Assimilation, Deconstruction and Reconstruction


Film is not dead./Unsplash

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI) has always been a strange month for me. I grew up in a nearly white private Christian school from K-12. At the same time, I went to a Korean-American church for most of my youth. It was these experiences that shaped my understanding of race and my own Korean-American identity.


For the longest time, I tried to assimilate myself into the white American Christian context. I was motivated because I was mostly ostracized by the Korean-American church that I had attended. For a while, assimilating myself into whiteness worked well as a strategy for finding a community, a place that I felt like I belonged. For the first two decades of my life, I truly believed that I successfully assimilated.


However, by a strange form of God’s grace and love, God did not allow me to live that way anymore. My twenties have been a tumultuous era of deconstruction and reconstruction of my faith and racial identity. I have done much work in this process, but there is so much more to be done.


It has been a long and difficult journey to find a language that I am able to express myself, and I wonder that many others in the AAPI community have similar struggles. Yet, I have found solace in the black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”


God of our weary years,

God of our silent tears,

You who have brought us thus far on the way;

You who have by Your might

Led us into the light,

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

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