Hello! Lovely to see so many beautiful, diverse and interesting faces!

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.

Regardless, I never feel comfortable checking the White box. I usually put Other.

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.

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