I’ve always credited my “academic success” (not sure you can call it that considering I just failed online P.E.) and parent’s involvement in my life due to my Korean heritage and the pursuit of the “American Dream” that my mother had as an immigrant. It was interesting today to drop my brother off at college— my father (who is not Korean) was very emotional and told me that out of seven children, only one of his siblings went to college and that today was so meaningful to him.
I’ve always felt that I live(d) a life of upper-middle class privilege: I don’t remember a recent time in my life where my father was not a high ranking military official or when we could not have something that we earnestly and reasonably wanted. That said, it was enlightening to hear how my great grandfather was a sharecropper [a person who does all the work on the land but receives almost nothing] and my grandfather, worked in a factory and was very involved with his union to the point where picket lines and protests weren’t out of the norm. My father’s siblings all worked with their hands and my father joined the military straight out of high school.
I’m not sure where things really changed for my family but history is so important. As a non-white person, my mother has always felt left out of the family (my grandparents did not even come to the wedding) and I felt the same. Now I feel like I’ve spent a lifetime devaluing one half of my family. Who knows I guess, still it just proves to me more why teaching young people about disability history, heritage and culture is so important. I viewed them as strangers when we may have had more in common all along.