Children can embrace both American and Korean heritage

Every year, I look forward to celebrating the Fourth of July for our nation’s independence.

My 7-year-old daughter asked me with much curiosity, “How old is America?” For 232 years, perhaps, many of us have pondered what it means to be American and how we are thankful to live in the country that offers much freedom.

Do we often take it for granted to live in the place where we can express our opinions and beliefs?

Can we even experience much cultural diversity without leaving the country?

Multiculturalism is especially strong in the city of Federal Way as we see more growth of different ethnic minorities here. For the majority of people, it may not be totally comfortable to learn new cultures. Some may refuse to embrace our diversity, for fear of losing their people’s power.

However, I believe that it is a huge privilege to be exposed to different cultures and people. After all, we are all American.

My husband and I have three daughters.

Our children are mixed with Anglo and Asian blood (Korean). They see their mom speak Korean, eat Korean foods and act in Korean ways around Korean people.

Of course, our expectation is for our girls to learn Korean fluently, behave properly among Korean people and, hopefully, they will like Korean foods too.

I remember one of our kids said to her daddy that he should speak Korean when we go out to eat at a Korean restaurant. Hearing this, I was much pleased. Even though English is their first language, they appreciate other cultures by adopting their language.

Will they ever be comfortable to be around Korean people, especially for those who came to America in recent years? I do not know, but I do know that they are proud of to be Korean as well as American.

I told my daughters that they are 100 percent Korean and 100 percent American, not half and half of the two. They have a great advantage!

I always consider it is a huge blessing that my children can learn both cultures in depth as their heritage. They also learn many others. They see themselves as nether white nor yellow.

They are Americans!

Growing up in America, they will know that being American does not mean: One should be white or live in a society in which most people are white. What it states in the Pledge of Allegiance is so true.

America is one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

More diversity does not mean fewer white people.

It means that we learn to be American. Whether one belongs to a minority group or a majority one, our goal should be making this country better and the best.

It will happen when the majority of people are willing to learn from and value diverse culture, while minority groups must respect and adapt mainstream culture in America.

Oksu Ellis is a Federal Way resident. Send comments to editor@fedwaymirror.com

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