How do I really feel about being half-white? To be honest, this post has been in my drafts folder for at least the past five months. It is a topic that I wanted to write, but at the same time, I was scared. I was scared to write about being half-white out of fear of being labeled as a supremacist. I was scared because I knew I had to tread carefully so people wouldn’t label me as someone embracing white power. Furthermore, it seemed like the wrong time to write about being white, or half-white, with the Black Lives Matter movement taking center stage for nearly all of 2020 last year.
And yet, I shouldn’t have to be scared. I shouldn’t have to be scared to write about something that is what I am. After all, I previously wrote an article about being half Korean. So, why shouldn’t I write about being half white? Why do I feel scared to write about that topic, and not about the other? I want to give my own opinion on how I feel about being half-white. Because, to tell the truth, I have yet to see this topic on other blogs and websites. There are a plethora of articles about being half Asian, or half black, but there is next to none about being half white. So, I want to be the first.
How I Really Feel About Being Half White
We start at the beginning…
I don’t think there was a moment when I realized that I was half white, or even half Asian, or biracial. When I was five or six, all I knew was that I was a little girl who had dark brown hair and brown eyes. All I knew was that my mom had dark hair and brown eyes too. I also knew that my dad had brown hair and green eyes and he is probably the hairiest man alive. For me, having parents who had different hair, eye, and skin color was the norm. I guess some families might look like they “match” more, with the identical eyes, hair, and skin that you might have seen in textbooks and commercials from the 1960s or 1970s. But just because those things are different doesn’t mean that people can’t be related.
As a young child, I didn’t really feel anything about being half white. Perhaps I would have felt differently if I had grandparents who were from a European country. Because then, I would have had greater knowledge of rich cultures of the many European countries. I would have grown up eating bratwurst and apple Kuchen (German for Cake) and probably have called my paternal grandma ‘Oma.’ Or I would have grown up eating steak and kidney pie.
But I didn’t, because my father’s family is more American than European. My father’s ancestors have been in this country since the 1700s and the 1800s. They came from Germany, England, Ireland, and Scotland. And yet, I didn’t really feel very connected to those cultures.
My connection with my European heritage…
Even though I didn’t feel very connected to my European heritage, I still had this innate feeling that that was where I belonged. I have always loved the United Kingdom and Germany with a passion that is far greater than that of my interest in the Korean or American cultures. I think one of the reasons why I actively, but regretfully, rejected my Korean heritage is because of the negative racial stereotypes that would follow me around at school, like that of a ever persistent bee. Now, I regret to say that I was so heavily influenced by what my peers said because it caused me to ultimately reject half of what makes me me.
That is why I found myself becoming intensely fascinated by the northeastern European cultures. I was tired of the stereotypes that plagued me throughout my school career and I refused to be the person that people expected me to be by looking at me. I knew that I was my own person and I wanted to show that to the world. I wanted to show everyone that I wasn’t the stereotypical half-Asian who geeked out over anime and manga while wearing thick black rimmed glasses. I refused to be the person that people expected of me.
My love affair with Germany begins…
The racial stereotypes were one reason why I turned full force toward falling in love with northeastern Europe. Another reason was because I also had fallen in love with the infamous Diary: The Diary of a Young Girl, by the most amazing Anne Frank. I read that book and saw myself in her. From that moment on, I wanted to learn more about Germany. I read every possible book I could about Anne Frank and the Holocaust, wanting to learn as much as possible. Soon, I became an expert on this girl. I knew everything about her, as well as the Holocaust.
One of my goals at that time was to learn German (as well as Dutch). I wanted to read her Diary in German and Dutch. I also wanted to learn the language of some of my ancestors (I already knew English after all, though I wouldn’t say I am fluent in British English). I ultimately chose to learn German because my college didn’t offer Dutch as a language. I learned how to speak German (and can still speak it, in fact, though my skills are a bit rusty) and loved my German classes with a passion. I loved to read German and got such a thrill at the long-winded words that both made sense and didn’t make sense.
Later, I studied abroad in Germany for a semester, and loved every moment of it. Berlin was the best city for a young college student. It was the best city to learn about the history and culture of Germany. It was the best city to devour the street food and practice German with the locals. I am thankful for my time there as it helped to bring me closer to my German heritage.
So, how do I really feel about being half-white?
I love both halves of me. I wouldn’t be who I am if I wasn’t half white and half Asian. I am glad that I had the opportunity to learn more about my northeastern European heritage. I am also glad that I grew up with my Korean heritage. Having both parts is who I am. I don’t know what it’s like to be one or the other. I just know it’s amazing to be both particularly in a world where there are double standards, racial stereotypes, and hate. By being both, it allows me to see the world from both lenses and hopefully I can try to change the world, one person at a time. By being both, I am the best person I can be.