20100317

Kiss Me, I'm A Quarter Irish!

One of the strangest things I have found with raising Nathan is cultural identity. If this sounds strange, let me elaborate. I was raised by a mom who was one hundred percent Korean. Though I speak little Korean and do not associate with an all Korean social group, I often culturally identify myself as Korean or Asian. Sure, I'm one hundred percent 'American', but almost any person you talk to in the States can discuss their parentage in some detail, giving you fractions of where their grandparents or great-grandparents came from. I cheer mainly for Korean in the Olympics. I prefer receiving Korean boutique clothes for Nathan. I watch Korean dramas. I like Korean manhwa. I own hanbok, as does my son. I am fifty percent Korean by blood, and those fifty percent count for a lot. My father wasn't around when I was being raised, so my mom's culture has strongly shaped my own.

However, when it comes down to it, Nathan's only a quarter Korean, and that's not that much. I mean, I'm a quarter Irish and you don't see me freaking out about St. Patrick's Day or cheering for Ireland in anything. I don't know much about Ireland. I don't want to visit it that badly. I barely acknowledge that I am Irish other than to curse my fair skin and uber-freckled face. And due to luck, Paul's a quarter Irish too, which makes Nathan a quarter Irish. He's as Irish as he is Korean. He's got the same pale skin I have, and, most likely, he'll freckle over the next couple of years like I did.

I know that due to his exposure to my mom and myself, Nathan will probably tend to favor his Korean heritage when it comes to what he considers his heritage, but I'm still weirded out sometimes.

1 comment:

Kevin Maguire said...

I am a 1/4 English, 1/4 Welsh, 1/4 Polish and a 1/4 Irish. With a last name like Maguire what do you think I tell people I am? That's right Irish! My fiancee on the other hand is 1/2 Chinese, 1/8 German, 1/8 Dutch and 1/4 Irish. With a last name of Vanderhoof what do you think she calls herself? Chinese! Which part of your lineage you identify with is sometimes how you are raised. This is not always true though as I was not raised as an Irishman, but as a Canadian. I only drew on my Irish roots because of my last name mostly I would say as there was no cultural push to make me one way or another. Seeing as I am marrying an America I feel like I should add an extra fraction in there for my children to put Canada in there some how, perhaps when my kids talk about their make up they will be made of 2.25 instead of adding up to 2.

I just think it will be interesting that if we have a child it will be 1/8 Welsh, 1/8 English, 1/8 Polish, 1/4 Chinese, 1/16 German, 1/16 Dutch and like both its parents 1/4 Irish!

Just saying those Irish jeans are fighter to survive :-P