My home is Christchurch, New Zealand; the country my family immigrated to from South Korea when I was only 1 1/2 years old.


My home is Vancouver, and Montreal, Canada; the second country my family immigrated to shortly after I celebrated my 10th birthday.


Yet I do not feel at home. I’ve never felt at home.


Because of the way I look; because of the food my mom packed for my school lunches; because of the language my parents speak to me at home…a language I’d learned to forget so that I could fit in better with my Western peers.


What was the point? It’s never mattered. If you’re not white, or white-passing, it’s never mattered.


The white-washing I naively embraced; the racist jokes I suffocatingly swallowed; the fetishization of my Asian body that I unwittingly misconstrued as compliments.


Years of chipping away at my Korean identity, my heritage, attempting to dissolve all the things that contributed to my otherness.


What was the point? It’s never mattered.


The words I write, limit the realities and experiences of Asians and Asian immigrants everywhere. However, despite the toxic capitalistic, individualistic, patriarchal and white-supremacist values that poison the minds of Westerners, I’ve been grounded in my values of collectivism and community-oriented values of care.


As members of the Asian Diaspora, we must use these values to empathize and support each other, because systemic discrimination affects all of us POC.


We must make it clear that,


We will NOT be terrorized. We will NOT be victimized. We will NOT be your punching bags.


We will NOT stand by and let our fellow POC be oppressed by those who unyieldingly hold power and privilege.


We are LOUD. We are STRONG. We are DELIBERATE.


Whether you other me or not,


I am proud to be Korean. I am proud to be Asian. I am proud to be a POC.

Ji Hee