21 Racial Microaggressions

It happened to me, Something sparked this post

Image from 21 Racial Microaggressions Article Linked Below

21 Racial Microaggressions

I saw this article on Buzzfeed where a photographer created a project of everyday microaggressions encountered by Fordham University’s students. Derald Sue, a Columbia professor, refers to microaggresion as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults towards people of color”.

Looking through the photography project inspired me to write-up a blog post. I really do believe that people don’t really think about their questions or remarks to someone that is racially different. I always get questions about “where I’m REALLY from” and “what are you.” I have become so accustomed to the underlining question of “Where are you from?” to answer, “I’m from Tennessee. But I know what you are really asking. I was born in South Korea.” I find myself always getting irritated and unable to explain the reason of my irritation. I think maybe it is just something you’d have to encounter on many occasions.

I just wanted to share this with everyone. We (I’m even at fault for this) are human and sometimes don’t realize the effect our words can have on others. We need to be more mindful as our World becomes even more diverse.

Beginning Overcoming THE Language Barrier

It happened to me, Learning the Korean Language, My South Korea Adventure

Tonight started another path of my Korean Adventure. I enrolled at a local Korean Language School. Don’t worry. I didn’t give up my job to go to a language school every day, all day. I will be attending Friday evening classes from August to December and occasionally blogging about it. Keep in mind, this school is catered for children and I’m 26 years old (27 going on 28 in Korea).

First of all, let’s face it, I started sweating as soon as I got out of my car to walk to the entrance. I was incredibly nervous. Why? Well, wouldn’t you be nervous walking into a place where everyone knows the language but you?! Hmmm, that sounds like a rant for another time…

After what seemed to be a little confusion, the lady at the registration table finally understood I was there to take the class and that I knew very little Korean. While I was filling out some paper work that was meant for children’s parents (who to call in an emergency at a 2 1/2 hour class?), the registration lady pointed me out to another woman who I thought was dropping off her children. Nope. I quickly learned she would be my instructor when she pointed to a classroom and told me she would be back in a second.

As of now, I am thankfully the only one in my class! I don’t think they knew how many would actually show up for the “non-speaking Korean” class. Hopefully I will stay being the only one. Then I’ll just have one-on-one time and not feel even more embarrassed trying to pronounce words.

My teacher is really nice and I think she finds my story interesting. She was already tweaking the lessons to fit my needs. Meaning, she taught me how to say, “I am at work.” instead of me learning how to say, “I am a college student.” Now if my birth family tries to video-call me while I’m at work, I can try to tell them in Korean instead of saying, “At work.” over and over again.

Now, I realize I’ve gotten sidetracked but I promise I’m about to tell you why I am blogging about this first day. This is the break-down of my 2 1/2 hours at the School. The first two hours are dedicated to the language class (with two 15 minute breaks). The last 30 minutes are dedicated to an “extracurricular” class.

I believe what you pick the first day is what you go to the rest of the semester. There is an art class, a Hanja class (traditional Chinese characters), and then a KPop(Korean Pop) class. I would have gone to the Hanja class but I felt like one language at a time would be the best idea. So I, of course, choose the KPop class.

Finally! I’m at the real reason to my post. The teacher of the KPop class is a female about my age. One other person (a 14-year-old boy) choose this class too. The teacher thought she would have more of the younger kids…but that isn’t what happened. So, we watched some Korean Pop music videos and some Saturday Night Live Korea. I had no idea what was being said but I ended up seeing the SNL clip shown above(who knew Korea had a version?!). You can kind of tell what is going on from context clues. But if you don’t understand, then I’ll get the 14-year-old to translate for you like he did for me.

If you don’t understand it, there is basically this number that is being advertised for people to call and have someone curse/get angry/get mean at someone for you. Oh, us non-confrontational Koreans.