In the Shades of Gray

There are things better left in the shades of gray, and not having to identify them as black and white can be a form of release for your soul.

I’ve been asking myself questions about race actively. Trying to attach another meaning of my own to the term ‘race’. I’ve questions about being multiculture as well. Not in the sense that I’m living in a multicultural country, but in the way that a person has two identities, two cultures, and having to tie those in into life.

What are the roles that race plays in life? Are they good? Are they bad? There are always multiple answers to the question.

For example, I’ve always wanted a color-blind society, in which people judge you by your skills, your charms and not the color of your skin. But, recently, I’ve heard another person talking about the society that he wants to live in. With people from different racial and cultural backgrounds, it’s similar to a rainforest. It is beautiful because of its diversity. If it is a color-blind society, it would be this barren land, lack of differences. I guess I was looking for the perfect world, and have forgotten how to embrace things the way they are.

I’ve talked to Daniel, a guy that I met recently, who’s Korean-American. He found himself growing interested in his Korean heritage as he grows older, and he didn’t have difficulties growing up trying to find out who he is. In a brief 15 minute conversation, he enlightens me in many ways. I don’t always have to give a definite answer. It’s about accepting who you are. It is a privilege to have two or more cultures to identify with, a sense of pride too. Being able to ask the question, ‘Who am I?’ is a privilege, it is a life lesson.

Questioning race, is a constant process. Everyone will have different experiences. There are no textbook answers for race. What am I suppose to do if my parents are white and I am not? Am I suppose too seek out my heritage and embrace those values instead of the ones my parents have thought me? There are some questions that I would imagine a transracial adoptee would have. Even growing up in a different country, one would have many questions about the culture that they do not experience, but is largely related to who they are.

Being Korean/Chinese/Indian in America, is different than being Korean/Chinese/Indian in Korea/China/India. There are many cultural things that you wouldn’t be able to learn if you’re not in that country.

I have my own up and down moments. Mainstream media was a filter in my life. It has shaped how I think about other people, and sometimes, even my own people.

I date a white guy. When I’m with him, it’s not about our skin tones, it’s about who we are when we’re together. The jokes, the discussions, the interests, that we share. But when I’m out and about with him, I fear the looks of other people, and the things that they have to say.

I fear they see me and would think, ‘Oh, look, a white-wannabe.’ Of course, not. I’m comfortable in my own skin. It’s just how the society (or rather the Asian society) as formed this idea that anybody that dates a white person is trying to reach the higher end of the social status hierarchy.

And him, being the white guy, has the privilege of stepping out of uncomfortable moments, because he is acceptable or should I say, pleasing when one thinks about belonging to the society.

Another question that I have regarding race, is how to remove all the negative feelings or history that are bounded with them? In this case, racial discrimination. How can we see another person equally? But then, what is the definition of equal? The Civil War Rights are suppose to grant equality to the blacks. But even nowadays, we consciously know that there are still prejudice  towards blacks.

There are no right or wrong answers. We simply have to find the ones that make the most sense along the way. I hope one day, I’ll be able to.

I would like to end this with a link to a recent photography exhibition that I went to, Kyopo.

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