My name is Shannon. I’m an American who usually answers the “What are you?” question with, “I’m a quarter Korean and a whole lot of white!” My mother is Korean/German and my father is Irish/German/French.
I’ve always embraced my heritage. Perhaps somewhat to my detriment as a child. I grew up in Massachusetts in a very white neighborhood and used to talk with pride about being Korean. It didn’t take too long however, for kids to start making fun of me with racial slurs. I think having undergone severe discrimination makes me identify with my heritage even more. I can at least say that now my peers are always interested by my distinct background and consider it pretty cool.
Also linking me strongly to my Korean heritage is my maternal grandmother, she and I are very much alike: strong and determined! While we have German surnames on the family tree, no one remembers relatives, stories or even a specific region. After visiting Ireland I felt much more in touch with that part of me (I have a 100% Irish name), especially watching my paternal grandfather and noticing that certain things he did or said were just “so Irish!” (he is 2nd generation).
I am probably more “passable” as white now because I dyed my hair red a few years ago, which compliments my smattering of freckles. Interestingly enough I contemplated black before that because I was hoping to look more Asian!
I think that like any Eurasian, or Hapa, sometimes you feel out of place or different from others. But I think many of you would agree with me that it also makes you feel as if you are a citizen of the world, which is so empowering! Both my brother and I are avid travelers, love meeting people from different cultures and seek out diverse experiences.