Acceptance

1994, Virginia: Ever since Bobbie found out that she was half Japanese (when she was in 9th grade), her mother suggested to her that she keep it a secret. Afterall, she would say, nobody likes Japanese people, not even the Americans. Bobbie was convinced since she was aware of the history between Korea and Japan. Plus, her mother used to tell her that she was a cold-hearted Japanese…whenever she was drunk. Bobbie always felt ashamed for who she was, even though the realistic side of her knew that she didn’t do anything wrong during that time period…she wasn’t even a twinkle in her mama’s eye. So, Bobbie decided to tell everyone (besides her close friend) that she was full Korean, and it worked…until one day in Virginia. Bobbie and her Korean girlfriend, Meeyun, decided to go to dinner with a group of Meeyun’s college classmates. Bobbie watched with interest as the group of girls (with the exception of Meeyun) sat around the table comparing engagement or friendship rings and bragging about whose was bigger and better.

Meeyun was poor, and Bobbie liked her because she wasn’t the typical International student who mostly partied while attending college in the States. Meeyun worked as a waitress with Bobbie and was very humble. Anyway, a topic came up that made Bobbie almostt gag on her food. It was about Japanese people. The debate escalated into such an intense topic, Bobbie thought she was going to have a heartattack. One girl said, “Japanese people are some cold-blooded beings!” Another stated, “Not all Japanese people are like that.” And another shouted, “If you have Japanese blood in you…you’re evil.” Bobbie wanted to walk out, but she didn’t want to disrespect her friend, who was like her older sister…so she waited until dinner was done. Afterwards, she pulled Meeyun to the side and said, “There’s something I have to tell you, and you’re probably going to think different of me. I’m half Japanese, and I choose to no longer be secretive about it and be ashamed of myself. I was going to say something to them, but I didn’t want to embarass you.” Meeyun looked at Bobbie with a surprised look. “I knew it! You do feel differently about me!” Meeyun answered gently, “No I don’t.” They continued their friendship.

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~ by Bobbie on November 10, 2011.

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