s differences to my own forced culture from America, you, SNL Korea, mock me. You make fun of me and make fun of my family, both Korean and Adopted. Mocking us for even trying. Why would I need you to make fun of me just to show me how different I am from my Korean bloodlines. I ALREADY KNOW THAT!

I will never be Korean enough for you or for the rest of Korea. You’ve made this obvious now by publicly airing that heartless and insensitive skit. Your “small skit” shows that my adoptive family must be to blame for my lack of Korean language or culture. Your “small skit” portrays that my father is nothing but a terrible man who’s nothing but a joke now because he gave me up. One of the hardest days of his life is now just a joke because you’ve made it that way. And lastly, you’ve made me nothing but a toy for the amusement of the masses. You’ve used my pain for ratings. You’ve made me you’re little lost jester. And you’ve made one of the biggest days of my life, the meeting of my birth family, nothing but a heartless joke that according to you, should be looked upon with sneering laughter.

But you know what, SNL Korea, I get it. You needed ratings. You needed a quick and easy joke. But just know, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. And now you’ve hurt not only me but thousands of others both Adoptee and full Korean. Your skit… it’s not fun anymore. Give me my apology.

Still waiting,
Ashley