Identity Essay

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Since I could remember, I had always been considered dark. The many hours playing in the South Korean sun turned my once pale body into a dark, sun spotted one. I actually liked my skin tone – it made me stand out from all the other kids at school, who were so pale they almost looked Caucasian if it weren’t for their small eyes and round noses. My skin had a story to tell – it told of the countless hours wandering the hills along the countryside; the trips to the barn where I watched the cows and goats; and the long, sunset tractor rides along the river near my house. However; having dark skin wasn’t always a good thing. In South Korea, where I spent the first six years of my life, pale males were favored over dark skinned ones – being pale usually meant you were rich enough to live and work in the big cities; whereas being dark skinned meant you spent most of your time in the sun doing back-breaking work in the more rural areas. This didn’t really bother me as a kid – I got along with my friends just fine and felt no pressure to look like my paler friends. However this all changed when I moved to the United States. All of a sudden I realized that not only my skin color, but also my size and appearance would affect almost every aspect of my life. When I arrived in San Francisco at the age of seven, the first thing I realized was that the entire population wasn’t Caucasian, like most Korean movies portrayed American cities to be like. The kids at the K-12 school I went to were actually mostly Asian, and even half the faculty were either Chinese or Japanese. However, I quickly realized that I did not fit in with the Asians at my school. For one, my skin was a lot darker than theirs. The Asians at my school had spent their entire childhoods indoors, playing video games, watching TV, or playing basketball while I spent almost every day of mine out in the blistering

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