Guest Post by Jason Y. Lee
As a Korean-American growing up in Kansas, I can count on one hand the number of friends at school that looked like me. My well-intentioned classmates called me "Bruce" (paying homage to the only famous Asian they knew) and asked me if I knew how to speak Chinese. Growing up in that environment, I learned how to assimilate and mask my Asian-ness, which meant loving Blink 182 and feigning an appetite for meatloaf.
That's why my first day of college was utterly mind-blowing. I saw massive throngs of Asian Americans traveling together around campus. Slowly but surely, I found myself drawn to these groups. It was refreshing to find others whose stories reflected mine, people who knew the trauma of packing kimchi for lunch. I enrolled in "Intro to Asian American History." I learned to crave boba tea and pho. I was starting to understand and embrace my identity as a Korean American.