This is me …

The most profound thing ever said to me was, “if you were not here, you would be making the shoes you are wearing.”

There has never been a truer statement. I am a 21-year-old woman who was adopted from Seoul, Korea. I am told my birth mother was a basket weaver and my birth father was a brick layer. I have seven older siblings who I have never met.

I grew up in a town consisting of white Catholics in New Jersey. I was the minority, but I did not know it until I was 16 years old.

At 16, I learned I was Asian Amerian. I was not white, like I assumed I was. But I had all white friends and attended a white school, I thought. My parents and brother were white and I was raised white. Doesn’t that make me white? I learned it does not.

Fast forward five years.

Now, I am a 21 years old who has educated myself on the real issues- exploitation, discrimination, ethnic wars, hate, white supremacy etc- that have plagued the world. I have educated myself and now understand what I was told all those years ago. I am the exploiter, not the exploited. The shoes I wear (along with my clothes) are a symbol of exploitation. They are made at the expense of someone else- it could be my brother or sister for all I know.

It was profound for me to realize for the first time how different my life is because I was adopted. That is when I realized, I was given this opportunity for a reason and I have to make the most of it.

My experiences have shaped who I am and they are a large reason I want to be a human rights columnist. I want to change the world. I want everybody to see the truths and injustices, beauty and complexity this world has to offer. I want everybody to understand the whole picture- and not just see what they want to see or believe, like I did for so many years.

These experiences and realizations have brought me to today and this blog.

This blog is a compilation of all the issues- beautiful, complex and disturbing- that I want to cover in my career. If my blog changes the consciousness of one person or sparks a conversation, then I have done my job.

Thank you for reading. I hope that what I write inspires you.

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About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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One Response to This is me …

  1. MrYoungScholar says:

    I love your blog babe. You should make this entry a separate page so everyone can check it out whenever they’d like! Btw, that I ❤ you necklace that your wearing in your picture is so pretty! The person who got it for you must have really good taste 😉

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