m a r k a n d e y a

Koreans in America

Posted by Brian on August 21, 2006

The Everett Herald, our local paper, ran a piece this morning on the boom of international shopping areas around the county, and they spent a lot of time talking about local Korean businesses. For the most part, you find the usual stuff inside… dry cleaners, restuarants, better opportunities for their children, etc. There was, however, one choice quote:

Koreans in the United States and Koreans in South Korea are one and the same, Kwon said. A Korean is always a Korean, regardless of citizenship.

“Koreans keep their heritage, even here,” he said.

This seems like an overly romanticized view of the Korean-American experience in this day and age. Surely your typical Kor-American high school student will be worlds apart from his counterpart in the Korean system.

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5 Responses to “Koreans in America”

  1. partypooper said

    Maybe there’s a bit of guilt involved which prompts Korean Americans like this to feel that they have to say this sort of thing. Otherwise, I don’t understand why they feel they have to give this kind of reassurance to Koreans in the motherland.

    And you’re right about their children. Korean parents like Michelle Wie’s father seem to be in deep denial over just how Americanized their children really are.

  2. The reason Japanese were put in internment camps was that many Americans thought the same way as Kwon.

    Actaully it is a pretty common misconception about Asians in the old world. They really expect third and fouth generation Americans to be loyal to the old country.

  3. Phantom said

    After reading the article, I noticed that Chanho Kwon, the source of the quote, is the Consul General there. In other words, since he is a diplomate representating Korea, he obviously speaks from a pro-Korean position.

    Although my parents are Korean, I was born and raised in the US. Although I recognize my Korean heritage (I am in no denial about that), I am an American! I am very familiar with the history and culture of Korea and I can speak the language fluently, but I do not view myself as a Korean and I do not view Korea as my culture but as the culture of my parents.

    It is the views, attitudes, and opinions of Koreans like Kwon that makes life harder for people like me here in the US. In the nineties, Robert Kim, a naturalized US citizen, gave restricted information to the ROK government justifying it with a similar rationale as Kwon. There cannot be two loyalties. An American citizen either appreciates his/her citizenship and is loyal to the US, or he/she abuses his/her citizenship and should forfeit it. People who just obtain citizenship simply for the benefits don’t deserve it.

  4. Cockenstien said

    Its racist to have loyalties to a country based on race. RACIST in the extreme.

  5. IanZiering said

    I am not so sure the sentiments of first generation Korean immigrants are all that different fomr those of other immigrant groups from America’s past. Italians, Irish, Jews (vis a vis Isreal) … Koreans are pretty recent immigrants. I bet that once they hit the 3rd/4th generation, they will become as an integrated a part of the melting pot as America’s other ethnic groups.

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