Monday, December 7, 2009

A Collection of Asian American Identity Poems, Pt. II

(Backstory: This poem was performed during the opening performances for hip-hop spoken poet group iLL-Literacy, when they came to the College of W&M on November 2nd, 2008.)


My name is Eddy and I think I'm racist against my own race.
To rephrase that, I am extremely resentful against other Koreans.

I can tolerate an individual
But I am not inclined to instantly develop some
"Kimchi Connection" with them
Just because they're Korean.

I definitely don't want the other Korean to expect me to do the same thing
Just because I have this Korean skin
Since if they do, they will find themselves sorely disappointed.

When I see a group of Koreans all huddled together by themselves,
Speaking in their exclusive Korean language,
I get a disgusted shudder all over my body.

When I am in a room full of Koreans,
I want to scream and crawl out of my skin.
I see these Koreans and Korean-Americans
and I see nothing worth liking.

I can't take it anymore.
I need an explanation why I feel this way.

Do I feel this way
because I am disconnected from their culture
and their way of life?

Is it because I have absolutely no grasp of the Korean language
and I get extremely jealous
when I see Koreans who can speak both languages fluently?

Could it be that I feel this way because I believe that Koreans are...

One of the most narrow-minded and prejudiced people in the world who hates everybody that is different from them, whether they be the blacks, the queers, the Muslims, the Chinese, the Japanese, and so on and so on? Do I feel such hatred for these Koreans because individuality is considered a weakness and if I take the risk of expressing myself, I will be ridiculed and hammered down with the rest of their conformist society?

Or does my source of rage and discontent lie deeper within my core?

Am I afraid of being thought of being seen as a Seung Hui Cho
whenever I have an angry outburst?

Does my anger at my own race
Reside in the possibility that I have this hatred for myself?

So many questions that I have no answers
to the ultimate question why I feel such hatred against Koreans.

I've been looking for the answers for all these years
and I'm not sure if I found what I was looking for.
I've learned to stop hating myself
but I still can't get around the feeling of being extremely uncomfortable
or be judgmental around other Koreans.

Perhaps...maybe, just maybe...
It is entire okay to be uncomfortable with my own race
as long as I don't force myself to put on the act of being comfortable.
It is better to be honest with myself
than attempt to fool the world in feeling something I do not.

Perhaps, in a sea of them...I found myself.

So let me re-introduce myself.

My name is Edward Sunghoon Hong
Though you may call me a Korean-American
I refuse to be lumped into any category except HUMAN.

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