Once again, Solo’s back in the hizzy (house)! Don’t worry I’m not going down that road again. Instead of explaining myself, I thought I’d set this up with a somewhat daily encounter with me.
Will: Hey man, you know my wife’s Korean right?
Solo: Yeah, I could tell. Could you tell I was half-Korean when you met me?
Will: It was crazy when I found out, cause I have half-Korean nephews, but when I first met you I was like, dude he’s totally Mexican.
Being from a small town, I was mainly around White people. The only Asians I knew when I was a child was my mom and her sister. But it never occurred to me that I was halfway between Asian and White. I thought I was white until the 2nd grade. My best friends in Elementary school had very white skin, while mine seemed like it never lost it’s summer tan. Still it never occurred to me that I looked any different than anyone else.
After high school I moved onto college in Seattle, Washington. It’s more diverse than Ellensburg, but I still felt White. My first experience of feeling different than a white kid was the first day of ensemble class with my mixed Black and Spanish professor, Hadley.
Hadley: Hey man, how you doing?
Solo: Pretty good.
Hadley: Man I’m glad to see you here at this music school, I’m feeling like a lot of young brothers these days are missing out on their roots.
Hadley: You know what I’m talking about.
Tru dat Hadley! Not really though. See, I’d been totally white in my mind for 18 years at that point. Then this guy comes along and assumes I’m either Black or Spanish in one meeting. That’s when I realized the world sees you literally, at face value. It’s never angered me though. If anything, it’s probably helped me in life. I’m able to sway between different races without breaking a sweat. And doing this I’ve observed one noticeable likeness of all people. Everybody’s the same!
Old Spanish Lady: Que hora, es?
Old Spanish Lady: Que hora es?!?
Solo: Oh, no halbo espaniol.
Old Spanish Lady: Okay, what time is it?
Old Spanish Lady: Gracias, now you say, de…nada.
Then she walked off with her nose in the air. She was disappointed with me cause apparently to her, I didn’t know my native language. I did study 2 years of Spanish in high school, and I actually knew what she was asking. I just don’t like to pretend I can speak their language cause everybody here thinks I’m Spanish. I can’t walk into a corner store without the clerk telling me the amount in pesos. It’s crazy.
I guess I don’t really know what this post is about. None of these things bother me, their just experiences in my life that make me laugh. The way I see it, none of these things really matter. Maybe I’m human form of a chameleon in people’s minds. Once they can register a look in their head of what I am, they can act accordingly. Whatever the case may be, it makes for funny stories.
Solo: Hey I noticed your last name is Kim, you’re Korean, right?
Korean neighbor: Yeah.
Solo: Cool, that’s my mom’s maiden name.
Korean neighbor: (Confused) What…..wait, you’re mom’s Korean.
Solo: Yeah, my dad’s White from America, she’s originally from Seoul. I’m mixed.
Korean neighbor: (Examines my face) Ooooooooh, naw man I don’t see that at all.