As we gear up to celebrate America’s freedom, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be Korean-American.
To prepare for and write my research proposal, I’ve been reviewing psychology journals, articles and books about identity. My brain is swirling with concepts such as social identity, identity construction, ethnic identity development and so on. While the subject is complex, it’s exciting for me to delve into an area that I am very connected to.
As a Korean immigrant, I grew up Asian in an American society during the 1980s. It was a time when being Korean meant we were Chinese. In other words, people assumed we were “Orientals” and we were all from China. We were lumped into one category and at the time, I didn’t know if that mattered. I just wanted to fit in.
Depending on the psychological theory one subscribes to, identity can evolve as a result of one or many factors. Based on what I’ve read so far, identity is not a one-sided concept; it is not about who you are physically but other factors such as your role in society, in your family, among your friends and at work.
I believe that your identity is also affected by how others view you.
For the majority of my life, I was confused about my identity and what it meant. I was often mis-categorized or I didn’t know which group I belonged to. The good thing is that as a result of my confusion, I’m interested in learning more about this topic of identity and how, if at all, relates to the work environment. My research is about trying to understand how growing up Asian affects how one behaves at the workplace. Caveat: this is not my actual research question but instead the general area I am investigating.
One reason this Butters and Bambi blog exists is to chronicle the physical and psychological journey I’m on. Sharing my stories with you about my experiences helps me to learn more about me. Our interactions continue to shape who I am. As always, I thank you.
And Butters thanks you too.