Hannah was our Korean-Chinese-American cashier at a Korean restaurant in New Jersey. We interrupted her work for a five-minute discussion on her double-Asian heritage, separation from the news, and visions of equality.
Serena: First of all, what is you cultural identity and what does it mean to you?
Hannah: Well, I’m Korean-Chinese.
Serena: That’s cool!
Hannah: And I’m proud of being Korean and also Chinese. It’s interesting that I can experience, like, two different cultures at the same time? At home? And, yeah, I can like meet more people and understand them better than others.
Serena: Do you speak both Korean and Chinese?
Serena: Oh, my god, that’s amazing! I can barely keep up with just Chinese.
Hannah: Oh, you’re Chinese?
Serena: I am, yeah. That’s really cool though. So with the recent violence against Asian-Americans both during coronavirus and with these hate crimes, how does it make you feel, and how has your family responded to that?
Hannah: So, my family, we are aware of that, but we’re not trying to respond to it, I guess? It’s just, I know it’s bad, but we’re not taking it seriously for ourselves. Because we never experienced that. I know some people around us are really suffering from that. But, I don’t know, for me I’m just reading through the articles on the news, like not participating.
Serena: Yeah, I kind of get that. My family’s like that too. It seems like, kind of separate, right? And it makes you feel better if you act like it’s separate.
Serena: Okay, last question then. With regard to your own ethnicity, what does equality look like you to in the future.
Hannah: Equality? I don’t know.
Serena: (laughs) It’s okay.
Hannah: I think it’s just treating people not based on their skin color—I mean, it’s what we all hear, but it’s what it really comes down to—I think that’s a big part of equality. (laughs) I’m sorry, I can’t really think of anything better right now. Because it shouldn't be that hard of a question, you know. Equality—equal. Don't treat someone based on their skin color.