It amounted to asking if I minded being Korean; yes, I minded, or no, I didn’t mind, both seemed too mild for how I’d felt.
Growing up, I was the only Korean most of my friends and family knew, the only Korean I knew.
The self-consciousness I’d felt but hardly known how to track since starting at that small white school bloomed to sudden, painful awareness.
Kids I’d known since kindergarten now seemed like strangers — either hostile, or else somehow remote and inaccessible.
I’d felt such hope when I saw their smiles.