I am under judgement every time my family decides to eat at a restaurant.
Every time a “table for three?” is directed towards my mother, father, and brother,
Conveniently deleting me from a picture-perfect narrative
The innocent ignorance of the dreaded questions
No, no, where are you really from?
No, no, who are your real parents?
Like when a teacher asked me if I felt rejected,
Invaluable that my (birth) “parents” would give me up.
There’s a sick irony in the fact these are the people accounting for a percentage of those meant to educate my generation.
A percentage that preach exclusionary concepts insinuating that I don’t know who I am
Words that widen the disconnect from the identity I’ve assigned to myself
And who they see me as.
Would you like me to dress in traditional hanboks?
To speak in Korean,
To prefer chopsticks over an American fork,
Dainty and porcelain,
With skin like glass?
I am under judgement every time my family decides to eat at a Korean restaurant,
There I feel their eyes,
Albeit in a different form,
I can feel the weight of an entire country resenting me for disregarding my heritage.
For integrating myself into a culture that has a tendency to reject people that look like me.
The normalization of racism against those who are of my asian heritage
Does not mean that it doesn’t exist.
It exists under the tongues of men who shout slurs at me from the doorways of a bar in Portland,
They do not see my white upbringing if I’m walking down a street alone.
They see only the slant of my eyes, and the color of my skin.
It exists in the tight-pulled eyes of kindergartners taunting me from the playground
Despite our being too young to truly understand what it means.
It exists in those who eliminate us from the movements sweeping the country,
Calling for the end of racism.
How am I supposed to find my soul
When they are trying so hard for me to lose it?