Who am I
If you read, James Paul Gee’s “Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics: Introduction”, you would have learned that discourse is a sort of “identity kit” which comes complete with the appropriate costume and instructions on how to act, talk, and often write, so a to take on a particular role that others will recognize (7).” So, here is my dilemma, who am I? I was born in the United States to a Korean born parents who have immigrated here when they were in their teens. They were fluent both in Korean and English. They spoke Korean at home and yet had successful careers outside within the American culture. To further complicate matters for me and my identity, my grandmother raised me while my mom worked full time as a single mom. I grew up in a predominantly, affluent white neighborhood where I was noticeably different looking.
One of the first memories I had was wanting to change my name. I wanted a simple American name so that everyone could say it right, like Mike or James. My mother’s explanation did not make sense when I made the request to change my name. She said that my name was unique and special like me. What did that mean? How can I be special when my friends can’t even say my name right? As a compromise, we used my middle name, Christopher.
Throughout Kindergarten and Elementary school, I was Christopher. I wanted to be just like them. The reality was that I wasn't. Even with an American name like Christopher, I was different. I looked and felt different. Every time I looked in the mirror, I was reminded of this. My hair, skin color, and shape of my eyes all were signs that I was different. When I came home, it was more apparent that I was different. I spoke Korean and I ate Korean food. It did not matter that no one treated me any different, I just was. I tried hard to blend in with everyone else.
At some point and I can’t remember when, I started not to notice the differences any more. I started to even use my first name again. My friends actually liked my name. When I looked in the mirror, I no longer saw that I was different. I felt and looked just like anyone of my friends, an individual. I am unique like everyone else.
Over the years, I have learned that fitting in really was about being myself. I am first, an unique individual like everyone else. We are all different in our own ways whether blond, brunette or a red head. We all have unique facial and physical feature which identify who we are physically. These differences do not define who we are. Rather these physical differences enhances who we are as individuals.
I was born a Korean-American. My first language is Korean. However, I am more fluent in English now than Korean. I don’t even think of myself as a minority. In fact, I don’t even consider myself any different than my white friends. I may look Korean but I feel more comfortable being American. I grew up where my family embraced both cultures. And yet, I found my own blend of cultures.
We are all different in our own ways. I embrace the fact that we are all different. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Over the years, I have become comfortable in who I am. I know that I am like everyone else, unique and special.