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.